This is one of our favorite orchestra-backed jazz records here at Better Records. A few others off the top of my head would be Wes Montgomery’s California Dreaming (1966, and also Sebesky-arranged), Grover Washington’s All the King’s Horses (1973) and Deodato’s Prelude (also 1973, with brilliant arrangements by the man himself).
On a killer copy like this the sound is out of this world. Rich and full, open and transparent, this one defeated all comers in our shootout, taking the Top Prize for sound and earning all Three Pluses.
What’s especially notable is how well-recorded the orchestra’s string sections are. They have just the right amount of texture and immediacy without being forced or shrill. They’re also very well integrated into the mix. I wouldn’t have expected RVG to pull it off so well — I’ve heard other CTI records where the orchestration was abominable — but here it works as well as on any album I know of.
Both sides blew us away with a deep, wide soundstage and full extension on both the top and the bottom.
The bass is deep and defined; the tonality of the guitar and its overall harmonic richness are Right On The Money. The piano has the weight and heft of the real thing.
This kind of warm, rich, Tubey Magical analog sound is gone forever. You have to go back to 1971 to find it!