The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (w/ a noisy edge)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- You'll find KILLER sound on both sides of this jazz favorite -- Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the second
- Another triumph for Rudy Van Gelder and his unerring skill at getting all the musical elements to work together
- The first album Creed Taylor produced for A&M was A Day in the Life with Wes Montgomery, just days after the release of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper (and which Wes never heard before recording this album!)
- "There is a notable quality that each Wes recording seems to retain - they just seem to be getting better as the years go by." - Pat Metheny
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This superb album includes Montgomery's great cover of A Day In The Life on side one and killer tracks like Eleanor Rigby, Willow Weep for Me, Windy and The Joker on side two.
It's damn near impossible to find decent sounding early A&M pressings, but the sound here is surprisingly good. There are plenty of dull, lifeless, overly compressed copies out there. That sound becomes especially offensive when the strings come in, most notably in the climactic middle section of "A Day In The Life."
Fortunately for everyone who loves this kind of guitar-led jazz, our Hot Stampers have the warm, rich sound that lets you enjoy this wonderful music without making your ears to bleed.
This is one of our favorite orchestra-backed jazz records here at Better Records. A few others off the top of my head would be Wes Montgomery's California Dreaming on Verve from the year before (1966, and also Sebesky-arranged), Grover Washington's All the King's Horses (1973) and Deodato's Prelude (also 1973, with brilliant arrangements by the man himself).
What’s especially notable is how well-recorded the orchestra's string sections are. They have just the right amount of texture and immediacy without being forced or shrill. They're also very well integrated into the mix. I wouldn't have expected RVG to pull it off so well -- I've heard other CTI records where the orchestration was abominable -- but here it works as well as on any album I know of.
This kind of warm, rich, Tubey Magical analog sound is gone forever. You have to go back a ways to find it!
What We're Listening For on A Day in the Life
- 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.
Digging Creed Taylor Inc.
We've been digging this CTI jazz stuff for years. On his better albums, the players tend to sound carefree and loose -- you can tell they're having a heck of a time with the material. Don't get me wrong -- we still love the Blue Note and Contemporary label stuff for our more "hard core" jazz needs, but it's a kick to hear top jazz musicians laying down these grooves and not taking themselves so seriously... especially when it sounds this good!
Give some credit to Don Sebesky (see tab above). His arrangements are brilliant. He also did the arrangements for another one of our favorite jazz guitar albums, Wes Montgomery's California Dreaming. We love what Sebesky is doing on both albums, and both can have amazing sound on the best pressings.
Wes Montgomery – guitar
Herbie Hancock – piano
Ron Carter – bass
Grady Tate – drums
Ray Barretto – percussion
Creed Taylor – producer
Don Sebesky – arranger, conductor
Rudy Van Gelder – engineer
And about two dozen string, wind and percussion players.
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 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.
A Day in the Life
Watch What Happens
When a Man Loves a Woman
Willow Weep for Me
Trust in Me
By the time Wes Montgomery recorded this album (his debut for A&M), he was a major name in the pop world. Montgomery's melodic renditions of current pop hits caught on and were played regularly on Top 40 radio...
Of his three A&M recordings, A Day in the Life (the first one) was by far the best.
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