Coleman Hawkins – Hawkins! Alive! (Reviewed in 2005)

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This review was written in 2005. We are not big fans of mono, but we know a good sounding record when we play one.

This Verve T Label Mono pressing DESTROYS the Classic Records reissue. It’s no contest.

Side one is lively, present, and dynamic, but a bit aggressive — the horn can really bite when Hawk pushes it. Side two, however, sounds LOVELY. It’s much smoother and very natural.

This isn’t an easy album to find in such gorgeous condition, and I bet you’d have a really tough time finding one that sounds as good as this one does on side two.


This is an Older Jazz Review.

Most of the older reviews you see are for records that did not go through the shootout process, the revolutionary approach to finding better sounding pressings we developed in the early 2000s and have since turned into a fine art.

We found the records you see in these older listings by cleaning and playing a pressing or two of the album, which we then described and priced based on how good the sound and surfaces were. (For out Hot Stamper listings, the Sonic Grades and Vinyl Playgrades are listed separately.)

We were often wrong back in those days, something we have no reason to hide. Audio equipment and record cleaning technologies have come a long way since those darker days, a subject we discuss here.

Currently, 99% (or more!) of the records we sell are cleaned, then auditioned under rigorously controlled conditions, up against a number of other pressings. We award them sonic grades, and then condition check them for surface noise.

As you may imagine, this approach requires a great deal of time, effort and skill, which is why we currently have a highly trained staff of about ten. No individual or business without the aid of such a committed group could possibly dig as deep into the sound of records as we have, and it is unlikely that anyone besides us could ever come along to do the kind of work we do.

The term “Hot Stampers” gets thrown around a lot these days, but to us it means only one thing: a record that has been through the shootout process and found to be of exceptionally high quality.

Not just a good sounding record. A record that was played in a shootout and did well.

The result of our labor is the scores of jazz titles seen here, every one of which is unique and guaranteed to be the best sounding copy of the album you have ever heard or you get your money back.

 


FURTHER READING

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Helpful Advice on Cleaning Your Records

Helpful Advice on Doing Your Own Shootouts

What We’ve Learned from Record Experiments