The best copies of a certain small, select group of reissues sound like the vintage jazz albums they are attempting to 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 Night Hawk we simply have never seen an original stereo copy clean enough to buy, so we have no actual, physical reference for what an original would sound like.
That said, having critically auditioned literally thousands of vintage jazz records over the course of the last few decades, including hundreds recorded by Rudy Van Gelder like this one, we’re pretty confidant we know what the good ones are supposed to sound like.
And they sound just like the best copies of the very pressing we are offering here.
What to Listen For
The best copies are rich and tubey; many pressings were thin and modern sounding, some were opaque and recessed, and they would lose a lot of points for those shortcomings. We want our Hot Stamper pressings to sound like something RVG recorded in 1961, and the best copies give you that sound, without the surface noise and groove damage the originals doubtless have to offer.
Copies with rich lower mids did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all, by the thousands in fact.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Smear is common to most records, and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
The Players and Personnel
Bass – Ron Carter
Drums – Gus Johnson
Piano – Tommy Flanagan
Recorded By – Rudy Van Gelder
Tenor Saxophone – Coleman Hawkins
Tenor Saxophone – Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis