A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.
This better than Super Hot stamper side one of arguably Chuck Mangione’s best album gets what is inarguably his most famous song to come alive in a way that practically no other copies in our shootout were able to. It’s shocking just how lifeless and pointless Feels So Good can sound on some copies; after only a few minutes the band seems to be having a hard time staying awake. But the same performance is captured on every pressing, so how can the band sound so inspired here and so uninspired elsewhere? It’s one of the mysteries of recorded media, one which still takes us by surprise on a regular basis, every week in fact.
This idea that most pressings do a poor job of communicating the music still has not seeped into the consciousness of the audiophile public but we’re diligently working to change that, one Hot Stamper at a time.
The copies that are present, clear, open, transparent and energetic, with a solid rhythmic line driving the music, are a hundred times more enjoyable than the typical pressing that can be found practically unplayed (gee, I wonder why?) sitting in most record collections.
By the way, if you know Feels So Good only through the radio, you may be surprised to find that it’s close to ten minutes long, not the three minutes you’re familiar with. The band stretches out quite a bit and the solos are fairly inventive, as AMG noted.
This very side two has that problem to a fair degree; it’s a bit too murky and veiled to be as much fun as side one. But so few copies were any good at all that it still earned an A+ grade. If you turn it up it helps it quite a bit. Still, it lack extension high and low compared to this side one.
A++ to A+++, lively, rich, sweet and clear, with tons of space, this one very nearly won our shootout. You can follow the bass clearly, and unlike most copies you can really “see” the drummer. The effect is more energy, more spirited music, and a more rewarding listening experience.
A+ as noted above.
Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet a copy as we can find, and side two, with so many quiet passages, was usually noisier than that. Please click on the Sonic Grade tab above to read more about this copy’s surfaces.
Overall Sonic Grade:
Side One – A++ to A+++
Side Two – A+
1) Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus. The intro to track one is a bit noisier.
2) Mint Minus Minus to Mint Minus with a noisy edge.
Cover Grade: 9 out of 10, in shrink
Feels So Good
Theme from “Side Street”
Hide & Seek (Ready or Not Here I Come)
The XIth Commandment
Due to the title cut, this was a huge seller when it originally came out… this set from flügelhornist Chuck Mangione (which helped give guitarist Grant Geissman some fame) is actually stronger from the jazz standpoint than Mangione’s subsequent dates. The leader has some good solos, as does Geissman and saxophonist Chris Vadala, and the quintet’s ensembles are generally both sparse and attractive. Pity that in ways this was Chuck Mangione’s last worthwhile release to date; success did stunt his artistic growth.