Top Artists – Shorty Rogers

Original Is Better? Sez Who?

Which albums sound better on the right vintage reissue pressing?

These do

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Don’t be put off by the title; these are not some sleepy old-fashioned waltzes. This is swingin’ West Coast jazz at its best. Of course, the arrangements are done in waltz time, but that doesn’t keep them from swingin’.

And the amazingly good sound? Credit Bones Howe, a man who knows Tubey Magic like practically no one else in the world. The Association, The Mamas and the Papas, The Fifth Dimension, and even Tom Waits — all their brilliant recordings are the result of Bones Howe’s estimable talents as producer and engineer.

Original Vs. Reissue

The original Reprise pressing, whether in mono or stereo, has never sounded very good to us. The mono is quite a bit worse than the stereo – no surprise there – but both must be considered poor reflections of the master tape.

We sold one many years ago, describing it this way: “Beautiful Original with decent sound — rich, smooth and sweet.” Which it was, but from us that’s little more than damning it with faint praise.

The Discovery pressing is so much bigger, clearer and livelier it’s almost hard to imagine it and the 1962 Reprise original were both made from the same tape. Something sure went wrong the first time around — I think it’s safe to say at least that much. (more…)

June Christy – This Is June Christy

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  • You’ll find superb nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) Tubey Magical sound from 1958 on both sides of this Turquoise Capitol pressing – just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • Balanced, musical, present and full-bodied throughout – this pressing puts a living, breathing, big-as-life June Christy performing at the peak of her vocal powers right in your listening room
  • June Christy is one of our favorite Cool School vocalists – we just wish we could find more clean copies of her classic ’50s albums
  • The vinyl is relatively quiet and no marks play – how rare is that? In our experience very rare
  • All the top West Coast jazz guys are here: Shorty Rogers, Shelly Manne, Bud Shank, Bob Cooper, and swinging arrangements by Pete Rugolo

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Shorty Rogers – Bossa Nova Exciting Jazz Samba Rhythms

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  • Shorty’s 1961 Bossa Nova exploration finally makes its Hot Stamper debut with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades on both sides
  • Rich, smooth, sweet, and wonderfully natural, this is the sound we love here at Better Records
  • Rogers assembled a top-notch ensemble for this Bossa Nova album, including Bud Shank and Shelly Manne

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Shorty Rogers & His Giants – Bossa Nova – Reviewed in 2008

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Bossa Nova

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This QUIET Original Reprise LP has EXCELLENT sound — rich, smooth and sweet. It’s wonderfully natural, and that’s a sound we love here at Better Records.

This is swingin’ West Coast jazz at its best. A highly recommended jazz album for those of you who care to explore artists out of the jazz mainstream.   

Shorty Rogers – The Swingin’ Nutcracker

Reviews and Commentaries for The Nutcracker

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

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  • Insanely good Living Stereo sound throughout with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades and playing reasonably quietly
  • Al Schmitt handled the engineering duties, brilliantly, with Shorty and dozens of his West Coast Pals contributing to the dates, the likes of Conte Candoli, Art Pepper, Bill Perkins, Bud Shank, Harold Land, Richie Kamuca and more
  • “The most remarkable aspect about the score is how boldly it re-imagines the original. The Swingin’ Nutcracker is contemporary from an American perspective without patronizing the European original.” – Marc Meyers, Jazz Wax

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Peggy Lee – Pass Me By

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

If you’re a fan of vintage female vocals – the kind with no trace of digital reverb – you may get quite a kick out of this one. And unless I miss my guess you’ll be the first and only person on your block to own it! (That’s not a bad thing considering the average person’s taste in music and sound these days.)

Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top (to keep the big band arrangements by Shorty Rogers and Dave Grusin from becoming shrill) 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 heard them all. (more…)