- These guys are playing live in the studio and you can really feel their presence on every track — assuming you have a copy that sounds like this one
- An amazing 1958 All Tube Live-in-the-Studio Jazz recording by the legendary Roy DuNann
- “Tenor saxophonist Bob Cooper’s only Contemporary album is a near-classic and one of his finest recordings … This set is an underrated gem.”
Another undiscovered gem, brought to you by the folks at Better Records who know a good sounding record when they hear one.
This is a superb Contemporary recording from 1958. Cooper is joined by top West Coast musicians like trombonist Frank Rosolino, vibraphonist Victor Feldman, pianist Lou Levy, bassist Max Bennett, and drummer Mel Lewis. On some parts of the Jazz Theme the group grows to be ten pieces. Normally this might present a problem for a recording engineer, but Roy DuNann is up to the task! If you want to hear the sound of brass recorded properly, Roy is your man.
Both sides are Tubey Magical, rich, open, spacious and tonally correct. These guys are playing live in the studio and you can really feel their presence on every track — assuming you have a copy that sounds like this one.
What do the better Hot Stampers pressings like this one give you?
- 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 for the horns and drums, not the smear and thickness so common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt — Roy DuNann — would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Based on what I’m hearing my feeling is that most of the natural, full-bodied, smooth, sweet sound of the album is on the master tape, and that all that was needed to get that vintage sound correctly on to disc was simply to thread up that tape on a reasonably good machine and hit play.
The fact that nobody seems to be able to make an especially good sounding record — certainly not as good sounding as this one — these days tells me that in fact I’m wrong to think that such an approach would work. Somebody should have been able to figure out how to do it by now. In our experience that is simply not the case today, and has not been for many years.
Bass – Max Bennett
Drums – Mel Lewis
Piano – Lou Levy
Tenor Saxophone – Bob Cooper
Trombone – Frank Rosolino, Johnny Halliburton
Trumpet – Conte Candoli, Don Fagerquist, Pete Candoli
Vibraphone – Victor Feldman
Jazz Theme & Four Variations: Sunday Mood
Jazz Theme & Four Variations: A Blue Period
Jazz Theme & Four Variations: Happy Changes
Jazz Theme & Four Variations: Night Stroll
Jazz Theme & Four Variations: Saturday Dance
Frankie And Johnny
Somebody Loves Me
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
Tenor saxophonist Bob Cooper’s only Contemporary album…is a near-classic and one of his finest recordings. Cooper, along with trombonist Frank Rosolino, vibraphonist Victor Feldman, pianist Lou Levy, bassist Max Bennett, and drummer Mel Lewis, performs colorful versions of five standards (best are “Confirmation,” “Easy Living,” and “Somebody Loves Me”) that show off his attractive tone and ability to swing at any tempo.
Half of the release consists of his “Jazz Theme and Four Variations,” a very interesting work that holds together quite well throughout 23-and-a-half minutes and five movements. Three trumpeters (including Conte Candoli) and one trombone are added to make the ensembles richer. This set is an underrated gem.