Clear piano notes, first and foremost. Any smear or loss of speed (a problem with hi-fi equipment since the beginning of time) detracts from the fun.
Next, the tonality of the best copies is rich and solid; accept nothing less.
And, finally, the proper reproduction of the percussion instruments is critically important to the energy and drive of the music. The better you hear them — without losing the weight and richness of the piano — the more you will enjoy your copy of the record.
No two copies will reproduce all these elements equally well. On high quality equipment with the volume turned up good and loud the winners are easily separated from the losers.
Valentin’s list of credits runs for days. Some high points are of course Ella and Louis, and Getz/Gilberto.
Recently we played a copy of We Get Requests by the Oscar Peterson Trio that blew our mind. And we have been big fans of Mel Tormé Swings Shubert Alley for more than a decade.
Pull up his credits on Allmusic. No one I am familiar with other than Rudy Van Gelder recorded more great jazz, and in our opinion Valentin’s recordings are quite a bit more natural sounding than Rudy’s, especially with regard to the piano.
Sugar Loaf at Twilight
Weekend in L.A.
Monty Alexander’s Jamaican heritage is combined with his bop-oriented piano on this date to create some enjoyable music.
This was his first recording to make use of a steel drummer (Vince Charles), and Alexander also uses an oversized rhythm section with Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin, bassist Andy Simpkins, both Duffy Jackson and Roger Bethelmy on drums and percussionist Larry McDonald.