The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
Side Three: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
Side Four: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
- An OUTSTANDING Verve Two-Fer set with Double Plus (A++) sound on all FOUR sides
- Unlike the Speakers Corner version from a few years back, this is the real thing, mastered by real pros, not audiophiles
- This reissue combines the albums Soulville (1958) and Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson (1959)
- With rave reviews for both albums, AMG lauds Soulville as, “one of the highlights of that golden ’50s run,” and notes Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson is “one of the jazz legend’s all-time great records.”
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This vintage Verve Two-Fer 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 The Best Sides Of Soulville 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 beginning in 1958
- 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 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 Soulville
- 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.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The saxophone 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.
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 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.
- Makin’ Whoopee
- Lover Come Back To Me
- Time On My Hands
- Where Are You
- Late Date
- Ill Wind
- The Touch Of Your Lips
- When Your Lover Has Gone
- Bye Bye Blackbird
- How Deep Is The Ocean (How High Is The Sky)
- In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
- This Can’t Be Love
AMG 5 Star Review for Soulville
The by turns grizzled and vaporous-toned Webster really hit his stride on the Verve label. During a stretch from roughly 1953-1959, the Ellington alumnus showcased his supreme playing with both combos and string sections, swingers and ballads — and lurking beneath his blustery and hulking sound were solo lines brimming with sophistication and wit. This 1957 date with the Oscar Peterson Trio is one of the highlights of that golden ’50s run.
After starting off with two bluesy originals — the slow burning title track and gutsy “Late Date” — Webster gets to the heart of things on five wistful ballads: Here, his exquisitely sly “Makin’ Whoopee” is only outdone by an incredibly nuanced “Where Are You.” Providing sympathetic counterpoint, Peterson forgoes his usual pyrotechnics for some leisurely compact solos; his cohorts — guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Stan Levey — are equally assured and splendid. And ending the set with flair, Webster takes over the piano for three somewhat middling yet still impressive stride and boogie-woogie-styled numbers (these are his only piano recordings). Newcomers shouldn’t hesitate to start here.
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review for Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson
Another fine Webster release on Verve that sees the tenor great once again backed by the deluxe Oscar Peterson Trio. In keeping with the high standard of their Soulville collaboration of two years prior, Webster and the trio — Peterson is joined by bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen — use this 1959 date to conduct a clinic in ballad playing. And while Soulville certainly ranks as one of the tenor saxophonist’s best discs, the Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson set gets even higher marks for its almost transcendent marriage of after-hours elegance and effortless mid-tempo swing — none of Webster’s boogie-woogie piano work to break up the mood here.
Besides reinvigorating such lithe strollers as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (nice bass work by Brown here) and “This Can’t Be Love,” Webster and company achieve classic status for their interpretation of the Sinatra gem “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.” And to reassure Peterson fans worried about scant solo time for their hero, the pianist lays down a healthy number of extended runs, unobtrusively shadowing Webster’s vaporous tone and supple phrasing along the way. Not only a definite first-disc choice for Webster newcomers, but one of the jazz legend’s all-time great records.