Top Artists – Milt Jackson

Ray Brown / Milt Jackson

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  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides of this early Verve stereo pressing
  • Both sides here are big and lively, both of which are key elements for any album arranged by the-bigger-the-better Oliver Nelson
  • A lot of Verve records from this era are poorly mastered, but this one sounds just right to us
  • Big sounding ’60s jazz with lively arrangements from Oliver Nelson and Jimmy Heath. Clark Terry’s trumpet and flugelhorn contributions play a major role in the festivities. This is cool, swinging ’60’s jazz at its best!
  • The Allmusic Guide awards this album 4 1/2 stars, and that sounds about right to us
  • If you’re a fan of the jazz stylings of Milt Jackson and Ray Brown, this is a Classic from 1965 that belongs in your collection. The complete list of titles from 1965 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

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The Original Jazz Classics Series Got Off to a Bad Start with Concorde

Here Are Some Potentially Good Sounding OJC Pressings

These Are Not Very Good Sounding OJC Pressings

OJC-002! Fantasy’s second release in the series, but not a very good one.

The copy (or copies; who can remember?) we’ve auditioned in the past did not impress us sonically, so don’t expect to see Hot Stampers of this title on OJC coming to the Better Records website any time soon.

The music might be wonderful — we unreservedly follow the maxim de gustibus non est disputandum — but the sound of this pressing is not likely to be of audiophile quality.

There may be great sounding pressings of the album – how could we possibly know there aren’t without playing every version ever pressed — but we’re pretty sure the OJC pictured here will always fall short of the mark.

If you know of a great sounding pressing of the album, feel free to let us in on what pressing you have and we might just pick one up and give it a listen.

We’ve auditioned countless pressings like this one in the 33 years we’ve been in business — buying, cleaning and playing them by the thousands. This is how we find the best sounding vinyl pressings ever made.  Not the ones that should sound the best. The ones that actually do sound the best.

If you’re an audiophile looking for top quality sound on vintage vinyl, we’d be happy to send you the Hot Stamper pressing guaranteed to beat anything and everything you’ve heard, especially if you have any pressing marketed to you as an audiophile.

And if we can’t beat whatever LP you own or have heard, you get your money back.  It’s as simple as that.

Credits

Bass – Percy Heath
Drums – Connie Kay
Engineer – Van Gelder
Piano – John Lewis
Supervised By – Bob Weinstock
Vibraphone – Milt Jackson

Notes

Recorded in 1955.


What’s Number One? This Milt Jackson record.

I may have played it many years ago — I’ve played OJC’s by the hundreds at this stage of the game — but I don’t remember anything about it. Horace Silver on piano? Recorded by Rudy Van Gelder? Hey, maybe it’s a good one and the OJC series did get off to a good start. If I find one and it sounds good, I will admit my error and put this very listing in our We Was Wrong section.


FURTHER READING

We play mediocre-to-bad sounding pressings so that you don’t have to, a public service from your record loving friends at Better Records.

You can find this one in our Hall of Shame, along with more than 350 others that — in our opinion — qualify as some of the worst sounding records ever made. (On some records in the Hall of Shame the sound is passable but the music is bad.  These are also records you can safely avoid.)

Note that most of the entries are audiophile remasterings of one kind or another. The reason for this is simple: we’ve gone through the too-often unpleasant experience of comparing them head to head with our best Hot Stamper pressings.

When you can hear them that way, up against an exceptionally good record, their flaws become that much more obvious and, frankly, that much more inexcusable.

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Milt Jackson Quintet – That’s The Way It Is

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Yet Another Record We’ve Discovered with (Potentially) Excellent Sound

  • 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…)

Milt Jackson / Joe Pass / Ray Brown – The Big 3

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  • 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.”

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Milt Jackson with Oscar Peterson – Ain’t But a Few of Us Left

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A Top Pablo Recording

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  • An outstanding Pablo pressing, boasting Double Plus (A++) sound throughout and playing about as quietly as these LPs ever do
  • Both sides here are rich and full-bodied with tons of energy and a nice extended top end – this is the sound of ANALOG, and Pablo knew how to get it on tape and from there on to vinyl
  • “The music is unsurprising but still quite enjoyable and virtuosic as Bags and Co. perform blues, standards and ballads with their usual swing and bop-based creativity. Highlights include the title cut, “Stuffy,” “What Am I Here For” and a vibes-piano duo version of “A Time for Love.”” – 4 Stars

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Ray Charles – Soul Meeting

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  • This killer pressing of Ray Charles and Milt Jackson’s 1958 collaboration boasts Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – fairly quiet vinyl for this title too
  • Full-bodied, warm and natural with plenty of space around all of the players, this is the sound of vintage analog – accept no substitutes
  • 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…)

Count Basie – Kansas City 5

  • 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…)

Oscar Peterson Trio with Milt Jackson / Very Tall and Very Awful on MFSL Anadisq

Reviews and Commentaries for Mobile Fidelity Records

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.

FURTHER READING on Half-Speed Mastered Records

The best place to start is here:

How come you guys don’t like Half-Speed Mastered records?

To learn more about records that sound dramatically better than any Half-Speed ever made (with one rare exception, John Klemmer’s Touch), please consult our FAQs:

More Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below you will find our breakdown of the best and worst Half-Speed mastered records we have auditioned over the years.

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Milt Jackson – Bags & Flutes

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  • 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.”

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The Recordings of Milt Jackson – These Are Some that Didn’t Make the Grade

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More of that Didn’t Make the Grade

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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.  

Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.   

Milt Jackson Albums with Hot Stampers
Milt Jackson Albums We’ve Reviewed