Sonic Grade: D
Putatively remastered from the original analogue master tapes by that notorious hack Ron McMaster at Capitol Studios, this pressing is dramatically flatter and less musical than any original pressing (or Japanese pressing!) that we have ever played. The CD may very well be better.
Check out our Heavy Vinyl Scorecard to read all about the latest winners and losers.
Since we here at Better Records never tire of beating long-dead horses, let’s lay into a couple of our favorites: Heavy Vinyl reissues and CDs. When we play these “Shadows of the Real Thing”, so lacking in life and the analog magic of the best pressings, the one thing we can say about them consistently is that they’re a drag. They’re just no fun. They don’t give you the thrill this wonderful music is supposed to give you — can give you and does give you — if you have the right vinyl pressing.
These are just some of the recordings by Chet Baker that we’ve auditioned recently and found wanting. Without going into specifics we’ll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.
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- With a Triple Plus (A+++) side one and an excellent Double Plus (A++) side two, this copy is one of the BEST we have ever heard
- Big, rich, smooth, open, natural, with plenty of tight bass – what’s not to like? This copy is killin’ it
- Some of the best jazz guys of the day back up Chet on this one: Zoot Sims, Pepper Adams, Bill Evans, Herbie Mann and more
- “…the timelessness of the melodies, coupled with the assembled backing aggregate, make Chet Baker Plays the Best of Lerner and Loewe (1959) a memorable concept album.”
This is a wonderful Chet Baker record that doesn’t seem to be getting the respect it deserves in the wider jazz world. You may just like it every bit as much as the Chet album, and that is one helluva record to compare any album to, in our estimation about as good as it gets in most respects. (more…)