Kenny Burrell and Jimmy Smith – Blue Bash!

More Kenny Burrell

xxxxx

  • This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) grades from start to finish
  • With richness, clarity, space and timbral accuracy, this is guaranteed to be one of the best sounding bluesy jazz records you’ve heard in a while
  • Val Valentin, Phil Ramone and Rudy Van Gelder engineered, and the results are every bit as good as you would expect from these pros, assuming you have a vintage stereo copy that sounds like this one
  • 5 stars: “Kenny Burrell’s smooth, tasteful guitar greatness and Jimmy Smith’s intense, fire breathing approach on the Hammond B-3 had been complementing in sheer harmony between each other since the two jazz masters first recorded together in 1957, until they decided to record this superb duet album in July of 1963.”

This vintage Verve 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 the best sides of Blue Bash 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 1963
  • 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.

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 vintage pressings 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 Blue Bash!

  • 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.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Blue Bash
Travelin’
Fever

Side Two

Blues For Del
Easy Living
Soft Winds
Kenny’s Sound

Amazon 5 Star Rave Review

Kenny Burrell’s smooth, tasteful guitar greatness and Jimmy Smith’s intense, fire breathing approach on the Hammond organ B-3 had been complementing in sheer harmony between each other since the two jazz masters first recorded together since 1957, until they decided to record this superb duet album in July of 1963.

What would be Burrell’s first album for the Verve Records, Blue Bash is a great meeting of the minds duet masterwork well presented with grace and solid integrity by Burrell and Smith which showcase a lively set highlighted by Smith’s standout small band session artistry for Verve, while Burrell provide the versatile guitar solos alongside Smith’s B-3 mastery where they capture the Burrell-Smith chemistry at it’s best.

Beginning with the majestic topsy-turvy title track, the first rate track set proceed with vitality and unique lyricism on other crafty up=to-date original compositions like Travelin’, Blues For Del and Kenny’s Sound, while few direct takes on classic standards like Fever and Soft Winds adds up to the sheer merriment, until alternate takes and breakdown takes included here offer further insight into this productive long-running musical partnership.

Put together over a period of three days in three different studios with two different rhythm sections, here is a truly unforgettable and slightly refreshing top drawer duet classic which will always live on reputation as one of the finest and most beloved duet albums in jazz history…

-RH

Leave a Reply