- A vintage Atlantic stereo pressing of what is probably the most well known album Herbie Mann ever made, here with two superb Double Plus (A++) sides
- One of the better flute jazz albums we’ve heard, both in terms of sonics and music
- Problems in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these vintage LPs – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- 4 1/2 stars: “In addition to ‘Comin’ Home Baby,’ Mann and his men perform memorable versions of ‘Summertime’ and ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’; the latter is 20 minutes long. Recommended.”
- It’s hard to imagine that any list of the Best Jazz Albums of 1962 would not have this record on it
We’ve been trying to track down top pressings of this one for ages, but they are tough to come by and often noisy.
Both sides really shine with a meaty bottom end, lots of energy, an extended top and wonderful transparency. The soundstage is big and open with lots of depth, giving room to all the various players and their instruments.
Would you believe a song from this album was sampled and turned into a big hit in the ’90s? The great version of Gershwin’s Summertime on side one provided the backbone for the band Sublime’s 1997 single Doin’ Time. Maybe not of much interest to most of us baby boomer audiophiles, but the younger guys around here all had a good laugh when they recognized the break. Maybe your kids will too?
This vintage Atlantic pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What The Best Sides Of At The Village Gate 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 1962
- 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.
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
What We’re Listening For On At The Village Gate
- 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.
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 recordings.
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.
A Must Own Jazz Record
We consider this album a Masterpiece. It’s a recording that belongs in any serious Jazz Collection.
Others that belong in that category can be found here.
Mann’s hit version of “Comin’ Home Baby” from this live set became his first big hit. Composer Ben Tucker plays second bass on that cut, and Mann’s other sidemen include vibraphonist Hagood Hardy, bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik, drummer Rudy Collins, and Chief Bey and Ray Mantilla on percussion. In addition to “Comin’ Home Baby,” Mann and his men perform memorable versions of “Summertime” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So”; the latter is 20 minutes long. Recommended.
Comin’ Home Baby
It Ain’t Necessarily So
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
Mann’s hit version of “Comin’ Home Baby” from this live set became his first big hit. Composer Ben Tucker plays second bass on that cut, and Mann’s other sidemen include vibraphonist Hagood Hardy, bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik, drummer Rudy Collins, and Chief Bey and Ray Mantilla on percussion.
In addition to “Comin’ Home Baby,” Mann and his men perform memorable versions of “Summertime” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So”; the latter is 20 minutes long. Recommended.