Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- Both sides of this vintage RVG-mastered Blue Note pressing earned outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on this Dexter Gordon classic from 1963
- The sound of the saxophone is so full-bodied and Tubey Magical you won't believe it - where is that sound today?
- The top opens up nicely and there is plenty of space in the studio, giving all the players room to breathe
- 4 1/2 stars: "Gordon is at the very top of his game here. His playing is crisp, tight, and full of playful fury. Powell, who at this stage of his life was almost continually plagued by personal problems, never sounded better than he does in this session."
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Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in clean shape. Most of them will have at least some amount of seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG, and it will probably be VG+. If you are picky about your covers please let us know in advance so that we can be sure we have a nice cover for you.
The sound of the saxophone is captured beautifully - it's breathy with clearly audible leading-edge transients. The bluesy version of Willow Weep For Me on side one is wonderful. Scrapple From The Apple (also on side one) has a silky top end anchored by deep, well-defined bass.
It was not that many years ago that we didn't care a fig about Dexter Gordon. After finding Crazy Hot copies of One Flight Up and now this amazing record, we're counting ourselves ardent members of his fan club.
If you're looking for an original stereo pressing -- and good luck finding one in audiophile playing condition -- this is not the copy for you. If you're looking for an exceptionally good sounding stereo pressing, regardless of label, one that plays reasonably quietly for a 50+ year old record, this simply cannot do better than this very LP.
What the best sides of Our Man In Paris 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
This Blue Note 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 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 control room hearing the master tape being played back, or, better yet, the direct feed from the studio, this is the record for you. It's what Golden Age Jazz Recordings, especially ones from 1963, 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.
Remastering Out the Good Stuff
What is lost in the newly remastered recordings so popular with the record collecting public these days ? Lots of things, but the most obvious and irritating is transparency.
Modern records tend to be small, veiled and recessed, and they rarely image well. In our experience, the most important quality they lack is transparency. Almost without exception they are opaque. They resist our efforts to hear into the music. We don't like that sound, and like it less with each passing day, although we certainly used to put up with it back when we were selling what we considered to be the better Heavy Vinyl pressings from the likes of DCC, Speakers Corner, Cisco and even Classic Records.
Now when we play those records they either bore us to tears or frustrate us with their veiled, vague, lifeless, ambience-challenged presentation. It was sometime in 2007 when we turned a corner. The remastered Blue on Heavy Vinyl came out and was such a mediocrity that we asked ourselves "Why bother?" That was all she wrote. We stopped selling those third-rate remasters and dedicated ourselves to finding, cleaning, playing and critically evaluating vintage pressings, regardless of era or genre of music.
The result is a website full of great sounding records that should find special appeal with audiophiles who set high standards, who own good equipment and who have well-developed critical listening skills.
What We're Listening For on Our Man In Paris
- 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: presence and immediacy. The saxophone isn't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. It's front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put it.
- 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.
Scrapple From The Apple
Willow Weep For Me
Stairway To The Stars
A Night In Tunisia
This 1963 date is titled for Dexter Gordon's living in self-imposed Parisian exile and recording there with two other exptriates and a French native. Along with Gordon, pianist Bud Powell and Kenny "Klook" Clarke were living in the City of Lights and were joined by the brilliant French bassman Pierre Michelot...
Gordon is at the very top of his game here. His playing is crisp, tight, and full of playful fury. Powell, who at this stage of his life was almost continually plagued by personal problems, never sounded better than he does in this session. His playing is a tad more laid-back here, but is nonetheless full of the brilliant harmonic asides and incendiary single-note runs he is legendary for. The rhythm section is close-knit and stop-on-a-dime accurate.
The Penguin Guide to Jazz gave it a maximum four-star rating and added it to the core collection, commenting that Gordon's playing on "A Night in Tunisia" "is one of his finest performances on record" and concluding that the album is "a classic".
The review of the 2003 remastered version in The Guardian was similarly positive, stating that it is "one of the all-time classics".
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