Top Artists – Coleman Hawkins

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…)

Shelly Manne – 2-3-4

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  • This superb 1962 release boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) stereo sound from first note to last
  • Huge, Tubey Magical and lively, with solid weight for Manne’s kick and lots of space around all the other instruments, this Van Gelder recording is guaranteed to fill your listening room with brilliant modern jazz music
  • Shelly Manne is one of our favorite drummers – here he reunites with the great Coleman Hawkins, as well as Hank Jones, Eddie Costa and George Duvivier
  • 4 stars: “This unusual set has five selections from a date featuring the great tenor Coleman Hawkins, pianist Hank Jones, bassist George Duvivier, and drummer Shelly Manne… A very interesting set with more than its share of surprises.”

For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are wonderful. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good a 1962 All Tube Analog Impulse recording can sound, this killer copy will do the trick. (more…)

Coleman Hawkins – Coleman Hawkins All Stars

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  • This vintage pressing of Hawkins’ 1960 release boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • If you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of this wonderful session from 1960 recorded by none other than Rudy Van Gelder, this very pressing is the way to go
  • “Hawkins proves again and again why his sound is not only the epitome of jazz, but forever timeless… The demonstrative yet subtle Hawkins is in full flight here, with the equally elegant Thomas and naturally subdued Dickenson in lock step. What a joy they must have been to hear together at a club or concert date, if in fact it happened in this small-group setting.”

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Coleman Hawkins – Hawkins! Alive! At the Village Gate

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  • This superb live album makes its Hot Stamper debut with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two mated with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on side one
  • Tubier, more present, more alive, with more of that “jumpin’ out of the speakers” quality that only The Real Thing (an old record) ever has
  • 4 stars: “The great Hawkins (who debuted on records 40 years earlier) gets to stretch out on this live outing by his 1962 quartet (which also features pianist Tommy Flanagan).”

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Coleman Hawkins – Today and Now

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  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last on this superbly engineered recording by Rudy Van Gelder
  • This vintage Impulse stereo LP has plenty of Tubey Magic and driving energy – we expect nothing less from RVG in 1962, and this pressing delivers
  • Tommy Flanagan on piano provides fine support for Mr. Hawkins’ breathy stylings – both Down Beat and Allmusic awarded Today and Now 4 Stars!

We love the Tubey Magical breathy/reedy style of Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. It seems that only the best early vinyl pressings manage to reproduce it properly. The CDs we’ve played over the years have had a tough time finding the richness in the sound; they end up being at least somewhat dry and hard, and that is simply not the right sound for this music.

Although we have a tough time finding clean copies of their 50+ year old albums (this is the first copy we’ve offered in more than 3 years), the sound Rudy Van Gelder managed to get on tape almost always makes it more than worth our while to play their records. There are literally hundreds of classic jazz records from the early ’60s that are as good as this one, if only we could find them in audiophile playing condition. We’re certainly glad we found this one. There’s not a false note or a bad track on it.

This is one of the better sounding Hawkins albums we’ve played in a while. Some of the reasons why:

Note the clear, extended top end right from the get-go on side one. The second track, a ballad, is where Coleman Hawkins really shines. (more…)

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…)

Coleman Hawkins – Hawk Eyes

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This Saxophone Ballad session from 1960 has to be seen as yet another recording triumph for Rudy Van Gelder  

The best pressings of these OJC and Prestige reissues from the ’70s and ’80s sound like the vintage jazz albums they 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 Hawk Eyes we simply have never seen an original copy clean enough to buy, so we have no reference for what an original would sound like.

That said, having critically auditioned literally hundreds and hundreds of vintage jazz records over the course of the last few years, we’re pretty confidant we know what they are supposed to sound like.

And they sound just like the best copies of this very pressing. (more…)

Benny Carter – Further Definitions

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  • KILLER sound throughout for this original Impulse stereo pressing with each side earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • These sides are clean, clear, spacious and natural, yet overflowing with the rich, Tubey Magical sound of vintage ANALOG
  • There’s not a chance in the world the current 180 gram reissue can hold a candle to this early stereo pressing 
  • 5 stars: “The all-star group (which also includes Hawkins, altoist Phil Woods, Charlie Rouse on second tenor, pianist Dick Katz, guitarist John Collins, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Jo Jones) performs a particularly inspired repertoire. Carter’s charts, which allow Hawkins to stretch out on “Body and Soul,” give everyone a chance to shine. …Very highly recommended.”

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Sonny Rollins & Coleman Hawkins – Sonny Meets Hawk – Great in Stereo

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Sonny Meets Hawk

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This is a TOP SHELF pressing, one of the most exciting jazz records we’ve heard in some time! We dropped the needle on side one of this RCA stereo pressing and were FLOORED. After evaluating it completely and awarding it our top grade of A+++, we flipped and were blown away to find that side two was every bit as good. And to top it all off, the vinyl plays quietly throughout. 

Think about this — due to the nature of our business we play tons of jazz vinyl every week, multiple pressings of multiple albums. And this record completely knocked us out.

If you’re a fan of classic jazz and superb sound, wouldn’t you like to hear what this one does on your system? (more…)

Sonny Rollins & Coleman Hawkins – Sonny Meets Hawk – Great in Mono

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Sonny Meets Hawk

WONDERFUL SOUND AND MUSIC! It is ridiculously tough to find copies of this album with good sound and quiet surfaces, but this pressing is a MONSTER. We’re generally not big fans of Mono recordings, but for this music it is really doing the job. It gives you mindblowing presence to the brass and real weight to the bottom end. 

Side one is KILLER. I don’t know what you could do to this music to make it sound any better than it does here. It’s super transparent with BIG TIME immediacy. The brass is rich and full with lots of breath, and the bass is DEEP and TIGHT. Listen to how silky sweet the top end sounds; the cymbals are Right On The Money.

Side two is excellent as well, but lacks a slight degree of extension up top. The presence and immediacy are EXCELLENT. (more…)