Gerry Mulligan – Gerry Mulligan ’63

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  • This original Verve All Tube Chain Stereo pressing boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from first note to last
  • This copy is hard to fault – big, open, clear, with space and three-dimensionality that modern pressings fail miserably to reproduce  
  • “With originals by Bob Brookmeyer, Gary McFarland and the baritonist/leader (in addition to the standards “Little Rock Getaway” and “My Kind of Love”), this is a high-quality if rather brief program. Trumpeter Clark Terry and guitarist Jim Hall co-star with Mulligan in the solo department. It is a pity that this orchestra could not prosper; all five of its recordings are worth getting.”  

For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are wonderful. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1963 All Tube Analog sound 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 could care less.

What the best sides of Gerry Mulligan ’63 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 1963
  • 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 pressings from the ’50s and ’60s 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 Gerry Mulligan ’63

  • 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.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Little Rock Getaway
Ballad
Big City Life
Big City Blues

Side Two

My Kind Of Love
Pretty Little Gypsy
Bridgehampton South
Bridgehampton Strut

AMG  Review

With originals by Bob Brookmeyer, Gary McFarland and the baritonist/leader (in addition to the standards “Little Rock Getaway” and “My Kind of Love”), this is a high-quality if rather brief program. Trumpeter Clark Terry and guitarist Jim Hall co-star with Mulligan in the solo department. It is a pity that this orchestra could not prosper; all five of its recordings are worth getting.

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