The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- This Prestige "stereo" pressing boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side one
- It may say stereo on the cover, but this album is in pure, glorious MONO, with sound that is full-bodied, relaxed, Tubey Magical and tonally correct
- Here is the palpable jazz energy, the life of the music, that's sure to be missing from whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl pressing is being stamped out these days
- "... a classic of the 20th century jazz canon and an essential point of reference in Coltrane's own tumultuous career.... this is the album on which Coltrane first emerged as the primary innovator of the jazz world, wielding an astonishing technical virtuosity and a blinding vision of the possibilities of the tenor sax."
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- On side one, a mark makes 12 moderate to light pops about one inch into track 1, Good Bait, then 20 light to moderate pops during the last half inch of the track. Another mark makes 15 light to moderate pops at the beginning of track 2, I Want To Talk About You.
Sometimes the copy with the best sound is not the copy with the quietest vinyl. The best sounding copy is always going to win the shootout, the condition of its vinyl notwithstanding. If you can tolerate the problems on this pressing you are in for some amazing live Sinatra/Basie music and sound. If for any reason you are not happy with the sound or condition of the album we are of course happy to take it back for a full refund, including the domestic return postage.
This is a mono recording that has supposedly been reprocessed into stereo. Rudy Van Gelder did the mastering, and my guess is he decided to leave the sound mono and simply not tell anyone. Who can blame him? He engineered it in mono, so why fix what ain't broke because they printed the cover and the label with the word "stereo" on them in order to generate more sales?
We're lucky he did. The OJC reissues of this title are awful, and whatever Heavy Vinyl they're churning out these days is probably every bit as bad. Without these excellent '60s and '70s reissues, all that we would have available to do our shootouts with would be the originals. At one to three thousand dollars each for clean copies, few of which could ever be found anyway, that makes for a shootout whose costs could simply never be justified.
So our thanks go to Rudy for doing a good job!
This vintage Prestige pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely 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.
What the best sides of Soultrane 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 1958
- 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
What We Listen For on Soultrane
- 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 for the horns and drums, not the smear and thickness so 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 -- Rudy Van Gelder -- would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
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 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 Want To Talk About You
You Say You Care
Theme For Ernie
First things first: let's take it as read that this is a classic of the 20th century jazz canon and an essential point of reference in Coltrane's own tumultuous career. 1958 found Coltrane recording for Prestige as a leader, having left Thelonious Monk's quartet and before heading back to Miles Davis' band to make history on Kind of Blue the following year. Here, he's hunkered down with the Red Garland Trio (Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Arthur Taylor on drums), enjoying the easy interplay that had developed between the musicians over years of playing together, and taking the opportunity to throw out his newly-honed chops. Yes, this is the album on which Coltrane first emerged as the primary innovator of the jazz world, wielding an astonishing technical virtuosity and a blinding vision of the possibilities of the tenor sax.
... anyone who thinks Coltrane is all bluster and aggression would do well to hear "Theme for Ernie", a plaintive and elegiac ballad written by Fred Lacy in memory of Ernie Henry, the alto saxophonist who died aged 31 in 1957. Here, Coltrane is pure emotion, displaying the same heartfelt intensity of feeling that would so often be mistaken for anger in his later years.
The rest of the album features some equally timeless performances: "I Want to Talk About You", a classy Billy Eckstine ballad given an exhaustive 10-minute investigation; "You Say You Care", a high-spirited, finger-snappin' swinger; and -- best of all -- "Russian Lullaby", a blistering, frenzied rendition of an Irving Berlin tune preformed at the very limits of up-tempo possibilities.
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