Illinois Jacquet / How High the Moon – A Killer Two-Fer Thanks to David Turner

More Jazz Recordings Featuring the Saxophone

More Recordings by Rudy Van Gelder

  • This superb Prestige Two-Fer boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two and outstanding double plus (A++) sound on the other three
  • Compiled from four Jacquet albums released in 1968 and 1969, including favorites like “Bottoms Up,”The Blues; That’s Me”, and “The King”
  • Jacquet’s one of the creators of the big, soulful tenor sax sound – I know of no one who does it better 
  • “… a fine sampler to Jacquet’s music… it features Illinois in a variety of settings (ranging from a quartet to a mini-big band)…”

The album combines material from four different Illinois Jacquet albums (Bottoms Up, The King, The Soul Explosion, and The Blues; That’s Me!). The sound is AMAZING and Jacquet plays with wonderful emotion and skill throughout.

Check out the man’s bassoon playing on ‘Round Midnight, the last track on side four — now there’s a sound you don’t hear too often on a jazz record!

As a bonus, they selected only about half the material from each of these classic albums, turning over to each of them about one side of these two discs. Which simply means that the quality and variety are consistently high on all four of these sides. No unreleased material or alternate takes; in other words, no filler.

Better than the Originals?

The 1975 remastering here by David Turner is superb. I’m going to guess that this album sounds better than most of the originals, for one reason — the state of cutting equipment in the late 1960’s. Starting in the ’70s record mastering equipment got a whole lot better.

Most of the best sounding pressings in our Rock and Pop Top 100 were cut on these modern cutters.

The sound is exceptionally dynamic, with some of the lowest distortion sound we’ve yet to hear on disc. The highs go even higher and the lows go even lower. Transparency, space and openness are improved as well.

Don’t get us wrong, we love that classic tube-mastered sound — warmer, smoother, and sweeter than the pressings that would come later, with that wonderful “breath of life” quality that modern records cannot begin to reproduce.

But these records sound just right to us — (of course they do: with these grades they had to have sounded the way we though they should sound) — so we are going to stand by our conviction that this is the best way to hear this material.

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful originals.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.


A1 to B1 recorded 1968, previously released on the album “Bottoms Up”.
B2 to B4 recorded 1968, previously released on the album “The King”
C1 to C3 recorded 1969, previously released on the album “The Soul Explosion”
D1 to D3 recorded 1969, previously released on the album “The Blues; That’s Me!”

Side One

Bottoms Up
You Left Me All Alone
Our Delight
Ghost Of A Chance

Side Two

Port Of Rico
The King
Blue And Sentimental
How High The Moon

Side Three

After Hours
I’m A Fool To Want You
St. Louis Blues

Side Four

For Once In My Life
Every Day
‘Round Midnight

AMG Review

The attractive twofer did act as a fine sampler to Jacquet’s music when it was released in 1975 and it features Illinois in a variety of settings (ranging from a quartet to a mini-big band)… Highlights include “Bottoms Up,” “The King,” “How High the Moon” and Illinois Jacquet’s haunting bassoon feature on “‘Round Midnight.”

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