- An outstanding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- With a nearly perfect balance of analog richness and high-res clarity and space, this reissue showed us once again just how good an engineer Rudy Van Gelder was back in 1961
- “This [album] has many fine moments from these two highly competitive jazzmen, particularly the lengthy title cut and a heated tradeoff on “In a Mellow Tone,” on which Davis goes higher but Hawkins wins on ideas.”
For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are wonderful. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good an 1961 All Tube Analog recording can be, this killer copy will do the trick.
This pressing is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This is vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you’ll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve it.
This IS the sound of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There is of course a CD of this album, but those of us who possess a working turntable and a good collection of vintage vinyl couldn’t care less.
Beating the Originals at Their Own Game
The best copies of a certain small, select group of reissues sound like the vintage jazz albums they are attempting to emulate, and sometimes they even beat the originals at their own Tubey Magical game. They can be every bit as rich, sweet and spacious as their earlier-pressed brethren in our experience.
In the case of Night Hawk we simply have never seen an original stereo copy clean enough to buy, so we have no actual, physical reference for what an original would sound like.
That said, having critically auditioned literally thousands of vintage jazz records over the course of the last few decades, including hundreds recorded by Rudy Van Gelder like this one, we’re pretty confidant we know what the good ones are supposed to sound like.
And they sound just like the best copies of the very pressing we are offering here.
What the best sides of this Classic Jazz Album from 1961 have to offer is clear for all to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl domestic pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1961
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied double bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with the guitar and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What to Listen For
The best copies are rich and tubey; many pressings were thin and modern sounding, some were opaque and recessed, and they would lose a lot of points for those shortcomings. We want our Hot Stamper pressings to sound like something RVG recorded in 1961, and the best copies give you that sound, without the surface noise and groove damage the originals doubtless have to offer.
Copies with rich lower mids did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all, by the thousands in fact.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Smear is common to most records, and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
The Players and Personnel
Bass – Ron Carter
Drums – Gus Johnson
Piano – Tommy Flanagan
Recorded By – Rudy Van Gelder
Tenor Saxophone – Coleman Hawkins
Tenor Saxophone – Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis
There Is No Greater Love
In A Mellow Tone
Don’t Take Your Love From Me
Hawkins was one of the main inspirations of his fellow tenor Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, so it was logical that they would one day meet up in the recording studio. This record has many fine moments from these two highly competitive jazzmen, particularly the lengthy title cut and a heated tradeoff on “In a Mellow Tone,” on which Davis goes higher but Hawkins wins on ideas.