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 killer Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides - just shy of our Shootout Winner
- 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
- There are very few early pressings around without marks or problems in the vinyl - this one has a number of marks that play, but finding copy that sounds this good with quiet surfaces is getting harder every day
- It's the nature of the beast and there is simply no way around it if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- "... 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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*NOTE: On side 1, there is a mark that plays once loudly at the start of track 1, followed by a series of marks that play intermittently throughout the first 1/3 of the same track at a moderate to loud level. There is another mark about 1/2 way into track 1 that plays intermittently 3 times at a moderate level, followed by a mark that plays 10 times at a moderate to loud level about 2/3 of the way in, and finally a mark about 1/4" from the end of track 1 that plays once loudly. On side 2, there is a mark plays 11 times at a moderate to loud level about 1/4" from the end of track 1.
These Nearly White Hot Stamper pressings have top-quality sound that's often surprisingly close to our White Hots, but they sell at substantial discounts to our Shootout Winners, making them a relative bargain in the world of Hot Stampers ("relative" meaning relative considering the prices we charge). We feel you get what you pay for here at Better Records, and if ever you don't agree, please feel free to return the record for a full refund, no questions asked.
Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in exceptionally clean shape. Most of the will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG
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 $1,000-$3,000 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
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.
What We're Listening 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, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight, full-bodied 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.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The saxophone isn't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. It's front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt -- the above mentioned RVG in this case -- would put it.
- 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 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.
- Good Bait
- I Want To Talk About You
- You Say You Care
- Theme For Ernie
- Russian Lullaby
Pop Matters Review
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.