If you like the sound of relaxed, tube-mastered jazz — and what red-blooded audiophile doesn’t — you can’t do much better than Jack Sheldon And His All-Star Band. The warmth and immediacy of the sound here are guaranteed to blow practically any Big Band record you own right out of the water.
This is a wonderful example of the kind of record that makes record collecting FUN.
If you large group swinging West Coast Jazz is your thing — think Art Pepper Plus Eleven — you should get a big kick out of this one.
Both sides of this very special pressing are huge, rich, tubey and clear. As soon as the band got going we knew that this was absolutely the right sound for this music. There was practically nothing that could beat it, in any area of reproduction.
What these amazing West Coast Jazz sides 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 1958-59
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments of the band (check out the list below) having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
- 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
Amazing Tubey Magic
For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are enchanting. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1958-9 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy should be just the record for you.
This copy is 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 the album, but those of us in possession of a working turntable could care less.
Top West Coast Players
Alto Saxophone – Art Pepper (tracks: B1 to B5)
Alto Saxophone – Herb Geller (tracks: B1 to B5)
Alto Saxophone – Lennie Niehaus (tracks: A1 to A5)
Baritone Saxophone – Billy Root (tracks: A1 to A5)
Bass – Buddy Clark
Drums – Mel Lewis
French Horn – Vince De Rosa (tracks: 1 to 5)
Piano – Pete Jolly (tracks: A1 to A5)
Tenor Saxophone – Harold Land (tracks: B1 to B5)
Trumpet – Chet Baker (tracks: B1 to B5)
Trumpet – Conte Candoli (tracks: A1 to A5)
Trumpet – Jack Sheldon
Tuba – Red Callender (tracks: A1 to A5)
Valve Trombone – Stu Williamson
Green Dolphin Street
I’m Also A Person
I Had The Craziest Dream
Julie Is Her Name
AMG 4 Star Review
Although the liner notes to this album state that these two sessions were Jack Sheldon’s first as a leader, he actually led two full sets for Jazz West during 1954 and 1956, plus three titles for Pacific Jazz in ’55. However, this was the initial album to gain wide recognition and helped to introduce the L.A.-based trumpeter’s talents to the East Coast.
Five selections feature Sheldon with a ten-piece band arranged by Lennie Niehaus and some have spots for valve trombonist Stu Williamson, pianist Pete Jolly and baritonist Billy Root. The later session features the writing of Paul Moer and such fine soloists as trumpeter Chet Baker (in a rare sideman outing for another trumpeter), altoists Art Pepper and Herb Geller, tenorman Harold Land and valve trombonist Williamson.
High-quality and consistently swinging West Coast jazz.
What to Listen For
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 late ’50s 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. (Full sound is especially critical to the the horns; any blare, leanness or squawk ruins much of the fun, certainly at the loud levels the record should be playing at.)
Which brings up a point that needs making. The tonality of this record is correct when it is playing loud. The trumpets do not get harsh at loud volumes the way they will on, say, a Chicago record. The timbre of the instruments is correct when loud, which means that it was mixed loud to sound correct when loud.
The frequency extremes (on the best copies) are not boosted in any way. When you play this record quietly, the bottom and top will disappear (due to the way the ear handles quieter sounds as described by the Fletcher-Munson curve).
Most records (like most audiophile stereos) are designed to sound correct at moderate levels. Not this album. It wants you to turn it up. Then, and only then, will everything sound completely right from top to bottom.