Genre – Jazz – Guitar

George Benson – Breezin’

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  • Breezin’ finally returns to the site with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it throughout
  • Tubey Magical richness and plenty of note-like bass are two of the important qualities that separate the winners from the also-rans, but smooth, grain-free, present vocals for Masquerade are a big part of the best pressings too, so make that three important qualities
  • This copy will blow the doors off your old copy or any MoFi pressing — guaranteed!
  • It’s got all the elements this smooth masterpiece needs to come to life today, almost 40 years later if you can believe it
  • There’s tons of energy, strong presence, excellent bass and a huge soundfield with real depth
  • You hear right into the music, something that is only possible on the most transparent copies
  • If like us you’re a fan of Jazz Guitar, this is a killer album from 1976 that belongs in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1976 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

This album features the huge hit “This Masquerade” and lots of other strong material as well. Benson is at the top of his game, with blazing guitar lines accompanied by his scat vocals at many times. No one else ever did music like this so well again, in our humble opinion.

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Bola Sete – Autentico!

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  • Bola Sete’s wonderful 1966 release finally makes its Hot Stamper debut with excellent STEREO sound from first note to last
  • This LP was bigger, richer and clearer, with less smear and distortion, and more Tubey Magic, than most every other pressing we played
  • We have a devil of a time finding early pressings of this album in audiophile playing condition – the music is so good, but the surfaces of his records almost always have some issues…
  • 4 stars: “With the solid classical technique of Sete leading the way, this is a gently swinging set of mostly low-key Brazilian jazz (with a few livelier exceptions), as played by Sete’s New Brazilian Trio.”

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Gabor Szabo with Gary McFarland / Gypsy ’66 – Heavy Vinyl Reviewed

Sonic Grade: B?

We haven’t played a copy in years, but we think this is probably one of the better Speakers Corner jazz albums.  They cut this album on Heavy Vinyl back in 2002, and we recommended at the time.

Our Hot Stamper pressings will of course be dramatically more transparent, open, clear and just plain REAL sounding, because these are all the areas in which heavy vinyl pressings fall short, with very few exceptions.

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Reviews and Commentaries for Gabor Szabo

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Lee Ritenour – Captain Fingers

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  • The sound is huge, spacious, lively, transparent and punchy – this is jazz fusion that really rocks
  • Full-bodied and warm, exactly the way you want your vintage analog to sound – the guitar is surprisingly real here

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Kenny Burrell – God Bless The Child

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More recordings by Rudy Van Gelder

  • Amazing sound from start to finish on this Shootout Winning TRIPLE TRIPLE (A+++) copy
  • One of our favorite CTI albums, and surely one of the best sounding, especially on this pressing
  • Credit goes to Rudy Van Gelder once again for the huge space that the superbly well-recorded orchestra occupies
  • AMG raves “This is Burrell at his level best as a player to be sure, but also as a composer and as a bandleader. Magnificent.”

God Bless The Child is one of our favorite orchestra-backed jazz records here at Better Records. A few others at the top of my list would be Wes Montgomery’s California Dreaming (1966, and also Sebesky-arranged), Grover Washington’s All the King’s Horses (1973) and Deodato’s Prelude (also 1973, with brilliant arrangements by the man himself).

What’s especially notable is how well-recorded the strings are. They have just the right amount of texture and immediacy without being forced or shrill. They’re also very well integrated into the mix. I wouldn’t have expected RVG to pull it off so well — I’ve heard other CTI records where the orchestration was abominable — but here it works as well as on any album I know of.

The bass is deep and defined; the tonality of the guitar and its overall harmonic richness are beautifully rendered. The piano has the weight and heft of the real thing.

This kind of warm, rich, Tubey Magical analog sound is gone forever. You have to go back to 1971 to find it. (more…)

Kenny Burrell / God Bless The Child – Great Arrangements by Don Sebesky

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Don Sebesky, A Top Arranger

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This is one of our favorite orchestra-backed jazz records here at Better Records. A few others off the top of my head would be Wes Montgomery’s California Dreaming (1966, and also Sebesky-arranged), Grover Washington’s All the King’s Horses (1973) and Deodato’s Prelude (also 1973, with brilliant arrangements by the man himself).

On a killer copy like this the sound is out of this world. Rich and full, open and transparent, this one defeated all comers in our shootout, taking the Top Prize for sound and earning all Three Pluses. (more…)

Carlos Montoya – From St. Lous to Seville

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Living Stereo Titles Available Now

  • . A stunning Triple Plus side one backed with a better than Double Plus side two
    . Flamenco Meets Jazz in this extraordinary recording, and it works
    . The Three-Dimensional space and Tubey Magic are jaw-dropping on this copy
    . An amazing Webster Hall Living Stereo All Analog recording from 1958 – nothing else sounds like it

Ed Begley is the engineer here and he knocked this one out of the park. What an amazing sounding Living Stereo recording. Need a refresher course in tubey magic after playing too many modern recordings or remasterings? This record is overflowing with it. Rich, clear, natural, sweet, overflowing with space and ambience, absolutely correct tonality — it’s all here.

The Rhythm Accompaniment is made up of three top players from New York. Sally Montoya noted at the time: “Carlos just recorded the first Flamenco jazz record for Victor, with Osie Johnson and Milt Hinton and Barry Galbraith on electric guitar. A most relaxed and informal session. The other musicians said it was unique in their experience.”

It’s certainly a unique record in my experience, with mind-blowingly good sound and engaging music. (more…)

Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays – As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls

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  • As Falls Wichita… finally returns with outstanding Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides, right up there with our Shootout Winner — reasonably quiet vinyl too
  • This is the sound of the Master Tape — worlds better than what most record lovers have ever been granted the privilege of hearing in analog
  • This spacey music needs huge amounts of reproducible recording space to work its ethereal magic, and you will have no trouble finding that space on this very pressing
  • The best sides were always the biggest, clearest and most three-dimensional, assuming they were able to retain the rich, natural, balanced tonality that is inherently key to a good record, or a great one in this case
  • “This joint solo effort by Metheny and regular pianist and collaborator Lyle Mays is an impressive outing. In the process of stretching out away from the confines of the quartet setting of prior albums, Metheny and Mays presage the sleeker and more ethereal sound of the band’s Geffen years on portions of the title track…”

This superb pressing of Metheny’s ECM Chart-Topping release from 1981 shows you just how well recorded the album is. We don’t know how you feel about ECM recordings in general but we tend to think they are pretty lifeless and boring. Not so here!

We guarantee this copy has more CLARITY, ENERGY and DYNAMICS than any pressing of the album you have ever heard. Where is the muck? The blurry bottom end? The smear? All gone. And the bass is monstrous.

If you’re a fan of this album, this copy will show you what you’ve surely been missing all these years — the kind of sound that lets this music breathe. (more…)

Pat Metheny / Bright Size Life – Now on the TAS Superdisc List

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Reviews and Commentaries for TAS Super Disc Recordings

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  • Metheny’s superb debut album finally arrives on site, with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • A recent addition to the TAS Super Disc List – these sides are natural and present, with plenty of bass and good space around all of the players
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Pat Metheny’s debut studio album is a good one, a trio date that finds him already laying down the distinctively cottony, slightly withdrawn tone and asymmetrical phrasing that would serve him well through most of the swerves in direction ahead. This LP also features one of the earliest recordings of Jaco Pastorius, a fully formed, well-matched contrapuntal force on electric bass, though content to leave the spotlight mostly to Metheny.”

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Pat Metheny – Watercolors

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  • A KILLER sounding copy with a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side two mated with an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side one – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Both of these sides were clean, clear and lively with tons of detail and a solid bottom end
  • 4 stars: “Metheny’s softly focused, asymmetrical guitar style, with echoes of apparent influences as disparate as Jim Hall, George Benson, Jerry Garcia, and various country guitarists, is quite distinctive even at this early juncture.”

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