- A KILLER sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound from the first note to the last
- These side are doing it all right — big, rich and Tubey Magical yet still clean, clear and present with lovely breathy vocals
- “It Might as Well Be Swing, was a more structured, swing-oriented set than Sinatra-Basie, and in many ways the superior album… , what makes [it] more successful is the consistently high level of the performances. On their previous collaboration, both Sinatra and Basie sounded a bit worn out, but throughout this record they play with energy and vigor.”
- With a shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) side two and a Double Plus (A++) side one, this early stereo pressing is a knockout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Ella is rich, Tubey Magical and breathy – this is the way she should sound, and that makes this copy a true Demo Disc
- To get the vocals AND the brass to sound right on the same copy is the trick, and these two sides pulled it off
- 4 1/2 Stars: “…this 1963 LP was the first time (other than a couple songs) that Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie recorded together. The match-up was so logical that it would be repeated many times over the next 20 years.”
Take it from an Ella fan, you can’t go wrong with this one. The sound is rich and full-bodied, in the proud tradition of a classic vintage jazz vocal album with big band backup. You could easily demonstrate your stereo with a record this good, but what you would really be demonstrating is music that the listener probably isn’t familiar with, and that’s the best reason to put on an old record.
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…)
If you’re the kind of audiophile who doesn’t want to do the work required to find a top quality vintage pressing on his own, or buy one from us, this is actually a very good sounding record and a good way for you to go.
It’s ideal for most audiophiles.
Ask yourself three questions:
Do you want the expense and hassle of finding a nice original stereo copy?
Do you want to invest in proper record cleaning equipment to restore the glorious sound of the original’s 50-plus year old vinyl?
Do you want to spend the time (decades) and money (tens of thousands of dollars) to build and tweak a top quality analog playback system?
If you don’t want to do these things, you are not alone.
In fact, you are clearly in the majority, part of that enormously tall, fat bulge right in the middle of the bell curve. As the quintessential audiophile record lover, a big part of the mass of the mass-market, Mobile Fidelity has made the perfect record for you.
It’s quiet, it’s tonally correct, and on the audiophile equipment you will most probably use to play it back with, it does not seem to be especially veiled, opaque or compressed.
It is indeed all of these things, and many more, but you will have no reason to suspect that anything is wrong with it.
More precisely, you will have no way to know that anything is wrong with it.
We know exactly what’s wrong with it, but that’s because we are very serious about records and audio, as serious as they come. Who digs deeper than we do?
Now that you have failed to note its many shortcomings, the only thing remaining is for you to go to an audiophile forum and write your review, telling everyone how much better it is than whatever crappy pressing you owned and will be trading in soon. (This assumes you owned anything at all. I would be surprised if the average audiophile has a vintage copy of the album to compare with the new one, but no doubt some do.)
If you want to hold the pressings you play to a higher sonic standard, we are here to help.
If setting a low bar is more your style, Mobile Fidelity has been making records for you for more than fifty years. As long as you keep buying them, they’ll keep making them. They’ve been setting a very low bar for as long as I can remember, and the fact that they are still around is positive proof that their customers like it just fine that way. (more…)
- This original Blue and Green Reprise Stereo pressing boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on all four sides
- Truly one of the greatest live albums of all time, recorded late at night in the big room at the Sands Hotel in Vegas
- This is Basie and Sinatra in their natural habitat and in their prime, putting on the show of a lifetime
- On the right system this is about as close as you get to hearing Sinatra singing live in your listening room, with the added realism of a live Vegas show
- 4 1/2 stars: “Basie and the orchestra are swinging and dynamic, inspiring a textured, dramatic, and thoroughly enjoyable performance from Sinatra … the definitive portrait of Frank Sinatra in the ’60s.”
*NOTE: On side three, a mark makes 10 light ticks at the end of Track 3 and 10 moderate pops at the beginning of Track 4.
This double album presents Sinatra and Basie at the height of their powers, in a setting especially conducive to both men’s music, the big room at the Sands Hotel in Vegas. If you missed it — and I’m sure most all of us did — here’s your chance to go back in time and be seated with the beautiful people front row center. This two-disc all tube-mastered analog set is practically the only way you’ll ever be able to hear the greatest vocalist of his generation — in his prime no less — fronting one of the swingingest big bands of the time.
The presence and immediacy here are staggering. Turn it up and Frank is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime.
The sound is big, open, rich, and full. The highs are extended and silky sweet. The bass is tight and punchy. And this copy gives you more life and energy than most, by a long shot. Very few records out there offer the kind of realistic, lifelike sound you get from this pressing. (more…)
Proof positive that there is nothing wrong with remastering vintage recordings if you know what you’re doing. These sessions from 1956 (left off of an album that Allmusic liked a whole lot less than this one) were remastered in 1985 and the sound — on the better copies mind you — is correct from top to bottom.
The highest compliment I can pay a copy such as this is that it doesn’t sound like a modern record. It sounds like a very high quality mono jazz record from the ’50s or ’60s. Unlike modern recuts it doesn’t sound EQ’d in any way. It doesn’t lack ambience the way modern records do. It sounds musical and natural the way modern records almost never do.
If not for the fairly quiet vinyl you would never know it’s not a vintage record. The only originals we had to play against it were too noisy and worn to evaluate critically. They sounded full, but dark and dull and somewhat opaque (hey, there’s that modern remastered sound we’ve all been hearing for years!).
And although it is obviously a budget reissue, it sure doesn’t sound cheap to these ears.
Tender Loving Care?
Was it remastered with great care, or did the engineer just thread up the tape on a high-quality, properly calibrated deck and say “Nice, sounds good, let her rip.”? Either explanation works for me, because I really don’t care who made the record or how much work they put into it. In the case of The Genius After Hours it seems they found the real master tape and just did their job right, the way mastering engineers — well, some of them anyway — had been doing for decades.
A scant ten years later Bernie Grundman, a true Hall of Famer, started cutting for Classic Records and ruined practically every tape handed to him.
Our explanation? We don’t have one! We played the records and reported our findings. We sold the ones we thought sounded good to us and didn’t bother with the rest.
Just like we’re doing now. The biggest difference here is that we are evaluating a single copy, with these specific qualities, and guaranteeing that you either love it or you get your money back. (more…)
- Vaughan’s wonderful 1962 album on the original Roulette stereo pressing makes its Hot Stamper debut with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it – fairly quiet vinyl too
- Both sides are exceptionally low-distortion, solid and dynamic, with the natural, relaxed, analog warmth and richness missing from the Classic Records pressing (and most likely missing from whatever current reissue is on the market)
- “This LP finds Sarah Vaughan backed by big-band and string arrangements from Quincy Jones that could easily have been used for a Frank Sinatra date. Vaughan’s voice is typically wondrous… In the repertoire are such tunes as “The Best Is Yet to Come,” “The Second Time Around” and “Baubles, Bangles and Beads.”
- Stunning sound throughout with a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grade on the second side and a solid Double Plus (A++) grade on the first
- This vintage Capitol stereo pressing is rich, full-bodied and Tubey Magical – we’re talking All Tube Analog from 1961 after all – with wonderfully sweet and breathy vocals
- “… the man writing the charts here is Quincy Jones, and he is only occasionally interested in underscoring the heartbreak with suitably sad music… Lee responds to the music with a world-weary tone, but an occasional swing in her step, as if this is not her first romance, nor her first one to go wrong.”
This vintage Capitol pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely begin to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing any sign of coming back. (more…)
A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.
Outstanding mainstream jazz at its best! Stitt is absolutely phenomenal on this album. His solo work on My Funny Valentine alone is worth the price of the album! The real jazz guys know that his lines are completely fresh and unique. This record is all the proof you need to know what a giant of jazz Sonny Stitt was. He’s also joined by great players such as Hank Jones, Freddy Green, Oscar Pettiford and Philly Joe Jones.
There is a larger group that joins him on some numbers, but the real star of this album is Stitt when he is soloing. Very good sound as well.
Sonic Grade: B
Another MoFi LP reviewed.
It’s pretty good. Compressed and veiled, but the tonality is correct. I give it a B. It will beat the vast majority of reissues, which tend to be thin, gritty, and woefully lacking in Tubey Magic. And the vinyl will be quiet, which is something not many of the best pressings can offer.
But who wants to listen to a B grade record when we you can buy A and A+ pressings from us? (more…)
The story of our latest shootout is what real Progress in Audio is all about.
Back in the early ’70s this was actually the album that first introduced me to honest-to-goodness “audiophile” sound.
I was at my local stereo store listening to speakers one day, and the salesman made a comment that the speakers we were listening to (the old Infinity Monitors with the Walsh tweeter) sounded “boxy”. I confessed to him that I didn’t actually know what that meant or what it would sound like if it weren’t boxy.
So he hooked up a pair of Dahlquist DQ-10s and put Sinatra at the Sands on. I was amazed at how the sound just floated in the room, free from the speakers, presenting an image that was as wide and deep as the showroom we were in. That speaker may have many flaws, but boxiness is definitely not one of them.
This description is pretty close to what I thought I heard all those years ago
The presence and immediacy here are staggering. Turn it up and Frank is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime. Very few records out there offer the kind of realistic, lifelike sound you get from this pressing.
This vintage stereo LP also has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s missing from the later reissues. As good as some of them can be, this one is dramatically more real sounding. It gives you the sense that Frank Sinatra is right in front of you.
He’s no longer a recording — he’s a living, breathing person. We call that “the breath of life,” and this record has it in spades. His voice is so rich, sweet, and free of any artificiality, you immediately find yourself lost in the music, because there’s no “sound” to distract you.
Or so I thought at the time. (more…)