Top Artists – Coleman Hawkins

Coleman Hawkins – Hawk Eyes

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Hawk Eyes

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

This 1960 Saxophone Ballad session from 1960 has to be seen as yet another recording triumph for Rudy Van Gelder  

The best pressings of these OJC and Prestige reissues from the ’70s and ’80s sound like the vintage jazz albums they emulate, and sometimes they even beat the originals at their own Tubey Magical game. They can be every bit as rich, sweet and spacious as their earlier-pressed brethren in our experience.

In the case of Hawk Eyes we simply have never seen an original copy clean enough to buy, so we have no reference for what an original would sound like.

That said, having critically auditioned literally hundreds and hundreds of vintage jazz records over the course of the last few years, we’re pretty confidant we know what they are supposed to sound like.

And they sound just like the best copies of this very pressing. (more…)

Sonny Rollins & Coleman Hawkins – Sonny Meets Hawk – Great in Stereo

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Sonny Meets Hawk

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This is a TOP SHELF pressing, one of the most exciting jazz records we’ve heard in some time! We dropped the needle on side one of this RCA stereo pressing and were FLOORED. After evaluating it completely and awarding it our top grade of A+++, we flipped and were blown away to find that side two was every bit as good. And to top it all off, the vinyl plays quietly throughout. 

Think about this — due to the nature of our business we play tons of jazz vinyl every week, multiple pressings of multiple albums. And this record completely knocked us out.

If you’re a fan of classic jazz and superb sound, wouldn’t you like to hear what this one does on your system? (more…)

Sonny Rollins & Coleman Hawkins – Sonny Meets Hawk – Great in Mono

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Sonny Meets Hawk

WONDERFUL SOUND AND MUSIC! It is ridiculously tough to find copies of this album with good sound and quiet surfaces, but this pressing is a MONSTER. We’re generally not big fans of Mono recordings, but for this music it is really doing the job. It gives you mindblowing presence to the brass and real weight to the bottom end. 

Side one is KILLER. I don’t know what you could do to this music to make it sound any better than it does here. It’s super transparent with BIG TIME immediacy. The brass is rich and full with lots of breath, and the bass is DEEP and TIGHT. Listen to how silky sweet the top end sounds; the cymbals are Right On The Money.

Side two is excellent as well, but lacks a slight degree of extension up top. The presence and immediacy are EXCELLENT. (more…)

Coleman Hawkins – Night Hawk

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Night Hawk

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  • An outstanding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • With a nearly perfect balance of analog richness and high-res clarity and space, this reissue showed us once again just how good an engineer Rudy Van Gelder could be back in 1961    
  • “This [album] has many fine moments from these two highly competitive jazzmen, particularly the lengthy title cut and a heated tradeoff on “In a Mellow Tone,” on which Davis goes higher but Hawkins wins on ideas.”

For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are wonderful. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good an 1961 All Tube Analog recording can be, this killer copy will do the trick. (more…)

Coleman Hawkins – Hawkins! Alive! (Reviewed in 2005)

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

This Verve T Label Mono pressing DESTROYS the Classic Records reissue, hands down. Side one is lively, present, and dynamic, but a bit aggressive — the horn can really bite when Hawk pushes it. Side two, however, sounds LOVELY. It’s much smoother and very natural. This isn’t an easy album to find in such gorgeous condition, and I bet you’d have a really tough time finding one that sounds as good as this one does on side two.

Coleman Hawkins – Today and Now

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

We love the Tubey Magical breathy/reedy style of Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. It seems that only the best early vinyl pressings manage to reproduce it properly. The CDs we’ve played over the years have had a tough time finding the richness in the sound; they end up being at least somewhat dry and hard, and that is simply not the right sound for this music. (more…)

Sonny Rollins & Coleman Hawkins – Sonny Meets Hawk

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  • With a Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning side one and a Double Plus (A++) side two, this copy is practically as good as it gets
  • Exceptionally big, rich and Tubey Magical, here is the natural tonality that’s a hallmark of Living Stereo in 1963
  • Amazing music from two saxophone masters on one of the most exciting jazz records we’ve heard in some time
  • 4 stars: “Coleman Hawkins and Sonny Rollins each virtually defined the tenor saxophone for his respective generation. To hear the two of them interacting freely is a deliciously exciting experience. Hawkins is able to cut loose like never before. “

For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are enchanting. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1963 All Tube Analog sound can be, this copy will do the trick. (more…)

Back In Bean’s Bag on Classic Records Vinyl

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Sonic Grade: B

Another Classic Records LP reviewed.

We’re not the least bit embarrassed to admit we used to like their version very much, and happily recommended it in our catalog back in the day.

Like many Classic Records, the master tapes are so good that even with their mediocre mastering — and pressing: RTI’s vinyl accounts for at least some of the lost sound quality, so airless and tired — the record still sounds great, at least until you get hold of the real thing and hear what you are missing.

What do you get with Hot Stampers compared to the Classic Heavy Vinyl reissue? Dramatically more warmth, sweetness, delicacy, transparency, space, energy, size, naturalness (no boost on the top end or the bottom, a common failing of anything by Classic); in other words, the kind of difference you almost ALWAYS get comparing the best vintage pressings with their modern remastered counterparts, in our experience anyway.

The Classic is a nice record, a Hot Stamper is a MAGICAL one.

Coleman Hawkins – Hawkins! Alive! on Classic Records

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Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

The copy of the Classic I auditioned back in 1995 had Hawkin’s horn sounding squawky and sour. We never carried it.

I liked many of their other jazz titles — they did a better job with jazz than any other kind of music — but this was not their finest hour. Unless I got a bad copy, always a possibility.

Check out our Heavy Vinyl Scorecards to read all about the latest winners and losers.

We have two: one for Classical Music on Heavy Vinyl, and another for Rock and Jazz.

 

 

Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster – on Classic Records

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Sonic Grade: B

Probably a good Classic Records jazz album. Years ago we wrote:

“A top top jazz title! This is one of our favorite Classic Records LPs from the old days when we were selling Heavy Vinyl. We haven’t played this record in a long time but we liked it very much when it was in print in the ’90s.” 

We can’t be sure that we would still feel the same way. My guess is that this is still a fairly good record if you can get one for the 30 bucks we used to charge.