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White Hot Stamper

Kenny Burrell
Guitar Forms

  (Item #: burreguita_1909_1) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Amazing Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on one - a truly killer copy from our most recent shootout
  • Gil Evans wrote the orchestral arrangements and Rudy captured them on lovely analog tape - what's not to like?
  • We agree with the Allmusic reviewer, this album is every bit as the groundbreaking work Evans did with Miles, and for our money, makes for an even more enjoyable album length listen
  • "His landmark 1965 collaboration with Gil Evans, Guitar Forms rivals anything the arranger did with Miles Davis. Indeed, the track "Lotus Land" has a bolero form reminiscent of Sketches of Spain. Burrell takes thoughtful, concise, and utterly musical solos, and even switches to acoustic classical guitar on [two tracks]."
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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Stan Getz
Getz Au Go Go

  (Item #: getz_getza_1901_1905_1908) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Stunning sound for this incredible recording with both sides rating Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++), just shy of our shootout winner
  • Musically and sonically, this is one of our favorite jazz albums - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • This is an incredibly tough album to find with the right sound and decent surfaces, which is the main reason we are rarely able to do this shootout
  • 4 stars: "Highly recommended for all dimensions of jazz enthusiasts." [We would of course give it the full 5 Stars]
More Stan Getz / More Kenny Burrell


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White Hot Stamper

Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie
Ella and Basie!

  (Item #: fitzgella_and_basie_1901_8_12) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • With a shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) side two and a Double Plus (A++) side one, this early stereo pressing is a knockout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Ella is rich, Tubey Magical and breathy - this is the way she should sound, and that makes this copy a true Demo Disc
  • To get the vocals AND the brass to sound right on the same copy is the trick, and these two sides pulled it off
  • 4 1/2 Stars: "...this 1963 LP was the first time (other than a couple songs) that Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie recorded together. The match-up was so logical that it would be repeated many times over the next 20 years."
More Ella Fitzgerald / More Count Basie


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White Hot Stamper

Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Swings Lightly

  (Item #: fitzgella_swings_lightly_1906_10) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • With two insanely good sides each rating a Triple Plus (A+++) or close to it, this original Bow Tie Verve Stereo pressing was one of the best we heard in our recent shootout
  • Lovely All Tube sound from 1958, with a huge, rich orchestra conducted by one of our favorite arrangers, Marty Paich
  • Grammy Award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo - these were the days when Ella was on top of the world
  • "The bright, sunny optimism of Fitzgerald’s style comes through in several tracks, including 'If I Were a Bell' (which also includes several remarkable variations on the melody), and 'Teardrops From My Eyes' (which alternates between rock and jazz beats—not a big leap back then!)"
See all of our Ella Fitzgerald albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery
The Dynamic Duo

  (Item #: smithdynam_1907_11) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • With KILLER Triple Plus (A+++) grades or very close to them on both sides, this is a wonderful vintage stereo pressing of a classic jazz collaboration from 1966
  • 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."
More Jimmy Smith / More Wes Montgomery


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White Hot Stamper

Wes Montgomery
Goin' Out of My Head

  (Item #: montggoino_1906_10) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Incredible Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides, this early stereo copy blew the competition away with its size, Tubey Magical richness and vibrant jazz energy
  • Once again Oliver Nelson's Big Band arrangements take the music to another level - the guy's a genius
  • "...it's a classic big-band album, with smart charts by Nelson and stolen moments of Montgomery's guitar grandeur and romantic truth scattered throughout.
See all of our Wes Montgomery albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Ella Fitzgerald
The Johnny Mercer Song Book

  (Item #: fitzgsings_mercer_1812_7_12) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • A stunning Triple Plus (A+++) side two backed with a superb Double Plus (A++) side one for this Verve stereo original LP
  • The huge, rich orchestral sound captured so beautifully by Val Valentin is always one of the highlights of these songbooks
  • By the time this one came out in 1964 Ella had already recorded 18 LPs of songbooks - this was the last, going out on a high note
  • Some of the Mercer Classics here are Too Marvelous For Words, Day In-Day Out, Laura, Skylark, Midnight Sun, I Remember You
  • AMG raves "this is one of the best of Ella Fitzgerald's songbooks. Fitzgerald's assured and elegant voice is a perfect match for Mercer's urbane lyrics and Nelson Riddle's supple arrangements..."
See all of our Ella Fitzgerald albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Astrud Gilberto
Beach Samba

  (Item #: gilbebeach_1910) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding copy of Beach Samba, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from top to bottom
  • The soundstage is huge, and the overall quality of the recording is big and bold like you will not believe
  • Creed Taylor (the CTI man) produced, Don Sebesky and Deodato did the arrangements, and Val Valentin engineered - what's not to like?
  • "This 1967 Verve LP has the breezy bossa novas and sambas Astrud was famed for, but also a Lovin' Spoonful duet with her young son and some seriously impressive scatting, too." - Amazon
More Astrud Gilberto


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Super Hot Stamper

Astrud Gilberto
Look To The Rainbow

  (Item #: gilbelookt_1909) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
  • This kind of spacious, warm, rich, Tubey Magical analog sound is gone forever - you have to go back to 1966 to find it
  • Creed Taylor (the CTI man) produced, Gil Evans did most of the arrangements, Rudy Van Gelder and Val Valentin engineered - what's not to like?
  • 4 1/2 stars: "This was a beautiful bossa nova record of Astrud Gilberto's vocal stylings..."
See all of our Astrud Gilberto albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Swings Gently with Nelson

  (Item #: fitzgella_swings_gently_1906_10) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An excellent sounding stereo copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
  • Here are the natural, present, wonderfully breathy vocals that can only be heard on these vintage vinyl pressings
  • "In 1961 Ella Fitzgerald recorded two albums with Nelson Riddle's Orchestra. Her voice was in peak form and, even if the backup band was somewhat anonymous, Fitzgerald uplifted the 15 songs on this set... Although the accent is on ballads, several of the songs are taken at medium tempos and she swings throughout. Highlights include "Georgia on My Mind," "The Very Thought of You," "It's a Pity to Say Goodnight," "Darn That Dream," "Body and Soul" and a cooking "All of Me.""
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Super Hot Stamper

Kenny Burrell
Guitar Forms

  (Item #: burreguita_1910) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding copy of Burrell's 1965 release with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Balanced, musical and full throughout - this pressing is a big step up from most other copies we played
  • We agree with the Allmusic reviewer, this album is every bit as the groundbreaking work Evans did with Miles, and for our money, makes for an even more enjoyable album length listen
  • 4 stars: "His landmark 1965 collaboration with Gil Evans, Guitar Forms rivals anything the arranger did with Miles Davis. Indeed, the track "Lotus Land" has a bolero form very reminiscent of Sketches of Spain. Throughout, Burrell takes thoughtful, concise, and utterly musical solos, and even switches to acoustic classical guitar on Prelude #2 and Loie."
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Super Hot Stamper

Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto
Getz - Gilberto #2

  (Item #: getz_getz_gilberto_2_1910) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding copy with Double Plus (A++) Live Jazz sound from start to finish
  • This original stereo pressing is one of just a few to make it to the site in years - boy are these hard to find in this kind of clean condition with good quality sonics
  • Rich, tubey and musical, the sound is wonderful for these live performances of two very different groups, one featuring Getz, the other Jobim
  • 4 stars: "Getz/Gilberto #2 holds its own with an appealing selection of fine jazz and bossa nova cuts."
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Super Stamper

Stan Getz
Getz Au Go Go

  (Item #: getz_getza_2001) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this pressing will show you just how good our favorite Stan Getz album can sound on vinyl
  • Musically and sonically, this is Must Own jazz, capturing a very special night in a small club
  • A tough album to find with the right sound and decent surfaces, which is the main reason we are rarely able to do this shootout
  • 4 stars: "Highly recommended for all dimensions of jazz enthusiasts." [We would of course give it the full 5 Stars]
More Stan Getz / More Kenny Burrell


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White Hot Stamper

Jimmy Smith
Hobo Flats

  (Item #: smithhobof_1806_1907) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Incredible Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from the first note to the last
  • Both sides are wonderfully big, rich and LIVELY, with boatloads of Tubey Magic and the kind of three-dimensional space that's a hallmark of Bob Simpson's engineering
  • "Smith bubbles and bounces through all of it at the B-3 while Nelson proceeds to fill every available corner with huge, sweeping orchestral washes and crescendos. The clear highlight, though, is the lead and title track, "Hobo Flats," which moves at a languid but wonderfully funky pace and establishes a groove as wide as the Mississippi River."
More Jimmy Smith / More Oliver Nelson


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Super Hot Stamper

Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Swings Lightly

  (Item #: fitzgella_swings_lightly_1808_4_10) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • With two outstanding Double Plus (A++) sides, this original "Bow Tie" Verve Stereo pressing is going to be very hard to beat - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Lovely All Tube sound from 1958, with a huge, rich orchestra conducted by one of our favorite arrangers, Marty Paich
  • Grammy Award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo - these were the days when Ella was on top of the world
  • "The bright, sunny optimism of Fitzgerald’s style comes through in several tracks, including 'If I Were a Bell' (which also includes several remarkable variations on the melody), and 'Teardrops From My Eyes' (which alternates between rock and jazz beats—not a big leap back then!)"
See all of our Ella Fitzgerald albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery
The Dynamic Duo

  (Item #: smithdynam_1908) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades for sound, this is a wonderful vintage stereo pressing of a classic jazz collaboration from 1966 - exceptionally QUIET vinyl for a jazz 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."
More Jimmy Smith


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Super Hot Stamper

Oscar Peterson
The Trio

  (Item #: petertrio_1812_1904_1908) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • This you-are-there live jazz classic on the rare early Strobe label earned outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • The piano sounds wonderfully full-bodied, warm, rich, and smooth - like a real piano, not a recorded one
  • Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen are The Trio, recorded here in 1961 at the height of their formidable powers
  • Peterson "...sticks to standards on this live [album] (a good example of the Trio's playing), stretching out 'Sometimes I'm Happy' creatively for over 11 minutes and uplifting such songs as 'In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,' 'Chicago' and 'The Night We Called It a Day.'"
See all of our Oscar Peterson albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Ella Fitzgerald
Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie

  (Item #: fitzgclaph_mono_1910) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • This outstanding Mono pressing of Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! boasts Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides - the vinyl does have issues though
  • Here's the midrange magic that’s missing from the 180g reissues, probably using a modern digital master copied from who-knows-what-tapes)
  • The vocal naturalness and immediacy here will put Ella practically in the room with you - sound like this lets her performance come to life
  • Our single Favorite Female Vocal album here at Better Records, one that gets better with each passing year
  • "Another typically wonderful LP of Ella Fitzgerald in her prime...this is an excellent (and somewhat underrated) set."
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Super Hot Stamper

Astrud Gilberto
The Shadow Of Your Smile

  (Item #: gilbeshado_1912) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this early stereo copy is guaranteed to blow the doors off any other pressing of the album you've heard
  • The best early Verve stereo pressings such as this one have the rich Tubey Magic to bring out the intimacy in Astrud's breathy vocal
  • Many of our favorite engineers worked on this album in 1964 & 1965: Bob Simpson, Rudy Van Gelder and Phil Ramone
  • Allmusic customers rate the album 4 Stars: "For her second Verve LP, Astrud Gilberto expanded her range from a raft of Gilberto/Jobim standards to embrace the large and obviously daunting catalogue of classic American pop."
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Super Hot Stamper

Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie
Ella and Basie!

  (Item #: fitzgella_and_basie_1910) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This early Verve stereo pressing boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound throughout - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • It's very difficult to get the vocals AND the brass to sound right on the same LP, but these sides pull that trick off nicely
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Surprisingly enough this 1963 LP was the first time (other than a couple songs) that Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie recorded together. The match-up was so logical that it would be repeated many times over the next 20 years."
More Ella Fitzgerald / More Count Basie


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Super Hot Stamper

Harry Edison & Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis
Simply Sweets

  (Item #: edisosimpl_1910) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This outstanding copy of Simply Sweets boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The sound of this superb jazz quintet is big, lively, open and clear with Tubey Magical richness you will not find anywhere but on these vintage pressings
  • The legendary engineer Val Valentin put this one on tape, brilliantly - he's the man behind some of our All Time Pablo favorites
  • "Trumpeter Harry 'Sweets' Edison and tenor saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis always made a potent pair. They both possessed immediately identifiable sounds, were veterans of Count Basie's Orchestra and never had any difficulty swinging."
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Super Hot Stamper

Oscar Peterson Trio w/ Milt Jackson
Very Tall

  (Item #: peterveryt_1908) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • An outstanding copy which earned Double Plus (A++) grades or close to them on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • There's plenty of rich, Tubey Magic from 1962 to be found on this vintage stereo pressing
  • If you made the mistake of buying the atrocious Anadisq pressing MoFi put out in the '90s, here is your chance to hear what a wonderful recording Val Valentin cooked up with these cats in their prime
  • 4 stars: "This first matchup on records between pianist Oscar Peterson and vibraphonist Milt Jackson was so logical that it is surprising it did not occur five years earlier... this first effort is a particularly strong set."
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Super Hot Stamper

Roy Orbison
The Orbison Way

  (Item #: orbisorbis_1906_10) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • A wonderful copy of Orbison's 1966 release with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from first note to last
  • 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 Tubey Magical record for you
  • "The band-backed stuff has a lean texture that's a marvel of sonic conciseness, while the orchestra-accompanied sides allow Orbison to open up vocally as never before, casting him in an almost operatic setting..." - All Music
See all of our Roy Orbison albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Wes Montgomery
Goin' Out of My Head

  (Item #: montggoino_1906_10_01) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • An excellent sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound throughout -- this early stereo copy blew most of the competition away with its Tubey Magical richness and vibrant jazz energy
  • Once again Oliver Nelson's Big Band arrangements take the music to another level - the guy's a genius
  • "...it's a classic big-band album, with smart charts by Nelson and stolen moments of Montgomery's guitar grandeur and romantic truth scattered throughout.
See all of our Wes Montgomery albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Jimmy Smith
Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf

  (Item #: smithwhosa_1905_11) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Insanely good Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close it on both sides and one of the best copies from our most recent shootout
  • If you dig Oliver's Nelson's swingin' BIG BRASS as much as we do you are in for a treat with this stereo pressing
  • The best sides have the kind of analog richness, warmth, and smoothness that make listening to records so involving
  • Slaughter On Tenth Avenue is the monster track leading off here, and it swings the way Walk on the Wild Side does - like crazy, man!
More Jimmy Smith / More Oliver Nelson


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Super Hot Stamper

Peterson / Riddle
Oscar Peterson & Nelson Riddle

  (Item #: peteroscar_1905_12) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • Peterson and Riddle's 1963 collaboration arrives on the site with excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • With a lively and present piano, and a smooth, full sounding orchestra, this is just the right sound for this music
  • "From the opening flutes to the last flush of piano and orchestra, this is smooth-swinging jazz par excellence."
  • 4 stars: "... a quietly strong, rich, fully evocative set of great tracks that emphasize the undercurrent rather than the overflow of emotions."
See all of our Oscar Peterson albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie Meets Oscar Peterson
The Timekeepers

  (Item #: basietimek_1709_1904_1908) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • With excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish, this copy was one of the best we heard in our most recent shootout
  • Basie and Peterson recorded five albums together, and this may very well be the best of the bunch, though I have yet to hear one that I didn't enjoy the hell out of
  • Wonderful engineering from the legendary Val Valentin, the man behind some of the best sounding jazz records of all time
  • "... this quartet date features the two pianos of Oscar Peterson and Count Basie collaborating and interacting on swing standards and blues. Any of their five albums together are worth acquiring."
More Count Basie / More Oscar Peterson


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Super Hot Stamper

Duke Ellington
Duke's Big 4

  (Item #: ellindukes_1911_01) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • This vintage pressing earned wonderful Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER for sound - it's an exceptionally well recorded small group date from 1974
  • We don't know of any other Pablo recording of the Duke from this era that has such big, open, clear, solid sound
  • Val Valentin did the engineering - as he often did over the course of his long and storied career, he knocked this one out of the park
  • 4 1/2 stars: "One of Duke Ellington's finest small group sessions from his final decade was this frequently exciting quartet date with guitarist Joe Pass, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Louie Bellson ... Highly recommended."
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Super Hot Stamper

Jimmy Smith
Hobo Flats

  (Item #: smithhobof_1901_1907) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • You'll find solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this outstanding copy of Hobo Flats
  • Full, lively, and solid, this pressing has just the right sound for this collection of jumpin' jazz tracks
  • "Smith bubbles and bounces through all of it at the B-3 while Nelson proceeds to fill every available corner with huge, sweeping orchestral washes and crescendos. The clear highlight, though, is the lead and title track, "Hobo Flats," which moves at a languid but wonderfully funky pace and establishes a groove as wide as the Mississippi River."
More Jimmy Smith / More Oliver Nelson


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Super Hot Stamper

Jimmy Smith
Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf

  (Item #: smithwhosa_1907) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • An outstanding copy of Smith's 1964 release, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • If you dig Oliver's Nelson's swingin' BIG BRASS as much as we do you are in for a treat with this stereo pressing
  • The best sides have the kind of analog richness, warmth, and smoothness that make listening to records so involving
  • Slaughter On Tenth Avenue is the monster track leading off here, and it swings the way Walk on the Wild Side does - like crazy, man!
More Jimmy Smith / More Oliver Nelson


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White Hot Stamper

Arthur Prysock
This Is My Beloved

  (Item #: prysothisi_1903_1908) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • Arthur Prysock's sublime spoken word album arrives on the site with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This is an unusually good sounding pressing, with lovely richness and warmth - Val Valentin's engineering really brings this conceptual recording to life
  • We've auditioned quite a number of Prysock records over the years - finding one that sounds as natural and correct as this one is not easy
  • Prysock sets Walter Benton's captivating narrative poetry to Mort Garson's original score, taking the reader on a vivid, immersive journey
  • "... a wonderful and unusual spoken word performance with a fitting musical backdrop. It is both soothing and exciting, joyous and tragic. "
More Pop & Jazz Vocal LPs


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Super Hot Stamper

Johnny Hodges / Wild Bill Davis
Blue Rabbit

  (Item #: hodgebluer_1810_1904-) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • You'll find oustanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last on this superb 1964 release
  • Full, lively, and solid, this copy has just the right sound for this collection of carefree, loose jazz tracks
  • Thanks to Val Valentin's brilliant engineering, every song here sounds better than you imagined
  • "One of altoist Johnny Hodges' many solo records in the 1960s... Tasty and swinging music." - Allmusic
See all of our Johnny Hodges albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper (With Issues)

Duke Ellington
Duke's Big 4

  (Item #: ellindukes_1903) 

Our Price: $59.99

  • This vintage pressing earned wonderful Double Plus (A++) grades for sound - it's an exceptionally well recorded small group date from 1974
  • We don't know of any other Pablo recording of the Duke from this era that has such big, open, clear, solid sound
  • Val Valentin did the engineering - as he often did over the course of his long and storied career, he knocked this one out of the park
  • 4 1/2 stars: "One of Duke Ellington's finest small group sessions from his final decade was this frequently exciting quartet date with guitarist Joe Pass, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Louie Bellson ... Highly recommended."
See all of our Duke Ellington albums in stock


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Astrud Gilberto - Beach Samba

Our Shootout Winner from 2019

  (Item #: gilbebeach_2019) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

The soundstage is huge, and the overall quality of the recording is big and bold like you will not believe. Creed Taylor (the CTI man) produced, Don Sebesky and Deodato did the arrangements, and Val Valentin engineered - what's not to like?

"This 1967 Verve LP has the breezy bossa novas and sambas Astrud was famed for, but also a Lovin' Spoonful duet with her young son and some seriously impressive scatting, too." - Amazon

More Astrud Gilberto


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Astrud Gilberto - Look To The Rainbow

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: gilbelookt_2018) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This kind of spacious, warm, rich, Tubey Magical analog sound is gone forever - you have to go back to 1966 to find it. Creed Taylor (the CTI man) produced, Gil Evans did most of the arrangements, Rudy Van Gelder and Val Valentin engineered - what's not to like?

More Astrud Gilberto

4 1/2 stars: "This was a beautiful bossa nova record of Astrud Gilberto's vocal stylings... "

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Astrud Gilberto - The Shadow Of Your Smile

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: gilbeshado_2017) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

The space is HUGE and the sound so rich. The vocals have dramatically less hardness and the orchestra sounds right for once. Prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic as well, which is key to the best sounding copies. The sound needs weight, warmth and tubes or you might as well be playing a CD.

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Astrud Gilberto / Walter Wanderley - A Certain Sadness...

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: gilbecerta_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

LOVELY SOUND AND EXCELLENT MUSIC on this unusually quiet, exceptionally good sounding Verve T-Label LP. We compiled enough of these to do a shootout and this was one of the better copies, earning A++ grades for both sides. It's full of energy with big time immediacy and wonderfully breathy female vocals. The organ sounds gorgeous!

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Barney Kessell - Easy Like

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: kesseeasyl_2005) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This is an original Mono Contemporary Yellow Label DEMO LP. If you can stand some surface noise this is a very good sounding LP. The sound is good; however, it's almost impossible to find quiet pressings of these old Contemporary albums. This is about as quiet as they get.

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Bill Evans - At Town Hall, Vol. 1

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: evansattow_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

STUNNING SOUND ON SIDE ONE! It is insanely difficult to find great sounding Bill Evans records, which is why you almost never see any of his albums up on our side. This copy has a side one that is nothing short of Demo Quality. It's one of the better sounding sides of Piano Trio music we'll find this year (along of course with the killer copies of The Three that hit the site). The best music on this album is found on the first side, so this is a very special pressing to say the least.

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Duke Ellington - Duke's Big 4

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: ellindukes_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

I don't know of any other Pablo recording of the Duke from this era that has such big, open, clear, solid sound. VAL VALENTIN did the engineering, and as he has so often over the course of his storied career, he knocked it out of the park.

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Duke Ellington and Ray Brown - This One’s For Blanton

Our Shootout Winner from 2006

  (Item #: ellinthiso_2006) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

BIG BOLD SOUND. It has that up front live in your living room sound. It’s very dynamic and tubey magical.

For this set of duets, pianist Duke Ellington is teamed up with bassist Ray Brown in performances a bit reminiscent of Duke’s work with Jimmy Blanton three decades before. In addition to the four-part Fragmented Suite for Piano and Bass, the duo plays five standards (including Pitter Panther Patter from the Blanton days and three other Ellington-associated tunes). Delightful and often-playful music. - AMG

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Ella & Basie - Ella and Basie!

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: fitzgella_and_basie_2018) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Take it from an Ella fan, you can't go wrong with this one. On the best pressings, the sound is rich and full-bodied in the best tradition of a classic vintage jazz vocal album with big band backup. You could easily demonstrate your stereo with a good copy, but what you would really be demonstrating is music that the listener probably isn't familiar with, and that's the best reason to put on an old record.

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Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie - Ella and Basie!

Reviewed in 2004

  (Item #: fitzgella_and_basie_2004) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This early British import KILLS the Speakers Corner 180 gram reissue! I still like their version but this is what it should have sounded like: tonally much fuller and richer. The 180 gram copy suffers from the standard reissue MO -- brighter is not necessarily better, and definitely not when you have a big band and a vocalist, as is the case here. I've never heard this album sound better and I doubt that it really can sound much better than this. This copy makes me want to turn it up as loud as the stereo will go and let those wonderful Quincy Jones arrangements come to life!

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Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie - Ella and Basie!

Speakers Corner Debunked

  (Item #: fitzgella_and_basie_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: D

A weak outing from Speakers Corner and a Hall of Shame pressing.

Their 180 gram copy suffers from the standard reissue MO -- brighter is not necessarily better, and definitely not when you have a big band and a vocalist, as is the case here.

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Ella Fitzgerald - Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: fitzgclaph_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D (at best)

There is no reissue, and there will never be a reissue, that will sound as good as a good original of Clap Hands. The Classic Heavy Vinyl Reissue is a disgrace; I would rather play the CD.

Long time customers know that I have been raving about this album from way back in 1990 or so - ever since I first heard it in fact. I consider it the finest female vocal album in the history of the world. I could go on for pages about this music. Suffice to say this is a record that belongs in every human being’s record collection.

Just not the Classic Records pressing of it.

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Ella Fitzgerald - Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fitzgclaph_2017) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

The first "Triple Triple" MONO copy to ever hit the site -- A+++ from start to finish. Our knockout mono pressing here was fuller, more natural and more involving than any copy we heard in our shootout. with immediacy to put Ella practically in the room with you, it's her performance that really comes to life. It's our single Favorite Female Vocal album here at Better Records, one that gets better with each passing year.

Check out what the lucky owner of this copy had to say about it.

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Ella Fitzgerald - Ella At Duke's Place

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: fitzgella_at_dukes_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

We have a very hard time doing the famous Ella Fitzgerald Songbooks due to the fact that so many pressings don't sound good, and the ones that do sound good are usually noisy.

That's why it came as a pleasant surprise that Ella At Duke's Place had the potential for excellent sound and reasonably quiet vinyl on the best copies.

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Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Swings Lightly

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fitzgella_swings_lightly_2017) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Exceptionally lovely All Tube sound from 1958, with a huge, rich orchestra conducted by our man, Marty Paich. Grammy Award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo - these were the days when Ella was on top of the world.

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Ella Fitzgerald - The Johnny Mercer Song Book

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fitzgsings_mercer_2017) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

The huge, rich orchestral sound captured so beautifully by Val Valentin is always one of the many highlights to be found on the songbook series. By the time this album came out in 1964 Ella had already recorded 18 LPs worth of songbooks - this was the last, going out on a high note. Some of the Mercer Classics here are Too Marvelous For Words, Day In - Day Out, Laura, Skylark, Midnight Sun, I Remember You.

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Ella Fitzgerald - Whisper Not

Our Shootout Winner from 2006

  (Item #: fitzgwhisp_2006) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST ELLA FITZGERALD RECORDS I’ve heard in a very long time! I’m telling you, this is Ella at her best! Having just played a lovely sounding copy of Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie, an album that tends to err on the bright side, I now realize that this album has the opposite problem -- it's a little bit smoother in places than it should be. Of course that's a much more tolerable problem than the reverse.

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Ella Fitzgerald - Whisper Not

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: fitzgwhisp_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Both sides of this original stereo pressing are White Hot - Triple Plus all the way! Breathy, tubey, big and clear, this is the best sound we have ever heard for Whisper Not. Superb engineering from the man behind so many great sounding Verve records, Val Valentin. "These fine-tuned arrangements also provide the perfect launching pad for Fitzgerald to place her own stamp on material associated with other singers."

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Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention - Absolutely Free

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: zappaabsol_2007) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame from 1967.

What to listen for you ask? That's an easy one. Just listen for the best sounding Mothers record ever made, because that's what the best copies can (and should) sound like.

Absolutely Free is much bigger, smoother, richer, livelier and more free from harshness, dryness and distortion than any other album we've ever played from Zappa's early period, pre-Waka Jawaka let's say. The only other records I can think of that can sound remotely as good as Absolutely Free are Cruising with Ruben & the Jets (1968) and Hot Rats (1969), and even then I really don't think they are quite in this league.

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Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention - Absolutely Free

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: zappaabsol_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame from 1967.

BY FAR the best copy to ever hit the site - White Hot on side one and Nearly White on side two. You will not believe how rich and Tubey Magical this copy is, and yet so CLEAR and undistorted. If you've suffered through reissues or the dreadful CD you are going to flip out over the sound of this copy,

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Mel Torme - Swings Shubert Alley

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: tormeswing_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

The first Hot Stamper copy of this great album to hit the site in many, many years! We are HUGE fans of this album at Better Records, but it's taken us a long time to pull together enough clean copies to make this shootout happen. Boy, was it worth all the trouble!

The presence and immediacy here are staggering. Turn it up and Mel is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime! One of our very favorite male vocal albums, and this copy will show you why -- the sound and music are the tops.

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Mel Torme - Swings Shubert Alley

The Original Pressings Are the Best, Right?

  (Item #: tormeswing_original) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing on the original. Don't buy into that record collecting / audiophile canard that the originals have better sound.

The original Verve stereo pressing -- true, we only had the one, so take it for what it's worth -- was dry, lean and evinced very little of the Tubey Magic that VAL VALENTIN managed to get on the master tape.

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Oscar Peterson - We Get Requests

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: peterweget_2017) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This is the way it must have sounded inside the RCA Studios in New York way back in 1964, not the club shown on the cover. The legendary RCA engineer BOB SIMPSON was behind the board.

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Oscar Peterson Trio - The Trio - Live From Chicago

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: petertrio_2018) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

Peterson really puts on a great show. He's made an awful lot of records during his career and most of them aren't especially noteworthy. This album is clearly an exception to that rule. ("If You Could See Me Now" is another one.)

This pressing was a huge step up from the other copies we played in our recent shootout. This copy has the immediacy that puts you front and center at The London House for a great jazz show. Ray Brown is incredible on the bass here.

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Oscar Peterson Trio - We Get Requests

Speakers Corner Debunked

  (Item #: peterweget_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

More vinyl dreck from Speakers Corner and a Hall of Shame pressing if there ever was one. Awful sound. Worse than the CD.

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Ray Brown / Milt Jackson - Ray Brown / Milt Jackson

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: brownraybr_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This Minty Verve LP with the old style paste-on back cover sounds great! Big sounding ’60s jazz with lively arrangements from Oliver Nelson and Jimmy Heath. Clark Terry’s trumpet and flugelhorn contributions play a major role in the festivities. This is cool, swinging '60's jazz at its best!

A lot of Verve records from this era are poorly mastered, but this one sounds just right to us.

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Roy Orbison - The Orbison Way

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: orbisorbis_2018) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Only the second copy to ever hit the site and boy is it KILLER -- Triple Plus (A+++) or very close to it throughout. 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 Tubey Magical record for you.

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Stan Getz - Jazz Samba Encore

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: getz_jazz_samba_encore_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

Yet another wonderful Getz Samba record, the third in the series. Some of our faourite music has this Samba syncopation: Sergio Mendes, first and foremost of course, but also Airto, and all the wonderful Getz albums from this period. Their enchanting Brazilian rhythms make their music fun.

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The Monty Alexander 7 - Jamento

What to Listen For - Percussion and Piano

  (Item #: alexajamen_wtlf) 



Another in our series of What to Listen For.

Clear piano notes, first and foremost. Any smear or loss of speed (a problem with hi-fi equipment since the beginning of time) detracts from the fun.

Next, the tonality of the best copies is rich and solid; accept nothing less.

And, finally, the proper reproduction of the percussion instruments is critically important to the energy and drive of the music. The better you hear them -- without losing the weight and richness of the piano -- the more you will enjoy your copy of the record.

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