Sonny Rollins / Saxophone Colossus and More – We Was Wrong in 2010

Hot Stamper Pressings of Sonny Rollins’ Albums Available Now

In 2010 we thought this two-fer had very good sound for the music contained therein. Here is what we had to say all those years ago:

This Prestige Two-Fer Double LP has FOUR GREAT SIDES with each rating an A+ or better. The stand out sides here are two and four, both rating an A++. Both sides are EXCELLENT and very lively with lots of energy and presence. Side one rates an A+ has a wonderfully extended top end and side three rates an A+ – A++ with clean and clear sound and huge breathy horns.

The album is a compilation of three major sessions from 1956, all with both Sonny Rollins and Max Roach.

“Saxophone Colossus, the album that really made the jazz public fully aware of the majestic talents of Sonny Rollins, is combined here with seven other great performances from the same highly creative period in the long career of this major artist.”

Well, it turns out that in 2010 we had a lot to learn.

We were about to do a shootout for Saxophone Colossus about five years ago, and we decided to pull out some of the two-fer pressings we had sitting in the backroom to see how they would hold up against the early pressings we liked, which you can read about here.

It did not go well. The album sounded like a cheap reissue, which of course it is, but many cheap reissues sound great, so we never hold the price of the record against it when deciding whether or not it is worth cleaning and auditioning. There are scores of budget jazz reissues from the 70s and 80s that sound great, some of them two-fer pressings.

Just not this one. It’s passable at best, and a very far cry from what the best pressings can sound like.

We play mediocre-to-bad sounding pressings so that you don’t have to, a public service from your record-loving friends at Better Records.

You can find this one in our Hall of Shame, along with others that — in our opinion — are best avoided by audiophiles looking for hi-fidelity sound. Some of these records may have passable sonics, but we found the music less than compelling.  These are also records you can safely avoid.

We also have an Audiophile Record Hall of Shame for records that were marketed to audiophiles for their putatively superior sound. If you’ve spent any time on this blog at all, you know that these records are some of the worst sounding pressings we have ever had the displeasure to play.

We routinely play them in our Hot Stamper Shootouts against the vintage records that we offer, and are often surprised at just how bad an “audiophile record” can sound and still be considered an “audiophile record.”

Further Reading


Side One

Blue Seven
Strode Rode

Side Two

St. Thomas
You Don’t Know What Love Is
Kids Know

Side Three

The House I Live In
I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face
Star Eyes

Side Four

I Feel a Song Comin’ On
Pent-up House
Kiss and Run

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