Top Engineers – Ray Hall

Stan Getz / Luiz Bonfa – Jazz Samba Encore!

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More Antonio Carlos Jobim

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  • This superb collaboration debuts with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish and ’60s vinyl that’s about as quiet as any we can find
  • Smooth, full-bodied and Tubey Magical, the brilliant Ray Hall engineered this Demo Disc using an All Tube chain back in 1963, and it’s glorious to hear that sound reproduced on modern hi-rez equipment
  • 4 stars: ” Getz relies mostly upon native Brazilians for his backing. Thus, the soft-focused grooves are considerably more attuned to what was actually coming out of Brazil at the time… Two bona fide giants, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfá (who gets co-billing), provide the guitars and all of the material, and Maria Toledo contributes an occasional throaty vocal.”

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Ray Brown – And The All-Stars Band – Cannonball Adderley

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

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These two sides offer bigger brass, more transparency and more presence than any other sides we played! This may become one of your favorite big band albums to demo or test with. Or you can just enjoy the hell out of it if you prefer. So transparent and tonally correct, this is a killer sounding copy. We put this one right up there with the best of the Verve jazz titles we’ve done to date.

This is the kind of HUGE, RICH sound that Ray Hall engineered with tubes back in 1962, and it’s glorious to hear in 2017.

This album sounds like a big room full of musicians playing live, which it surely was. The Tubey Magical richness of the 1962 recording is breathtaking – no modern record can touch it.

The best copies recreate a live studio space the size of which you will not believe.

The Sound

Both sides are tonally correct, Tubey Magical and above all natural. The timbre of each and every instrument is right and it doesn’t take a pair of golden ears to hear it.

It’s also big, clear and balanced, with an especially sweet, rich, tubey sax for Cannonball’s solos — what a sound! So high-resolution too. The top extends beautifully on this copy, and that was not true for most of what we played.

If you love ’50s and ’60s jazz you cannot go wrong here. (more…)

Sonny Rollins – Now’s The Time

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  • An outstanding copy with Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on side two mated to a very good side one
  • Ray Hall once again engineered brilliantly for RCA – the Tubey Magical richness and dynamic energy of the sessions are captured with audiophile quality sound
  • Forget the Classic Records reissue from the ’90s and whatever Heavy Vinyl they’re making now – it sure won’t sound like this!
  • Features performances by Rollins with Herbie Hancock, Thad Jones, Ron Carter, Bob Cranshaw and Roy McCurdy on several bebop tunes

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Nina Simone – Nina Simone and Piano!

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  • Nina Simone’s superb 1969 release finally makes its Hot Stamper debut here with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side one and an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side two
  • This vintage stereo pressing boasts exceptionally natural piano sound, breathy vocals and the Tubey Magic that only vintage vinyl pressings are capable of reproducing
  • There are a lot of bad sounding Nina Simone albums out there in the bins, but fortunately this is not one of them – it’s rich, smooth and tubey, just the way we like our Female Vocal records to sound
  • “Her own best accompanist (especially during the crossover-happy ’60s), Nina Simone sings and plays on this 1969 LP. With strident vocals and a thoughtful piano backing… frequently rewarding.”

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John Denver – Poems, Prayers and Promises – Our Shootout Winner from 2017

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This original Orange Label RCA pressing was clearly superior to everything we played – it’s fuller, bigger and clearer than them all. Superb engineering by Ray Hall. The recording is from 1971 but in some ways it sounds as good as if it had been made in 1961, and that’s high praise in these parts.   

This copy has the kind of sound we look for in a top quality Singer Songwriter album. A few qualities to listen for: (more…)

Sonny Rollins – What’s New? from 1962

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  • Two insanely good sounding sides with each rating a shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++)
  • The sound here is vintage 1962 Living Stereo at its best – big, rich, relaxed, tonally correct and full of Tubey Magic
  • This copy is unusually quiet for a Black Label stereo original – it’s Mint Minus Minus with no audible marks of any kind 
  • 4 1/2 Stars: “Rollins’ characteristically huge tone, relentless harmonic and rhythmic inventiveness, and fierce solos were consistently impressive. Not only did he state the melody clearly and superbly, but his ideas and pacing were remarkable; no solo rambled and his phrases were lean, thick and furious.”

For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are wonderful. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1962 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy will do the trick. (more…)

Sonny Rollins – The Bridge

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The Bridge

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

We found STUNNING sound for Sonny Rollins’ classic LP The Bridge this week, and as you might have guessed from the image to the left, it wasn’t on an original pressing! It’s beyond tough to find copies of this album on any label these days, but we had a big stack of pressings from different eras and auditioned them in a big shootout. We’ve paired up our best side one with our best side two to create this killer White Hot Stamper 2-pack.  (more…)

Gary Burton – Who Is Gary Burton?

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Who Is Gary Burton?

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  • Burton’s sophomore release finally arrives on the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last   
  • This is vintage 1963 Living Stereo sound at its best – big, rich, relaxed, tonally correct and full of Tubey Magic – thanks Ray Hall!
  • In this stellar septet, Burton includes veteran musicians Clark Terry, Phil Woods, and Joe Morello, as well as Tommy Flanagan
  • 4 stars: “The playlist is anything but predictable… Although Burton is obviously a very confident soloist, he feels no need to hog the spotlight (a common mistake by young jazz musicians in later decades), as he is happy to step back and let the veterans take center stage.”

Most of the vinyl plays a bit better than the grades above. Few Living Stereo originals are going to be as quiet as this one (more…)

Charles Mingus – Tijuana Moods

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  • This stunning sounding original copy has amazing Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides – it’s guaranteed to blow your mind
  • The sound here is vintage Living Stereo at its best – big, rich and Tubey Magical like you will not believe
  • These Black Label originals can rarely be found any quieter than this one – it plays Mint Minus Minus for the most part
  • 5 stars: “Mingus at the time said that this was his greatest recording, and it certainly ranks near the top.”

NOTE: There are a few very light, barely audible marks on side one that play intermittently. There are four light pops at the start of track one and three light pops at the end of the track. There are also seven very soft pops near the middle of track 2.

This is the way it must have sounded in 1957, when legendary RCA engineers BOB SIMPSON and RAY HALL were sitting behind the board in the New York studios where it was recorded. (more…)

Stan Getz Jazz Samba Encore

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More Jazz Samba Encore

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

Yet another wonderful Getz Samba record, the third in the series. Some of our faourite music has this Samba syncopation: Sergio Mendes, first and foremost of course, but also Airto, and all the wonderful Getz albums from this period. Their enchanting Brazilian rhythms make their music fun. 

Thanks go to all the engineers involved in this recording:

VAL VALENTIN

BOB SIMPSON

PHIL RAMONE

RAY HALL (more…)