Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus*
- Incredible shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from start to finish - relatively quiet vinyl too
- This All Tube Verve stereo Recording Verve from 1962 is one of the best Basie records from the era that we've played in a very long time
- Here is the richness the music needs - horns need to be full-bodied if they are to sound like the real thing - but so are speed and clarity, two qualities that insure that all the horns have the proper bite and timbre
- "A solid and worthwhile album that has been out of print for far too long, this will be a welcome addition to any Basie lover's collection, and comes highly recommended to anyone even mildly interested in excellent large-ensemble mainstream jazz."
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NOTE: *There is a small mark on the last track that makes five light ticks. Otherwise the vinyl is unusually quiet for a Verve pressing from 1962.
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.
This pressing is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This is vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you'll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve it.
This IS the sound of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There is of course a CD of this album, but those of us who possess a working turntable and a good collection of vintage vinyl could care less.
This is a wonderful example of the kind of record that makes record collecting FUN. Both sides of this very special pressing are huge, rich, tubey and clear. As soon as the band got going we knew that this was absolutely the right sound for this music. There was practically nothing that could beat it, in any area of reproduction.
What the best sides of this Swinging Big Band Jazz Album have to offer is clear for all 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 double bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with the guitar and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
- 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 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.
Basie on Verve -- What We're Listening For
Some general guidelines as to what we listen for when playing Basie's Big Band recordings -- what the better pressings get right and the lesser ones struggle with.
What typically separates the killer copies from the merely good ones are two qualities that we often look for in the records we play: transparency and lack of smear. Transparency allows you to hear into the recording, reproducing the ambience and subtle musical cues and details that high-resolution analog is known for.
(Note that most Heavy Vinyl pressings being produced these days seem to be quite Transparency Challenged. Lots of important musical information -- the kind we hear on even second-rate regular pressings -- is simply nowhere to be found. That audiophiles as a whole -- including those that pass themselves off as the champions of analog in the audio press -- do not notice these failings does not speak well for either their equipment or their critical listening skills.)
Richness & Lack of Smear
Lack of smear is also important, especially on a recording with this many horns, where the reproduction of leading edge transients is critical to their sound. If the sharply different characters of the various horns (trumpet, trombone, and three kinds of saxes) smear together into an amorphous blob, as if the sound were being fed through '50s vintage tube amps (for those of you who know that sound), half the fun goes right out of the music.
Richness is important -- horns need to be full-bodied if they are to sound like the real thing -- but so are speed and clarity, two qualities that insure that all the horns have the proper bite and timbre.
A problem we noted on many copies in addition to smear and opacity was blurry bass. The trombone got lost in the murky depths of some of the copies we played. And of course the way we know that is when we drop the needle on a randomly chosen copy and suddenly there it is! We're finally hearing the instrument clearly and correctly; who knew it could sound like that? Only on these very special copies are we given the opportunity to appreciate the trombone's contribution to the music.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better 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 later 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 originals.
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.
I'm Shoutin' Again
The Long Night
Jump For Johnny
Ain't That Right
Skippin' With Skitch
A solid and worthwhile album that has been out of print for far too long, this will be a welcome addition to any Basie lover's collection, and comes highly recommended to anyone even mildly interested in excellent large-ensemble mainstream jazz.
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