The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
- This epic live jazz recording finally returns to the site with stunning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to them
- A killer pressing, with a very strong bottom end, lovely richness and warmth, real space and separation between the instruments and wonderful immediacy throughout
- Recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, this 1970 release showcases Evans stylings alongside the brilliant talents of Eddie Gomez and Marty Morell
- "Bill Evans' second recording at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1970 was a highly anticipated concert, finding the pianist in peak form, accompanied by bassist Eddie Gómez and drummer Marty Morell. "
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*NOTE: On side one, a bubble makes one light tick followed by one medium loud pop at the beginning of Track 3, ALFIE.
This vintage CTI stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing any sign 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 audience at the live show, this is the record for you. It's what Live Jazz 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 less than one out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we've played can serve as a guide.
What the best sides of Montreux II 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 1970
- 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 Montreux II
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would 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.
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.
- Very Early
- How My Heart Sings
- I Hear A Rhapsody
- Peri's Scope
Bill Evans' second recording at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1970 was a highly anticipated concert, finding the pianist in peak form, accompanied by bassist Eddie Gómez and drummer Marty Morell. His originals include the rhapsodic "Very Early," the turbulent "34 Skidoo," and an aggressive rendition of "Peri's Scope." His introspective take of Burt Bacharach's "Alfie" is played at a leisurely tempo, while his take of Earl Zindars' "How My Heart Sings" simmers slowly to a boil. His driving setting of Johnny Carisi's "Israel" has an intense Eddie Gómez solo and a lively exchange with Morell as its centerpiece.
While this is a terrific live performance, there are sound problems, including what sounds like bleeding of the stage monitors into the mix, and there are muddy spots in the recording as well, particularly during some of Gómez's solos. Master engineer Rudy Van Gelder tackled the remastering of this CTI LP, but there was only so much he could do with what was preserved on the original tape, so the CBS CD reissue, which strangely contains no bonus tracks, does not sound that much better than the original record.
[Naturally we take issue with the sonic assessments above. We did not hear any of the problems the reviewer described. If you buy this record and you do hear them please let us know. Of course as always you may return the record for a full refund if you are not happy with it in any way. We think it sounds great!]