Genre – Jazz – Saxophone

Grover Washington Jr. – All The King’s Horses – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

washiallth_1610_1295974890

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

Side one of this original Kudu pressing is OUT OF THIS WORLD. The sweetness and transparency of Grover Washington Jr.’s breathy sax went beyond any copy we’ve ever played. Who knew it could sound like this? We sure didn’t!

I’ve been a big fan of this record since I first heard it all the way back in High School. I only found out later that this is not what most people would consider “real” jazz — it’s CTI jazz, more in the pop jazz or soul jazz vein. But I love the music more with each passing year and would not hesitate for a moment to recommend it to any jazz lover or audiophile. If the first track doesn’t knock you out, this album may not be for you. Without a doubt, in my book it’s the best thing Grover Washington ever did.

The really good RVG jazz pressings sound shockingly close to live music — uncompressed, present, full of energy, with the instruments clearly located and surrounded by the natural space of the studio. As our stereo has gotten better, and we’ve found better pressings and learned how to clean them better, his “you-are-there” live jazz sound has begun to impress us more and more.

Obviously the credit must go to Rudy Van Gelder for recording and mastering the album so well.

The early ’70s were a good time for Van Gelder. All the King’s Men from 1973 is an amazing Demo Disc for large group. But it only sounds good on the copies that it sounds good on, on the pressings that were mastered, pressed and cleaned right, a fact that has eluded most jazz vinyl aficionados interested in good sound.

But not us. We’ve played the very special pressings that prove the album can sound amazing. (more…)

Gene Ammons – Goodbye – Reviewed in 2010

xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame

If you want to know why Gene Ammons is considered one of the greats, skip the jam that starts out side one and go right to the ballad Alone Again (Naturally). Nobody played with more emotion than Gene Ammons. 

More recordings engineered by Rudy Van Gelder

Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd – Jazz Samba

More Stan Getz

More Jazz Samba

xxxxx

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

TWO INCREDIBLE SIDES on unusually quiet vinyl! We just finished a big shootout for this great album and this copy was a KNOCKOUT. The sound is rich and full with good size to the soundfield. It’s very tough to find good sounding Stan Getz records, so if you’re a fan I think you’ll be quite impressed with the sonics on this pressing. As for the music, it’s top notch; All Music Guide gave it a Five Star rating and we agree wholeheartedly!

It’s not easy to find good sounding, quiet Stan Getz records, so if you’re a fan I think you’ll be blown away by the sonics and the surfaces on this vintage pressing.

It’s vintage all right, but probably not the vintage pressing you think it is, a little secret we learned about the album a year or two ago, information we have been able to capitalize on quite successfully, this being but the latest clean, wonderful sounding copy to make it to the site.

And of course, it handily beats the the DCC pressing. How could it not? (more…)

Ornette Coleman – The Shape of Jazz to Come – Reviewed in 2005

xxxxx

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

This minty avant-garde jazz record has AMAZING SOUND! The recording is by the famous engineer Bones Howe, the man behind some of the greatest pop and jazz recordings of all time. He gets some of that Rudy Van Gelder bite that we love, but with less distortion and more dynamic contrasts. Whether you’ll like the music or not is another question — this is free form jazz; not everybody’s into it, that’s for sure.

Ornette Coleman’s Atlantic debut, The Shape of Jazz to Come, was a watershed event in the genesis of avant-garde jazz, profoundly steering its future course and throwing down a gauntlet that some still haven’t come to grips with. The record shattered traditional concepts of harmony in jazz, getting rid of not only the piano player but the whole idea of concretely outlined chord changes.” — AMG

Dave Brubeck Trio w/ Gerry Mulligan – Blues Roots

More Dave Brubeck

More Blues Roots

xxxxx

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

A very different quartet appears on this record, with Mulligan’s baritone sax replacing Desmond’s alto and a whole new rhythm section behind both of these veteran leaders.

We’ve been surprised how good these mid- to late-’60s Brubeck recordings can sound. There’s still plenty of Tubey Magical richness on the best pressings of these records, a quality that is especially important when trying to reproduce the full-bodied sound of a baritone sax.  (more…)

Art Pepper – The Trip – Our Shootout Winner from 2007

xxxxx

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

This Autographed copy of The Trip has WONDERFUL SOUND AND MUSIC! The title ain’t lying — this album is a TRIP! We dropped the needle on this Contemporary Yellow Label pressing and immediately stopped listening critically and began just enjoying the music and the sonics. That’s the sign of a truly exceptional album. The sound on this album is so alive and so real, you’ll feel like there’s a West Coast Jazz quartet in your living room. (more…)

Sonny Stitt – Plays Arrangements From the Pen Of Quincy Jones – Reviewed in 2004

xxxxx

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

Outstanding mainstream jazz at its best! Stitt is absolutely phenomenal on this album. His solo work on My Funny Valentine alone is worth the price of the album! The real jazz guys know that his lines are completely fresh and unique. This record is all the proof you need to know what a giant of jazz Sonny Stitt was. He’s also joined by great players such as Hank Jones, Freddy Green, Oscar Pettiford and Philly Joe Jones.

There is a larger group that joins him on some numbers, but the real star of this album is Stitt when he is soloing. Very good sound as well.

Sonny Stitt & Paul Gonsalves – Salt and Pepper

xxxxx

  • You’ll find Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from start to finish on this excellent pressing
  • This copy is hard to fault – big, open, clear, with space and three-dimensionality that modern pressings can only dream of
  • Van Gelder was masterful at the kind of spacious, dynamic, energetic sound found on this vintage pressing
  • “[Stitt’s] beautiful playing behind Gonsalves’ warm melody statement raises the session to the classic level.”
  • 4 1/2 stars: “An exciting match-up of tenors Sonny Stitt and Paul Gonsalves… Highly recommended to bebop and straight-ahead jazz fans.”

(more…)

John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme – Better Sound than the Originals?

xxxxx

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

The original Impulse pressings on the brown and orange label are the best, right?

Not in our experience. We think that plays into one of the biggest canards in all of record collecting, that the first pressings are always the best sounding.

For this album, having sampled a large group of pressings from every era, we found the originals to be inferior to the best reissues we played. Naturally the ones we offer here as Hot Stampers will be the best of those reissue pressings. We are not the least bit worried that this vintage Impulse LP won’t beat the pants off of any original as well as any reissue you may have heard. And of course it is guaranteed to be dramatically better sounding than any Heavy Vinyl pressing produced by anyone, anywhere, at any time. (more…)