Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides of this superb pressing
- This is vintage 1962 Living Stereo sound at its best - big, rich, relaxed, tonally correct and full of Tubey Magic - thanks Ray Hall!
- Damn quiet for a Black Label stereo original - it plays Mint Minus Minus and has no audible marks of any kind
- 4 1/2 Stars: "Rollins' characteristically huge tone, relentless harmonic and rhythmic inventiveness, and fierce solos were consistently impressive. Not only did he state the melody clearly and superbly, but his ideas and pacing were remarkable; no solo rambled and his phrases were lean, thick and furious."
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For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are wonderful. If you're looking to demonstrate just how good 1962 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy will do the trick.
This pressing is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This is vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you'll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve it.
This IS the sound of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There is of course a CD of this album, but those of us who possess a working turntable and a good collection of vintage vinyl could care less.
This record is LIVING STEREO at its best. The full range of instrumental colors are here presented with remarkable clarity, dynamic contrast, spaciousness, sweetness, and timbral accuracy. If you want to demonstrate to a novice listener why modern recordings are unsatisfactory, all you have to do is play this 56 year old record for them. No modern LP pressing or CD ever sounded like this.
What the best sides of this Classic Jazz Album from 1962 have to offer is clear for all 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 1962
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied double bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with the guitar and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
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 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 pressings from the '50s and '60s and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
What We're Listening For on What's New
- 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 common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering -- which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Sonny Rollins – tenor saxophone Jim Hall – guitar (tracks 1, 4 & 5) Bob Cranshaw – bass Ben Riley – drums (tracks 1, 4 & 5) Denis Charles, Frank Charles, Willie Rodriguez – percussion (tracks 1, 4 & 5) Candido – percussion (tracks 2 & 3)
Ray Hall handled the engineering duties for this album and a host of other great albums for RCA, albums we know were brilliantly recorded because we've done shootouts for them and heard the best copies sound amazing with our own two ears.
Some of the better titles that come to mind include:
Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington – Recording Together For The First Time (1961) Ray Brown / Cannonball Adderley - With The All-Star Big Band (1962) Paul Desmond - Take Ten (1963) Paul Desmond & Gerry Mulligan - Two Of A Mind (1962) Stan Getz - Jazz Samba Encore (1963) Della Reese ?– Della (1960) Sonny Rollins - The Bridge (1962) Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins - Sonny Meets Hawk (1963)
And too many more to list!
Mint Minus Minus 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 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.
If Ever I Would Leave You
The Night Has A Thousand Eyes
Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins returned from a self-imposed two-year sabbatical in 1962 with a fury, recording prolifically and exploring various directions from outside to inside. The five cuts on this LP were originally recorded in New York, with Rollins mixing standards and originals and providing his take on what was then an exploding trend, the bossa nova.
Rollins' characteristically huge tone, relentless harmonic and rhythmic inventiveness, and fierce solos were consistently impressive. Not only did he state the melody clearly and superbly, but his ideas and pacing were remarkable; no solo rambled and his phrases were lean, thick and furious.
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