John Coltrane / Lush Life – Should You Collect the Original Pressing on this Title?

No. Which means we was wrong about Lush Life.

A classic case of Live and Learn. Previously we had written:

“There are great sounding originals, but they are few and far between…”

We no longer believe that to be true. In fact we believe the opposite of that statement to be true. The original we had on hand — noisy but with reasonably good sound, or so we thought — was an absolute joke next to our best Hot Stamper pressings. Half the size, half the clarity and presence, half the life and energy, half the immediacy, half the studio space. It was simply not remotely competitive with the copies we now know (or at least believe, all knowledge being provisional) to have the best sound.

Are there better originals than the ones we’ve played? No doubt. If you want to spend your day searching for them, more power to you. And if you do find one that impresses you, we are happy to send you one of our Hot Copies to play against it. We are confident that the outcome would be clearly favorable to our pressing. Ten seconds of side one should be enough to convince you that our record is in an entirely different league, a league we had no idea even existed until just this year.

By the way, the mono original we played was by far the worst sound I have ever heard for the album.

By far.

Hot Stamper Pressings that Sound Their Best on the Right Reissue

Records We’ve Reviewed that Sound Their Best on the Right Reissue

(The operative word in the two sentences above is “right.”

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Like Someone In Love
I Love You
Trane’s So Blues

Side Two

Lush Life
I Hear A Rhapsody

AMG Review

To say that John Coltrane is one of the greatest jazz musicians in the history of the genre is to utter a banal truism, but amid all of the (well-deserved) hubbub over Giant Steps and A Love Supreme, it is extremely edifying to pick up this 1957-1958 effort and hear how well the man could play standards and especially ballads.

Assisting him in this worthy endeavor are various combinations of Earl May and Paul Chambers on bass and Louis Hayes, Albert Heath, and Art Taylor on drums.

Throughout the record, the saxophonist sounds more like Charlie Parker than usual, especially on the terrific “Like Someone in Love,” but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t get some of his own best licks in as well. Saxophone ballads are rarely more interesting and more beautiful. The Latin groove to “I Love You” is a delight, especially so considering that the rhythm section sounds like it’s going to fall apart at any second.

The sole deviation from the saxophone trio format features assistance from Red Garland and Donald Byrd on a reading of “Lush Life,” which is so perfectly realized that one begins to wonder why successive generations of jazzers still persist in attempting to improve upon it.

A perfect track and a perfect album, one well deserving of its classic status.


FURTHER READING

New to the Blog? Start Here

Basic Concepts and Realities Explained

Record Collecting for Audiophiles – A Guide to the Fundamentals

Important Lessons We Learned from Record Experiments 

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