- With two Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides, we guarantee you’ve never heard this kind of life and energy on any other Stanley Turrentine album
- It’s rare for us to find New York label stereo pressings in audiophile playing condition, but here’s one, and it simply takes the recording (and the music) to another level
- This session boasts all the top players: Blue Mitchell, Pepper Adams, McCoy Tyner, Grant Green, Bob Cranshaw, and Mickey Roker and more
- “…the star of the show is Turrentine, and his warmth and playing make this a necessity, especially for fans ’60s pre-funk Blue Note jazz.”
This vintage early Blue Note stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely 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 outstanding sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:
- 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 studio space
- 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 1966
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.
The Right Sound for This Many Horn Players
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 the full complement of harmonic information.
In addition, when the top end is lacking, the upper midrange and high frequencies get jammed together — the highs can’t extend up and away from the upper mids. This causes a number of much-too-common problems that we hear in the upper midrange of many of the records we play: congestion, hardness, harshness, and squawk. (Painstaking Vertical Tracking Angle adjustment is absolutely critical if you want your records to play with the least amount of these problems, a subject we discuss in the Commentary section of the site at length.)
Tube smear is common to most pressings from the ’50s and ’60s. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have little or none, yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
Full-bodied sound is especially critical to the horns; any blare, leanness or squawk ruins at least some of the fun, certainly at the louder levels the record should be playing at.
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. Only then will everything sound completely right musically and tonally from top to bottom.
What We’re Listening For on Rough ‘N Tumble
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer — Rudy Van Gelder in this case — would have put them.
- 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 so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also 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 instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Alto Saxophone – James Spaulding
Arranged By – Duke Pearson
Baritone Saxophone – Pepper Adams
Bass – Bob Cranshaw
Drums – Mickey Roker
Guitar – Grant Green
Piano – McCoy Tyner
Tenor Saxophone – Stanley Turrentine
Trumpet – Blue Mitchell
What Could I Do Without You
Walk On By
In the mid- to late ’60s, Blue Note was beginning to take on the affectations of funk and a new kind of “cool.” For the most part, Turrentine steers clear of that style, and Rough ‘n’ Tumble is a pretty straight-ahead set, especially for 1966. “And Satisfy” and “Feelin’ Good” typify the comfortable sessions, and both show off Turrentine’s trademark tasteful playing.
To its credit, Rough ‘n’ Tumble isn’t rife with covers of songs that were doomed to be ephemeral, and Turrentine tackled two of the more lasting songs. His cover of Sam Cooke’s “Shake” adheres closely to the original. Bacharach and David no doubt figured into jazz albums of the time, and “Walk On By” gets a suitably downcast reading here.
The album’s final track, the intricate “Baptismal,” seems to get most of Turrentine’s attention, and the song is perfect for his emotional yet poised playing technique. Rough ‘n’ Tumble features a great lineup of players, including Pepper Adams, Blue Mitchell, and McCoy Tyner …