Genre – Jazz – Saxophone

Paul Desmond – Desmond Blue

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Desmond Blue

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  • Paul Desmond’s phenomenal 1962 release finally arrives on the site, boasting outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • This is vintage Sixties Living Stereo at its best – big, rich and Tubey Magical like you will not believe
  • A “highly innovative and meticulously crafted work,” this collection is brimming with delightful jazz classics, including “My Funny Valentine,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and “Body and Soul”
  • 4 stars: “… lush, reflective, thought-provoking, and soul-stirring. This work is quite a plus for any listener and especially those who consider themselves avid fans of Paul Desmond.”

Need a refresher course in Tubey Magic after playing too many modern recordings or remasterings? These original Living Stereo pressings are overflowing with it. Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead-on correct tonality — everything that we listen for in a great record is here. (more…)

Coleman Hawkins – Hawk Eyes

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Hawk Eyes

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

This 1960 Saxophone Ballad session from 1960 has to be seen as yet another recording triumph for Rudy Van Gelder  

The best pressings of these OJC and Prestige reissues from the ’70s and ’80s sound like the vintage jazz albums they emulate, and sometimes they even beat the originals at their own Tubey Magical game. They can be every bit as rich, sweet and spacious as their earlier-pressed brethren in our experience.

In the case of Hawk Eyes we simply have never seen an original copy clean enough to buy, so we have no reference for what an original would sound like.

That said, having critically auditioned literally hundreds and hundreds of vintage jazz records over the course of the last few years, we’re pretty confidant we know what they are supposed to sound like.

And they sound just like the best copies of this very pressing. (more…)

Ben Webster – And ’Sweets’ Edison – Classic Records Repress – Reviewed in the ’90s

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Sonic Grade: B?

Probably a fairly good  Classic Records jazz album. Both the music and sound are excellent.

The right Columbia pressing will kill it, but it’s probably a fairly good value if you can get one for the 30 bucks we used to charge. 

OUR HOT STAMPER REVIEW

This is a Minty looking Columbia 360 Label LP. As good as the now out of print Classic Records version was, my guess is that this pressing will be clearly superior in terms of warmth, richness, and sweetness. It’s been years since I’ve seen a copy of this album, but I remember liking it very much back in the days when the Classic version was in print.

I’ve also had a chance to go back and listen to lots of early Columbias like this one and I have been extremely impressed with the naturalness of the sound. I picked up a copy of Time Out recently that was as good as it gets on side one. No heavy vinyl reissue ever sounded like that!

Gerry Mulligan – Jeru

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

This Black Print 360 original stereo pressing from 1962 put every other copy we played to shame – it’s White Hot on both sides. Tubier, more transparent, more dynamic, with that “jumpin’ out of the speakers’ quality that only The Real Thing (an old record) ever has. Hard to imagine any reissue, vintage or otherwise, can beat the sound of this amazing LP – we sure couldn’t find one.  (more…)

Art Pepper – Landscape – Reviewed in 2007

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Landscape

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

Recorded in Japan in 1979, this is a really interesting album. There are a lot of stinkers in the Art Pepper catalog from this era. (Acoustic Sounds released a few of them on 180 gram as a matter of fact. What a waste of good vinyl.)  

But this album is actually quite good. Art plays in an energetic staccato style, which is counterbalanced by the long flowing lines of George Cables at the piano. Cables is actually pretty amazing on this record: this is the best I’ve ever heard him play. He’s not very good as a leader, at least on the records I’ve heard, but he and Art get along very well together.

The ten minute long Over The Rainbow is interesting because that was the solo that started his career back in the ’40s.

Dave Brubeck Trio Featuring Gerry Mulligan – Compadres

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  • You’ll find excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this Brubeck Mulligan Masterpiece  
  • The fullness of the lower midrange on this Columbia 360 Stereo pressing brings out all the magic of this pair’s piano and baritone, respectively
  • Recorded in Mexico, the superb sound captured here was no easy feat, but the Columbia engineers were clearly up to the challenge
  • 4 1/2 Stars: “This fine LP was the debut of Brubeck’s new Quartet, a group featuring baritonist Gerry Mulligan… this enjoyable set showed that for Brubeck there was life after Paul Desmond.”

If you haven’t heard one of our killer Gerry Mulligan vintage Columbia pressings, with the fullness of its lower midrange bringing out all the magic of the man’s remarkably rich baritone, this is your chance.

And if too much baritone sax is not your thing, this may be just the right record for you, with Brubeck taking half the leads.

As is the case with most live albums, the sound of the crowd tells you a lot about the recording, and on this copy the crowd sounded exceptionally clear and natural. Many live albums have crowds that are either too bright, or too loud between tracks, both of which can be very off-putting. When the crowd is recorded and mixed right — again, these are pros from Columbia Records who really know their jazz — you feel as if you are immersed right there with them in the audience. (more…)

Paul Quinichette – On The Sunny Side

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On The Sunny Side

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

With three saxophones and a trombone, this is a fresh combination that really brings out the best in all the players during this Prestige jam session, a format for which they are justly famous . I raved about this album when it was in print many years ago – it’s solidly swinging jazz that belong in your collection.  

As I wrote years ago, back in the days when we regularly sent out catalog mailings:

When we discover a record like this, a record with no reputation either in the jazz world or the audiophie world, we try to bring it to people’s attention, usually with some success. Some of my customers called me up to tell me what a great record this is.

Based on what I’m hearing my feeling is that most of the lively, natural, full-bodied, sound of the album is on the master tape, and that all that was needed to get that vintage sound correctly on to disc was simply to thread up that tape on a reasonably good machine and hit play. (more…)

Art Pepper + Eleven – Modern Jazz Classics (2015)

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Modern Jazz Classics (2015)

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

On a great copy such as this one, you can really pick out each of the musicians and follow them throughout the course of each song. When you’re able to appreciate everyone’s contributions, you can really get a better sense of how much work went into making this album. It’s nothing short of epic! 

This is one DYNAMIC jazz record — drop the needle on any track and prepare yourself to be very impressed. The sound is full-bodied and energetic with tight bass, breathy brass, and lots of ambience.

This one has all the Tubey Magic of the best Black Label Contemporary originals, with none of the problems that make the average Black Label copy uninvolving. (more…)

Sonny Rollins & Coleman Hawkins – Sonny Meets Hawk – Great in Stereo

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Sonny Meets Hawk

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This is a TOP SHELF pressing, one of the most exciting jazz records we’ve heard in some time! We dropped the needle on side one of this RCA stereo pressing and were FLOORED. After evaluating it completely and awarding it our top grade of A+++, we flipped and were blown away to find that side two was every bit as good. And to top it all off, the vinyl plays quietly throughout. 

Think about this — due to the nature of our business we play tons of jazz vinyl every week, multiple pressings of multiple albums. And this record completely knocked us out.

If you’re a fan of classic jazz and superb sound, wouldn’t you like to hear what this one does on your system? (more…)

Sonny Rollins & Coleman Hawkins – Sonny Meets Hawk – Great in Mono

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Sonny Meets Hawk

WONDERFUL SOUND AND MUSIC! It is ridiculously tough to find copies of this album with good sound and quiet surfaces, but this pressing is a MONSTER. We’re generally not big fans of Mono recordings, but for this music it is really doing the job. It gives you mindblowing presence to the brass and real weight to the bottom end. 

Side one is KILLER. I don’t know what you could do to this music to make it sound any better than it does here. It’s super transparent with BIG TIME immediacy. The brass is rich and full with lots of breath, and the bass is DEEP and TIGHT. Listen to how silky sweet the top end sounds; the cymbals are Right On The Money.

Side two is excellent as well, but lacks a slight degree of extension up top. The presence and immediacy are EXCELLENT. (more…)