Top Artists – Jimmy Smith

Jimmy Smith – Bashin’

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  • An outstanding copy of this Big Band Jazz classic led by Jimmy Smith with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
  • If you own only one Jimmy Smith album, make it this one – with Oliver Nelson’s arrangements ferociously blasting away, at good loud levels the first side here has the power to swing like you will not believe
  • 5 stars: “On the first half of the program, Smith was for the first time joined by a big band. Oliver Nelson provided the arrangements, trumpeter Joe Newman and altoist Phil Woods have a solo apiece, and “Walk on the Wild Side” became Smith’s biggest hit up to that point.”

*NOTE On side one, a mark makes very light intermittent ticks through Track 3, Should I Stay or Should I Go.

This is tube mastering at its finest. Not many vintage tube-mastered records manage to balance all the sonic elements as correctly as this copy does.

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

Jimmy Smith – At Club Baby Grand

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  • Jimmy’s superb live release from 1956 makes its Hot Stamper debut here with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from top to bottom
  • A killer early mono pressing, with a strong bottom end, lovely richness and warmth, real space and separation between the instruments, and wonderful immediacy throughout
  • There is a mark that makes 25 pops, which would be a deal killer if this record were not so rare and so good – it’s literally the first copy we’ve ever found that could be played on an audiophile turntable
  • Credit goes to Rudy Van Gelder once again for the huge space this superbly well-recorded trio occupies
  • “It’s all Jimmy Smith in full flight, bubbling over with cascading notes and breathless detours, and if his studio work is generally more structured and considered (but only a little more so), this set shows him in what was his natural habitat, astounding an audience in a small club.”

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Kenny Burrell and Jimmy Smith – Blue Bash!

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  • This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) grades from start to finish
  • With richness, clarity, space and timbral accuracy, this is guaranteed to be one of the best sounding bluesy jazz records you’ve heard in a while
  • Val Valentin, Phil Ramone and Rudy Van Gelder engineered, and the results are every bit as good as you would expect from these pros, assuming you have a vintage stereo copy that sounds like this one
  • 5 stars: “Kenny Burrell’s smooth, tasteful guitar greatness and Jimmy Smith’s intense, fire breathing approach on the Hammond B-3 had been complementing in sheer harmony between each other since the two jazz masters first recorded together in 1957, until they decided to record this superb duet album in July of 1963.”

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Blue Note – Bucket!

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  • An outstanding vintage Blue Note pressing, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – mostly quiet vinyl too
  • This copy is spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience
  • A trio date, with just organ, guitar and drums, the grouping that Smith pioneered – nobody does it better
  • This album is a little more mellow than others I have heard. It’s very relaxed and enjoyable. Highly recommended

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Jimmy Smith – Got My Mojo Workin’

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  • With Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides, this copy handily won our shootout
  • The best sides have the kind of analog richness, warmth and smoothness that we make listening to records so involving
  • Some pop tunes, some Ellington and more, all of which has a real funky feel to it, with Jimmy really getting into it and grunting along with the music
  • “This 1965 Verve release finds the B-3 innovator mixing it up with organ and guitar combo swingers and big band charts compliments of arranger Oliver Nelson.”

This copy was just plain bigger and richer and tubier, as well as more dynamic than the others we played! (more…)

Jimmy Smith – Open House

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  • Open House makes its Hot Stamper debut here with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish  
  • An RVG live-in-the-studio recording from 1960 is hard to beat for you-are-there immediacy, and this pressing delivers that quality like no other copy you’ve heard – we guarantee it
  • We wish more records had this kind of sound – natural, full-bodied, and REAL in a way that no modern Heavy Vinyl pressing seems to be
  • 4 1/2 stars: “For this superlative outing, the innovative organist is teamed with trumpeter Blue Mitchell, altoist Jackie McLean, tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec, and his regular sidemen. The musicians all seem to be inspired by each other’s presence, making this a highly recommended set for straight-ahead jazz collectors”

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Jimmy Smith – Back at the Chicken Shack

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  • Back at the Chicken Shack makes its Hot Stamper debut here with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on this New York label mono pressing
  • Joining Jimmy Smith is one of our favorite bluesy sax players, Stanley Turrentine – just play Kenny Burrell’s Midnight Blue to hear him at this best, and Burrell is especially good here too
  • Credit must go to Rudy Van Gelder once again for the huge space this superbly well-recorded quartet occupies
  • 5 stars: “Recorded in 1960 with Kenny Burrell on guitar, Donald Bailey on drums, and Turrentine, the group reaches the peak of funky soul jazz that all other challengers of the genre would have to live up to.”

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Jimmy Smith – Got My Mojo Workin’ – Reviewed in 2010

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Verve Stereo LP with RVG Stampers and very good sound. This album has that analog richness, warmth and smoothness that we prize so highly here at Better Records. Jimmy does some pop tunes, some Ellington and more on this one, which has a real funky feel to it, with Jimmy really getting into it and grunting along with the music in places.

This copy (especially on side one) was just plain bigger and richer and tubier, as well as more dynamic than the others we played. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Stanley Turrentine and Jimmy Smith

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom,  

About the only good thing I can say during the time of “COVID” is that I have been listening to a lot of music. Well today I ran my first shootout. I was listening to The Incredible Jimmy Smith, Back At The Chicken Shack.

First, I played the title track from side one on the LP I have had in my collection for about 5 years. I know every note and just love this record. Then, I played my Better Records copy, same track.

To anyone who does not understand what a hot stamper actually is, I feel sorry for you. Those folks are missing out.

First, the immediacy or the presence of the music on the disk I bought from you was an order of magnitude better than my library version. It was also just flat out louder.

Stanley Turrentine’s playing was alive in way I’ve never truly heard before. Jimmy Smith’s solo’s were absolutely stunning. As I said, I know every note and yet it was like a new listening experience.

I think about all the thousands of dollars people spend on gear but ultimately what’s the point if your source material is compromised ? I know I am preaching to the choir with you but I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate what you’ve figured out and made available to people like me.

Thanks so much and take care.

Art


Stanley Turrentine

Jimmy Smith

Jimmy Smith – Prayer Meetin’

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  • The wonderful Prayer Meetin’ makes its Hot Stamper debut here with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from first note to last
  • Rich, smooth and Tubey Magical, this pressing was simply more ALIVE and musically involving than the others we played
  • Turrentine is one of our favorite bluesy sax players – just play Kenny Burrell’s Midnight Blue to hear him at this best, and he is especially good here too
  • Credit must go to Rudy Van Gelder once again for the huge space this superbly well-recorded quartet occupies
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Prayer Meetin’ is a delight from start to finish. Forming a perfect closure to Smith’s trio of albums with Turrentine… The blues roots are obvious here, and the Smith-penned title track might even be called jazz-gospel…

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