Genre – Jazz – Flute

Herbie Mann – Live At The Village Gate

  • A vintage Atlantic stereo pressing of what is probably the most well known album Herbie Mann ever made, here with two superb Double Plus (A++) sides
  • One of the better flute jazz albums we’ve heard, both in terms of sonics and music
  • Problems in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these vintage LPs – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
  • 4 1/2 stars: “In addition to ‘Comin’ Home Baby,’ Mann and his men perform memorable versions of ‘Summertime’ and ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’; the latter is 20 minutes long. Recommended.”
  • It’s hard to imagine that any list of the Best Jazz Albums of 1962 would not have this record on it

We’ve been trying to track down top pressings of this one for ages, but they are tough to come by and often noisy.

Both sides really shine with a meaty bottom end, lots of energy, an extended top and wonderful transparency. The soundstage is big and open with lots of depth, giving room to all the various players and their instruments.

Would you believe a song from this album was sampled and turned into a big hit in the ’90s? The great version of Gershwin’s Summertime on side one provided the backbone for the band Sublime’s 1997 single Doin’ Time. Maybe not of much interest to most of us baby boomer audiophiles, but the younger guys around here all had a good laugh when they recognized the break. Maybe your kids will too? (more…)

Herbie Mann / Live At The Village Gate on Audio Fidelity Heavy Vinyl

More of the Music of Herbie Mann

More Reviews and Commentaries for Live Jazz Club Recordings

Sonic Grade: F

An Audiophile Hall of Shame pressing. It’s yet another Disastrous Heavy Vinyl release with godawful sound.

What a murky mess. Hard to imagine you couldn’t find a common domestic pressing that wouldn’t sound better.

I mention throughout this blog that, starting in the ’90s, the records put out by Cisco, DCC, S&P and finally Audio Fidelity had to fight their way through Kevin Gray’s opaque, airless, low-resolution cutting system. We discuss that subject in some depth here.

Compressedthickdullopaque, and almost completely lacking in ambience, this record has all the hallmarks of a Modern Heavy Vinyl Reissue pressed at RTI.

The average ’70s pressing on the Atlantic Red and Green label will kill this audiophile piece of junk, and it’s unlikely to cost you more than ten bucks. Whatever you do, don’t waste your money on this incompetently remastered reissue.

For 35 years we’ve been helping music loving audiophiles the world over avoid bad sounding records.

To see the records with bad sound or bad music we’ve reviewed that weren’t marketed to audiophiles, click here.

It’s yet another public service from Better Records, the home of the best sounding records ever pressed. Our records sound better than any others you’ve heard or you get your money back.


Los Admiradores – Robert Fine Knocked This One Out of the Park

More Hot Stamper Pressings of Easy Listening Albums

More Recordings by Robert Fine

First things first: one of the main bongo players is none other than Ray Barretto himself. You jazz guys out there will know exactly who that is, a man whose reputation for brilliant rhythmic contributions to some of the greatest classic jazz albums of the ’60s is beyond dispute. One listen to Midnight Blue will do the trick. The man had a gift. And he is here joined by two other top players.

And of course the guitarist has to be the incomparable Tony Mottola, the man behind one of our favorite jazz guitar records of all time: Warm, Wild and Wonderful.

Soundfield, Timbre and Dynamics

The spaciousness of the studio is reproduced with uncanny fidelity, with both huge depth and width, but there is another dimension that this record is operating in that Bang, Baa-room and Harp, just to take one example, does not — the instruments are capable of jumping out of your speakers, seemingly right into your listening room.

The effect is astonishing. I have never heard these instruments sound more real than they do here. The timbre is perfection. The dynamics are startling.

Add to those clearly unattenuated dynamics, high and low frequencies that are also not attenuated, and microphones capable of deadly accuracy, and you have yourself a recording of virtually unparalleled fidelity. We’ve played these kinds of records by the score but I have rarely heard one that can do what this one is doing.

No Reverb? Say What?

In discussing Robert Fine’s approach to this recording in the lengthy liner notes ( a full two pages worth!), the author notes that Fine does not tolerate added reverb or echo of any kind. He feels it distorts and degrades the clarity and timbral accuracy of the instruments.

The crazy thing is, this album is swimming in reverberation. The space is enormous, the presentation as three-dimensional as any you have ever heard, with clearly audible reflections bouncing off the walls of the studio deep into the soundstage.

If the notes are to be believed, it’s all REAL. And I have no trouble taking Fine at his word. As the engineer behind some of the greatest orchestral recordings in the history of the world for Mercury, his bona fides are fully in order.


Herbie Mann – Latin Mann

This White Hot Stamper 2-pack has Demo Disc Live Latin Jazz sound and crazy fun music. Both sides are so clear, rich, natural and present you’ll have a very hard time finding fault with the sound. And the music is great too – this is a Big Band with a swarm of Latin percussionists added to kick up the heat.

This Columbia recording from 1965 has the sound we love here at Better Records, or at least two of the sides of two of these copies do. When you play the other sides you may be in for quite a shock, especially the bad side two included in this two pack. (more…)