Genre – Jazz – Saxophone

Passion Flower Is Better Than For Duke

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This is one of the all time great Pablo sleepers.

Why is no one else writing about records like these? The music is wonderful and the sound is top drawer on the best copies. If you’ve tried and failed with other Pablo Zoot Sims records, fear not: this title is one of the best we have ever played, musically and sonically.
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Lee Konitz – Lee Konitz With Warne Marsh

Some sections on our site are hard to find. Here’s one with lots of cool records in it:

Forgotten Jazz Classics

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Lee Konitz – Lee Konitz With Warne Marsh

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

The 1955 mono sound by Tom Dowd on this White Hot 2-pack is DEMO DISC quality. The horns are breathy and clear, yet full and rich as can be. There may be a good reason that this pressing sounds as good as it does: it was remastered by one of the greatest mastering engineers of all time, George Piros.

Tom Dowd is the original recording engineer, and this one album should be all the proof you need that when it comes to jazz in mono, the guy is hard to beat. Rock in stereo, there the record is quite a bit more spotty (see, or better yet, listen to Cream, The Young Rascals, Delaney and Bonnie and too many others to list).

More albums engineered or produced by Tom Dowd (more…)

Art Pepper – Today

Some sections on our site are hard to find. Here’s one with lots of cool records in it:

Forgotten Jazz Classics

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Art Pepper – Today

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

Side two is huge, rich and energetic like no other. Side one was nearly as good, with especially rich, Tubey Magical sound. Musically this is the best of Pepper’s later period, and exceptionally well recorded by Baker Bigsby. Today has been a personal favorite of mine for close to 30 years.

Side two of this copy is White Hot, which is where the extended ballad Patricia is, in our opinion the single most beautiful song Art Pepper ever recorded. It’s ten solid minutes of emotion, at the end of which you may be as exhausted as he no doubt was. The big finish for the song is unbelievable on this copy.

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There’s an interesting story behind this record which I’d like to relate in some detail, but it’s fairly long so I’ve put it at the end of this copy’s description. You can find it below under the heading The Story of Today.

By the second track on side one the sound is doing it all — it’s bigger, richer and more spacious, and there’s plenty of Tubey Magic to go around. Nearly White Hot.

Truly White Hot – -huge, with the most extension up top, the biggest bass, the most energy, the greatest dynamic contrasts, you name it, this side is doing it. Demo Disc Quality sound and then some. (more…)

Ben Webster – The Warm Moods

Some sections on our site are hard to find. Here’s one with lots of cool records in it:

Forgotten Jazz Classics

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Ben Webster – The Warm Moods

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

Amazing sound and wonderful music on this lovely Ben Webster and Strings album recorded in 1961! I don’t think you could find a better sounding album of this kind of music. This is calm, relaxed jazz performed expertly by Webster backed by a small orchestra capably conducted by Johnny Richards.

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The sound is TOP NOTCH. We’ve managed to acquire a number of these specific pressings over the years and this copy just could not be beat. It won our shootout hands down with its amazing transparency and remarkable separation between instruments. In addition, most copies we played weren’t nearly this rich or full-bodied.

Drop the needle on any of these great ballads and appreciate how relaxed, natural, balanced and warm the sound is. This is going to be a record you come back to over and over I imagine. It’s hard for me to picture this record ever getting old with such wonderful combination of material, performance, and sonics.

It’s not easy to find good sounding Ben Webster records in clean condition, so this is the perfect choice to add to your Hot Stamper jazz collection.

Please note – the labels on this pressing are reversed. The side one label appears on side two and vice versa.

Oscar Peterson + Harry Edison + Eddie Cleanhead Vinson

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Forgotten Jazz Classics

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Oscar Peterson + Harry Edison + Eddie Cleanhead Vinson

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

This is a long out of print Pablo LP with AMAZING sound and music. It’s one of those superb Allan Sides engineered recordings at Ocean Way, like Basie 88 Street. Demo disc quality sound is the result! With players like these, the music is every bit as good as any jazz record I know of. In other words, I really like this album.

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Bud Shank And the Sax Section – A Forgotten Jazz Classic

Some sections on our site are hard to find. Here’s one with lots of cool records in it:

Forgotten Jazz Classics

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Bud Shank And the Sax Section

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

A True Demo Disc of the highest order! The sound of multiple saxes playing these lively arrangements is audiophile magic to these ears. We played a ton of copies and none of them had two sides like this! You aren’t going to believe how open, lively and tubey magical the sound is throughout.

Both sides here are SUPER HOT. It must have something very close to 100% of the sound the engineer recorded, because it is just out of this world. The engineer in question? None other than Bruce Botnick, the man behind Sergio Mendes’ first album, The Doors, Love and countless others, a true wizard in the studio if ever there was one.

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Botnick Is The Man

He sure knew what he was doing on this session. Botnick succeeded brilliantly in capturing the unique sound of each of the saxes. The album is really more of a West Coast pop jazz record than it is a “real” jazz record. The arrangements are very tight, the songs are quite short — none exceed three and a half minutes — so there is not a lot of classic jazz saxophone improvisational blowing going on. (If you’re looking for the kind of thing Rudy Van Gelder did back in the day, it’s not here.)

The Bass Sax — What a Sound!

The reason this album is so appealing to us audiophiles is that the sound of each of the saxophones is clearly recognizable as they weave in and around these arrangements. On the back cover you can see a fellow holding a bass saxophone, an instrument you don’t hear too often — perhaps it’s fallen from favor. (It solos at the beginning of Sidewinder on side one. Once you hear it you will be dying to play that song for your audiophile buddies, I guarantee it. What a sound!) (more…)

The Search for Lush Life

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We’ve been searching for years trying to find just what kind of Lush Life pressing — what era, what label, what stampers, mono or stereo, import or domestic — had the potential for good sound.

No, scratch that. We should have said excellent sound. Exceptional sound. We’ve played plenty of copies that sounded pretty good, even very good, but exceptional? That pressing had eluded us — until a few months ago.

Yes, it was only a few months ago, early in 2016 in fact, that we chanced upon the right kind of pressing — the right era, the right label, the right stampers, the right sound. Not just the right sound though. Better sound than we ever thought this album could have.

Previously we had written:

“There are great sounding originals, but they are few and far between…”

We no longer believe that to be true. In fact we believe the opposite of that statement to be true. The original we had on hand — noisy but with reasonably good sound, or so we thought — was an absolute joke next to our best Hot Stamper pressings. Half the size, half the clarity and presence, half the life and energy, half the immediacy, half the studio space. It was simply not remotely competitive with the copies we now know (or at least believe, all knowledge being provisional) to have the best sound.

Are there better originals than the ones we’ve played? No doubt. If you want to spend your day searching for them, more power to you. And if you do find one that impresses you, we are happy to send you one of our Hot Copies to play against it. We are confident that the outcome would be clearly favorable to our pressing. Ten seconds of side one should be enough to convince you that our record is in an entirely different league, a league we had no idea even existed until just this year.

By the way, the mono original we played was by far the worst sound I have ever heard for the album. By far.

Other Pressings

The DCC heavy vinyl pressing is a nice record; I remember liking it back in the day. I’m guessing it’s a bit better than the ’80s OJC, which is typically a bit thin and hard like most OJC pressings, but neither one of them can hold a candle to the record we are offering.

The Trio

One thing that makes this album a very different experience is that side one was recorded as a trio. Hearing Coltrane is such a stark setting lets you really appreciate all the emotion, detail, and texture of his playing. And a copy like this makes that even more possible! The band fills out to five pieces on side two, but the music is every bit as good.

See all of our John Coltrane albums in stock

Dexter Gordon – Serious Whomp Factor

gordoonefl_1177557820Dexter Gordon – One Flight Up

This Blue Note LP is without a doubt ONE OF THE BEST SOUNDING JAZZ RECORDS WE’VE EVER HEARD! We were auditioning a bunch of jazz records today (4/25/07), and when the needle hit the grooves on this one we were ABSOLUTELY BLOWN AWAY!

I can’t think of one jazz record we’ve ever played here at Better Records with this kind of WHOMP! Everything here is so rich and full — nothing like a typical Blue Note album.
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Thick and Dull – Not Our Sound!

coltranegiant45xJohn Coltrane – Giant Steps

Rhino 45 RPM 2 Disc Set Debunked

Sonic Grade: F

The sound of the 45 RPM 2 disc version cut by Bernie Grundman does not exactly tickle our fancy. It sounds thick and dull, much like the Deja Vu Bernie remastered years ago for Classic Records.

As is the case with so many of the Heavy Vinyl reissues released these days, the studio ambience you hear on these pressings is a pitiful fraction of the ambience the real pressings are capable of revealing, the ones mass-produced by Atlantic, original and reissue alike.

See all of our John Coltrane albums in stock

Rhino bills their releases as being pressed on “180 gram High Performance Vinyl.” However, if they are using “performance” to refer to sound quality, we have found the performance of their vinyl to be quite low, lower than the average copy one might stumble upon in the used record bins.

Check out our Heavy Vinyl Scorecard to read all about the latest winners and losers.