Top Artists – Bill Evans

Bennett and Evans – The Tony Bennett / Bill Evans Album

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  • A wonderful early pressing of this classic collaboration, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to here finish and vinyl that is hard to find any quieter
  • When heard on our best Hot Stamper pressings, the album clearly belongs near the top of the All Time Great Male Vocal Records
  • Waltz for Debby is the best thing here. You want to hear the Bennett-Evans Magic? Go right to that track
  • 4 1/2 stars: “… one of the best albums of either’s career… an excellent jazz-pop hybrid in which both musicians were shown off to advantage.”

If you like sophisticated vocal jazz I don’t think you can do much better than this record, especially when it sounds like this. Tony Bennett’s voice sounds wonderfully rich, BREATHY, and above all REAL.

The soundstage is open and spacious, the piano full-bodied and clear, and the vocals have the clarity and fullness missing from most pressings. It’s incredible to hear these two top-notch musicians interacting and responding to each other in this kind of huge, open and natural space. (more…)

Bill Evans Moon Beams – Superb on the Right OJC Pressing

More Bill Evans

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  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides, this is one of the better copies of Bill Evans’ 1962 classic to ever hit the site
  • Full-bodied and warm, exactly the way vintage analog should sound, yet as clear and as open as any pressing you’ve heard (or your money back)
  • The first album Evans recorded after Scott LaFaro’s death and it is deeply immersive experience
  • Allmusic raves it’s “…so well paced and sequenced the record feels like a dream … Moonbeams was a startling return to the recording sphere and a major advancement in his development as a leader.”
  • Great sound for this rockin’ soul album with two live tracks. Just listen to the drums on Black-Eyed Blues — the way the percussion and bass mingle sonically with Alan White’s skins takes this listener right into the room where the magic happened.

Moon Beams is one of the best sounding Bill Evans records we’ve ever played. You can see why we chose it to be the first OJC Hot Stamper of his to hit the site back in 2015. Play It Might As Well Be Spring for the kind of sublime musical experience you only find on 20th century analog. (more…)

Bill Evans ‎– New Jazz Conceptions on OJC

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Some OJC Pressings Sound Good, Some Don’t – This One Doesn’t

We play mediocre-to-bad sounding pressings so that you don’t have to, a public service from your record loving friends at Better Records.

Here is a list of the OJCs we’ve auditioned and found to have at least the potential for good sound.

(Some will and some won’t — that’s what shootouts are for.)

And here are the OJCs we’ve auditioned and found wanting to some degree. Not all of them are bad; some are just not very good and would not be suitable for an audiophile with high standards.

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Miles Davis Kind of Blue – Sizing Up Two Very Different Sounding Pressings from the ’70s

More on Kind of Blue

One of our good customers has started a blog which he calls

A GUIDE FOR THE BUDDING ANALOG AUDIOPHILE

Below is a link to a comparison Robert Brook carried out with a few pressings of Miles Davis’ Masterpiece, Kind of Blue.

KIND OF BLUE: Discovering the RIGHT SOUND for Miles Davis’ MASTERPIECE

Bill Evans – The Bill Evans Album

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  • Evans’ superb 1971 release makes its Hot Stamper debut here with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • An outstanding later recording for Bill Evans, superior to many of the albums he made around this time – it’s rich, smooth and Tubey Magical, with an especially musical quality, hence the solid grades
  • Balanced, clear and undistorted, this 30th Street recording shows just how good Columbia’s engineers were back then, even as late as 1971
  • 4 stars: “Although not as distinctive on the electric keyboard as he was on its acoustic counterpart, Evans sounds inspired by its possibilities and is heard in top creative form throughout the date.”

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Bill Evans – Quintessence

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  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound can be found on both sides of this wonderful Bill Evans album, a Better Records favorite since we first heard it some years ago
  • Evans is joined by an all-star lineup of Harold Land, Kenny Burrell, Ray Brown and the great Philly Joe Jones
  • Sonic highlights include a breathy, full sax; a big, solid piano; well-defined acoustic bass; and guitar tone that’s tubey and warm
  • “Most of pianist Bill Evans’ recordings were in a trio format, making this quintet date a nice change of pace… the results are quite tasteful and explorative in a subtle way.”

There aren’t too many ’70s jazz records that sound like this. The music is wonderful as well, and Evans is joined by an all-star lineup of Harold Land, Kenny Burrell, Ray Brown and the great Philly Joe Jones.

We were shocked to hear how good this album can sound on the right pressing. It has that natural, realistic feel that you get on the best Contemporary recordings. We don’t know what more you could do to make this music sound any better than it does on our best copies.

The sax is breathy and full, the piano is big and solid, the acoustic bass is well-defined with real weight and the guitar tone is tubey and warm. Hard to imagine that there are too many audiophiles with a substantial number of jazz records in their collection that sound as good as this (our own Hot Stampers excluded of course)! (more…)

Bill Evans – You Must Believe In Spring

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  • This outstanding copy of Bill Evans’ posthumous release boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl for this title too
  • Both sides here are lively, dynamic and full-bodied – there’s real weight to the piano, always critically important on the piano recordings we play
  • An exceptionally well-recorded album, especially the piano, thanks to Al Schmitt
  • 4 stars: “This well-rounded set (released posthumously) features the highly influential pianist Bill Evans in a set of typically sensitive trio performances… It’s a solid example of the great pianist’s artistry.”

This relaxed piano trio outing has been one of our favorite Bill Evans releases for close to a decade, in no small part because the best copies have the potential for truly Demo Disc sound. This is one of those, and it demonstrates more than anything else how natural, balanced and real the sound of a good piano trio recording can be.

Most copies of this album lack the energy and drive to keep the music from getting sleepy, but both sides here are lively, dynamic and full-bodied. There’s real weight to the piano, always critically important on the piano recordings we play.

This is the last album Bill Evans made before he died. His playing is emotional and powerful, and the other members of the trio provide fine support. (more…)

Bill Evans – At Town Hall, Volume 1

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  • This superb Piano Trio recording has KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it throughout
  • Both sides are doing just about everything right — you get real weight to the piano, tons of energy, incredible immediacy, real separation between the instruments and natural live imaging — you really get a sense of where each of the players is on the stage
  • “This LP is a superior effort by Bill Evans and his trio in early 1966… The most memorable piece is the 13-and-a-half-minute “Solo: In Memory of His Father,” an extensive unaccompanied exploration by Evans that partly uses a theme that became “Turn Out the Stars.” – All Music, 4 Stars

It is insanely difficult to find great sounding Bill Evans records. This copy has two sides that are nothing short of Demo Quality. It’s one of the better sounding Piano Trio records we’ll find this year (along of course with any killer copies of The Three that hit the site).

Everything you could ask for from this music is here. You get real weight to the piano, tons of energy, incredible immediacy, real separation between the instruments and natural live imaging — you really get a sense of where each of the players is on the stage. The sound is cleaner and clearer than we heard elsewhere, with more extension up top and more weight down low. The bass sounds JUST RIGHT. Most copies we’ve played weren’t nearly this rich, warm and full-bodied. I don’t think you could find a better sounding copy no matter what you did. (more…)

Bill Evans – Montreux II

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  • This epic live jazz recording finally returns to the site with two excellent Double Plus (A++) sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • A killer pressing, with a very strong bottom end, lovely richness and warmth, real space and separation between the instruments and wonderful immediacy throughout
  • Recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, this 1970 release showcases Evans stylings alongside the brilliant talents of Eddie Gomez and Marty Morell
  • “Bill Evans’ second recording at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1970 was a highly anticipated concert, finding the pianist in peak form, accompanied by bassist Eddie Gómez and drummer Marty Morell.”

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Bill Evans – Symbiosis – A Very Good MPS Pressing

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  • Evans’ wonderful 1974 album accompanied by symphony orchestra makes its Hot Stamper debut here with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • We dropped the needle on a copy years ago and heard wonderful audiophile sound right from the get-go
  • Bigger, richer, more Tubey Magical, with more extension on both ends of the spectrum and more depth, width and height than any other other copy we played
  • “… a special and unique entry in Evans’ hugh catalog… Not your “typical” Bill Evans album–but that’s what makes SYMBIOSIS such a fine, gently challenging listen.”

On the best copies the strings have wonderful texture and sheen. If your system isn’t up to it (or you have a copy with a problem in this area), the strings might sound a little shrill and possibly grainy as well, but I’m here to tell you that the sound on the best copies is just fine with respect to string tone and timbre. You will need to look elsewhere for the problem. (more…)