The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- With outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades, this is a wonderful sounding pressing of Jimmy and Wes's classic jazz collaboration from 1966 - exceptionally QUIET vinyl for a record from this era as well
- Big, rich and lively, thanks to Oliver Nelson's arrangements (and RVG's engineering), this big group of top players is having a blast and we think you will too
- 5 stars: "The romping, aggressive big band charts [represent] Oliver Nelson at his best... The results are incendiary -- a near-ideal meeting of yin and yang... They are an amazing pair, complementing each other, driving each other, using their bop and blues taproots to fuse together a sound."
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The sound of this Verve stereo pressing is tonally correct and natural. The timbre of each and every instrument is right and it doesn't take a pair of golden ears to hear it. So high-resolution too. If you love '60s jazz you cannot go wrong here.
We've really been digging this Creed Taylor jazz stuff lately, first on Verve, then on CTI. On the better albums such as this one, the players tend to sound carefree and loose -- you can tell they're having a heck of a fun 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 Oliver Nelson. His arrangements are nothing short of brilliant. He did the arrangements for another one of our favorite jazz albums, Bashin', and for swingin' big band backup, there is none better.
Tubey Magic Is Key
This vintage pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot 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 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 The Dynamic Duo Have to Offer is Not Hard to Hear
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.
What We're Listening For on The Dynamic Duo
- 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 for the guitar notes, not the smear and thickness so common to most 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.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The guitar isn't back there somewhere, lost in the mix. It's front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put it.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
A Big Group of Musicians Needs This Kind of Space
One of the qualities that we don't talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record's presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small -- they don't extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don't seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.
Other copies -- my notes for these copies often read "BIG and BOLD" -- create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They're not brighter, they're not more aggressive, they're not hyped-up in any way, they're just bigger and clearer.
And most of the time those very special pressings are just plain more involving. When you hear a copy that does all that -- a copy like this one -- it's an entirely different listening experience.
The Players and Personnel
Everybody who's anybody is playing on this record, or helped to make it!
- Alto Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute – Jerry Dodgion
- Arranged By – Oliver Nelson
- Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Flute, – Danny Bank
- Bass – Richard Davis
- Bass Trombone – Tony Studd
- Drums – Grady Tate
- Engineer – Rudy Van Gelder
- Director Of Engineering – Val Valentin
- Flugelhorn – Clark Terry
- Flute, Clarinet – Jerome Richardson
- Percussion – Ray Barretto
- Producer – Creed Taylor
- Saxophone, Clarinet – Phil Woods
- Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet – Bob Ashton
- Trombone – Jimmy Cleveland, Melba Liston, Quentin Jackson, Richard Hixon
- Trumpet – Clark Terry, Ernie Royal, Jimmy Maxwell, Joe Newman
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 Jazz Record
This is a recording that should be part of any serious Jazz Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.
- Down By The Riverside
- Night Train
- James and Wes
- Baby, It's Cold Outside
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
Creed Taylor matched two of his most famous artists, Wes Montgomery and Jimmy Smith, on this session (Montgomery's last for Verve), and the results are incendiary -- a near-ideal meeting of yin and yang. Smith comes at your throat with his big attacks and blues runs while Montgomery responds with rounder, smoother octaves and single notes that still convey much heat. They are an amazing pair, complementing each other, driving each other, using their bop and blues taproots to fuse together a sound.
The romping, aggressive big band charts -- Oliver Nelson at his best -- on "Down by the Riverside" and "Night Train," and the pungently haunting chart for Gary McFarland's "13" (Death March)" still leave plenty of room for the soloists to stretch out. "James and Wes" and "Baby, It's Cold Outside" include drummer Grady Tate and conguero Ray Barretto, with Smith's own feet working the organ pedals.