Labels We Love – Blue Note

Horace Silver Quintet – The Stylings of Silver


  • With superb Triple Plus (A+++) grades on side two and Double Plus (A++) sound on side one, this is one of the best copies of Silver’s 1957 classic we’ve ever heard
  • The last copy to hit the site went up in 2016 – clean Horace Silver records in stereo with the right stampers and good sound are hard to find!
  • Rich and solid, this is the kind of sound that makes us sit up and take notice – Thanks RVG, we love your work (when it sounds like this)
  • “All of Silver’s Blue Note quintet recordings are consistently superb and swinging…”

I chanced upon a clean copy of this album in a store last year. When I got home with it I found I loved the music and I loved the sound. I then went about buying them up as fast as I could, returning something on the order of half the copies I was sent: some for scratches, some for the wrong labels, some for being mono — you never know what you’re going to get when you order records online!

Except from us of course. Unless something goes terribly wrong you will always get a good sounding, reasonably quiet record from us.

RVG in ’57

The best copies are just bigger, fuller and more present than others. The sound is natural and REAL, with exceptional space and see-through transparency, something that practically no heavy vinyl modern pressing we’ve ever played can reproduce.

Classic Records remastered the album, Music Matters remastered it, and there are plenty of copies of both out there. If you have either one, do yourself a favor and order up this Hot Stamper. We’re pretty sure you will be amazed at how much more musical involvement you will find on this it, involvement that will be lacking when you go back to the Heavy Vinyl LP.

Horace Silver Is a Jazz Genius

We love his albums, but you can count on two hands all the Hot Stamper pressings of his records that have made it to our site. Good pressings in clean condition go for big bucks, and most of the ones we spring for have either bad sound or condition issues such as inner groove distortion that make them unsuitable for our customers.

Forgotten Sound

Need a refresher course in Tubey Magic after playing too many modern recordings or remasterings? These records are overflowing with it. Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead-on correct tonality — everything that we listen for in a great record is here.


Side One

No Smokin’
The Back Beat

Side Two

Home Cookin’
My One And Only Love

London Jazz Collector Review

Art Farmer! Hank Mobley!! Who would have credited such a combination? Lyrical trumpet and malted tenor.Typically Horace, this is a perfectly balanced set of varied moods and tempo’s, graced with exquisite solo and collaborative performances. Though his mid ’60s work earned Horace the most acclaim, it’s his earlier work from the golden age of bop that is the most substantial. It’s Mobley. It’s Blue Note 1500 series. It’s cordon blue bop, inventive, lyrical, energetic, and substantial.

AllMusic fall back on the “enjoyable but not essential” line.

All of Silver’s Blue Note quintet recordings are consistently superb and swinging and, although not essential, this is a very enjoyable set.

Enjoyable but not essential, meh. Stylings of Silver may or may not be HS’s “best” album, but it is a better album than many others around. Following the siren-call of peak experience – being the first best fastest longest hottest coldest tallest most whatever, merely being good can relegate something to the sidelines. It may or may not be Silver’s best album, but the best is the enemy of the good, the merely enjoyable can become overlooked.

Sonny Rollins may be a more accomplished tenor player than any other, but that doesn’t mean you should listen only to Rollins. Listening to music requires a varied diet of contrasting material. Coltrane is not better than Mingus, both are enjoyable, and exciting. What matters is whether music is enjoyable, and the only way to know that is to sit and listen. If it isn’t doing it for you, take it off the turntable and come back to it another time. Sometimes your enjoyment is influenced by what else you have been listening to at the time. There will be other times. I had forgotten how good this is.

Horace Silver

with Silver — musicians like Donald Byrd, Woody Shaw, Joe Henderson, Benny Golson, and the Brecker Brothers all played in Silver’s band at a point early in their careers. Silver has even affected members of the avant-garde; Cecil Taylor confesses a Silver influence, and trumpeter Dave Douglas played briefly in a Silver combo.

Certainly, no one ever contributed a larger and more vital body of original compositions to the jazz canon. Silver died in New York on June 18, 2014 at the age of 85.


The 3 Sounds – Live At The Lighthouse


This Minty Blue Note Liberty Label LP has EXCELLENT LIVE JAZZ SOUND. It’s very transparent, with plenty of deep bass. The piano sounds particularly nice — it has real WEIGHT to it. Both sides play quietly, Near Mint. I imagine you’d have quite a hard time finding a quieter, better sounding copy of this album. The music is wonderful as well — 4 stars in the AMG!

The selection of nine Three Sounds staples gives the group a chance to stretch out… they flourish. The music on Live at the Lighthouse is hotter than some of their studio recordings, pulsating with energy and good feelings, demonstrating that they had worked out any of the problems that hampered Vibrations. It’s their finest set since Black Orchid. — AMG (more…)

Jimmy Smith – Back at the Chicken Shack


  • 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.”


Donald Byrd – Stepping Into Tomorrow


  • Donald Byrd’s 1975 release makes its Hot Stamper debut with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from top to bottom 
  • Byrd’s trumpet sounds wonderful here, with just the right amount of bite – credit must go to Val Garay and Dave Hassinger (among others), two of our favorite engineers working at The Sound Factory
  • 4 stars: “… maybe some of those who sniffed at the straightforward nature of some of the rhythms and riffing were won over by the supreme layering of the many components (the way in which “Think Twice” lurches forward, peels back, and gathers steam is nothing short of heavenly), not to mention some deeply evocative playing from Byrd himself.”


Stanley Turrentine – Jubilee Shouts – Reviewed in 2005


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

Two Minty looking Blue Note LPs of two previously unreleased sessions featuring the great tenor saxophonist with Tommy Turrentine, Kenny Burrell, Horace Parlan, Sonny Clark and others.

If you want to hear Turrentine at his best, skip right to track two, the beautiful ballad Then I’ll Be Tired Of You, featuring his brother Tommy on trumpet. The music is powerful and the sound is excellent.

Stanley Turrentine – Another Story – Our Shootout Winner from 2013


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

A very dynamic recording by Rudy Van Gelder that really jumps on a copy like this. Needless to say, you will have a very hard time finding a better sounding funky Soul Jazz record. (more…)

The 3 Sounds – Moods – Our Shootout Winner from 2008


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

This Blue Note LP has GREAT SOUND. The top end is Right On The Money and the drums sound wonderful — punchy with lots of ambience. The piano is full-bodied and weighty allowing you to really appreciate the percussive qualities of the instrument. The bass is deep but not quite as tight as the very best sounding copies.

Those of you who are familiar with Yamamoto’s playing, especially on albums like Midnight Sugar, should have fun with the second track on side two, Li’l Darlin’. I think this is where Yamamoto “found” a lot of his style. It’s actually even slower than his arrangements of similar material, and I’d be tempted to say it works even better on this album.

Gene Harris, the piano player here, is one of my favorite jazz pianists. I saw him live with Ray Brown a few years back and he was wonderful. Most of his albums are long out of print and very hard to come by, so this is a real find, one that gets a Top Recommendation from Better Records.

Dexter Gordon – Our Man In Paris


  • Both sides of this vintage RVG-mastered Deep Groove pressing earned Shootout Winning Triple Plus grades (A+++) on this Dexter Gordon classic from 1963
  • The sound of the saxophone is so full-bodied and Tubey Magical you won’t believe it – where is that sound today?
  • The top opens up nicely and there is plenty of space in the studio, giving all the players room to breathe
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Gordon is at the very top of his game here. His playing is crisp, tight, and full of playful fury. Powell, who at this stage of his life was almost continually plagued by personal problems, never sounded better than he does in this session.”

The cover is exceptionally nice on this copy by the way.

The sound here is lively and energetic with plenty of low end weight. These sides have the whomp that you don’t hear on too many Blue Note LPs! The sound of the saxophone is captured beautifully – it’s breathy with clearly audible leading-edge transients.

The bluesy version of Willow Weep For Me on side one is wonderful. Scrapple From The Apple (also on side one) has a silky top end anchored by deep, well-defined bass.

It was not that many years ago that we didn’t care a fig about Dexter Gordon. After finding Crazy Hot copies of One Flight Up and now this amazing record, we’re counting ourselves ardent members of his fan club.

If you’re looking for an original stereo pressing — and good luck finding one in audiophile playing condition — this is not the copy for you. If you’re looking for an exceptionally good sounding stereo pressing, regardless of label, one that plays reasonably quietly for a 50+ year old record, this simply cannot do better than this very LP. (more…)

Jimmy Smith – Prayer Meetin’


  • The wonderful Prayer Meetin’ makes its Hot Stamper debut here with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from first note to last
  • Rich, smooth and Tubey Magical, this pressing was simply more ALIVE and musically involving than the others we played
  • Turrentine is one of our favorite bluesy sax players – just play Kenny Burrell’s Midnight Blue to hear him at this best, and he is especially good here too
  • Credit must go to Rudy Van Gelder once again for the huge space this superbly well-recorded quartet occupies
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Prayer Meetin’ is a delight from start to finish. Forming a perfect closure to Smith’s trio of albums with Turrentine… The blues roots are obvious here, and the Smith-penned title track might even be called jazz-gospel…


Lou Donaldson – Sophisticated Lou


  • Lou Donaldson’s 1973 release makes its Hot Stamper debut with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to last 
  • Punchy and present, open and transparent – only the best Blue Note pressings let Donaldson’s soulful energy come through the way it did here
  • “Supported by a lush string section, Donaldson plays sensitive, pretty versions of such familiar items as ‘Stella By Starlight,’ ‘What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life,’ ‘Autumn in New York’ and ‘Time After Time,’ plus a new reading of his ‘Blues Walk’ and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘You Are the Sunshine of My Life.’ … a nice change of pace after several albums of funky soul-jazz.”