Wynton Kelly Trio & Sextet – Kelly Blue

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  • Wynton Kelly’s hard-to-find second album finally makes its debut, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • A superb pressing, with lovely richness and warmth, good space and separation between the instruments and real immediacy throughout
  • Kelly brings in jazz greats Nat Adderley, Bobby Jaspar, and Benny Golson, as well as several of his bandmates from Miles Davis’ sextet, including Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Kelly was renowned as an accompanist, but as he shows on a set including three of his originals and four familiar standards… A fine example of his talents.”
  • “Wynton Kelly demonstrates once again why he has been a major influence in the history of jazz piano.”

Jack Higgins was the engineer for these sessions. He recorded Chet Baker’s brilliant Chet album the same year, as well as many other albums for Riverside in New York in the ’50s and ’60s.

This vintage LP 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 the band, 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 this Classic Wynton Kelly album 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 pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1959
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the keyboards, guitars 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. 

Old and New Work Well Together

This reissue is spacious, open, transparent, rich and sweet. It’s yet another remarkable disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording Technology, with the added benefit of mastering using the more modern cutting equipment of the ’70s and ’80s. We are of course here referring to the good modern mastering of 35+ years ago, not the generally opaque, veiled and lifeless mastering of the records produced today.

The combination of old and new works wonders on this title as you will surely hear for yourself on both of these superb sides.

We were impressed with the fact that these pressings excel in so many areas of reproduction. What was odd about it — odd to most audiophiles but not necessarily to us — was just how rich and Tubey Magical the reissue can be on the right pressing.

This leads me to think that most of the natural, full-bodied, lively, clear, rich sound of the recording was still on the tape decades later, and that all that was needed to get that vintage sound on to a record was simply to thread up the tape on the right machine and hit play. The fact that practically nobody seems to be able to make a record nowadays that sounds remotely this good tells me that I’m wrong to think that such an approach tends to work, if our experience with hundreds of mediocre Heavy Vinyl reissues is relevant.

The Players

Wynton Kelly – piano
Nat Adderley – cornet
Bobby Jaspar – flute
Benny Golson – tenor saxophone
Paul Chambers – bass
Jimmy Cobb – drums

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Kelly Blue
Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise
Green Dolphin Street

Side Two

Willow Weep For Me
Keep It Moving
Old Clothes

AMG 4 1/2 Star Review

Recorded for Riverside, this set mostly features the influential pianist Wynton Kelly in a trio with his fellow rhythm-section mates from the Miles Davis bands, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb. “Kelly Blue” and “Keep It Moving” add cornetist Nat Adderley, flutist Bobby Jaspar and the tenor of Benny Golson to the band for some variety.

Kelly was renowned as an accompanist, but as he shows on a set including three of his originals and four familiar standards (including “Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise” and “Willow Weep for Me”), he was also a strong bop-based soloist too. A fine example of his talents.

Amazon 5 Star Rave Review

Wynton Kelly demonstrates once again why he has been a major influence in the history of jazz piano. In studying and analyzing his playing…you can hear where other jazz greats like Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett got their springboard to success early on in their career. Sonny Clark is still my main man on piano… but as of late…I’ve really been listening to the piano wizardry of Wynton Kelly…I realize now I should have been listening to him all along.

-Michael Bishop, Amazon Review

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