Top Artists – Ray Barretto

Wes Montgomery – California Dreaming

More Wes Montgomery

More Jazz Recordings Featuring the Guitar

  • This excellent Wes Montgomery title returns to the site for the first time in two years with a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side one and outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on side two
  • Both sides here are OUT OF THIS WORLD, incredibly big, bold, clear, rich and dynamic – this is DEMO DISC Quality Big Production Guitar-led Jazz
  • Credit goes to Rudy Van Gelder once again for the huge space that the superbly well-recorded group occupies
  • Forget the critics, this is one of Wes’s Best Albums of All Time I tell you!

This White Hot Stamper has the REAL Wes Montgomery/ Creed Taylor/ Rudy Van Gelder MAGIC in its grooves. You will not believe how big, rich and full-bodied this pressing is. Since this is one of Wes’s best albums, hearing this incredible White Hot copy was a THRILL for us and we’re sure it will be as big a thrill for you too.

As Good As It Gets Sound

So natural, transparent and clear. Listen to all the space around the guitar. (On the Cisco you might hear 20% of that space. That’s Heavy Vinyl for you. What a load of crap.)

Beware any and all imitations (even the one I used to like somewhat, the Cisco version). They barely BEGIN to convey the qualities of the real master tape the way this pressing does. This White Hot Stamper exhibits huge amounts of ambience and spaciousness, with far more energy and the kind of “see into the studio” quality that only the real thing ever seems to have. (more…)

Los Admiradores / Bongos Flutes Guitars – Robert Fine Knocked This One Out of the Park

More Hot Stamper Pressings of Easy Listening Albums

More Recordings by Robert Fine

First things first: one of the main bongo players is none other than Ray Barretto himself. You jazz guys out there will know exactly who that is, a man whose reputation for brilliant rhythmic contributions to some of the greatest classic jazz albums of the ’60s is beyond dispute. One listen to Midnight Blue will do the trick. The man had a gift. And he is here joined by two other top players.

And of course the guitarist has to be the incomparable Tony Mottola, the man behind one of our favorite jazz guitar records of all time: Warm, Wild and Wonderful.

Soundfield, Timbre and Dynamics

The spaciousness of the studio is reproduced with uncanny fidelity, with both huge depth and width, but there is another dimension that this record is operating in that Bang, Baa-room and Harp, just to take one example, does not — the instruments are capable of jumping out of your speakers, seemingly right into your listening room.

The effect is astonishing. I have never heard these instruments sound more real than they do here. The timbre is perfection. The dynamics are startling.

Add to those clearly unattenuated dynamics, high and low frequencies that are also not attenuated, and microphones capable of deadly accuracy, and you have yourself a recording of virtually unparalleled fidelity. We’ve played these kinds of records by the score but I have rarely heard one that can do what this one is doing. (more…)

Kenny Burrell – Out Of This World (aka Bluesy Burrell)

More Kenny Burrell

More Coleman Hawkins

  • This outstanding copy of Out Of This World boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound – exceptionally quiet vinyl too  
  • This superb RVG recording comes to life on this pressing – it’s full-bodied and above all, lively (Rudy’s trademark sound) 
  • This collaboration between Burrell and Coleman Hawkins highlights the blues roots of these two jazz greats, veterans who can swing with the best of them (which is why their discographies run for pages)
  • “Bluesy Burrell combines the finest elements of blues and bebop jazz into a blend that demonstrates just how well the styles fit together and proves that blues need not be minimalist in nature, and jazz can be a bit less rigid, allowing breathing space amidst perfect chord work and superb rhythm.”

This vintage Prestige Stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely begin to reproduce. Folks, that sound is pretty much gone and sure doesn’t seem to be 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.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the best sides of Out Of This World have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1963
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all.

Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.

Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.

What We’re Listening For on Out Of This World

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
  • Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the players.
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where, of course, Rudy Van Gelder would have put them.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

The Players

Congas – Ray Barretto
Drums – Eddie Locke
Guitar – Kenny Burrell
Piano – Tommy Flanagan
Tenor Saxophone – Coleman Hawkins

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Tres Palabras 
No More 
Guilty 
Montono Blues

Side Two

I Thought About You 
Out Of This World 
It’s Getting Dark

Amazon Review

One of Kenny’s early ’60’s albums, “Bluesy Burrell” is a superb disc, as he works with jazz saxophonist Coleman Hawkins and pianist Tommy Flanagan for a set that reminds us just why he is one of the greatest living guitarists of all time. The sound is great, and you can’t help but love the live touch in the studio as you can hear the snare drum rattle from the vibrations of the amplifiers.

Like so many other of his albums, Bluesy Burrell combines the finest elements of blues and bebop jazz into a blend that demonstrates just how well the styles fit together and proves that blues need not be minimalist in nature, and jazz can be a bit less rigid, allowing breathing space amidst perfect chord work and superb rhythm.

While Burrell did work with John Coltrane, here Coleman Hawkins shows he was a serious contender, too, with smooth sinuous lines that float around the room as opposed to blaring obnoxious tones the instrument can be notorious for. I am not much of a fan of saxophone because of its harshness, the same with trumpets or cornets, but when it’s done tastefully, I like it just fine. Dave Brubeck’s long time sax player, Paul Desmond, was a master at the mellow sound of his instrument, and Hawkins shows he could play that way, too.

The star of the show is, of course, Burrell, whose playing is so smooth, expertly done, and beautiful that very very few jazz guitarists could even come close to his level of playing. Wes Montgomery is probably the only true equal to Burrell, although I must mention Jimmy Ponder and Russell Malone, who studied at the school of Burrell/Montgomery and did their masters proud.

Guitarists must check out Kenny Burrell if they want a real lesson in chord comping and melody, and non-guitarists can enjoy the smooth relaxing grooves this master gives us and still continues at 85 with a recent live album. You simply can’t make a bad choice when deciding what Kenny Burrell album you want to hear first. He’s that good.

-Scott Hedegard, Amazon Review