Genre – Jazz – Organ

Jimmy Smith – A Difficult to Reproduce Jazz Masterpiece

More of the Music of Jimmy Smith

Rudy Van Gelder Is One of Our Favorite Engineers

In the past we’ve complained about “Rudy Van Gelder’s somewhat over the top echo-drenched brass,” but on a copy such as this there is nothing to complain about!

All that reverb on the brass sounds RIGHT. If you have a top quality front end (and the system that goes with it), this recording will be amazingly spacious, three-dimensional, transparent, dynamic, and open.

Copies of this album are sometimes so sour or dull (or both) that they go right in the trade pile. Add to that the difficulty of finding copies that are scratch-free and not too noisy and you have one tough shootout. Inner Groove Distortion caused by the non-anti-skate-equipped turntables of the day is a chronic problem with vintage jazz records, and this title is typically no exception — except in this case! 

A Must Own Jazz Record

This Demo Disc Quality recording should be part of any serious Jazz Collection.

It also ranks fairly high on our Difficulty of Reproduction Scale. Do not attempt to play it using any but the best equipment.

Unless your system is firing on all cylinders, even our hottest Hot Stamper copies — the Super Hot and White Hot pressings with the biggest, most dynamic, clearest, and least distorted sound — can have problems .

Your system should be thoroughly warmed up, your electricity should be clean and cooking, you’ve got to be using the right room treatments, and we also highly recommend using a demagnetizer such as the Walker Talisman on the record, your cables (power, interconnect and speaker) as well as the individual drivers of your speakers.

This is a record that’s going to demand a lot from the audio enthusiast, and we want to make sure that you feel you’re up to the challenge. If you don’t mind putting in a little hard work, here’s a record that will reward your time and effort many times over, and probably teach you a thing or two about tweaking your gear in the process.


Jimmy Smith / Bashin’ – The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith

More Jimmy Smith

More Oliver Nelson

  • An outstanding copy of this Big Band Jazz classic led by Jimmy Smith with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
  • If you own only one Jimmy Smith album, make it this one – with Oliver Nelson’s arrangements ferociously blasting away, at good loud levels the first side here has the power to swing like you will not believe
  • 5 stars: “On the first half of the program, Smith was for the first time joined by a big band. Oliver Nelson provided the arrangements, trumpeter Joe Newman and altoist Phil Woods have a solo apiece, and “Walk on the Wild Side” became Smith’s biggest hit up to that point.”
  • It’s hard to imagine that any list of the Best Jazz Albums of 1962 would not have this record on it

This is tube mastering at its finest. Not many vintage tube-mastered records manage to balance all the sonic elements as correctly as this copy does.

For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are enchanting. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1962 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy will do the trick. (more…)

Jimmy Smith – Quick and Easy Test for Setup, Tweaks, Room Treatments, etc.

More of the Music of Jimmy Smith

More of the Music of Oliver Nelson

On side one, the bell tree in the right channel on track one is a great test for top end extension, resolution of harmonic complexity, overall clarity and freedom from smear.

Get all the top end you can from whatever turntable adjustment, tweak or room treatment you’re messing around with, then check to make sure that all the brass instruments still sound right. If they do you are good to go.

Bashin’ ranks high on our Difficulty of Reproduction Scale. Do not attempt to play it using anything other than the highest quality equipment.

Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery – The Dynamic Duo

More Jimmy Smith

More Wes Montgomery

  • KILLER Triple Plus (A+++) grades or very close to it on both sides, this is a wonderful vintage stereo pressing of a classic jazz collaboration from 1966
  • Big, rich and lively, thanks to Oliver Nelson’s arrangements (and RVG’s engineering), this big group of top players is having a blast and we think you will too
  • 5 stars: “The romping, aggressive big band charts [represent] Oliver Nelson at his best… The results are incendiary — a near-ideal meeting of yin and yang… They are an amazing pair, complementing each other, driving each other, using their bop and blues taproots to fuse together a sound.”

The sound of this Verve stereo pressing is tonally correct and natural. The timbre of each and every instrument is right and it doesn’t take a pair of golden ears to hear it. So high-resolution too. If you love ’60s jazz you cannot go wrong here. (more…)

Johnny Hammond / Wild Horses Rock Steady

You’ll find Super Hot Stamper sound on this side one, with a side two nearly its equal, making it a Top Copy of one of our most recent CTI/Kudu “discoveries”. Who knew that so many of these CTI records were recorded so well? Does anyone in the audiophile community bother to talk about superb original pressings such as this other than us? Does music that’s currently not available on a heavy vinyl reissue simply cease to exist? I remember a time not that long ago when reviewers for the audiophile mags encouraged their readers to seek out wonderful records such as this. That time has long since passed, and more’s the pity.

With Rudy Van Gelder at the board, Bob James doing the arrangements, and supporting players such as Airto, Billy Cobham, Ron Carter (who has played on more than 2500 albums!), George Benson, Eric Gale, Grover Washington, Jr., Snooky Young and Pepper Adams, you’re sure to have another funky jazz winner on your hands.

And if you have a copy that sounds as good as this one, you definitely do!

If you love the sound of the Hammond B-3 and want to hear what somebody other than Jimmy Smith can do with it in a large group setting, this album should be right up your alley. (By the way, Smith’s Bashin’ is one of our all time favorite jazz albums, one that belongs in your collection.) (more…)

Jimmy Smith – At Club Baby Grand

More Jimmy Smith

  • Jimmy’s superb live release from 1956 makes its Hot Stamper debut here with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from top to bottom
  • A killer early mono pressing, with a strong bottom end, lovely richness and warmth, real space and separation between the instruments, and wonderful immediacy throughout
  • There is a mark that makes 25 pops, which would be a deal killer if this record were not so rare and so good – it’s literally the first copy we’ve ever found that could be played on an audiophile turntable
  • Credit goes to Rudy Van Gelder once again for the huge space this superbly well-recorded trio occupies
  • “It’s all Jimmy Smith in full flight, bubbling over with cascading notes and breathless detours, and if his studio work is generally more structured and considered (but only a little more so), this set shows him in what was his natural habitat, astounding an audience in a small club.”


Jimmy Smith – Bucket!

  • An outstanding vintage Blue Note pressing, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – mostly quiet vinyl too
  • This copy is spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience
  • A trio date, with just organ, guitar and drums, the grouping that Smith pioneered – nobody does it better
  • This album is a little more mellow than others I have heard. It’s very relaxed and enjoyable. Highly recommended


Charles Earland – Black Talk!

  • Charles Earland makes his Hot Stamper debut here with this STUNNING pressing of Black Talk!, boasting Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout
  • You’d be hard-pressed to find a copy that’s this well balanced, yet big and lively, with such wonderful clarity in the mids and highs
  • Credit goes to Rudy Van Gelder once again for the huge space that the superbly well-recorded group occupies
  • 5 stars: “… one of the few successful examples of jazz musicians from the late ’60s taking a few rock and pop songs and turning them into creative jazz… Fans of organ combos are advised to pick up this interesting set.”


Jimmy Smith – Open House

  • Open House makes its Hot Stamper debut here with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish  
  • An RVG live-in-the-studio recording from 1960 is hard to beat for you-are-there immediacy, and this pressing delivers that quality like no other copy you’ve heard – we guarantee it
  • We wish more records had this kind of sound – natural, full-bodied, and REAL in a way that no modern Heavy Vinyl pressing seems to be
  • 4 1/2 stars: “For this superlative outing, the innovative organist is teamed with trumpeter Blue Mitchell, altoist Jackie McLean, tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec, and his regular sidemen. The musicians all seem to be inspired by each other’s presence, making this a highly recommended set for straight-ahead jazz collectors”


Jimmy Smith – Back at the Chicken Shack

More Kenny Burrell

More Albums on Blue Note

  • Back at the Chicken Shack makes its Hot Stamper debut here with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on this New York label mono pressing
  • Joining Jimmy Smith is one of our favorite bluesy sax players, Stanley Turrentine – just play Kenny Burrell’s Midnight Blue to hear him at this best, and Burrell is especially good here too
  • Credit must go to Rudy Van Gelder once again for the huge space this superbly well-recorded quartet occupies
  • 5 stars: “Recorded in 1960 with Kenny Burrell on guitar, Donald Bailey on drums, and Turrentine, the group reaches the peak of funky soul jazz that all other challengers of the genre would have to live up to.”