Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (on the quieter end of this play grade)
- Incredible Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on vinyl that's about as quiet as these Black Label originals ever play
- The piano sounds lifelike right from the start, a beautiful instrument in a natural space, tonally correct from top to bottom
- This copy makes it clear that this is a Demo Disc Quality Recording for Contemporary, and that's saying a lot
- It's also our favorite jazz piano performance by Andre Previn on record
- "Previn's piano is the lead voice and his virtuosity, good taste, melodic improvising, and solid sense of swing are chiefly responsible for the music's success."
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I have a very long history with this album, dating back close to twenty years. My friend Robert Pincus first turned me on to the CD, which, happily for all concerned was mastered beautifully. We used it to test and tweak all the stereos in my friends' systems.
Playing the original stereo record, which I assumed must never have been reissued due to its rarity (I have since learned otherwise), all I could hear on my '90s all tube system was blurred mids, lack of transient attack, sloppy bass, lack of space and transparency, and other shortcomings too numerous to mention that I simply attributed at the time to vintage jazz vinyl.
Well, things have certainly changed. I have virtually none of the equipment I had back then, and I hear none of the problems with this copy that I heard back then on pressing I owned. This is clearly a different LP, I sold the old one off years ago, but I have to think that much of the change in the sound was a change in cleaning, equipment, tweaks and room treatments, all the stuff we prattle on about endlessly on the site.
In other words, if you have a highly-resolving modern system and a good room, you are should be knocked out by the sound of this record. I sure was.
What amazing sides such as these 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 1958
- 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
Tambourine and Piano
The piano sounds lifelike right from the start, a beautiful instrument in a natural space, tonally correct from top to bottom. I can't think of any recording off the top of my head that gets a better piano sound than this one.
Listen to the tambourine on the third track on side one. Shelly Manne messes about with lots of percussion instruments on this album and all of them are recorded to perfection.
Not to leave Red Mitchell out, check out the bass; it's deep and note-like throughout the album.
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 later 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 originals.
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.
I Met a Girl
Just in Time
Independent (On My Own)
The Party's Over (Ballad Version)
It's a Perfect Relationship
Is It a Crime?
Better Than a Dream
Long Before I Knew You
The Party's Over (Up-Tempo Version)
When Shelly Manne and His Friends (a trio starring pianist André Previn) had a surprise hit with their interpretations of melodies from My Fair Lady, it started a trend toward recording jazz versions of scores from plays.
For this LP, Manne's trio (with Previn and bassist Red Mitchell) perform nine songs from the play Bells Are Ringing. Although seven of the pieces remained obscure, "The Party's Over" (which is heard twice) and particularly "Just in Time" caught on.
As is always the case with this group, Previn's piano is the lead voice and his virtuosity, good taste, melodic improvising, and solid sense of swing are chiefly responsible for the music's success.
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