The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (closer to M-- to EX++ in parts)*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (closer to M-- to EX++ in parts)*
- Boasting two superb Double Plus (A++) or BETTER sides, this copy is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other Pure Desmond you've heard
- Side two was very close in sound to our Shootout Winner - you will be amazed at how big and rich and tubey the sound is
- Huge amounts of three-dimensional ambience, along with boatloads of Tubey Magic, make this a very special pressing indeed
- Credit goes to Rudy Van Gelder once again for the huge space that the superbly well-recorded group occupies
- 4 stars: "Paul Desmond reverted back to the relaxed quartet format that suited him well in the past... [this album] sparked a Desmond renaissance where he regained a good deal of the witty spark and erudite cool of his collaborations with Hall...
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*NOTE: This record was not noisy enough to rate our M-- to EX++ grade, but it's not quite up to our standards for Mint Minus Minus either. If you're looking for quiet vinyl, this is probably not the best copy for you.
CTI is better known for the funky grooves of artists like Stanley Turrentine, Ron Carter and Deodato, but this album features mature adult jazz from Dave Brubeck's former sideman, Paul Desmond.
It's a lovely album, but if your pressing doesn't have all the magic, we would forgive you for not giving the music the credit it deserves. Unless your copy has a lot of energy and good amounts of richness and fullness, you probably wouldn't give the music a second thought.
When you hear a copy like this, it's an entirely different story. Fans of Contemporary label jazz are sure to get a lot out of this one.
This vintage CTI 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 Pure Desmond 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 1975
- 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 best 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.
What We're Listening For On Pure Desmond
- 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 brilliant Rudy Van Gelder, working with producer Creed Taylor -- 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.
- Squeeze Me
- I'm Old Fashioned
- Why Shouldn't I
- Everything I Love
- Warm Valley
- Till The Clouds Roll By
- Mean To Me
AMG 4 Star Review
With the Skylark "experiment" behind him, Paul Desmond reverted back to the relaxed quartet format that suited him well in the past. The reason? Through Jim Hall, he found a little-known, splendid guitarist in Toronto named Ed Bickert who became his new gigmate in 1974, and this album was meant to show his discovery off. In fact, it sparked a Desmond renaissance where he regained a good deal of the witty spark and erudite cool of his collaborations with Hall, no matter how unfashionable it was to play this way in 1974.
Bickert is an even more reticent player than Hall, softer in touch and temperament, but eminently musical, enough to fire up Desmond's creativity. Old Desmond hand Connie Kay lends sympathy and comfort on drums, and Ron Carter is on bass. "Just Squeeze Me," "Everything I Love," and "Til the Clouds Roll By" are the best examples of the empathy at work here but any track will do.