The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- This oh-so-spacious Miles Davis / Gil Evans classic boasts excellent Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout this original 360 Stereo pressing
- Rich, warm, smooth and clear throughout, this 30th Street Studios recording is another engineering triumph from the legendary Fred Plaut
- Produced by Teo Macero, the album is the fourth and final collaboration between Davis and Evans
- 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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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
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.
This vintage 360 Stereo 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 Quiet Nights 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 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.
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren't veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we've heard them all.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the better copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
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?
- 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 musicians aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Production and Engineering
Teo Macero was the producer, Fred Plaut the engineer for these sessions in Columbia’s glorious sounding 30th Street Studio.
30th Street Studios
CBS 30th Street Studio, also known as Columbia 30th Street Studio, and nicknamed “The Church,” was an American recording studio operated by Columbia Records from 1949 to 1981 located at 207 East 30th Street, between Second and Third Avenues in Manhattan, New York City.
It was considered by some in the music industry to be the best sounding room in its time and others consider it to have been the greatest recording studio in history. A large number of recordings were made there in all genres, including Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue (1959), Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story (Original Broadway Cast recording, 1957), Percy Faith’s Theme from A Summer Place (1960), and Pink Floyd’s The Wall (1979).
Having been a church for many years, it had been abandoned and empty for sometime, and in 1949 it was transformed into a recording studio by Columbia Records.
“There was one big room, and no other place in which to record”, wrote John Marks in an article in Stereophile magazine in 2002.
The recording studio had 100 foot high ceilings, a 100 foot floorspace for the recording area, and the control room was on the second floor being only 8 by 14 feet. Later, the control room was moved down to the ground floor.
“It was huge and the room sound was incredible,” recalls Jim Reeves, a sound technician who had worked in it. “I was inspired,” he continues “by the fact that, aside from the artistry, how clean the audio system was.”
Many celebrated musical artists from all genres of music used the 30th Street Studio for some of their most famous recordings.
Bach: The Goldberg Variations, the 1955 debut album of the Canadian classical pianist Glenn Gould, was recorded in the 30th Street Studio. It was an interpretation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), the work launched Gould’s career as a renowned international pianist, and became one of the most well-known piano recordings. On May 29, 1981, a second version of the Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould was recorded in this studio, and would be the last production by the famous studio.
Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis recorded almost exclusively at the 30th Street Studio during his years under contract to Columbia, including his album Kind of Blue (1959). Other noteworthy jazz musicians having recorded in this place: Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck, Bob Brookmeyer, Stan Getz, et al.
In 1964, Bob Dylan and record producer Tom Wilson were experimenting with their own fusion of rock and folk music. The first unsuccessful test involved overdubbing a “Fats Domino early rock & roll thing” over Dylan’s earlier, recording of “House of the Rising Sun”, using non-electric instruments, according to Wilson. This took place in the Columbia 30th Street Studio in December 1964. It was quickly discarded, though Wilson would more famously use the same technique of overdubbing an electric backing track to an existing acoustic recording with Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”.
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.
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 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.
- Song No. 2
- Once Upon a Summertime
- Aos Pes da Cruz
- Song No. 1
- Wait Till You See Her
- Summer Night
About the Album
Quiet Nights is a studio album by jazz musician Miles Davis, and his fourth album collaboration with Gil Evans, released in 1963 on Columbia Records, catalogue CL 2106 and CS 8906 in stereo. Recorded mostly at Columbia's 30th Street Studios in Manhattan, it is the final album by Davis and Evans.
Keeping to his standard procedure at Columbia to date of alternating small group records and big band studio projects with Gil Evans, Davis entered the studio with Evans to follow up the latest studio LP by the working quintet, Someday My Prince Will Come. In 1961, Davis had also released his first live albums, two independent LPs entitled Friday Night at the Blackhawk and Saturday Night at the Blackhawk, in addition to the studio set. Another live set from 1961, Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall, also with both the quintet and a large ensemble conducted by Evans was issued in 1962.
The genesis of this Davis/Evans album, however, encountered far greater difficulties than its three predecessors. Bossa Nova had recently become a commercial success in 1962 with the single "Desafinado" from the album Jazz Samba by Stan Getz, and Columbia executives may have pressured Davis and Evans to attempt something similar with this album. Sessions were also protracted over long stretches of time.
Two songs were recorded at the first session in July, "Corcovado" and "Aos Pés da Cruz" (the first refers to a famous sight in Brazil and the second means 'At the Foot of the Cross' in Portuguese), and released as Columbia singles 4-33059 and 4-4-42583; neither charted. The pair returned to longer forms for the subsequent sessions, Evans perhaps not given enough time to finish the charts for the earlier session. The attempt to mix potential hit singles and Evans' writing style for Davis, essentially concertos for jazz trumpeter, may have torpedoed the project.
After three sessions spread over four months, the yield was approximately 20 minutes of usable music, enough for an album side but not an entire album. Evans and Davis never made it back into the studio to complete more recordings, and the project was shelved. Faced with the expenses from the large ensemble and the studio time, producer Teo Macero added a quartet track from an April 1963 session in Hollywood to complete the album and give the label something to show for its investment, Quiet Nights, released two years after the start of recording. Davis was furious at the release of what he viewed as an unfinished project, and did not work with Macero again until the October 1966 sessions for Miles Smiles. The added tune, "Summer Night," was an outtake by Davis' group as recorded for the album Seven Steps to Heaven."Time of the Barracudas"—recorded in Hollywood on October 9 and 10, 1963—was written as a commission from Peter Barnes to accompany a production of his play of the same name starring Laurence Harvey and Elaine Stritch. It is unknown whether the music was actually used for its intended purpose. The song was included as a bonus track when the album was reissued on CD by Legacy Records on September 23, 1997.