Top Artists – Cannonball Adderley

Cannonball Adderley Quintet In Chicago – Not Bad on Speakers Corner Heavy Vinyl

More Cannonball Adderley 

xxx

Sonic Grade: B?

A fairly good Speakers Corner jazz album.

Years ago we wrote the following:

This one has excellent sound (in that left-right jazz of the fifties kind of way).

We can’t be sure that we would still feel the same way (about the excellent sound; the hard left right is not up for debate). My guess is that this is still probably a good record if you can get one for the 30 bucks we used to charge.

Our Hot Stamper pressings will be dramatically more transparent, open, clear and just plain REAL sounding, because these are all the areas in which heavy vinyl pressings tend to fall short in in our experience. (more…)

The Best Jazz Record Ever Made, or the Best Jazz Record We’ve Ever Played?

Reviews and Commentaries for Somethin’ Else

I ran across this listing for Cannonball Adderley’s Somethin’ Else today, a record we raved about after doing a shootout for it years ago. Notice the careful hedging in the phrases with newly added italics:

The music here is amazing — as I’m sure most of you know, this is as much a showcase for Miles Davis as it is for Cannonball himself — but the good news for audiophiles is that it’s also one of the BEST SOUNDING BLUE NOTE ALBUMS we know of. When you hear it on a copy like this, it’s just about As Good As It Gets.

After doing this shootout in 2015 I would like to amend the above remarks for being much too conservative. The current consensus here at Better Records is that this album deserves to hold three — count ’em, three — somewhat related titles:

One, The Best Sounding Blue Note record we have ever played.

Two, The Best Sounding Jazz Record we have ever played.

Three, Rudy Van Gelder’s Best Engineering (based on the copies we played).

Our shootout winners had more energy, presence, dynamics and three-dimensional studio space than any jazz recording we have ever heard. The sound was as BIG and BOLD as anything in our audio experience.

Add to that a perfectly balanced mix, with tonality that’s correct from top to bottom for every instrument in the soundfield and you may begin to see why we feel that the best copies of this album set a standard that no other jazz record we’re aware of can meet.

Have we played every Blue Note, every RVG recording, every jazz record?

Of course not. We would never make such a claim.

All Well and Good, But Bear This in Mind

In our defense, who could possibly claim to have critically evaluated the sound of more jazz records than we have?

There are multitudes of music experts in the world of jazz. For jazz sound quality the numbers must surely be orders of magnitude smaller, and here is where we’re [pretty sure we have more than a few critically valuable advantages, to wit:

  • better playback equipment,
  • better record cleaning technologies,
  • stacks of pressings of the same title,
  • a scientifically blinded approach and, most importantly of all,
  • a single-minded purpose. 

All our efforts are in service to only one end, to find the pressing with the ultimate in analog sound.

(Naturally we leave the sound of CDs and other digital formats to others. Although CDs often outperform their modern Heavy Vinyl pressing equivalent — here is a case in point — we know our lane and and are happy to stay within it.) (more…)

Cannonball Adderley – Know What I Mean?

More Cannonball Adderley

More Bill Evans

xxxxx

  • This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • 1961 recording technology coupled with the mastering chops of the very gifted George Horn results in the top quality sound found here
  • These guys are playing live in the studio and you can really feel their presence on every track — assuming you have a copy that sounds like this one
  • 4 stars: “It’s hard to imagine any fan of mainstream jazz not finding much to love on this very fine recording.”

(more…)

Nancy Wilson – Nancy Wilson / Cannonball Adderley

More Cannonball Adderley

More Pop and Jazz Vocal Albums

xxxxx

  • This dynamic collaboration finally makes its Hot Stamper debut with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side one and an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side two
  • Here is the sound we love at Better Records – both sides are full-bodied and Tubey Magical, with Wilson’s vocals unusually smooth and present
  • An inspired collection that showcases the versatility of both Wilson and Adderley (who plays five instrumentals)
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Given the play list and the outstanding artists performing it, why any serious jazz collection would be without this classic album is difficult to comprehend.” [Hear hear!]

Another Record We’ve Discovered with (Potentially) Excellent Sound…

and One We Will Probably Never Shootout Again

Some records never justified the time and money required to find Hot Stamper pressings of them in order to make it worth our while to do them again. This is one such album, and the link above will take you to many more.

(more…)

Miles Davis – Basic Miles

More Miles Davis

xxxxx

  • Demo Disc Jazz sound for this wonderful collection, with both sides earning outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades
  • Opening side two, the 9 plus minutes of On Green Dolphin Street has some of the coolest jazz you will ever hear, on any record, at any price
  • If you want to know what the better copies of Kind of Blue sound like, this pressing will tell you, because it has that sound
  • And that means it is absolutely NOTHING like the MoFi 45 RPM 2 LP pressing that some audiophiles (and the reviewers who cater to them) seem to like so much
  • We’re talking Bill Evans, John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley in their prime, 1958, with top 1958 sound to match

*NOTE: On side two, a mark makes light to moderate repeating pops on the first 20 seconds of Track 1, On Green Dolphin Street.

Want to know how good our Hot Stamper Kind of Blue pressings sound? Listen to this very record. If you play the tracks that were recorded in 1958, the year before Kind of Blue, you will hear practically the same lineup of musicians.

That means Stella By Starlight and Little Melonae on side one, and Green Dolphin Street and Fran-Dance (Put Your Little Foot Right Out) on side two. We’re talking Bill Evans, John Coltrane, and Cannonball Adderley in their prime, 1958, with top 1958 sound to match.

The nine-minute plus Green Dolphin Street that opens side two is nothing short of amazing, some of the coolest jazz you will ever hear. With Fran Dance on the same side, that gives you about 17 minutes of great-sounding jazz by Miles’ classic Kind of Blue lineup.

Side one has the same cats playing for more than 12 minutes. By my calculation, that’s close to another album’s worth of material from the group. The rest of the material on this compilation is best seen as gravy; maybe not essential, but never less than interesting. (more…)

Cannonball Adderley – What I Mean

More Cannonball Adderley

xxxxx

  • An outstanding copy of Adderley’s superb double album from 1979 with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on all FOUR sides – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • With outstanding presence, clarity, space and right on the money timbral accuracy, this pressing is guaranteed to be one of the best sounding jazz records you’ve heard in a long, long time
  • This is surely the best sound we have ever heard for this exceptional Golden Age ’60s recording, and that is really saying something
  • 4 stars: “This two-LP set combines two fine sessions from 1961. The great altoist is heard with his quintet in 1961 (featuring cornetist Nat Adderley, Victor Feldman on vibes and piano and guest pianist Wynton Kelly) and in a quartet date with pianist Bill Evans.”

Sides one and two of this double LP were originally issued as The Cannonball Adderley Quintet Plus, while sides three and four were originally released as Know What I Mean?

All four sides boast excellent mastering and very good sound. The cymbals have that just right “tap” followed by an open and sweet “shimmer.”

The piano and sax, the heart of the music of course, are rendered as accurately as can be expected.

As good as the OJC sounds, and it can sound very good indeed, this Milestone reissue from the decade before is even better. It has more of a “vintage analog pressing” sound, the kind you would expect to hear on a recording from 1962.

This is the best sound we have ever heard for this superb recording, and that is really saying something. (more…)

Ray Brown – And The All-Stars Band – Cannonball Adderley

Yet Another Record We’ve Discovered with (Potentially) Excellent Sound

xxxxx

These two sides offer bigger brass, more transparency and more presence than any other sides we played! This may become one of your favorite big band albums to demo or test with. Or you can just enjoy the hell out of it if you prefer. So transparent and tonally correct, this is a killer sounding copy. We put this one right up there with the best of the Verve jazz titles we’ve done to date.

This is the kind of HUGE, RICH sound that Ray Hall engineered with tubes back in 1962, and it’s glorious to hear in 2017.

This album sounds like a big room full of musicians playing live, which it surely was. The Tubey Magical richness of the 1962 recording is breathtaking – no modern record can touch it.

The best copies recreate a live studio space the size of which you will not believe.

The Sound

Both sides are tonally correct, Tubey Magical and above all natural. The timbre of each and every instrument is right and it doesn’t take a pair of golden ears to hear it.

It’s also big, clear and balanced, with an especially sweet, rich, tubey sax for Cannonball’s solos — what a sound! So high-resolution too. The top extends beautifully on this copy, and that was not true for most of what we played.

If you love ’50s and ’60s jazz you cannot go wrong here. (more…)

Cannonball Adderley – African Waltz

More Cannonball Adderley

xxxxx

  • With a seriously good Double Plus (A++) side one and a side two that’s close to it, this early Black Label stereo pressing has plenty of analog magic in its grooves
  • ALIVE with musical energy, there’s also plenty of space for the players to occupy, a quality vital to this big group’s big sound
  • “The surging, compelling, thoroughly earthy sound of this orchestra, led by CANNONBALL ADDERLEY and including as impressive a roster of jazz stars as has ever been assembled, has already been responsible for a major breakthrough on the musical front… Quickly and enthusiastically accepted by a wide public, it leaped almost overnight into the bestseller category.

Vintage original covers for this album are hard to find in clean shape. Most of them will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG, and it will probably be VG+. If you are picky about your covers please let us know in advance so that we can be sure we have a nice cover for you. (more…)

Cannonball Adderley – In the Land of Hi-Fi

xxxxx

  • Adderley’s fourth studio album makes its Hot Stamper debut here with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side one mated to an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side two
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more richness, presence and performance energy on this Hot Stamper pressing than on anything you’ve ever heard
  • Big Group energy and enthusiasm is key to the better pressings like this one – here you will find the most natural sounding ambience of any of the copies in our shootout
  • This one has most everything going for it, with bass, dynamics, clarity, top end extension and more – it’s a real Demo Disc, make no mistake about it

(more…)

Letter of the Week – “The sound just LEAPS out of the system. I’m not kidding, it literally JUMPS from the speakers, smooth, clean, big, bold and beautiful.”

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Holy Moly Fellows!

I’m playing through my most recent Better Records Short Stack ™. First up, Somethin’ Else by Cannonball and Bill, followed by Sinatra’s Strangers in the Night.

Man. The sound just LEAPS out of the system. I’m not kidding, it literally JUMPS from the speakers, smooth, clean, big, bold and beautiful. Did someone play with the volume? Did I change the gain? No man! These records just sound FANTASTIC!

Thank you gentlemen. Happy New Year!

Doug H

Doug,

Thanks for writing. There is a reason that on every listing we put this boilerplate in the body of the text:

What We’re Listening For on Record X

    • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
    • Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them
    • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
    • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
    • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
    • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
    • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Exactly right: We want our records to have presence and energy, to be big and bold and jump out of the speakers.

This is the opposite of what everyone who stuck in the world of Heavy Vinyl is hearing. Virtually all of those records are veiled, recessed and compressed.

Who on earth wants that sound?  It’s beyond our understanding how it is that so many audiophiles cannot tell the difference between a good record and the lousy sounding crap they are making today.

Thanks for your letter. Glad you liked our Hot Stamper pressings as much as we did.

TP

(more…)