- Here is a killer early pressing of Miles’ 1955 Prestige album with superb Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides and vinyl that is going to be very hard to find any quieter
- Unusually rich, full-bodied, lively and present, sound that brings out the best in Miles’ music
- Recorded in All Tube Mono, this is the real sound of these four jazz giants playing live-in-the-home-studio of none other than a Mr Rudy Van Gelder
- “Miles Davis was in the process of forming his first classic quintet when he recorded this date… The trumpeter is featured with pianist Red Garland, bassist Oscar Pettiford, and drummer Philly Joe Jones, playing four standards plus a blues (“Green Haze”) and “I Didn’t,” his answer to Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t.””
This vintage Prestige pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with Miles Davis, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What the best sides of The Beginning have to offer is not hard 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 pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1955
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- 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 qualities we discuss 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.
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top 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.
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.
Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings 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.
What We’re Listening For on The Beginning
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the players.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Miles Davis – trumpet
Red Garland – piano
Oscar Pettiford – bass
Philly Joe Jones – drums
Will You Still Be Mine?
I See Your Face Before Me
A Gal in Calico
A Night in Tunisia
Miles Davis was in the process of forming his first classic quintet when he recorded this date, a Prestige set… The trumpeter is featured on a quartet outing with pianist Red Garland, bassist Oscar Pettiford, and drummer Philly Joe Jones, playing four standards plus a blues (“Green Haze”) and “I Didn’t,” his answer to Thelonious Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t.” Garland and Jones would soon be in Miles’ group, although the fiery Pettiford proved too difficult for the trumpeter to handle and was quickly succeeded by Paul Chambers. The interpretations are generally lyrical and melodic; even “A Night in Tunisia” sounds a bit mellow. Likable if not essential music.