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White Hot Stamper - Andre Previn & His Pals - West Side Story

The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.

Super Hot Stamper

Andre Previn & His Pals
West Side Story

Regular price
$199.99
Regular price
Sale price
$199.99
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per 
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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus

  • Previn's stellar piano trio and its jazzy interpretations of the best songs from West Side Story returns to the site for only the second time in over three years on this vintage Contemporary pressing, here with two excellent Double Plus (A++) or BETTER sides
  • The All Tube Analog sound is warm, natural, lively and clear, with solid support down low, a nicely extended top and a huge three-dimensional soundfield
  • Andre Previn and his friends take eight classic tunes from West Side Story - it would be hard to imagine having better material to work with in a jazz setting
  • 4 stars: "The last of a series of showtune albums recorded by the trio finds the all-star group focusing on the music of West Side Story... As usual, the melodies are treated respectfully yet swingingly, and Andre Previn in particular excels in this setting. Recommended."

More Contemporary Label Jazz Recordings / More Jazz Recordings Featuring the Piano

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One of Previn's best piano trio records, this album was recorded in 1959 by Roy DuNann while at the height of his engineering powers.

The two Must Owns from his many sessions at Contemporary are this album and Bells Are Ringing. We are not aware of any of his jazz piano albums on other labels being much better than passable and most are not worth picking up at any price. Believe me, we've tried. The one exception I can think of is Four to Go on Columbia. It's pretty good. Not in the same league as his Contemporary recordings by a long shot, but better than most of his output from the 60s.

For both the albums mentioned above the Black Label originals in stereo are the best way to go, but finding them in clean audiophile playing condition is no walk in the park, which is the main reason you don't see copies of either title on the site very often. Some records show up on the site and are never seen again. That may be one of them. Time will tell.

This vintage Contemporary stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even 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 trio, 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 West Side Story 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 1959
  • 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.

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.

The Piano Is Key

On the better copies of the album, the sound of the piano is solid, full-bodied, with both weight and warmth, just like the real thing. The copies of the album with a piano that sounded lean or hard always ended up having problems with the other instruments as well. (This should not be surprising; the piano was designed to be the single instrument most capable of reproducing the sound of an entire orchestra.)

Players and Personnel

Vinyl Condition

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.

A Must Own Record

This is a recording that belongs in any serious Jazz Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.

Side One

  • Something`s Coming
  • Jet Song
  • Tonight
  • I Feel Pretty

Side Two

  • Gee, Officer Krupke!
  • Cool
  • Maria
  • America

AMG 4 Star Review

The last of a series of showtune albums recorded by the trio of pianist Andre Previn, bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Shelly Manne finds the all-star group focusing on the music of West Side Story (Previn and Manne alternated leadership, and it was the drummer's good fortune to have the famous My Fair Lady album under his own name).

As usual, the melodies are treated respectfully yet swingingly, and Andre Previn in particular excels in this setting. Recommended.