- This early Verve Stereo pressing was doing practically everything right, with both sides earning stunning Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades – just shy of our Shootout Winner
- Huge space, size and clarity, with Tubey Magical richness befitting the 1960 recording dates of these sessions – the “big band” sound here is really jumping out of the speakers
- Problems in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these early pressings – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- “My idea is not so much that we are a big band with a small-band feel, but that we have a big-band feel in the way that a big band ought to be.” – Gerry Mulligan.
- “Mulligan stages a thrilling musical spectacle in which fierce rivalry, song-like harmony and refined counterpoint play the main roles.”
If you’ve never heard a good All Tube Recording of the baritone sax, buy this record — it will blow your mind!
Huge amounts of ambience fill out the space the extends from wall to wall (and all the way to the back wall of the studio), leaving plenty of room around each of the players.
Full-bodied sound, open and spacious, bursting with life and energy — these are the hallmarks of our Truly Hot Stampers. If your stereo is cookin’ these days, this record will surely be an unqualified Sonic Treat.
We guarantee that no heavy vinyl pressing, of this or any other album, has the kind of analog sound found here. (Or your money back.)
Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This is vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you’ll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve it.
This album HAS the sound of Tubes. No recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There actually is a CD of this album, but those of us in possession of a working turntable could care less. You can be sure it doesn’t sound like this record.
What The Best Sides Of The Concert Jazz Band Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1960
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What We’re Listening For On The Concert Jazz Band
- 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, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight, full-bodied bass — which ties in with good transient information, also 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 instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
- Bill Takas – bass
- Buddy Clark – bass
- Gene Quill – clarinet / alto sax
- Dave Bailey – drums
- Mel Lewis – drums
- Dick Meldonian – saxophone
- Gene Allen – saxophone
- Gerry Mulligan – saxophone
- Jim Reider – saxophone
- Zoot Sims – saxophone
- Alan Raph – trombone
- Bob Brookmeyer – trombone
- Wayne Andre – trombone
- Conte Candoli – trumpet
- Danny Stiles – trumpet
- Don Ferrara – trumpet
- Nick Travis – trumpet
- Phil Sunkel – trumpet
A Big Group of Musicians Needs This Kind of Space
One of the qualities that we don’t talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record’s presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small — they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.
Other copies — my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” — create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They’re not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.
And most of the time those very special pressings are just plain more involving. When you hear a copy that does all that — a copy like this one — it’s an entirely different listening experience.
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 other 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.
Sweet And Low
Manoir Des Mes Reves ( Django’s Castle)
You Took Advantage Of Me
Out Of This World
My Funny Valentine
I’m Gonna Go Fishin’
Review and Background
The Concert Jazz Band is an enigmatic name for those who have not yet experienced the unusual sound of the American saxophonist and arranger Gerry Mulligan. But all becomes quite clear after listening to the very first bars of this debut album recorded by the newly founded combo in 1960.
The ensemble is made up of all the usual instruments, but its sound of jazz is far from usual! Instead of a bombastic tone and soloists intent on prominence, carefully defined groups of wind instruments present themselves singly, then retire to allow others to come forward, with each group finally returning to prowl around one another warily, like tigers in the arena.
Mulligan stages a thrilling musical spectacle in which fierce rivalry, song-like harmony and refined counterpoint play the main roles. With its brilliant transparency, sonority and optimal identification of the instruments location, this… recording should not be missed by any cool jazz fan.
This out-of-print Verve LP has the first recording by Gerry Mulligan’s Concert Jazz Band, his 13-piece unit of the early 1960’s. In addition to the bartonist-leader (who also provided the arrangements), the other key soloists include tenor-saxophonist Zoot Sims and valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer; drummer Mel Lewis propels the ensembles.
Highlights include “Bweebida Bobbida,” a chart on Django Reinhardt’s “Manior Des Mes Reves” that recalls Claude Thornhill, a remake of “My Funny Valentine” and a hard-swinging version of “I’m Gonna Go Fishin’.”