The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
- An outstanding copy of The Tommy Flanagan Trio with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
- Lively, dynamic, transparent, spacious and musical throughout - you won't believe how good this Jazz Classic from 1960 sounds
- "Rudy van Gelder captured the exquisite sound in his usual manner by setting up a couple of high-fidelity microphones and letting the players and room speak for themselves. If I close my eyes, I'm in the Village Vanguard listening to him live."
- "With bassist Tommy Potter and drummer Roy Haynes giving the pianist fine support, the trio cooks a bit on Flanagan's 'Jes' Fine...'"
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*NOTE: On side two, the first half of Track 1, Born To Be Blue, plays Mint Minus Minus to EX++.
This vintage 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 The Tommy Flanagan Trio 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 1960
- 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.
Old and New Work Well Together
This reissue is spacious, open, transparent, rich and sweet. It's yet another remarkable disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording Technology, with the added benefit of mastering using the more modern cutting equipment of the '80s. We are of course here referring to the good modern mastering of 40+ years ago, not the dubious modern mastering of today.
The combination of old and new works wonders on this title as you will surely hear for yourself on these superb sides.
We were impressed with the fact that these pressings excel in so many areas of reproduction. What was odd about it -- odd to most audiophiles but not necessarily to us -- was just how rich and Tubey Magical the reissue can be on the right pressing.
This leads me to think that most of the natural, full-bodied, lively, clear, rich sound of the album is on the tape, and that all one has to do to get that vintage sound on to a record is simply to thread up the tape on the right machine and hit play.
The fact that nobody seems to be able to make a record that sounds this good these days tells me that I'm wrong to think that such an approach would work. It just seems to me that somebody should have been able to figure out how to do it by now. In our experience that is simply not the case in the modern world of vinyl reissues, and has not been for many years.
If you have full-range speakers some of the qualities you may recognize in the sound of the piano are WEIGHT and WARMTH. The piano is not hard, brittle or tinkly. Instead, the best copies show you a wonderfully full-bodied, warm, rich, smooth piano, one which sounds remarkably like the ones we've all heard countless times in piano bars and restaurants.
In other words like a real piano, not a recorded one. This is what we look for in a good piano recording. Bad mastering can ruin the sound, and often does, along with worn out stampers and bad vinyl and five gram needles that scrape off the high frequencies. But a few -- a very few -- copies survive all such hazards. They manage to reproduce the full spectrum sound of the piano (and of course the wonderful performances of the musicians) on vintage vinyl, showing us the kind of sound we never expected from a fairly unprepossessing early '60 jazz piano trio recording such as this.
What We're Listening For on The Tommy Flanagan Trio
- 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 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.
- In The Blue Of The Evening
- You Go To My Head
- Velvet Moon
- Come Sunday
- Born To Be Blue
- Jes' Fine
- In A Sentimental Mood
Amazon 5 Star Rave Review
Tommy Flanagan must have been an obvious choice for the Prestige Moodsville series, which the liner notes explain were intended to provide a compilation of performances where "important names in jazz can just relax and play the tunes they like" and where the "emphasis will be on relaxed, thoughtful and expressive jazz, after hours music if you will".
In this set, Flanagan and his trio play a selection of little known 1930s ballads. In addition to Flanagan on the ivories, his trio features Tommy Potter on bass, who adds just a touch of depth and movement, and Roy Haynes on drums, who treats the skins to a light touch with the brushes. The fourth track, Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday" is a beautiful solo piano number. The penultimate song, "Jes' Fine", is the only song written by Flanagan. It picks things up just a touch and adds some counterpoint and a more insistent bass line. But then Tommy brings us back to the mellow mood in which we started with the final song, another Duke Ellington number, "In a Sentimental Mood".
Rudy van Gelder captured the exquisite sound in his usual manner by setting up a couple of high-fidelity microphones and letting the players and room speak for themselves. If I close my eyes, I'm in the Village Vanguard listening to him live. My only complaint is that the album is only 34 minutes long. When I'm in the mood for Tommy Flanagan, I could listen to him and his trio all night. I'd suggest another Tommy Flanagan Trio album, "Overseas", as an excellent complement to this one. Or catch Flanagan in different surroundings on any number of early Dexter Gordon recordings or on Sonny Rollins' "Saxophone Colossus", which is perhaps my all time favorite be-bop album.
... most of the selections are taken at slow tempoes. With bassist Tommy Potter and drummer Roy Haynes giving the pianist fine support, the trio cooks a bit on Flanagan's "Jes' Fine" but otherwise plays such songs as "You Go to My Head," "Come Sunday" (which is taken as a solo piano feature) and "Born to Be Blue" quietly and with taste.