- This superb Prestige Two-Fer offer outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from top to bottom – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Compiled from two nearly complete Classic albums, Lush Life and Coltrane, this collection boasts masterful sound – thanks RVG!
- Full-bodied, energetic, and tonally correct from top to bottom and, these pressings are guaranteed to bring Coltrane’s music to life
- “Rarely does a single performance uncover the essence of an artist with such aptness. The well-crafted melody is treated above all with dignity, which may be part of the reason it remains flawless.”
The jackets for these Two-Fers tend to have some ringwear. We will of course put these two discs in the nicest cover we have available.
This is the kind of recording that makes people respect Rudy Van Gelder. Believe me, most of his stuff doesn’t sound this good! And since he mastered these pressings, we have to give him even more credit for doing the transfer exceptionally well. I am on record as saying that many of his own transfers are problematical. Not this one! Since this has two of Coltrane’s greatest albums together, I can’t recommend this record any more highly.
What the best sides of these two Classic Coltrane Albums (Lush Life and Coltrane) 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 domestic pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was still on the tapes in 1957 and 1958, when both Coltrane and Lush Life were recorded
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with the piano, trumpet, saxophone, 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.
This vintage pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot begin to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing any sign of coming back.
Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real John Coltrane playing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.
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 less than one out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we’ve played can serve as a guide.
What We’re Listening For on These Two Classics: Coltrane and Lush Life
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The saxophone and piano aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would 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.
I Hear A Rhapsody
Like Someone In Love
I Love You
Trane’s Slo Blues
Violets For Your Furs
While My Lady Sleeps
AMG 4 Star Review
This double-LP compilation gathers the majority of the original Coltrane (1958) and Lush Life (1958) albums. The primary missing element is “Slowtrane” — which is a direct derivation of “Trane’s Slo Blues” or vice versa. Otherwise, John Coltrane’s May 31 and August 16 sessions for Prestige Records can be found here.
As there are always exceptions to the rule, it is fitting that the caveat to that last statement — the resplendent instrumental version of “Lush Life” — be first on the bill. For his signature reading of Billy Strayhorn’s tune, Coltrane is backed by Red Garland (piano), Donald Byrd (trumpet), Paul Chambers(bass), and Louis Hayes (drums). Rarely does a single performance uncover the essence of an artist with such aptness. The well-crafted melody is treated above all with dignity, which may be part of the reason it remains flawless. Garland and Byrd should similarly be credited for their respective contributions as they help to provide a broader sonic pallet.
“I Hear a Rhapsody” swings hard thanks to the solid support of Chambers and Albert “Tootie” Heath. A brief stylistic contrast can be found in the laid-back ballad “Like Someone in Love,” which yields to the slithery syncopation of “I Love You” and the aforementioned “Slowtrane” copycat, “Trane’s Slo Blues.” The juxtaposition of these pieces is interesting as — alongside the ubiquitous Coltrane — Earl May (bass) and Arthur Taylor (drums) demonstrate their amazing versatility during their sole confab with ‘Trane as bandleader.