This superb 1958 stereo LP boasts two Triple Plus (A+++) sides – the sound of this copy simply cannot be beat
It’s big, lively, tubey, present and very transparent – nothing we played could compete with it
A great Rudy Van Gelder recording that hits a whole nother level on a copy like this
4 stars on Allmusic: “…captures Coltrane at the height of perfecting the intense volley that would garner the name ‘sheets of sound.’ “
A killer copy of this wonderful 1958 Coltrane album, unbeatable on either side! We heard one that blew us away a few years big, so we picked up a bunch more and finally had the chance to evaluate them. The music was always enjoyable, but on a copy like this things really get going. Coltrane is joined here by Donald Byrd, Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Art Taylor — a top lineup, the same crew behind the great Lush Life.(more…)
Tjader’s 1965 Latin Cool Jazz release – dubbed “Mambo Without a Migraine” – arrives with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A++) sound throughout
Rich, smooth and Tubey Magical, this pressing was simply bigger, livelier and more palpable than any of the other copies we played
Superb engineering by Rudy Van Gelder – Soul Sauce features jazz legends Kenny Burrell, Donald Byrd, and Jimmy Heath
4 stars: “Soul Sauce is one of the highlights from Tjader’s catalog with its appealing mixture of mambo, samba, bolero, and boogaloo styles… he dodged the “Latin lounge” label with an album full of smart arrangements, subtly provocative vibe solos, and intricate percussion backing.”
Donald Byrd’s 1975 release makes its Hot Stamper debut with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from top to bottom
Byrd’s trumpet sounds wonderful here, with just the right amount of bite – credit must go to Val Garay and Dave Hassinger (among others), two of our favorite engineers working at The Sound Factory
4 stars: “… maybe some of those who sniffed at the straightforward nature of some of the rhythms and riffing were won over by the supreme layering of the many components (the way in which “Think Twice” lurches forward, peels back, and gathers steam is nothing short of heavenly), not to mention some deeply evocative playing from Byrd himself.”
Incredible sound throughout for this later Blue Note pressing with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades
Both of these sides are clean, clear and natural sounding with a lovely bottom end and lots of space around all of the players
Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout — Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Donald Byrd’s transitional sessions from 1969-1971 are actually some of the trumpeter’s most intriguing work, balancing accessible, funky, Davis-style fusion with legitimate jazz improvisation. Electric Byrd, from 1970, is the best of the bunch, as Byrd absorbs the innovations of Bitches Brew and comes up with one of his most consistent fusion sets of any flavor… indisputably challenging, high-quality fusion.” – 4 1/2 Stars
A superb sounding copy of Royal Flush, with both sides earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades or very close to them
Remarkable Tubey Magical richness, as well as the kind of immediacy and transparency that few copies have – all qualities essential to reproducing both the trumpet and the baritone sax with exceptional fidelity
Byrd’s trumpet sounds wonderful here, with just the right amount of bite
“Donald Byrd was at his peak as a straight-ahead hard bop band leader in the early ’60s, turning a series of remarkably solid, enjoyable sessions for Blue Note. Royal Flush is no exception to the rule.”
If you like your jazz to sound BIG, BOLD and DYNAMIC, this is the record for you my friend. This one’s got that jumpin’-outta-the-speakers quality — but never in a forced or phony way — that we love so much about the better copies of Dexter Gordon’s One Flight Up.
Play Shangri-La on side two and prepare to be blown away. Billy Higgins is busting out some seriously heavy staccato snare drum work, and on a copy with superb presence like this one, those big snare thwacks are gonna hit you right in the gut and leave you begging for mercy.
I defy anyone to find a Heavy Vinyl Blue Note reissue with this kind of life and energy.(more…)
This pressing of Donald Byrd’s brilliant 1962 release boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last – fairly quiet vinyl too
Credit must go to Rudy Van Gelder once again for capturing the jazz energy of this superbly sympathetic ensemble
These sides are lively and fun, with the kind of sound RVG managed pretty consistently to get on tape
4 stars: “Donald Byrd and baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams worked together on several recordings between 1958 and 1961, and The Cat Walk (released on LP in 1962) is among the best. Byrd’s playing throughout is typically sleek and lyrical, and Adams’ sturdy, husky baritone sound is the perfect counterbalance, making The Cat Walk an essential Byrd purchase.”
TWO KILLER SIDES, dramatically better sounding than the other copies we played it against. Both sides here are incredible — rich and warm with a huge bottom end and lots of space around the instruments. About as quiet as they come, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout.
We’ve been saving up copies of this album for years in hopes we could find a top copy to put on the site; we were pleasantly surprised to find one this good on an early label with decent vinyl.
This is a great album, with a killer lineup that includes Grant Green, Donald Byrd, Tony Williams, Hank Mobley and more. If you’re a fan of Herbie’s debut album Takin’ Off, you’ll find much to like here. The typical pressing leaves much to be desired though — many copies we’ve played sounded a bit hollow and flat. Hot Stamper copies give you richer, fuller sound and more energy, qualities that really help this music shine.(more…)