The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
- This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
- 1961 recording technology coupled with the superior mastering chops of the very gifted George Horn result in the top quality sound found here
- These guys are playing live in the studio and you can really feel their presence on every track -- assuming you have a copy that sounds like this one
- 4 stars: "It's hard to imagine any fan of mainstream jazz not finding much to love on this very fine recording."
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Both sides here are Tubey Magical, rich, open, spacious and tonally correct. We've rarely heard the record sound better, and that's coming from someone who's been playing the album since the '80s when it was first reissued in its current form.
Based on what I'm hearing my feeling is that most of the natural, full-bodied, smooth, sweet sound of the album is on the master tape, and that all that was needed to get that vintage sound correctly on to disc was simply to thread up that tape on a reasonably good machine and hit play.
The fact that nobody seems to be able to make an especially good sounding record -- certainly not as good sounding as this one -- these days tells me that in fact I'm wrong to think that such an approach would work. Somebody should have been able to figure out how to do it by now. In our experience that is simply not the case today, and has not been for many years.
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 Know What I Mean? 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 1962
- 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 studio space
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 Know What I Mean?
- 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 so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also 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 instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Original Vs. Reissue
The original Riverside pressings are the best, right?
Not in our experience. We think that's just another Record Myth.
Some of you may have discovered that the original Bill Evans records on Riverside are mostly awful sounding -- I can't recall ever hearing one sound better than mediocre -- so we are not the least bit worried that this OJC won't beat the pants off of the original, any reissue you may have, and of course the Alto Heavy Vinyl pressing.
Horn and Hoffman
George Horn was doing brilliant work for Fantasy all through the '80s. This album is proof that his sound is the right sound for this music.
The DCC Gold CD of the album is also excellent. As with many of the better DCC CDs, it's proof that Steve Hoffman's sound is also the right sound for this music. But as we all have learned by now -- all too painfully in fact, having wandered for thirty plus years in the digital wasteland -- a CD, no matter how well mastered, can only get you so far.
Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
- Waltz for Debby
- Who Cares?
- Nancy (With the Laughing Face)
- Know What I Mean?
AMG 4 Star Review
What’s better than a Bill Evans Trio album? How about a Bill Evans trio album on which the leader is not Evans but alto sax god Cannonball Adderley, making the group actually a quartet? It's a different sort of ensemble, to be sure, and the musical results are marvelous. Adderley's playing on "Waltz for Debby" is both muscular and sensitive, as it is on the other Evans composition here, a modal ballad called "Know What I Mean?" Other treats include the sprightly "Toy" and the Gershwin classic "Who Cares?"
The focus here is, of course, on Adderley's excellent post-bop stylings, but it's also interesting to hear Evans playing with a rhythm section as staid and conservative as Kay and Heath (both charter members of the Modern Jazz Quartet). It's hard to imagine any fan of mainstream jazz not finding much to love on this very fine recording.