Genre – Jazz – Guitar

George Benson – Breezin’ – Hot Stamper MoFi Reviewed

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Sonic Grade: B-

Another MoFi reviewed, and surprisingly this one isn’t awful.

It has an excellent side two backed with a pretty good side one. Side two has excellent bass — for a MoFi — and lots of energy — for a MoFi. It’s slightly smooth but overall it’s very musical. The best domestic copies are going to eat its lunch, but try to find one that sounds good. Most of them are awful. 

This MoFi copy, though lacking in many ways, is MUCH BETTER sounding than the other MoFi copies we played it against, which were muddy and compressed.

Side one of this copy has some of that sound. Side one lacks the transients we found on other copies and it’s a tad recessed and compressed. However, it does have relatively good bass definition and the strings are nicely textured. (more…)

Kenny Burrell – Midnight Blue

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Midnight Blue

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  • An outstanding copy of this amazing RVG recording with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
  • One of our All Time Favorite Blue Note albums for music and sound – is there a better bluesy Jazz Guitar album?
  • Both sides are rich, full and Tubey Magical with excellent clarity and a lovely bottom end
  • AMG 5 Stars – if there were a Top 100 Jazz List on our site, Midnight Blue would be right up at the top of it
  • Jazz Improv Magazine puts the album among its Top Five recommended recordings for Burrell, indicating that “[i]f you need to know ‘the Blue Note sound’, here it is.”

Midnight Blue is our favorite Kenny Burrell album of all time, at least in part because it’s one of the All Time best sounding Blue Notes. 

If you already own a copy of Midnight Blue and you don’t consider it one of the best sounding jazz guitar records in your collection, then you don’t have a copy that sounds the way this one does! In other words, you don’t know what you’re missing. (And if you own the Classic Records release, or any other Heavy Vinyl pressing from the modern era, then you really don’t know what you are missing.) (more…)

George Benson – Bad Benson

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

White Hot Stamper sound on side two, which means this copy has the power to show you just how well-recorded the album really is, and how much energy and drive there is to both the sound and the music. No other side of any copy earned the full Three Plus White Hot grade, so this is a very special side indeed.

We didn’t run into any awful CTI originals the way we do with the typical rock record from the ’70s, but it’s the rare copy that has a real top end, or much in the way of transparency, or freedom from smear. This copy has all three, without any sacrifice in richness or Tubey Magic.

There’s some “Breezin”-like material on the second side, two years before that monster album was released, and man does it ever sound good on this copy!

Rich, full-bodied sound is not hard to find on Bad Benson; most copies had the goods in the bass and lower midrange. (more…)

Kenny Burrell – Out Of This World

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Out Of This World

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  • This outstanding copy of Out Of This World boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound – exceptionally quiet vinyl too  
  • This superb RVG recording comes to life on this pressing – it’s full-bodied and above all, lively (Rudy’s trademark sound) 
  • This collaboration between Burrell and Coleman Hawkins highlights the blues roots of these two jazz greats, veterans who can swing with the best of them (which is why their discographies run for pages)
  • “Bluesy Burrell combines the finest elements of blues and bebop jazz into a blend that demonstrates just how well the styles fit together and proves that blues need not be minimalist in nature, and jazz can be a bit less rigid, allowing breathing space amidst perfect chord work and superb rhythm.”

This vintage Prestige Stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely begin to reproduce. Folks, that sound is pretty much gone and sure doesn’t seem to be 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. (more…)

Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery – The Dynamic Duo

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  • KILLER Triple Plus (A+++) grades or very close to it on both sides, this is a wonderful vintage stereo pressing of a classic jazz collaboration from 1966
  • Big, rich and lively, thanks to Oliver Nelson’s arrangements (and RVG’s engineering), this big group of top players is having a blast and we think you will too
  • 5 stars: “The romping, aggressive big band charts [represent] Oliver Nelson at his best… The results are incendiary — a near-ideal meeting of yin and yang… They are an amazing pair, complementing each other, driving each other, using their bop and blues taproots to fuse together a sound.”

The sound of this Verve stereo pressing is tonally correct and natural. The timbre of each and every instrument is right and it doesn’t take a pair of golden ears to hear it. So high-resolution too. If you love ’60s jazz you cannot go wrong here. (more…)

Wes Montgomery – Boss Guitar

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This is one of Wes Montgomery’s best albums from his prime ’60s period, if not THE best. Rich and full-bodied but clear and spacious, the 1963 All Tube Analog sound is perfect for Wes’s organ trio format.  (more…)

Wes Montgomery – The Alternative Wes Montgomery

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This Milestone Two-Fer LP with EXCELLENT sound has 14 unreleased alternate versions of songs recorded in a variety of settings by guitarist Wes Montgomery during his period with Riverside. In many cases, the versions here are dramatically different from the versions that appear on his original albums.  (more…)

Pat Metheny – Offramp

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

Triple Plus on side two, it’s the side with the most space, all the weight, and the best balance of them all. Side one is Double Plus, doing pretty much everything side two was doing – in short, getting this ethereal music to sound right. Offramp held the Number One spot on the Jazz Album charts for 16 weeks back in 1982.

This WHITE HOT Stamper side two of Metheny’s ECM Chart Topping release from 1982 shows you just how well recorded the album is.

We don’t know how you feel about ECM recordings in general but we tend to think they are pretty lifeless and boring. Not so here! (more…)

Bola Sete – At The Monterey Jazz Festival

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At The Monterey Jazz Festival

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  • Sete’s superb trio album from 1967 makes its Hot Stamper debut with outstanding nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from start to finish, right up there with our Shootout Winner
  • We are big fans of Bola Sete here – his Tour De Force has been a favorite of ours for more than twenty years (if only we could find clean, good sounding copies to sell)
  • Recorded in 1966, this vintage stereo pressing boasts exceptionally natural guitar sound, as well as note-like bass and the kind of energy you rarely get outside of a live performance
  • “Soulful, unpretentious, unaffected, intimate, candid, organic Afro-Brazilian jazz.”

This original Verve T-Label Stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even 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 audience, live at the Monterey Jazz Festival, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound. (more…)

Al Dimeola – Elegant Gypsy

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

SHOCKINGLY GOOD SOUND on this original pressing of one of the all-time great guitar albums! We were positively BLOWN AWAY by how lively, dynamic and full-bodied this copy sounds. There’s real texture to all the instruments and the bottom end is tight and punchy beyond belief. They just don’t make records with this kind of tubey analog magic anymore.

If you’ve enjoyed the sonics on one of our Hot Stamper Return To Forever, Weather Report or Santana LPs, I think you’d find a lot to like about this record.

This album still holds up today. The All Music Guide gives it five big stars, and on a copy like this one I bet you’ll rate the music just as highly. When you have a pressing with this kind of clarity and transparency, you can really make sense of just how amazing the musicianship is. (more…)