Hot Stamper sound on both sides of this Pablo original pressing of the Two Masters in a small group setting. Basie and Peterson recorded five albums together, and this may very well be the best of the bunch, though I have yet to hear one that I didn’t enjoy. I wrote a rave review about this title when I first heard it more than ten years ago. If you like small group piano jazz — here we’re talking two pianists accompanied by Louie Bellson on drums and John Heard on bass — this should be right up your alley.
Big, rich pianos. Everything here is clear with no smear, with a fair amount of space. This side is a bit opaque compared to the best we heard, and the bass isn’t quite as deep as it was on the top copies, but overall this side is doing most of what we wanted it to.
This side is lively and tonally correct — getting the music right — but lacks extension on both ends.
We find that about one out of every eight or ten Pablo titles are potentially amazing. This is certainly one of them. Part of the credit should go to Joe Gastwirt, who cut these original Pablos at the JVC cutting center, where Mobile Fidelity got their start. If you ever see JG followed by a little heart in the deadwax of a record, there’s a good chance that it’s going to sound good.
Now Joe masters CDs, and he has the very bad habit of taking all the highs out with his Sonic Solutions system, which in my view ruins them. (The first two CSN and sometimes Y albums are completely unlistenable because of his awful mastering. If you want to hear that music properly on CD you have to find the earlier versions of the discs. I have the early Deja Vu disc and it’s actually quite good.)
To me it’s like nails on a blackboard when modern CDs have no air or tape hiss or harmonics in the extreme highs because they’ve all been erased by some crappy digital software.
Acoustic Sounds did three or four Basie titles including this one on 45. We have yet to hear a single Heavy Vinyl 45 that sounds any good, by our standards anyway. We guarantee that none of them can hold a candle to this very record or your money back. If you have one of the new pressings and don’t know what’s wrong with it, or don’t think anything is, try this copy. It will show you just how good a real record can sound, with more space, more transparency, more energy, more presence, more drive, more ambience — more of everything that’s good about old ANALOG vinyl.
It is our contention that no one alive today makes records that sound as good as the ones we sell. Once you hear this Hot Stamper, those 180 gram records may not sound right to you ever again. They sure don’t sound right to us, but we have the good fortune of being able to play the best older pressings (reissues included) side by side with them. When you can hear them that way there really is no comparison.
I’m Confessin’ (That I Love You)
(Back Home Again In) Indiana
After You’ve Gone
That’s the One
From the same sessions that resulted in Night Rider and Yessir, this quartet date also features the two pianos of Oscar Peterson and Count Basie collaborating and interacting on swing standards and blues. Any of their five albums together are worth acquiring.