Labels We Love – Verve

Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Swings Brightly With Nelson

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  • This killer 2-Pack offers Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from start to finish – fairly quiet vinyl too for a stereo pressing of this vintage
  • Exceptionally lovely All Tube sound from 1961, with a huge, rich orchestra conducted by the legendary Nelson Riddle
  • Ella’s way with this material won her the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance, her 7th Grammy
  • “The singer has rarely sounded better than during this period. Fitzgerald sticks mostly to familiar standards and is particularly memorable on ‘Don’t Be That Way,’ ‘What Am I Here For,’ ‘I’m Gonna Go Fishin,’ ‘ and ‘I Won’t Dance.'”

Take it from an Ella fan, you can’t go wrong with this one. This is about as quiet as we can find them – this is one of the lucky few that play this well.

The sound is rich and full-bodied in the best tradition of a classic vintage jazz vocal album. You could easily demonstrate your stereo with a record this good! The space is HUGE and the sound so rich.

Prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic as well, which is key to the best sounding copies. The sound needs weight, warmth and tubes or you might as well be playing a CD. (more…)

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – Porgy and Bess

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  • STUNNING sound throughout this Ella & Louis classic with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades on three sides matched with outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on the fourth
  • Spacious, full-bodied and Tubey Magical, with Ella and Louis front and center, this is the sound you want for their brilliant collaboration from 1958
  • Two vocal giants came together to perform Gershwin’s timeless opera, revered by both music lovers and audiophiles to this day
  • 4 1/2 stars: “What’s really great about the Ella and Louis version is Ella, who handles each aria with disarming delicacy, clarion intensity, or usually a blend of both.”

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Wes Montgomery – Movin’ Wes

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  • Movin’ Wes finally arrives on the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more richness, fullness and presence on this copy than anything you have ever heard, and that’s especially true if you made the mistake of buying whatever godawful Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently on the market
  • Credit goes to Rudy Van Gelder once again for the huge space this superbly well-recorded group occupies
  • “The guitarist is in excellent form here, playing a nimble solo on the up-tempo waltz ‘Senza Fine’, as well on old favourites from previous albums like ‘Born To Blue’ and ‘West Coast Blues.”

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Gerry Mulligan – Gerry Mulligan Meets Stan Getz

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Mulligan, Gerry - Gerry Mulligan Meets Stan Getz - Nearly White Hot Stamper 2-Pak

  • Mulligan and Getz’s 1957 collaboration arrives on the site with this superb 2-pack offering Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides – just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • Full, rich, and spacious with tons of Tubey Magic and, better yet, not the least bit dry, hard or transistory
  • Practically impossible to find in stereo with audiophile playing surfaces – it took two different pressings to get two good sides, and they are very good indeed
  • “Produced by [Norman] Granz, Getz And Mulligan In Hi-Fi captures the two saxophone giants as they showcase a world class duet which provided them with a superb rhythm section featuring Lou Levy, proud member of The Stan Getz Quartet at the piano who play with impeccable style and well-conceived ideas that swing with unique vitality, while Ray Brown’s bass solidify the combo’s edge.”

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Johnny Hodges – Rippin’ and Runnin’

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  • Johnny’s wonderful 1969 release finally makes its Hot Stamper debut here with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Full, rich, and spacious with tons of Tubey Magic and, better yet, never dry, hard or transistory — true DEMO DISC QUALITY sound
  • Val Valentin directed the engineering on this wonderful recording, and the results are every bit as good as you would expect, assuming you have an early stereo copy that sounds like this one
  • This pressing was simply more musically involving than the other copies we played – that’s the quickest way to win a Shootout

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Sonny Rollins – Brass / Trio

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  • An incredible sounding copy and the first to his the site in SEVEN years! Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides; exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • Both sides sound wonderful here — rich, full-bodied, Tubey Magical and musical with a solid bottom end
  • This is a very tough album to find with the right sound and surfaces; they’re usually beat to hell!
  • “In 1958 Sonny Rollins split an LP between two very different settings… [he] excels in both of these settings, making this an easily recommended set.” – All Music

This isn’t an easy album to come by and even when you find a clean one they tend to be noisy, and as you might expect not all of them sound all that good. Add in the fact that you’re always going to pay good money for a clean early pressing like this one, and you’ll realize that getting a great copy in your collection is not going to be an easy task. Unless of course you’d like to take this 100% Guaranteed Hot Stamper home for a spin — that’s probably the easiest (and cost-efficient) method. And who knows if we’ll ever find another copy like this one? Certainly we haven’t been able to find a good one for many years, and we’ve been doing this for a LONG time. (more…)

Astrud Gilberto – Look To The Rainbow

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  • An outstanding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
  • This kind of spacious, warm, rich, Tubey Magical analog sound is gone forever – you have to go back to 1966 to find it
  • Creed Taylor (the CTI man) produced, Gil Evans did most of the arrangements, Rudy Van Gelder and Val Valentin engineered – what’s not to like?
  • 4 1/2 stars: “This was a beautiful bossa nova record of Astrud Gilberto’s vocal stylings…”

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Jimmy Witherspoon – The Blues Is Now

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  • Witherspoon’s wonderful 1967 release makes its Hot Stamper debut with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to last
  • Spacious and transparent, this copy has the three-dimensional soundstaging and natural vocal reproduction that makes these kinds of records such a joy to play (and in the process a record this good makes a mockery of the veiled, lifeless, ambience-free sound of the modern Heavy Vinyl reissue)
  • 4 stars: “The Blues Is Now is arguably the finest of these [late ’60s Verve] recordings, and Witherspoon’s voice is in top form and hugely expressive. A late-night blues classic, this is Witherspoon at his most relaxed and assured and is a joy to listen to.”

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Coleman Hawkins – Hawkins! Alive! At the Village Gate

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  • This superb live album makes its Hot Stamper debut with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two mated with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on side one
  • Tubier, more present, more alive, with more of that “jumpin’ out of the speakers” quality that only The Real Thing (an old record) ever has
  • 4 stars: “The great Hawkins (who debuted on records 40 years earlier) gets to stretch out on this live outing by his 1962 quartet (which also features pianist Tommy Flanagan).”

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Ella Fitzgerald – Like Someone In Love

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  • With two outstanding Double Plus (A++) sides, this MONO original pressing from 1957 (the only way to fly) will be hard to beat
  • Ella’s voice is noticeably breathier, fuller, more relaxed and more musical here than it is on most of the other copies we played
  • An album that is beyond difficult to find with decent surfaces and undamaged inner grooves – most copies we get in are just trashed
  • “Most of the songs are veteran standards, Stan Getz’s warm tenor helps out on four tunes, and her voice was so strong and appealing during this era that all of her recordings from the mid- to late ’50s are enjoyable and easily recommended.”

*A mark makes 9 medium then 7 medium-light pops at the end of track 1, There’s A Lull In My Life
**A mark makes 20 very light pops near the end of track 5, What’s New

Take it from an Ella fan, you can’t go wrong with this one, assuming you can put up with some ticky vinyl. This is about as quiet as we can find them. Like Someone in Love is five times rarer than Clap Hands, and twice as likely to be noisy.

The sound is rich and full-bodied in the best tradition of a classic vintage jazz vocal album. You could easily demonstrate your stereo with a record this good, but what you would really be demonstrating is music that the listener probably hasn’t heard, and that’s the best reason to demonstrate a stereo!

The space is huge and the sound so rich. The vocals have dramatically less hardness and the orchestra — especially on side two — is not brash for once.

Prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic as well, which is key to the best sounding copies. The sound needs weight, warmth and tubes or you might as well be playing a CD. (more…)