Genre – Jazz – Pop Jazz

Chuck Mangione – Feels So Good – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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

This better than Super Hot stamper side one of arguably Chuck Mangione’s best album gets what is inarguably his most famous song to come alive in a way that practically no other copies in our shootout were able to. It’s shocking just how lifeless and pointless Feels So Good can sound on some copies; after only a few minutes the band seems to be having a hard time staying awake. But the same performance is captured on every pressing, so how can the band sound so inspired here and so uninspired elsewhere? It’s one of the mysteries of recorded media, one which still takes us by surprise on a regular basis, every week in fact.

This idea that most pressings do a poor job of communicating the music still has not seeped into the consciousness of the audiophile public but we’re diligently working to change that, one Hot Stamper at a time.

The copies that are present, clear, open, transparent and energetic, with a solid rhythmic line driving the music, are a hundred times more enjoyable than the typical pressing that can be found practically unplayed (gee, I wonder why?) sitting in most record collections.

By the way, if you know Feels So Good only through the radio, you may be surprised to find that it’s close to ten minutes long, not the three minutes you’re familiar with. The band stretches out quite a bit and the solos are fairly inventive, as AMG noted.

This very side two has that problem to a fair degree; it’s a bit too murky and veiled to be as much fun as side one. But so few copies were any good at all that it still earned an A+ grade. If you turn it up it helps it quite a bit. Still, it lack extension high and low compared to this side one. (more…)

Chuck Mangione – Children of Sanchez

More Chuck Mangione

More Children of Sanchez

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

What’s unusual about this album — shocking really — is how MEATY the bottom end is. I don’t know of a pop jazz recording with beefier, more articulate or weightier bass. The only record I can think of in this genre of jazz with comparable bass is Grover Washington’s Winelight. We played some copies of that album recently and were just knocked out with how well recorded the bass is, just the way we were knocked out with Children of Sanchez from a month or two back. Both of them really set the standard for recording this kind of music. Needless to say we loved the sound. 

Recorded at Kendun and mastered by Robert Ludwig, the audiophile sound should be no surprise.

All four sides are quite good; see if you don’t agree with us that the two Super Hot sides are slightly better than the ones with a half plus lower grade.

The horn sound is also key, not only for the flugelhorn that Chuck plays but for the trombones and French horns that fill out the arrangements. When the various horns are solid and smooth (what’s smoother than a French horn?) yet even the more subtle harmonic signatures of each instrument are clear, you have yourself a Hot Stamper.

The copies that are present, clear, open, transparent and energetic, with a solid rhythmic line driving the music, are a hundred times more enjoyable than the anemic pressings that can be found sitting in most collections practically unplayed (gee, I wonder why?).

This idea that most pressings do a poor job of communicating the music still has not seeped into the consciousness of most audiophiles, but we’re working on changing that, one Hot Stamper at a time. (more…)