The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- An East Wind 33 RPM Japanese import pressing with seriously good Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from start to finish
- One of the better sounding versions with all 7 tracks we've played, particularly on the first side
- Lee Herschberg recorded these sessions direct-to-disc - he's the guy behind the most amazing piano trio recording I have ever heard, a little album called The Three
- This side one gives you the richness, clarity, presence and resolution few copies can touch, and side two is not far behind in all those areas
- This 33 RPM version features all seven of the original tracks - "C'est What" and "Corcovado" were omitted from the shorter 45 RPM pressing
- And it was a solid step up sonically from a lot of the Direct to Disc pressings we had on hand, which is exactly what happened when they mastered The Three at 45 RPM from the backup tapes - pretty wild, don't you think?
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This vintage East Wind Japanese import 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 Pavane Pour Une Infante Défunte 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 1976
- 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.
Lee Herschberg, Engineer Extraordinaire
One of the top guys at Warners, Lee Herschberg recorded and mixed this album (with the help of another engineer) as well as a number of others by Ry Cooder. You'll also find his name in the credits for many of the best releases by the Doobie Brothers, Gordon Lightfoot and Frank Sinatra, albums we know to have outstanding sound (potentially anyway; you have to have an outstanding pressing to hear outstanding sound).
And of course we would be remiss if we didn't mention the album most audiophiles know all too well, Rickie Lee Jones' debut. Herschberg's pop and rock engineering credits run for pages. Won the Grammy for Strangers in the Night even.
The most amazing jazz piano trio recording we know of is Herschberg's as well: The Three (with Shelly Manne, Ray Brown and Joe Sample).
What We're Listening For On Pavane Pour Une Infante Défunte
- 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, full-bodied 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 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.
- Pavane Pour Une Infante Défunte
- Autumn Leaves
- C'est What
- Samba De Orfeu