Gerry Mulligan – Jeru

  • This 360 stereo pressing put every other copy we played to shame with Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout
  • Tubier, more transparent, more dynamic, with that “jumpin’ out of the speakers’ quality that only The Real Thing (an old record) ever has
  • Hard to imagine any reissue, vintage or otherwise, can beat the sound of this LP – we sure couldn’t find one
  • “Jeru flawlessly swings with a relaxed, throbbing, positive life force… The recorded sound, achieved by an unidentified engineer at Nola Penthouse Studio in New York City, has remarkable presence and three-dimensionality.”

This Columbia 360 stereo pressing managed to find the right Vintage All Tube Jazz Sound from Columbia that we’ve come to know and love over the course of the last 30 years or so. We know this sound well; we’ve played these kinds of vintage records by the hundreds.

It’s the rare copy that offers what is good about a Tubey Magical analog recording from The Golden Age of early ’60s Jazz — clean and clear but rich and sweet — but manages to avoid the pitfalls so common to them: compression, opacity and blubber. To be sure, the fault is not with the recording (I guess; again, not having heard the master tape) but with the typical pressing.

Bad vinyl, bad mastering, who knows why so many copies sound so closed in and lacking in Tubey Magic — and we’re talking originals, not the much more common reissues. When you play a good half dozen originals and early pressings back to back to back, it’s not hard to hear the ones that open up yet while still retaining all the richness and the relaxed quality you expect from an All Tube 1962 jazz recording.

Full-bodied sound, open and spacious, bursting with life and energy — these are the hallmarks of our Truly Hot Stampers. If your stereo is cookin’ these days, this record will surely be an unqualified Sonic Treat. We guarantee that no heavy vinyl pressing, of this or any other album, has the kind of analog magic found here. Or your money back.

What the best sides of Jeru 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 1962
  • 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

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.

Richness Is Key

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 Jeru

  • 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 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.

Vinyl Condition

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 other 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 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.


Side One

Here I’ll Stay 
Inside Impromptu 
You’ve Come Home

Side Two

Get Out Of Town 
Blue Boy 
Lonely Town

AMG Review

While Gerry Mulligan was famous in the 1950s for leading pianoless quartets, he never had anything against pianists; in fact he often played piano himself. This 1962 quintet session finds Jeru utilizing the strong talents of pianist Tommy Flanagan along with bassist Ben Tucker, drummer Dave Bailey, and the congas of Alec Dorsey to play seven songs (all but “Get Out of Town” are somewhat obscure). Mulligan is in fine form and, even if the music on this LP is not all that essential, it is quite enjoyable.

JazzTimes Review

Jeru was a favor that Gerry Mulligan did for his drummer, Dave Bailey, who owned a startup label called Jazzline. Mulligan was bet-ween recording contracts. The ensemble played together only once, during the four-and-a-half-hour session when Jeru was made in 1962. It features Tommy Flanagan on piano, Ben Tucker on bass, Bailey on drums and Alec Dorsey on congas. The album never appeared on Jazzline because CBS bought the master and released it on Columbia.

It was Mulligan’s first-ever experience of recording with a piano without the presence of other soloists. Not for a moment would you suspect that he is in uncharted waters. Jeru flawlessly swings with a relaxed, throbbing, positive life force. Mulligan’s guttural gliding and Flanagan’s pristine comping are almost too perfect for jazz. “Here I’ll Stay” and “You’ve Come Home” could roll and tumble forever. The concluding “Lonely Town” begins in poignant whispers but can’t resist the pull of sprightly double time.

The recorded sound, achieved by an unidentified engineer at Nola Penthouse Studio in New York City, has remarkable presence and three-dimensionality. Jeru is one of the quickest 30 minutes in jazz.