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)*
- An insanely good copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side one married with an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side two
- Basie Big Band is a Top Basie Big Band title in every way -- musically, sonically, you name it, this album has got it going on
- Guaranteed to be dramatically livelier and more dynamic than any Basie title you've heard - if you like your brass big, rich and powerful, you came to the right place
- Lots of tight, deep, note-like bass and unerringly correct timbre for the brass throughout
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*NOTE: On side one, a mark on the edge makes 10 light to very light ticks during the intro to Track 1, Front Burner. On side two, a mark makes 9 light to moderate pops in the middle of Track 2, Give 'M Time.
More Basie Big Band ANALOG Magic, this time from his 1975 debut for Pablo.
With 18 pieces in the studio (five trumpets!, four trombones!, five saxes!) this album can be a real powerhouse -- if you have the right copy, and both sides here show you just how lively and dynamic this music can be. It's got real Demo Disc qualities, no doubt about it.
When you get this record home, pay special attention to how natural and correct the timbre of the brass is. This is the hallmark of a well recorded album -- it sounds right.
What the best sides of Basie Big Band 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 1975
- 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.
Cool Sounds on Side Two
Check out the triple flutes on the first track - on a copy like this you will hear some shockingly Tubey Magical, breathy, sweet, natural flutes. And there are three of them! Even large classical orchestras rarely have three flutes. The sound is to die for.
Play any number of copies and listen for the tri-flute sound - some copies are tubier and a bit smeary, some are breathier and a bit thin, some are recessed, some are more present. On a resolving system no two pressings will have those flutes sounding exactly the same.
Don't judge the whole side by just the flutes, they are only one element in a complex array. But they are a very strong clue as to what the rest of the sound is doing better or worse - one might even go so far as to say right or wrong.
What We're Listening For on Basie Big Band Albums (in General)
- 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 any recording engineer worth his salt -- Howard Holzer and Roy DuNann in this case -- would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
What do we love about these vintage pressings? The timbre of every instrument is Hi-Fi in the best sense of the word. The unique sounds of the instruments are reproduced with remarkable fidelity. That's what we at Better Records mean by "Hi-Fi", not the kind of Audiophile Phony BS Sound that passes for Hi-Fidelity these days. There's no boosted top, there's no bloated bottom, there's no sucked-out midrange.
This is Hi-Fidelity for those who recognize The Real Thing when they hear it. I'm pretty sure our customers do, and whoever picks this one up is guaranteed to get a real kick out of it.
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.
Soft as Velvet
The Heat's On
Give 'M Time
The Wind Machine