The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- You'll find excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this oh-so-spacious Miles Davis-Gil Evans classic
- Fred Plaut engineered the sessions, and on this amazing early pressing the sound is rich, warm, smooth and clear
- This copy plays about as quiet as we can find these early pressings, Mint Minus Minus throughout
- In the Saturday Review, Quiet Nights received praise for Davis' "wonderfully songful trumpet in a Latin-American vein", set against "piercingly lustrous curtains of tone and discreet Caribbean rhythms."
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We recently shot out a short stack of these -- not an easy record to find in clean condition, in stereo, on the earlier labels at affordable prices these days -- and found that the music on Quiet Nights only really comes to life when you have a good pressing like this one.
What outstanding sides such as these 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 1963
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments of the group 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 above.
The music is very much in the style of Sketches Of Spain and the sound is comparable to that album as well. This is Davis' final official collaboration with arranger and conductor Gil Evans. The quintet on this album includes Miles Davis on the trumpet, George Coleman on tenor sax, Victor Feldman on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Frank Butler on drums.
A Big Group of Musicians Needs This Kind of Space
One of the qualities that we don't talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record's presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small -- they don't extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don't seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.
Other copies -- my notes for these copies often read "BIG and BOLD" -- create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They're not brighter, they're not more aggressive, they're not hyped-up in any way, they're just bigger and clearer.
And most of the time those very special pressings are just plain more involving. When you hear a copy that does all that -- a copy like this one -- it's an entirely different listening experience.
What We're Listening For on Quiet Nights
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the studio. They're front and center where any recording engineer -- Fred Plaut in this case -- would have put them.
- 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.
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 sound of every instrument is 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 record up is guaranteed to get a real kick out of it.
Fred Plaut, Engineer Extraordinaire
Frederick "Fred" Plaut was a recording engineer and amateur photographer. He was employed by Columbia Records during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, eventually becoming the label's chief engineer.
Plaut engineered sessions for what would result in many of Columbia's famous albums, including the original cast recordings of South Pacific, My Fair Lady, and West Side Story, jazz LPs Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis, Time Out by Dave Brubeck, Mingus Ah Um and Mingus Dynasty by Charles Mingus.
The link in the upper left has more of the best sounding recordings from the 30th Street studio Fred worked in, including this one.
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.
Song No. 2
Once Upon a Summertime
Aos Pes da Cruz
Song No. 1
Wait Till You See Her
Amazon 4 Star Review by RH
What would turn out to be the last great collaboration between Miles Davis and big band arranger Gil Evans for Columbia Records, the two jazz giants decided to pay a special homage to The Bossa Nova Craze, but this album had also evinced the other sides of Miles, jazz’ most brilliantly protean figure.
Starting off with the eclectic, but brief opening track Song No. 2, the sincere track set concludes on a delightful set of bossa nova and pop standards like Once Upon A Summertime, Aos Pez Da Cruz, Song No. 1, Wait Till You See Her, the superb Corcavado, Summertime and the 13-minute Grande finale Song For The Barracudas.
Quiet Nights showcases Miles performing at his uncoiling best and even found him using his hallmark Harmon mute.
Finally, for the final track, Time For The Barracudas, composed by Miles and Evans, in which the extended work in progress performed by a 13-piece ensemble that features the at once astonishing rhythm section of Herbie Hancock at the piano, Ron Carter on bass and the 17-year old drumming sensation Tony Williams.
Which makes Quiet Nights the kind of music that dreams are made of.
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