Top Artists – Coleman Hawkins

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.

 

 

At Ease With Coleman Hawkins from 1960 – Another Triumph for Rudy Van Gelder

MORE RECORDINGS BY RUDY VAN GELDER

MORE RECORDINGS FROM 1960

 

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This 1960 Saxophone Ballad session has to be seen as yet another recording triumph for Rudy Van Gelder. The best pressings of these OJC reissues from 1989 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 At Ease with Coleman Hawkins, we simply have never seen an original copy clean enough to buy, so we have no reference for what an original would sound like.

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But, 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.

What to Listen For (WTLF) (more…)

Back In Bean’s Bag – A Classic from 1962

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Coleman Hawkins and Clark Terry

A Classic from 1962

  • The best copy we have ever heard – Triple Plus (A+++) on side two and nearly as good on side one (A++ to A+++)
  • This is the kind of classic All Tube, Live in the Studio Columbia Sound from 1962 that makes a mockery of most jazz recordings
  • What a swingin’ group – there is simply not a false step or false note to be found anywhere on either side of this wonderful recording
  • Hawkins teamed up with the personable trumpeter Clark Terry for this upbeat set of of solid swing. Terry in particular is in exuberant form on “Feedin’ the Bean” and a delightful version of “Don’t Worry About Me,” but Hawkins’s playing (particularly on the trumpeter’s ballad “Michelle”) is also in fine form.”

This Minty Original “360 Sound” Columbia Stereo LP from 1962 has DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND! No other copy we played was in a class with this bad boy — it does it ALL. For those of you who appreciate the sound that Columbia’s engineers were able to achieve in the ’50s and ’60s, this LP is a Must-Own

Columbia’s best recordings — those that were recorded at the 30th Street Studios and those that were not, such as this one — just doesn’t get any better than this. Tubey magic, richness, sweetness, dead-on timbres from top to bottom — this is a textbook example of early ’60s Columbia sound at its best. It’s audiophile heaven.

This original pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it doesn’t look like it is coming back any time soon. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the control room hearing the master tape being played back, or, better yet, the direct feed from the mics in the studio, this is the record for you. It’s what Golden Age Jazz Recordings are known for — this sound. (more…)