The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
- This hard-to-find '70s Contemporary reissue boasts superb Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
- We have been big fans of Hawes for many years - it's records like this that impressed the hell out of us back in the day and they only get better with age
- These sides are rich, clear, undistorted, open, spacious, and have jazz trio energy to rival the best recordings you may have heard
- This is a textbook example of Contemporary sound at its best, thanks to the engineering brilliance of Roy DuNann and producer Lester Keonig
- Problems in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these vintage pressings - there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- "The third of three Hampton Hawes trio dates with bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Chuck Thompson is on the same high level as his first two.... [Hawes] comes up with consistently creative ideas throughout this swinging bop date."
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*NOTE: On side 1, track 3, "Embraceable You," plays closer to Mint Minus Minus. On side 2, there is a stitch that plays 19 times at a light to moderate level about 1/4" into track 1, "Lover, Come Back To Me!"
We don’t run into Hawes’ LPs the way we used to, so it was indeed a delight to find enough copies of this album to do a shootout.
Note how correct the sound of the instruments is on both sides. This is the unquestionably the hallmark of any Contemporary recording: correct instrumental timbre.
This vintage Contemporary 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 Everybody Likes Hampton Hawes 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 1956
- 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 this record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressing 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 Everybody Likes Hampton Hawes
- 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.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The piano isn't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. It's front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt -- the legendary Roy DuNann in this case -- would put it.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better 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.
- Somebody Loves Me
- The Sermon
- Embraceable You
- I Remember You
- Night In Tunisia
- Lover, Come Back To Me!
- Polka Dots And Moonbeams
- Billy Boy
- Body And Soul
- Cookin' The Blues
The third of three Hampton Hawes trio dates with bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Chuck Thompson is on the same high level as his first two. Hawes introduces his “Coolin’ the Blues” and “The Sermon,” digs into eight standards (including “Somebody Loves Me,” “Night In Tunisia” and “Billy Boy”) and comes up with consistently creative ideas throughout this swinging bop date.
David Rickert Review
Hawes has an elegant style typical of West Coast playing, but infused with bebop flourishes. His powerfully rhythmic left hand anchors the forceful dancing of his right, apparent on tunes like “Somebody Loves Me” and “A Night in Tunisia.” But he also can run through a ballad without making it sound overly sentimental and of course throws in a few blues numbers to show he’s got the chops for that, too. Mitchell gets in a few enthusiastic bass solos and Thompson keeps a tight rhythmic snap behind.
The selection of tunes on this 1956 date may not be all that adventurous, but it allows Hawes to do what he does best: give a little extra juice to some well-worn standards. No groundbreaking work here, but Hawes and company have, as usual, crafted a worthwhile session of piano jazz.