Top Artists – Cannonball Adderley

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

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

Letter of the Week – Digital Masters used in new vinyls strangle the sound at birth…

 

Hey Tom, 

I found out from buying into these and older Mobile Fidelity’s… New pressed vinyls… The sound left me cold… Didn’t have the warmth or integrity of the intended sound we all grew up on… And how the engineers and producers wanted us to hear them…

Digital Masters used in new vinyls IMO strangle the sound at birth… They give a lifeless sound that is rather like a CD, flat in its presentation without natural warmth, timbre.. Wooden instruments don’t sound wooden, brass doesn’t sound like brass… piano, the hardest instrument to reproduce other than the full tonal range of the human voice, that doesn’t sound the same in digital…

The FANCY term applied as a Sales Gimmick…the Magic of REMASTERED…means Jack Shit in reality, when worked in the digital domain… from digital masters! Give me analog every time!

Have you noticed how the Music Industry has now begun to go Back to full Analog chain/recording again? The trend is beginning to happen with a number of new recordings specified by the artists or producers… They recognize the power of a better sound captured in the analog process…

For me, original 50s, 60s and 70s music is preferred on first or often better ED2 pressings and wax which was quieter by the mid 70s early 80s..

The MORE I buy and listen to the HOT STAMPERS !the more I value the work and dedication you guts provide! There is no ‘bullshit’ at work here! The concept you have is CLEARLY AND DEMONSTRABLY PROVEN to anyone with a pair of ears willing to listen!

Even better… you don’t even NEED a Top End $10-20,000 record deck/cartridge to FULLY appreciate it… a quality Hi-Fi set up will STILL give you that same difference!

Even with a Hot Stamper in a condition with a little surface noise, clicks etc… the Magical sound overpowers any minor age related faults of the disc to render a beguiling listening experience!

PRICELESS hearing favourite albums in a NEW and hugely better way with the Sound itself being the ONLY CONSIDERATION Compared to a Bog Standard pressing…

Often as you have seen in recent times, I have upgraded Fave albums with TOP 3 Star Best Hot STAMPERS you have when available… replacing cheaper ones I bought 7-8 years ago! (more…)

Cannonball Adderley – Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

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  • With a Triple Plus (A+++) Shootout Winning side one and a superb Double Plus (A++) side two, this pressing one of Adderley’s most enjoyable albums will be very hard to beat
  • The sound here is bigger and livelier than practically any other we played – above all it’s balanced, avoiding the tonality issues we heard on so many other pressings
  • Joe Zawinul (Weather Report) wrote the title song, which became a big hit for Adderley (and later The Buckinghams), and he plays on the album
  • 5 Stars: “Adderley’s irrepressible exuberance was a major part of his popularity, and no document captures that quality as well — or with such tremendous musical rewards — as Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.”

Don’t worry about surface noise on this copy. With the audience making so much noise, you’ll never get a chance to hear it. If you do it will be barely audible under the music and crowd sounds.

I dropped the needle on a copy of this record a year or so ago and heard amazing you-are-there live jazz club sound, and, more importantly, a hot session from one of our favorite saxophone players of all time, the man who contributed mightily to the likes of Kind of Blue, Somethin’ Else, Know What I Mean? and many more. For an Alto player Cannonball is just about as good as it gets.

Fast forward one year and we now have in our possession enough copies to do a proper shootout – originals and reissues on a variety of labels.

These were of course two of the best sides we played. They’re big, rich and natural. The music does manage to sound like a live club, even though it’s live in the studio, playing to an audience. (The AMG review has more on that.)

For mainstream jazz it’s hard to think of any album on our site that would be more enjoyable. (more…)

Kenny Dorham / Cannonball Adderley – Blue Spring

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  • Dorham and Adderley’s 1959 collaboration finally arrives on the site with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two with an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side one 
  • This superb recording is huge and lively with startling dynamics and in-the-room-presence like nothing you’ve heard
  • The trumpet and saxophone are so full-bodied and Tubey Magical you won’t believe it – where is that sound today?
  • 4 stars: “The set features plenty of Dorham’s varied and sophisticated horn work and four of his top-drawer originals. The theme is spring… Essential listening for Dorham fans.”

*CONDITION NOTES:

  • On side two, A mark makes 10 moderately light to light ticks three-quarter inches into track 3, Passion Spring.

To find a clean, 1959 Riverside pressing on the early Blue Label with vinyl any quieter and no groove damage whatsoever strikes us as practically impossible. This is the first pressing in audiophile playing quality we have ever seen, and we may never see its like again.

Jack Higgins was the engineer for these sessions. He recorded Chet Baker’s brilliant Chet album the same year, as well as another favorite of ours here at Better Records, Wynton Kelly’s wonderful (and very good sounding on ’80s OJC) Kelly Blue. (more…)

Miles Davis – Jazz Track

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  • Davis’ superb 1959 release arrives on the site with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Davis partners here with jazz greats, including John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley and others
  • “… it should become clear why ‘Jazz Track’ is a vital Miles album as well as a testimony to the importance of the movies to jazz–as a medium for improvised soundtracks and, more importantly, as a source of theme music potentially as rich as the music of Broadway…”
  • “It’s doubtful that “On Green Dolphin Street” and “Stella by Starlight” would have caught on without Bill [Evans’] artistry (which is not to take anything away from Red [Garland], whose ballads simply lacked the intricate, delicately shaded beauty of Bill’s pensive voicings on the slow ballads).”

We had a number of original pressings on hand, some costing a pretty penny, but this is the only one that did not have serious scratches or inner groove damage. The vinyl is not quiet, but the tics stay mainly underneath the music. If for any reason you are not happy with the sound or condition of the album we are of course happy to take it back for a full refund, including the domestic return postage.


The nine minute plus long Green Dolphin Street that opens side two is nothing short of amazing, some of the coolest jazz you will ever hear, on any record, at any price. With Stella by Starlight and Fran Dance on the same side, that gives you about 20 minutes of great sounding jazz by Miles’ classic Kind of Blue lineup. (more…)

Cannonball Adderley – Domination

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  • A KILLER original stereo pressing with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it – exceptionally quiet vinyl too 
  • This is an AMAZINGLY well-recorded album – big, rich, and positively exploding with the fun jazz energy Adderley is known for
  • And don’t forget Oliver Nelson’s swinging arrangements for this group, surely a match made in Heaven
  • Why isn’t this LP better known? It’s one of the best jazz albums we’ve “discovered” recently, with the Big Sound we Big Speaker guys flip for
  • “Both Adderleys feature through a series of monumental sounding charts by Oliver Nelson on some very enterprising material.”

(more…)

Cannonball Adderley and His Orchestra – African Waltz

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame

This copy of Cannonball’s crazy-fun 1961 album offers outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or better. 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.

This vintage pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot begin to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing any sign of coming back.

Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real Cannonball Adderley and his orchestra playing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that. (more…)

Cannonball Adderley – Somethin’ Else – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

More Miles Davis / More Cannonball Adderley

More Somethin’ Else

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

A+++ SOUND, giving you a KILLER copy of one of the most beloved Blue Note albums ever! The music here is stunning — 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.  

You will not believe the energy, presence and amazing transparency you get on this monster pressing without sacrificing the relaxed quality this music requires. This is a record we could play every week and never tire of. I just don’t think jazz music gets much better than this!

The Big Sound

Superb clarity and dynamics, excellent presence, full extension on bottom and top — if it’s a quality we prize, it’s here on these White Hot sides. The soundstage is huge and transparent, with the kind of separation between parts that really puts the players right there in your listening room. WOW! (more…)

Cannonball Adderley – Jump For Joy

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  • An incredible sounding copy – this early stereo pressing boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish 
  • We were knocked out by the Tubey Magical midrange of this killer original, with all the saxophone’s breath and bite you would expect to hear on an All Tube affair from 1958
  • This is precisely what is sure to be missing from whatever reissue has been made from the tapes (or, to be clear, a modern digital master copied from who-knows-what-tapes)
  • “Jump for Joy is Adderley’s reinterpretation of a Duke Ellington stage musical from 1941… Hearing Adderley’s often thrilling, always well-constructed alto sax improvisations over tunes like “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good” is reason enough for the album to exist…”

With Bill Evans on piano no less! (more…)

Cannonball Adderley – Somethin’ Else – Classic Records Reviewed

More Cannonball Adderley / More Miles Davis

More Somethin’ Else

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Sonic Grade: C

Another Classic Records LP reviewed.

There are certainly some incredible sounding original pressings of this album out there, but who has the resources it takes to find one? Most of the original Blue Notes we come across these days turn out to have mediocre sound, and many of them have severely damaged inner grooves. Even the mintiest looking copies often turn out to be too noisy for most audiophiles, Blue Note vinyl being what it is.

This is of course why the hacks at Classic Records did so well for themselves [until they went under] hawking remastered versions of classic albums pressed on new, quieter vinyl.

The problem there is that most of their stuff just doesn’t sound all that hot, this album included.

We’ve played it; it’s decent, but any Hot Stamper will show you just how much music you are missing. (more…)