Top Artists – Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett – I Wanna Be Around…

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  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this was one of the better sounding copies we played in our recent shootout  
  • This is an excellent vintage 360 stereo pressing, with the all important midrange magic that’s surely missing from whatever 180g reissue has been made from the tapes (or, to be clear, a modern digital master copied from who-knows-what-tapes)
  • “As the studio album followup to Tony Bennett’s breakthrough record, I Left My Heart in San Francisco, I Wanna Be Around had a lot to live up to, but since San Francisco was a culmination of Bennett’s development, and not a fluke, I Wanna Be Around turned out to be almost on a par with its predecessor… A worthy successor.”

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Tony Bennett – At Carnegie Hall

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  • This superb LIVE double album debuts with a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side three, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on the others
  • Our exceptional 360 stereo pressing here will bring this definitive Tony Bennett concert performance right into your very own listening room
  • Plenty of analog richness, space, smoothness and Tubey Magic, all absolutely essential if you want the ’60s to sound like the ’60s
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Recorded one week before the release of the I Left My Heart in San Francisco album that would catapult Tony Bennett’s career into the stratosphere, this album effectively sums up his accomplishments so far… it gives a broad sense of Bennett’s work, and it does so in the format with which he’s most comfortable — live in concert.”

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Tony Bennett – For Once In My Life

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For Once In My Life

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  • This vintage pressing gives Tony the sound he deserves, with excellent Double Plus (A++) grades on both of these early stereo sides
  • Amazing vocal reproduction courtesy of the brilliant engineering of Frank Laico at his favorite studio (and ours), Columbia 30th Street studios
  • We are not big soundstage guys here at Better Records, but we can’t deny the appeal of the space to be found on a record as good as this

Everything that’s good about Vocal Recordings from the ’50s and ’60s is precisely what’s good about the sound of this record.

The huge studio the music was recorded in is captured faithfully here. The height, width and depth of the staging here are extraordinary. We are not big soundstage guys here at Better Records, but we can’t deny the appeal of the space to be found on a record as good as this.

Transparency and Tubey Magic are key to the sound of the orchestra and you will find both in abundance on these two sides.

Albums such as this live and die by the quality of their vocal reproduction. On this record Mr. Tony Bennett himself will appear to be standing right in your listening room! The space of your stereo room will seem to expand in all directions in order to accommodate them, an illusion of course, but nevertheless a remarkably convincing one. (more…)

Bennett & Evans – The Tony Bennett / Bill Evans Album – More Mistaken MoFi EQ

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Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked. 

That weird boost around 10k that Stan Ricker liked to add to practically every record he mastered wreaks havoc on the sound of Tony Bennett’s voice. I would be very surprised if the current in-print CD doesn’t sound more tonally natural, and for us audiophile record lovers – not lovers of audiophile records, but guys who love records with audiophile sound – that’s simply another nail in the coffin for one of the most laughably inept remastering labels in the history of that sad enterprise. (more…)

Tony Bennett – I’ve Gotta Be Me

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I’ve Gotta Be Me

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  • KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish for this original 360 label Columbia pressing
  • Both sides here wonderfully rich, full-bodied, and as Tubey Magical as you would expect from Columbia in 1969 
  • Brilliant engineering by Frank Laico, the man who recorded I Left My Heart In San Francisco and Sketches of Spain, among others
  • Tony Bennett was in fine form and still able to sing the hell out of these songs in 1969 – when you hear the quality of his voice on this very album you will perhaps appreciate the toll this century has taken on him
  • Vintage record guys with top quality turntables – like us – get to hear Tony the way he should be heard, with his voice at the peak of its powers.

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Tony Bennett – The Many Moods Of Tony

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  • Both sides of this vintage Black Print 360 pressing earned outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades for their superb sound – exceptionally quiet vinyl too 
  • Everything that’s good about All Tube Vocal Recordings from the ’50s and ’60s is precisely what’s good about the sound of this record 
  • “The moods vary from a wild Caravan, introduced with a drum solo by Chico Hamilton joined by flute and bass and seemingly held together by Tony’s voice alone, to Don Costa’s almost cinematic big orchestra styling of Spring in Manhattan as well as the lightly melancholy moods of When Joanna Loved Me and Don’t Wait Too Long. Throughout the album, Tony’s effortlessly soaring voice gives meaning to every number.”

Albums such as this live and die by the quality of their vocal reproduction. On this record Mr. Tony Bennett himself will appear to be standing right in your listening room, along with the other other musicians from theses sessions.

Transparency and Tubey Magic are critical to the sound of the orchestra and you will find both in abundance on these sides. (more…)

The Tony Bennett / Bill Evans Album

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

I would have to say that this album, when heard on the best Hot Stamper pressings, would rank up at the top of the All Time Great Male Vocal Recordings. If you like sophisticated vocal jazz I don’t think you can do much better than this record, especially when it sounds like this. Tony Bennett’s voice sounds wonderfully rich, BREATHY, and above all REAL.

The soundstage is open and spacious, the piano full-bodied and clear, and the vocals have the clarity and fullness missing from most pressings. It’s incredible to hear these two top-notch musicians interacting and responding to each other in this kind of huge, open and natural space.

The Acoustic

This is a studio recording in a fairly dead acoustic, worlds away from the echo-drenched sound of his Columbia releases, so for practically the first time on record you can really hear the man’s voice, not the echo chamber they used to process it.

Bill Evans may play the largest piano ever built — it stretches from wall to wall when played over here, not particularly realistic but nothing to get upset over. On the best copies it really has the clarity and heft of the real thing; you can hear the pedal being actuated in the quieter passages if you listen closely. The tonality is also dead on. (A good test for your stereo.) (more…)

Tony Bennett & Count Basie – Strike Up The Band on Emus

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  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on this Emus pressing of Count Basie and Tony Bennett’s 1959 classic collaboration 
  • The originals we have played are uniformly horrible sounding compared to these wonderful reissues – the tonality here is Right On The Money
  • 4 1/2 stars: “… the pairing between Bennett and Basie remains impressive. The band raves through tunes like “With Plenty Of Money And You,” and Bennett matches them, drawing strength from the bravura arrangements, while band and singer achieve a knowing tenderness on “Growing Pains.” This is an album well worth owning…”

This vintage pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of 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. (more…)

The Tony Bennett / Bill Evans Album – The Best Male Vocal Recording of the Era

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This album, when heard on the best Hot Stamper pressings, ranks right up at the top of the All Time Great Male Vocal Recordings from any era. Bennett’s voice sounds wonderfully rich, BREATHY, and above all REAL.

For a Popular/Jazz Vocal album produced in 1975, or, to be honest, the entire decade of the Seventies, we can think of no other that is its sonic equal.

The soundstage is open and spacious, the piano full-bodied and clear, and the vocals have the clarity and fullness missing from most pressings. It’s incredible to hear these two top-notch musicians interacting and responding to each other in this kind of huge, open and natural space.

The Acoustic

This is a studio recording in a fairly dead acoustic, worlds away from the echo-drenched sound of his Columbia releases, so for practically the first time on record you can really hear the man’s voice, not the echo chamber they used to process it. (more…)