Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- With a Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning side two and a better than Double Plus (A++ to A+++) side one, this copy on the lovely Blue and Green Atlantic stereo label is practically as good as it gets
- No reissue in our shootout could touch it, and where are you going to find an early pressing like this one in audiophile playing condition?
- Tom Dowd engineered, which is why the best copies of the album sound so damn good - Dowd recorded many of the best Coltrane albums in the early '60s
- 4 1/2 stars: Sonny Stitt forged his own approach to playing bebop out of the sound and style of Charlie Parker, so this tribute album was a very logical project... Stitt, who mastered bebop and could play hot licks in his sleep, is in top form... making this an essential item for straight-ahead jazz fans..."
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This vintage Atlantic stereo 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 outstanding sides such as these 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 1964
- 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're Listening For on Stitt Plays Bird
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The saxophone isn't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. It's front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt -- Tom Dowd in this case -- would have put it.
- 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.
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.
Scrapple From The Apple
My Little Suede Shoes
Sonny Stitt forged his own approach to playing bebop out of the sound and style of Charlie Parker, so this tribute album was a very logical project. With fine support from guitarist Jim Hall, pianist John Lewis, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Connie Kay, Stitt performs eight Parker compositions, plus Jay McShann's "Hootie Blues."
Stitt, who mastered bebop and could play hot licks in his sleep, is in top form on such numbers as "Constellation," "Confirmation," and "Ko-Ko," making this an essential item for straight-ahead jazz fans (although the prolific altoist would record eight other albums in 1963 alone).
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