Sarah Vaughan and Count Basie – Count Basie and Sarah Vaughan

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  • A KILLER copy of this superb collaboration with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two mated with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on side one
  • On a copy this good, Vaughan will appear as a living, breathing person right in your very own listening room – we call that “the breath of life,” and this record has it in spades
  • Here is what’s best about vintage analog – sound that is exceptionally spacious and three-dimensional, relaxed, full-bodied and natural
  • 4 stars: ” Basie’s Orchestra and pianist Kirk Stuart are purely in a supporting role behind the magnificent voice of Sarah Vaughan… her wide range and impeccable musicianship carry the day.”

This vintage Roulette 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 Count Basie and Sarah Vaughan 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 1961
  • 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 Count Basie and Sarah Vaughan

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals 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.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Perdido
Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be?)
I Cried For You
Alone
There Are Such Things

Side Two

The Gentleman Is A Dope
You Go To My Head
Until I Met You
You Turned The Tables On Me
Little Man (You’ve Had A Busy Day)

AMG 4 Star Review

Although Count Basie gets top billing, he actually doesn’t even appear on this set. Basie’s Orchestra and pianist Kirk Stuart are purely in a supporting role behind the magnificent voice of Sarah Vaughan, other than a couple of short spots for trumpeter Joe Newman and Frank Foster’s tenor.

Sometimes Vaughan sounds overly mannered and seems to give little weight to the words she is singing, but her wide range and impeccable musicianship carry the day. Highlights include “Perdido,” “Mean to Me,” and “You Go to My Head,” and the set is understandably recommended more for Sarah Vaughan fans than Count Basie collectors.

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