If you have full-range speakers some of the qualities you may recognize in the sound of the piano are WEIGHT and WARMTH. The piano is not hard, brittle or tinkly. Instead the best copies show you a wonderfully full-bodied, warm, rich, smooth piano, one which sounds remarkably like the ones we’ve all heard countless times in piano bars and restaurants.
In other words like a real piano, not a recorded one. This is what we look for in a good piano recording. Bad mastering can ruin the sound, and often does, along with worn out stampers and bad vinyl and five gram needles that scrape off the high frequencies. But a few — a very few — copies survive all such hazards. They manage to reproduce the full spectrum sound of the piano (and of course the wonderful performances of the musicians) on vintage vinyl, showing us the kind of sound we never expected from a fairly unprepossessing early ’60 jazz piano trio record such as this.
Based on what I’m hearing my feeling is that most of the natural, full-bodied, smooth, sweet sound of the album is on the master tape, and that all that was needed to transfer that vintage sound correctly onto vinyl disc was simply to thread up the tape on a high quality machine and hit play.
The fact that nobody seems to be able to make an especially good sounding record these days — certainly not as good sounding as this one — tells me that in fact I’m wrong to think that such an approach would work. Somebody should have been able to figure out how to do it by now. In our experience that is simply not the case today, and has not been for many years, if not decades.
George Horn was doing brilliant work on scores of famous jazz recordings all through the ’80s. This album is proof that his sound is the right sound for this music.
On Green Dolphin Street
I Ain’t Got Nobody
You’ll Never Know
Blues In The Closet
What Is There To Say?
So Sorry Please
During 1961-1962, following a long series of recordings for Prestige, pianist Red Garland recorded four LPs for the Jazzland label. His style was unchanged from a few years earlier, and this trio set with bassist Sam Jones and drummer Charlie Persip…is very much up to par. Highlights include Garland’s interpretations of “I Ain’t Got Nobody,” “Blues in the Closet,” and “Lil’ Darlin’.” An enjoyable straight-ahead session.
Talk About Timbre
Man, when you play a Hot Stamper copy of an amazing recording such as this, the timbre of the instruments is so spot-on it makes all the hard work and money you’ve put into your stereo more than pay off. To paraphrase The Hollies, you get paid back with interest. If you hear anything funny in the mids and highs of this record, don’t blame the record. (This is the kind of record that shows up audiophile BS equipment for what it is: Audiophile BS. If you are checking for richness, Tubey Magic and freedom from artificiality, I can’t think of a better test disc. It has loads of the first two and none of the last.)
Warning: Stereo Editorial Follows
The same is true for audio equipment as I’m sure you’ve experienced first-hand. Some stereos can bore you to tears with their dead-as-a-doornail sound and freedom from dynamic contrasts. Other stereos are overly-detailed and fatiguing; they wear out their welcome pretty quickly with their hyped-up extremes. As Goldilocks will gladly tell you, some stereos are just right; they have the uncanny ability to get out of the way of the music. Some equipment doesn’t call attention to itself, and that tends to be the kind of equipment we prefer around here at Better Records. After forty plus years in this hobby I’ve had my share of both. 90% or more of the stuff I hear around town makes me appreciate what I have at home. I’m sure you feel the same way.
Red Garland mixed together the usual influences of his generation (Nat Cole, Bud Powell, and Ahmad Jamal) into his own distinctive approach; Garland’s block chords themselves became influential on the players of the 1960s.
During 1946-1955, he worked steadily in New York and Philadelphia, backing such major players as Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and Roy Eldridge, but still remaining fairly obscure. That changed when he became a member of the classic Miles Davis Quintet (1955-1958), heading a rhythm section that also included Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones.
After leaving Miles, Garland had his own popular trio and recorded very frequently for Prestige, Jazzland, and Moodsville during 1956-1962 (the majority of which are available in the Original Jazz Classics series).