Top Artists – Clark Terry

Back In Bean’s Bag on Classic Records LP Sounds Pretty Good

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Sonic Grade: B

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.


FURTHER READING

Classic Records – Classical

Classic Records – Jazz 

Classic Records – Rock and Pop  (more…)

J.J. Johnson – J.J.!

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  • J.J. Johnson makes his Hot Stamper debut with this SUPERB copy of J.J.! – Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • The sound is big, lively, open and clear with Tubey Magical richness that only the best of the best vintage pressings can show you
  • Features a lineup of top-notch talent, including Clark Terry, Oliver Nelson, Hank Jones, as well as quite a few others – plenty of reeds, a French Horn, a tuba and more are here
  • 4 stars: “J.J.! is considered to be J.J. Johnson’s first big-band album, at least as a leader… The music is solidly played,… modern forward-looking mainstream jazz that features Johnson in excellent form.”

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Gary McFarland & Co./Clark Terry – Tijuana Jazz

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  • Tijuana Jazz finally arrives on the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last – mostly quiet vinyl too
  • The superb eclectic jazz sound here is big and rich, yet still clean, clear and open with good energy, space, and ambience
  • Terry and McFarland combine the Mexican milieu and jazz with warmth and whimsy – Toots Thielemans on harmonica is a nice addition to the festivities
  • “Marimbas, sexy rhythms, perfectly buffered horn arrangements cover this album, and the results are like sitting by a fire on a dark night, cold outside but comforted, completely snug, and watching the flames dance.”

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Coleman Hawkins and Clark Terry – Back In Bean’s Bag

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  • With two nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sides, this copy is close to the BEST we have ever heard, right up there with our Shootout Winner
  • All Tube, Live in the Studio Columbia Sound from 1962 – sound like this makes a mockery of most jazz recordings, and don’t get me started on the sham Heavy Vinyl LPs flooding the market with one mediocrity after another
  • What a swingin’ group – there is simply not a false step to be found anywhere on either side of this wonderful record
  • “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”… but Hawkins’s playing (particularly on the trumpeter’s ballad “Michelle”) is also in fine form.”

These Nearly White Hot Stamper pressings have top-quality sound that’s often surprisingly close to our White Hots, but they sell at substantial discounts to our Shootout Winners, making them a relative bargain in the world of Hot Stampers (“relative” meaning relative considering the kinds of prices we charge). We feel you get what you pay for here at Better Records, and if ever you don’t agree, please feel free to return the record for a full refund, no questions asked.


*NOTE: On side two, a mark makes 20 moderate to light ticks and pops one-half inch into Track 2.

For those of you who appreciate the remarkable sound quality that Columbia’s engineers were able to achieve in the ’50s and ’60s, this LP is a Must-Own.

This vintage “360 Sound” Columbia Stereo has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound. (more…)

Ed Thigpen – Out Of The Storm

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  • Ed Thigpen arrives on the site with this STUNNING copy of his debut album, boasting Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from start to finish
  • Lively, dynamic, transparent, spacious and musical throughout – you won’t believe how good this Jazz Classic from 1966 sounds
  • Superb engineering by Rudy Van Gelder – Out of the Storm features jazz legends Clark Terry, Kenny Burrell, Herbie Hancock, and Ron Carter
  • 4 stars: “Drummer Ed Thigpen’s first album as a leader… Although not soloing much, Thigpen wrote three of the seven selections and occasionally played tuned drums, which sound a little bit like timbales… the performances are enjoyable.”  

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Terry, Hubbard, Gillespie, & Peterson – The Alternate Blues – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

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The Alternate Blues

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

With Hot Stamper sound on both sides, this Pablo disc shows you what three of the greatest trumpeters of the last fifty years can do given the opportunity, nay, the encouragement, to let loose on a handful of classic slow blues jams. Many of the tracks here run in excess of eight minutes, giving the players plenty of space to explore, yet practically all of them are taken at a fairly slow pace, what used to be called a “slow drag”, making them that much more involving and emotional. These are not your classic “blowing sessions” where the players try to outdo each other. No, this is something quite different.

Norman Granz revered the classic “jam session”, of which this is a prime example; he produced dozens for the various labels he owned over the years. Playing this album we can see why. The heart of the blues is here in every measure.

Clark Terry is joined here by Freddie Hubbard and Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet, with strong support from Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Joe Pass and Bobby Durham on drums.

The album was recorded in 1980 by Dennis Sands, one of my favorite Pablo recording engineers, the man behind the brilliant Farmer’s Market Barbecue and many others. (Soon enough he crossed over to films and has done the sound for more than 250 to date. He must be pretty good to get that much work, and you can be sure he makes a lot more money for his film work than he would for recording jazz dates.) (more…)

Chico Hamilton – The Further Adventures of El Chico

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The Further Adventures of El Chico

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  • Insanely good Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish and the first copy to ever hit the site! 
  • These sides, recorded brilliantly by one of our favorite engineers, Bob Simpson, are big, full-bodied and present, with plenty of Tubey Magic and set on a a huge, three-dimensional soundstage
  • The record features the amazing Gabor Szabo along with other top players like Clark Terry and Ron Carter
  • Great pop jazz with excellent sound; if you’re a fan of Gabor Szabo, this music will be right up your alley

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Gary Burton – Who Is Gary Burton?

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Who Is Gary Burton?

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  • Burton’s sophomore release finally arrives on the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last   
  • This is vintage 1963 Living Stereo sound at its best – big, rich, relaxed, tonally correct and full of Tubey Magic – thanks Ray Hall!
  • In this stellar septet, Burton includes veteran musicians Clark Terry, Phil Woods, and Joe Morello, as well as Tommy Flanagan
  • 4 stars: “The playlist is anything but predictable… Although Burton is obviously a very confident soloist, he feels no need to hog the spotlight (a common mistake by young jazz musicians in later decades), as he is happy to step back and let the veterans take center stage.”

Most of the vinyl plays a bit better than the grades above. Few Living Stereo originals are going to be as quiet as this one (more…)

Clark Terry – The Happy Horns of Clark Terry

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  • Clark Terry’s three horn lineup album finally arrives on the site with stunning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from beginning to end AND exceptionally quiet vinyl 
  • Big and lively, rich and full, no other copy in our shootout impressed us the way this killer pressing did
  • Credit goes to Rudy Van Gelder once again for the huge space this superbly well-recorded ensemble occupies
  • 4 stars: “This all-star LP has plenty of memorable moments… The lively music is quite enjoyable.”

We dropped the needle on a copy of the album a few months back and immediately we knew it would be a record worthy of a shootout – the sound was big and lively in the best tradition of Rudy Van Gelder’s recordings from the mid-’60s. His sound is the right sound for this style of music, that’s for damn sure. (more…)

Ray Brown / Milt Jackson

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

This Minty Verve LP with the old style paste-on back cover sounds great! Big sounding ’60s jazz with lively arrangements from Oliver Nelson and Jimmy Heath. Clark Terry’s trumpet and flugelhorn contributions play a major role in the festivities. This is cool, swinging ’60’s jazz at its best! 

A lot of Verve records from this era are poorly mastered, but this one sounds just right to us.

A 4 1/2 Star Album in the All Music Guide!