Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
Side Three: Mint Minus Minus
Side Four: Mint Minus Minus
- Dolphy's superb 1961 live release returns to the site with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on all FOUR sides
- Rich, smooth, sweet, and wonderfully natural, this is the sound we love here at Better Records
- I've known about Dolphy's legendary Copenhagen Concert for close to thirty years. When an audiophile hears a bass clarinet reproduced the way it is on this record, he is very unlikely to forget it
- Dolphy stretches out on the flute and the bass clarinet as well as his alto sax here
- "Eric Dolphy's tour of Europe is one of the best documented periods of his much-too-short career... a must for Dolphy collectors."
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Rarely have I heard a string bass sound better than it does here. The flute is equally gorgeous. They could record a live jazz concert this well in 1961? Apparently.
The sound of the bass clarinet is so real it will take your breath away. No pop or rock record has this kind of fidelity, ever. The resolution is amazing, you can hear the keys clacking away as he plays.
This vintage Prestige pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even 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 listening live to 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 Copenhagen Concert 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 1961
- 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 space of the venue
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.
I've known about Dolphy's legendary Copenhagen Concert for at least twenty years. When an audiophile hears a bass clarinet reproduced the way it is on this record he is very unlikely to forget it.
With the hundred-plus changes to the system and room I've made over that span of time, the reproduction of the bass clarinet has only gotten more real.
It's proof positive that everything in audio can get dramatically better with constant effort and attention to every aspect of sound. From the room to the electricity to the right cleaning techniques, everything can come together to make that instrument sound like it is in the room with you, a room that sounds like you imagine a jazz club would in 1961.
What a thrill. It's what we audiophiles live for. It's what keeps us going in this hobby. If you know people who used to be into audio and aren't anymore, it's more than likely because they just never got to the point where they were doing it right.
What We're Listening For on Copenhagen Concert
- 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 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.
- 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 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 that is a key part of the appeal 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.
Glad To Be Unhappy
God Bless The Child
When Lights Are Low
In The Blues
Eric Dolphy's tour of Europe is one of the best documented periods of his much-too-short career. This two-LP set is highlighted by a flute/bass duet with Chuck Israels on "Hi-Fly," an unaccompanied bass clarinet exploration on "God Bless the Child" and several numbers on which Dolphy is backed on standards by a European trio led by pianist Bent Axen. This two-fer, a reissue of Eric Dolply in Europe, Vols. 1 & 3, is a must for Dolphy collectors.
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