Presenting yet another amazingly well recorded Count Basie album, with STUNNING Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout
It’s bigger, richer, more Tubey Magical, with more extension on both ends of the spectrum than every other other copy we played
A different sound for Basie, a small group setting with two of his favorite players at his side: Milt Jackson on vibes and Joe Pass on guitar
“The predictably excellent group performs spirited versions of some of Basie’s “hits” (including “Jive at Five” and “One O’Clock Jump”), some blues and a few standards. It is always interesting to hear Basie in a hornless setting like this one where he gets opportunities to stretch out on the piano.”
Only recently did I become familiar with this record, released in 1981 from sessions recorded in 1977. We pick up all the Pablo Basie titles we can get our hands on these days. When we dropped the needle on a copy of the album we were amazed at the sound. Don’t know much about the engineer — Geoff Sykes — but he did a great job working at Kendun for this session.
This was the first of a series of smaller ensemble recordings under the heading of Kansas City. We have more coming, including the superb Kansas City piano trio album entitled “For the Second Time” with Louis Bellson and Ray Brown, a record that can have superb sound on the Pablo pressing (but steer clear of the OJC which is thin and opaque, the opposite of the sound you want).
With such a small group and no horn players there is much more room for interplay between Basie and either Pass or Jackson. As the liner notes make clear, both vets quickly adapted their playing styles to the laidback Count Basie approach to the blues. If you are in the market for some smooth Basie grooves with exceptionally good sound, this one should be right up your alley.(more…)
If you made the mistake of buying the atrocious Anadisq pressing MoFi put out in the ’90s, our Hot Stamper pressings will let you hear what a wonderful recording Val Valentin cooked up with these cats back in the day.
This original Atlantic stereo pressing has Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days (as well as the early mono pressings) – if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of this wonderful album from 1959, a vintage pressing like this one is the only way to go
“Jackson is partnered alternately with Frank Wess and Bobby Jaspar — two of the leading pioneers that helped bring the flute into the mainstream of jazz. For these performances, the rhythm section blends and balances superbly, creating supple, meaty, hard bopping grooves for Jackson’s limitless capacity for invention and for the stellar, swinging performances of Jaspar and Wess.”
You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound and fairly quiet vinyl on both sides of this is a killer live jazz album from Shelly’s Manne-Hole
Big, rich and real, with the kind of relaxed Tubey Magical sound that not many live albums achieve
Wally Heider engineered and he knocked it out of the park – You Are There, and even better, it’s 1969
“This is not experimental jazz. It’s beyond that, or as they say in New York, outside that. This is solid, rooted, sweet-smelling earth of an enduring style, as played by masters.”
We dropped the needle on a copy of this record last year and could hardly believe how good it sounded. So rich, so tubey, so big and clear – this is one of the best Impulse records we have played in a very long time. It’s clearly another “sleeper” discovered by your friends here at Better Records. Who else is finding vintage albums with this kind of sound and music?(more…)
These are just some of the recordings by Milt Jackson that we’ve auditioned recently and found wanting. Without going into specifics we’ll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.
A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.
This outstanding pressing of Ray Charles and Milt Jackson’s 1958 collaboration boasts solid Double Plus (A++) grades or close to them on both sides – exceptionally quiet too
Wonderful sound from start to finish — full-bodied and warm with wonderfully sweet vocals
Kenny Burrell lends his innovative guitar stylings to this soulful jazz collaboration
4 1/2 stars: “With Oscar Pettiford, Connie Kay, and Kenny Burrell in the various lineups, this is bluesy jazz in a laid-back manner; it surprised many hardcore R&B fans when these albums were originally issued.”
This wonderful pressing has superb sound throughout! It’s EXTREMELY rare to find a stereo copy of this title in anything but beat condition.(more…)
An excellent copy which earned Double Plus (A++) grades for sound on both sides – there’s plenty of rich, Tubey Magic from 1962 to be found on this vintage stereo pressing
If you made the mistake of buying the atrocious Anadisq pressing MoFi put out in the ’90s, here is your chance to hear what a wonderful recording Val Valentin cooked up with these cats in their prime
“This first matchup on records between pianist Oscar Peterson and vibraphonist Milt Jackson was so logical that it is surprising it did not occur five years earlier… this first effort is a particularly strong set.”
For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are wonderful. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1961-62 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy will do the trick.(more…)
These two guys were made for each other; they have the same musical sensibilities. Credit must also go to Wynton Kelly; his every solo is a thing of beauty. The three principles here are at the tops of their games and the sound will have you drooling. Good luck finding a more involving and enjoyable jazz record with this kind of sound — they just aren’t out there. That’s why, even with some surface problems, we think you are getting your money’s worth and more with this one.
A superb sounding Pablo recording from 1976 – this copy gives you outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or better from start to finish
We found the sound superb, but even better is the fact that with only three instruments – vibes, guitar (Joe Pass) and bass (Ray Brown) – each of the players has plenty of room to stretch out and have fun with the tunes
5 Stars: “The colorful repertoire — ranging from “The Pink Panther” and “Blue Bossa” to “Nuages” and “Come Sunday” — acts as a device for the musicians to construct some brilliant bop-based solos.”
The first track, at more than ten minutes, is yet another one of our favorite orchestra-backed jazz recordings here at Better Records. Other albums of this sort that we love are Wes Montgomery’s California Dreaming (1966, and also Sebesky-arranged), Grover Washington’s All the King’s Horses (1973) and Deodato’s Prelude (also 1973, with brilliant arrangements by the man himself).
What’s especially notable is how well-recorded the orchestra’s string sections are. They have just the right amount of texture and immediacy without being forced or shrill. They’re also very well integrated into the mix. I wouldn’t have expected RVG to pull it off so well — I’ve heard other CTI records where the orchestration was abominable — but here it works as well as on any album I know of.(more…)