Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- Outstanding sound throughout for this Prestige/OJC pressing with both sides earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Shockingly good All Tube Mono sound from 1956 courtesy of Rudy Van Gelder, and the high-rez, tonally correct and wide-bandwidth mastering brings out even the most subtle nuances of the sound of these superbs groups of four, five and six players
- 4 stars: "4, 5 and 6 presents McLean's quartet on half the date, and tunes with an expanded quintet, and one sextet track -- thus the title... [it] does foreshadow the future of McLean as an innovative musician in an all-too-purist mainstream jazz world."
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This vintage Prestige/OJC 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 4, 5 and 6 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
What We Listen For on 4, 5 and 6
- 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.
Jackie McLean – alto sax Hank Mobley – tenor sax Donald Byrd – trumpet Mal Waldron – piano Doug Watkins – bass Art Taylor – drums
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.
Why Was I Born?
When I Fall In Love
4, 5 and 6 presents McLean's quartet on half the date, and tunes with an expanded quintet, and one sextet track -- thus the title. Mal Waldron, himself an unconventional pianist willing to explore different sizings and shadings of progressive jazz, is a wonderful complement for McLean's notions, with bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor the impervious team everyone wanted for his rhythm section at the time.
4, 5 and 6 does not break barriers, but does foreshadow the future of McLean as an innovative musician in an all-too-purist mainstream jazz world.
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