- You’ll find Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from start to finish on this excellent pressing
- This copy is hard to fault – big, open, clear, with space and three-dimensionality that modern pressings can only dream of
- Van Gelder was masterful at the kind of spacious, dynamic, energetic sound found on this vintage pressing
- “[Stitt’s] beautiful playing behind Gonsalves’ warm melody statement raises the session to the classic level.”
- 4 1/2 stars: “An exciting match-up of tenors Sonny Stitt and Paul Gonsalves… Highly recommended to bebop and straight-ahead jazz fans.”
Need a refresher course in Tubey Magic after playing too many modern recordings or remasterings? These Impulse! pressings are overflowing with it. Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead-on correct tonality — everything that we listen for in a great record is here.
There is, of course, a CD of this album, quite a few of them I would guess, but those of us with a good turntable couldn’t care less.
This vintage stereo pressing has the kind of Midrange Magic that modern records barely begin to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it ain’t 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 the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage 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 Salt and Pepper from 1964 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 1964
- 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 above.
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 Salt and Pepper
- 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.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt — Rudy Van Gelder in the case — would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Paul Gonsalves – tenor saxophone
Sonny Stitt – tenor saxophone, alto saxophone
Hank Jones – piano
Milt Hinton – bass
Osie Johnson – drums
Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic that is a key part of the appeal of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.
Salt and Pepper
Theme From Lord Of The Flies
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
This 72-minute LP starts off with one of the underrated gems of the 1960s, an exciting match-up of tenors Sonny Stitt and Paul Gonsalves.
… this is very much a jam session, with “Salt and Pepper” being a heated midtempo blues and the two competitive tenors stretching out on “S’posin'” and a lengthy “Perdido.” Actually, the most memorable selection from the date is the one on which Stitt switches to alto, “Stardust.” His beautiful playing behind Gonsalves’ warm melody statement raises the session to the classic level.
Also included on this consistently exciting LP is a Sonny Stitt quartet set originally titled Now! Although Stitt (doubling on alto and tenor) recorded scores of quartet sessions, he sounds particularly inspired here, especially on such offbeat material as “Estralita,” the Dixieland standard “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone,” and “My Mother’s Eyes.” Highly recommended to bebop and straight-ahead jazz fans.
Original Liner Notes
Salt and Pepper is a stirring engagement between two masters of the tenor saxophone, Paul Gonsalves and Sonny Stitt. Assisted partially by Hank Jones Milt Hinton and Osie Johnson, they battle energetically on three standards — Perido, S’Posin’ and Stardust — and with ferocity on the well-titled blues, Salt and Pepper.