Genre – Jazz – Piano & Vibes

Gary Burton Quartet – In Concert

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  • This sensational jazz album boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
  • Captured live at Carnegie Hall, this recording eloquently communicates the space of the concert hall with stereo precision
  • Big, rich, and Tubey Magical, this pressing lets us hear Burton’s quartet with the energy and clarity these classic jazz performances deserve
  • 4 stars: ” The material (by Mike Gibbs, Burton, Coryell and Bob Dylan) is quite strong, and there are some hints of the avant-garde. “

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Bill Evans – At Town Hall, Volume 1

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  • This superb Piano Trio recording has KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it throughout
  • Both sides are doing just about everything right — you get real weight to the piano, tons of energy, incredible immediacy, real separation between the instruments and natural live imaging — you really get a sense of where each of the players is on the stage
  • “This LP is a superior effort by Bill Evans and his trio in early 1966… The most memorable piece is the 13-and-a-half-minute “Solo: In Memory of His Father,” an extensive unaccompanied exploration by Evans that partly uses a theme that became “Turn Out the Stars.” – All Music, 4 Stars

It is insanely difficult to find great sounding Bill Evans records. This copy has two sides that are nothing short of Demo Quality. It’s one of the better sounding Piano Trio records we’ll find this year (along of course with any killer copies of The Three that hit the site).

Everything you could ask for from this music is here. You get real weight to the piano, tons of energy, incredible immediacy, real separation between the instruments and natural live imaging — you really get a sense of where each of the players is on the stage. The sound is cleaner and clearer than we heard elsewhere, with more extension up top and more weight down low. The bass sounds JUST RIGHT. Most copies we’ve played weren’t nearly this rich, warm and full-bodied. I don’t think you could find a better sounding copy no matter what you did. (more…)

George Cables – Cables’ Vision

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  • George Cables’ superb 1980 release finally arrives on the site with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout 
  • I’ve known about this Allen Sides Oceanway recording for decades – his stuff is smooth, punchy, solid, and alive with energy
  • 4 1/2 stars: “One of the most satisfying recordings to be released in 1980… this date features trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and saxophonist Ernie Watts in fiery form; the two horn players took time off from their much more commercial efforts for other labels. The solos overall are concise and make expert use of each note. Cables’ tunes are generally catchy and memorable while “Byrdlike” gives the virtuosos an up-tempo blues to romp through. This well-paced set is a gem that is highly recommended.”

This Contemporary pressing has wonderful sound. This should not be too surprising as it was recorded by one of our favorite engineers, Allen Sides, working out of his Oceanway studios. (Supposedly he is a big fan of vintage mics and the like. with many superb and valuable examples.) (more…)

Horace Silver Quintet – The Stylings of Silver

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  • With superb Triple Plus (A+++) grades on side two and Double Plus (A++) sound on side one, this is one of the best copies of Silver’s 1957 classic we’ve ever heard
  • The last copy to hit the site went up in 2016 – clean Horace Silver records in stereo with the right stampers and good sound are hard to find!
  • Rich and solid, this is the kind of sound that makes us sit up and take notice – Thanks RVG, we love your work (when it sounds like this)
  • “All of Silver’s Blue Note quintet recordings are consistently superb and swinging…”

I chanced upon a clean copy of this album in a store last year. When I got home with it I found I loved the music and I loved the sound. I then went about buying them up as fast as I could, returning something on the order of half the copies I was sent: some for scratches, some for the wrong labels, some for being mono — you never know what you’re going to get when you order records online!

Except from us of course. Unless something goes terribly wrong you will always get a good sounding, reasonably quiet record from us.

RVG in ’57

The best copies are just bigger, fuller and more present than others. The sound is natural and REAL, with exceptional space and see-through transparency, something that practically no heavy vinyl modern pressing we’ve ever played can reproduce.

Classic Records remastered the album, Music Matters remastered it, and there are plenty of copies of both out there. If you have either one, do yourself a favor and order up this Hot Stamper. We’re pretty sure you will be amazed at how much more musical involvement you will find on it, involvement that will be lacking when you go back to the Heavy Vinyl LP.

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Bill Evans – Montreux II

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  • This epic live jazz recording finally returns to the site with two excellent Double Plus (A++) sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • A killer pressing, with a very strong bottom end, lovely richness and warmth, real space and separation between the instruments and wonderful immediacy throughout
  • Recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, this 1970 release showcases Evans stylings alongside the brilliant talents of Eddie Gomez and Marty Morell
  • “Bill Evans’ second recording at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1970 was a highly anticipated concert, finding the pianist in peak form, accompanied by bassist Eddie Gómez and drummer Marty Morell.”

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Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio – Red Gardenia

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  • Off the charts “Triple Triple” (A+++) sound for this classic Yamamoto Philips Direct to Disc album – both sides earned our top grade of Triple Plus – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The piano is dynamic and solid – imagine a Three Blind Mice piano date recorded Direct-to-Disc – that’s the sound of this album
  • This is one of the few audiophile records worthy of the name. It’s also five times as rare as Blues to East and the music is better
  • There are two Stevie Wonder songs given a wonderful piano trio arrangement here that are just out of this world 

This group plays with tremendous vigor. They really swing and are tight as a drum. On this album there’s almost none of that “introspective noodling jazz” that the Japanese are infamous for. I love Midnight Sugar as much as the next guy, but too much of that kind of music is wearying.

Yamamoto’s Trio wants to show that it can play good old-fashioned straight ahead American lively piano jazz with the best of them. And they can. You will also be hard pressed to find better sound for a small ensemble like this. Since Rudy Van Gelder was not particularly adept at recording the piano, many of the great pianists cannot be heard properly on Prestige, Blue Note and other original label recordings.

Philips is one of the better direct disc labels from back in the day (although that isn’t saying much because most of them were mediocre at best). It was garnering rave reviews from TAS a couple of decades ago. Does anybody remember? Probably not, but I do. I flipped out when I saw this record in my local shop. They charged top dollar but I paid it, knowing what a rare and special record it is. (more…)

Dave Brubeck – Adventures In Time

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This is a Minty looking Columbia Red Label Double LP with EXCELLENT sound and quiet vinyl. The tracks compiled here are live and studio versions of Brubeck and his quartet playing material composed in some non-traditional time signatures, such as the hit track Take Five (in 5/4).

We aren’t completely sure which tracks here are live versions and which are studio versions, but everything we played sounded great. There’s a version of Blue Rondo a la Turk that clocks in at over 12 minutes!

If you haven’t explored much of the music of Brubeck past Time Out, this would be an excellent addition to your collection.

“The huge success of Paul Desmond’s “Take Five” (1960) was followed by many songs played in “odd” time signatures such as 7/4 and 9/8; the high-quality soloing of the musicians kept these experiments from sounding like gimmicks.”

Cal Tjader – Cal Tjader Goes Latin

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This is the cleanest, quietest original colored vinyl Fantasy pressing I have ever played in my life. To say these are normally beat to death is the understatement of the year.

Even more surprising is the superb saxophone playing of Jose Silva, a tenor man with whom I was not familiar. I thought he was Ben Webster or maybe Coleman Hawkins his tone is so rich and sweet. The tracks that he’s on sound amazing — very full bodied and not a trace of hi-fi-ishness. Overall the sound is a bit muted; a little treble boost would do wonders.

“… the highlights of the album are the four ballads that showcase Guaraldi’s distinctive piano style and the light tone of tenor saxophonist Jose Silva: Howard Arlen’s “Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe,” “Out of Nowhere,” “Close Your Eyes,” and the bolero-like “Contigo.” – AMG (more…)

Cal Tjader – Soul Sauce

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  • Tjader’s 1965 Latin Cool Jazz release – dubbed “Mambo Without a Migraine” – arrives with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A++) sound throughout
  • Rich, smooth and Tubey Magical, this pressing was simply bigger, livelier and more palpable than any of the other copies we played
  • Superb engineering by Rudy Van Gelder – Soul Sauce features jazz legends Kenny Burrell, Donald Byrd, and Jimmy Heath
  • 4 stars: “Soul Sauce is one of the highlights from Tjader’s catalog with its appealing mixture of mambo, samba, bolero, and boogaloo styles… he dodged the “Latin lounge” label with an album full of smart arrangements, subtly provocative vibe solos, and intricate percussion backing.”

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Bill Evans – Symbiosis – A Very Good MPS Pressing

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  • Evans’ wonderful 1974 album accompanied by symphony orchestra makes its Hot Stamper debut here with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • We dropped the needle on a copy years ago and heard wonderful audiophile sound right from the get-go
  • Bigger, richer, more Tubey Magical, with more extension on both ends of the spectrum and more depth, width and height than any other other copy we played
  • “… a special and unique entry in Evans’ hugh catalog… Not your “typical” Bill Evans album–but that’s what makes SYMBIOSIS such a fine, gently challenging listen.”

On the best copies the strings have wonderful texture and sheen. If your system isn’t up to it (or you have a copy with a problem in this area), the strings might sound a little shrill and possibly grainy as well, but I’m here to tell you that the sound on the best copies is just fine with respect to string tone and timbre. You will need to look elsewhere for the problem. (more…)