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Pablo Jazz

One of Our Favorite Labels for Audiophile Sound Quality

  (Item #: allpablo) 



Visit this link to find our in-stock Pablo Jazz albums.

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Armstrong & Ellington - An Historic Recording Event (1961)

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: armsthisto_2018) 



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

Insanely good sound throughout with both sides rating a shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++).

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.

More Louis Armstrong / More Duke Ellington


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The Recordings of Count Basie

These Four Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: basie_count) 



These are just some of the recordings by Count Basie that we've auditioned recently and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Count Basie Albums with Hot Stampers

Count Basie Albums We've Reviewed



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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie
88 Basie Street

  (Item #: basie88bas_1904_1906) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This unusually strong copy of an exceptionally well-recorded classic boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • This is a Top Basie Big Band title in every way -- musically, sonically, you name it, 88 Basie Street has got it going on
  • With 18 pieces in the studio this is a real powerhouse - the sound is rich, powerful, dynamic and HUGE
  • 4 stars: "One of Basie's final albums, the very appealing title cut seems to sum up his career, a lightly swinging groove with a strong melody. Two small-group performances with guest Joe Pass on guitar add variety to a particularly strong set."
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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Count Basie - Basie Plays Hefti

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: basiebaise_plays_2015) 



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

This is the followup to the smash Basie album The Atomic Mr. Basie, an album we would love to make available if we could ever find a clean, good sounding copy to play.

Side one is rich, tubey and lively, right up there with some of the best pressings we played.

Side two tends to start out a bit hot but by the second track it's fuller, smoother, and every bit as dynamic as anything on the album. The sound just keeps getting better from there, with the next track coming across especially big and clear.

More Count Basie


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White Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Basie Big Band

  (Item #: basiebasie_1904) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • An insanely good copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it throughout
  • Both sides are incredibly rich, lively and clear - musically and sonically this is one of the best Basie Big Band records!
  • Guaranteed to be dramatically livelier and more dynamic than any Basie title you've heard
  • Lots of tight, deep, note-like bass and mostly correct timbre for the brass throughout
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Basie Big Band

  (Item #: basiebasie_1904_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A superb sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
  • Both sides are super big and full-bodied with a lovely bottom end - musically and sonically this is one of the best Basie Big Band records!
  • Guaranteed to be dramatically livelier and more dynamic than any Basie title you've heard
  • Lots of tight, deep, note-like bass and mostly correct timbre for the brass throughout
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Basie Plays Hefti

  (Item #: basiebasie_plays_1905_1907) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • The first copy to hit the site in years and boy does our Shootout Winner here have STUNNING sound - it earned Triple Plus (A+++) grades from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • If all you've ever heard is the Roulette original (or the wacky MoFi, or whatever current Heavy Vinyl pressing is being made, this LP is guaranteed to be a REVELATION
  • Basie Plays Hefti catches Basie's band at the peak of their powers in 1958, and in this All Tube Recording you get every bit of the magic they made in the studio
  • "The Count Basie Orchestra was in top form for this set of Neal Hefti arrangements. Hefti had been one of the main architects of the new Basie sound of the '50s... "Cute" (heard here in its initial recording) became a standard."
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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Basie Plays Hefti

  (Item #: basiebasie_plays_1905c) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A superb sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish - super quiet vinyl too!
  • If all you've ever heard is the Roulette original (or the wacky MoFi, or whatever current Heavy Vinyl pressing is being made, this LP is guaranteed to knock your socks off
  • Basie Plays Hefti catches Basie's band at the peak of their powers in 1958, and in this All Tube Recording you get every bit of the magic they made in the studio
  • "The Count Basie Orchestra was in top form for this set of Neal Hefti arrangements. Hefti had been one of the main architects of the new Basie sound of the '50s... "Cute" (heard here in its initial recording) became a standard."
More Count Basie


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Count Basie - Basie Plays Hefti

Original Versus Reissue

  (Item #: basiebasie_plays_emus) 



The original pressings are the best, right?

Not in our experience. It's (probably) just another Record Myth.

Basie was recording like a madman back in the late '50s and even all through the '60s. In 1958, the year of this release, he put out seven (7!) albums on the Roulette label. We've played quite a number of them over the years and found relatively few with audiophile quality sound.

Including the original Roulette pressing of this very title. We've only heard a few, and had only one for our shootout, but it was awful enough to make us swear off buying more, especially considering the prices vintage jazz albums are going for these days.

More Count Basie


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Count Basie - Basie Big Band

The Glorious Sound of Triple Flutes

  (Item #: basiebasie_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your Basie Big Band album.

Check out the triple flutes on the first track on side two - on a copy like this you will hear some shockingly Tubey Magical, breathy, sweet, natural flutes. And there are three of them! Even large classical orchestras rarely have three flutes. The sound is to die for.

More Count Basie


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Chairman of the Board

  (Item #: basiechair_1904) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding copy of Chairman Of The Board, with superb Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Forget the honky, hard-sounding Roulette originals, and of course the second-rate Classic Records pressing - this reissue is the way to go
  • From first note to last, this copy is big, clear, rich and lively, with huge amounts of space around the band
  • 4 1/2 stars: "This 1958 date for Roulette was a rare chance for the orchestra to perform on its own, and listeners to hear how powerful the band could be when its concentration was undiverted... The record is admittedly heavy on the blues, but it's a brassy, powerful vision of the blues... A dynamic date, it shows the "new testament" edition of Basie's orchestra in top form."
More Count Basie


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie Big Band
Farmers Market Barbecue

  (Item #: basiefarme_1906) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from beginning to end on this famous Pablo, one we consider The Best Basie Big Band Record We've Ever Played
  • Both sides are super clear, rich, and full of Tubey Magic, with a solid bottom end and huge amounts of three-dimensional studio space
  • Demo Disc sound - guaranteed to beat the pants off of any Heavy Vinyl pressing, at any speed, of any title
  • "This was an excellent outing by the Count Basie Orchestra during its later years."
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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Basie Big Band - Farmers Market Barbecue

First Among Equals, or The Best Pablo Ever?

  (Item #: basiefarme_first) 



Musically FMB is a Top Basie Big Band title in every way. This should not be surprising: many of his recordings for Pablo in the '70s and early '80s display the talents of The Count and his band of veterans at their best.

Sonically it's another story. Based on our recent shootout for this title, in comparison to the other Basie titles we've done lately we would have to say that FMB is the best Basie big band title we've ever played. Since so many Basie big band recordings are so good, we don't want to get ahead of ourselves; after all, we haven't done shootouts for all of his Pablo large group recordings. To be safe we'll just call this one First Among Equals.

More Count Basie


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Count Basie / Kansas City 3 - For The Second Time

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: basieforth_2016) 



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

Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides of this killer piano trio recording. It's a joy to hear Basie perform as a frontman, stretching out on tunes that were no doubt dear to him. Veterans of hundreds of sessions, Ray Brown and Louis Bellson are just as interesting as Basie, high praise. Recorded by the legendary engineer Ed Greene (Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd - Jazz Samba) - that accounts for the exceptional sound.

See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie And His Orchestra
I Told You So

  (Item #: basieitold_1901_1905-) 

Our Price: $149.99
Sale Price: $129.00 (You save $20.99 / 14%)


  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this copy was one of the best we played in our recent shootout - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • A Top Basie Big Band title in every way - musically, sonically, you name it, this album has got it going on!
  • This is the way it must have sounded in 1976, in the New York studios where the famous RCA engineer Bob Simpson was still behind the board
  • 4 stars: "This is one of Count Basie's best big-band studio recordings for Norman Granz during his Pablo years. The arrangements by Bill Holman are both challenging and swinging, containing enough surprises to make this session a real standout."
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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Count Basie - I Told You So

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: basieitold_2012) 



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

This is a Superb Basie Big Band title in every way -- musically, sonically, you name it, this album has got it going on! With 18 pieces in the studio, "I Told You So" can be a real powerhouse -- if you have the right copy, and this side one, with SUPER HOT Stamper sound, shows you just how lively, fun and dynamic this music can sound.

This is the way it must have sounded in 1976, in the New York studios where it was recorded, with legendary RCA engineer BOB SIMPSON behind the board.

More Count Basie


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White Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Kansas City 5

  (Item #: basiekansa_1905) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Presenting yet another amazingly well recorded Count Basie album, with STUNNING Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout
  • It's bigger, richer, more Tubey Magical, with more extension on both ends of the spectrum than every other other copy we played
  • A great session with a fresh sound for Basie, with two top players at his side: Milt Jackson on vibes and Joe Pass on guitar
  • "It is always interesting to hear Basie in a hornless setting like this one where he gets opportunities to stretch out on the piano."
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Kansas City 5

  (Item #: basiekansa_1905_1) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • Presenting yet another amazingly well recorded Count Basie album, with superb Double Plus (A++) sound throughout
  • Both sides are rich, smooth, full-bodied and musical with a lovely bottom end
  • A great session with a fresh sound for Basie, with two top players at his side: Milt Jackson on vibes and Joe Pass on guitar
  • "It is always interesting to hear Basie in a hornless setting like this one where he gets opportunities to stretch out on the piano."
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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Count Basie - Kansas City 5

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: basiekansa_2016) 



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

Another amazingly well recorded Count Basie album, and this one is killer with Triple Triple grades. It's bigger, more solid and rich, with extension on both ends of the frequency spectrum that no other copy could match. First time on the site - a great session with a fresh sound for Basie, with Milt Jackson on vibes and Joe Pass on guitar.

More Count Basie


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie & Joe Williams
Memories Ad-Lib

  (Item #: basiememor_1812_1906) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • A vintage stereo pressing of Joe Williams right at his peak in 1959, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound and fairly quiet vinyl
  • This is one of the few Joe Williams records we've been able to find with audiophile sound and surfaces - it's taken us years to get even one shootout going, but it produced this great copy, so we think it was worth it!
  • "Williams' vocals seem effortless throughout the date... highlights include the easygoing swinger "The One I Love (Belongs to Somebody Else)" and a foot-tapping "Honeysuckle Rose."
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Count Basie
On My Way & Shoutin' Again

  (Item #: basieonmyw_1905) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • Incredible shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from start to finish - relatively quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides here are clear, present, and energetic, with plenty of Tubey Magic, befitting this All Tube Recording on Verve from 1962
  • "A solid and worthwhile album that has been out of print for far too long, this will be a welcome addition to any Basie lover's collection, and comes highly recommended to anyone even mildly interested in excellent large-ensemble mainstream jazz."
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie Meets Oscar Peterson
The Timekeepers

  (Item #: basietimek_1709_1904) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • 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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Count Basie & Oscar Peterson - The Timekeepers

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: basietimek_2012) 



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

Hot Stamper sound on both sides of this Pablo original pressing of the Two Masters in a small group setting. 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. I wrote a rave review about this title when I first heard it more than ten years ago. If you like small group piano jazz -- here we're talking two pianists accompanied by Louie Bellson on drums and John Heard on bass -- this should be right up your alley.

More Count Basie / More Oscar Peterson


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Count Basie & Oscar Peterson - The Timekeepers

Analogue Productions Doubted

  (Item #: basietimek_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: Probably Bad, But Who Knows?

Analogue Productions remastered this longtime favorite of ours, The Timekeepers, on 45 RPM vinyl. Considering their dismal track record -- an unbroken string of failures, scoring not a single winner with which I am familiar -- I'm guessing the Hot Stamper we offered here would have blown the doors off their version as well as any other Basie album they will ever do on vinyl.

More Count Basie


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White Hot Stamper

Count Basie & Oscar Peterson
Yessir, That’s My Baby

  (Item #: basieyessi_1902_1905) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • Both sides of this wonderful Basie/Peterson record are out of this world: Triple Plus (A+++) on the first side, Double Plus (A++) on the second - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Jazz records don't get a whole lot bigger, clearer or more full-bodied. Man, that is the glorious sound of ANALOG!
  • Guaranteed to blow the doors off any Heavy Vinyl pressing AP will ever do, at any speed, and of course any pressing by Pablo
  • "The two pianists (backed by bassist John Heard and drummer Louis Bellson) play five standards and three blues with predictable swing, finding much more in common with each other than one might have originally suspected."
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie & Oscar Peterson
Yessir, That’s My Baby

  (Item #: basieyessi_1907) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • Both sides of this wonderful Basie/Peterson record boast outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Jazz records don't get a whole lot bigger, clearer or more full-bodied - man, this is the glorious sound of ANALOG
  • "The two pianists (backed by bassist John Heard and drummer Louis Bellson) play five standards and three blues with predictable swing, finding much more in common with each other than one might have originally suspected."
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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Count Basie & Oscar Peterson - Yessir, That’s My Baby

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: basieyessi_2012) 



Side two of this wonderful Basie Peterson record has nearly White Hot Stamper Demo Disc sound -- jazz records don't get a whole lot bigger, clearer or more full-bodied. Man, that is the sound of glorious ANALOG. A++ to A+++ is our conservative grade. It might be worth the full Three Pluses but we just can't find enough copies to know if this side could get any better. There is not a single critical comment of any kind in the notes, so that ought to tell you that you are in for a real sonic treat with this side two.
More Count Basie


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Super Hot Stamper

Tony Bennett & Count Basie
Strike Up The Band

  (Item #: bennestrik_1812_1903) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on this Emus pressing of Count Basie and Tony Bennett's 1959 classic collaboration
  • The originals we have played are uniformly horrible sounding compared to these wonderful reissues - the tonality here is Right On The Money
  • 4 1/2 stars: "... the pairing between Bennett and Basie remains impressive. The band raves through tunes like "With Plenty Of Money And You," and Bennett matches them, drawing strength from the bravura arrangements, while band and singer achieve a knowing tenderness on "Growing Pains." This is an album well worth owning..."
See all of our Tony Bennett albums in stock


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Ellington-Basie
The Count Meets the Duke

  (Item #: ellinfirst_1805_1906) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Two stunning nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sides, both coming in just shy of our amazing sounding Shootout Winner
  • Huge amounts of three-dimensional space and ambience, and Tubey Magic by the boatload - this 30th Street recording from 1961 shows just how good Columbia's engineers were back then
  • Fairly quiet throughout - good luck finding a Six Eye Stereo pressing this nice on your own, they sure don't grow on trees
  • 4 1/2 stars: "... a very successful and surprisingly uncrowded encounter... Ellington and Basie both play piano (their interaction with each other is wonderful) and the arrangements allowed the stars from both bands to take turns soloing."
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Duke Ellington & Count Basie - The Count Meets the Duke

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: ellinfirst_2018) 



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

Huge amounts of three-dimensional space and ambience, and rich Tubey Magic by the boatload - this 30th Street recording shows just how good Columbia's engineers were back then. Quiet throughout - good luck finding a Six Eye Stereo pressing this nice on your own, they sure don't grow on trees.

More Duke Ellington


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Super Hot Stamper

Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie
Ella and Basie!

  (Item #: fitzgella_and_basie_1804_1906) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • With excellent Double Plus (A++) sound throughout, this was one of the better copies from our most recent shootout
  • 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
  • This early Verve stereo pressing plays exceptionally QUIETLY for a vintage Ella disc - Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus on both sides!
  • 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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White Hot Stamper

Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie
Ella and Basie!

  (Item #: fitzgella_and_basie_1901_1905) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • With a shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) side two and a solid Double Plus (A++) side one, this Verve stereo pressing came in way ahead of the pack
  • Ella is especially rich, Tubey Magical and breathy - this is the way she should sound, and that makes this copy a true Demo Disc
  • It's very difficult to get the vocals AND the brass to sound right on the same copy, but these two sides pulled it off
  • 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."
See all of our Ella Fitzgerald albums in stock


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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!

More Ella Fitzgerald


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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.

More Ella Fitzgerald / More Count Basie


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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.

More Ella Fitzgerald


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Turntable Tweaking Advice

Try This at Home, It Worked for Us

  (Item #: goodadvice) 



The Mapleshade website has a piece of audio advice that caught the eye of one our customers, who sent me the excerpt below.

Like most advice, especially Audio Advice, we find that some of it accords well with our own experience and some of it clearly does not. The relationship of good to bad is hard to determine without making a more careful study, but let's just say that there is plenty of both and leave it at that. That being the case, we thought it would be of service to our customers to break it down in more detail, separating the wheat from the chaff so to speak.

More Audio Advice


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Gene Harris Big Band - Tribute to Count Basie

A Concord Record that Isn't Mediocre (!)

  (Item #: harritribu_indepth) 



Since when did Concord learn to make a record that sounds as good as this one, with inspired, energetic performances from this solid group of veterans of the jazz wars no less.

Where is the typical Concord sub-gen, opaque, closed-in, compressed and lifeless sound we've been hearing all our lives? This is one jazz label that has done almost nothing of any real interest from the very start, and yet somehow they not only managed to get Gene Harris and his band of All Stars to play with tremendous enthusiasm and skill, they actually managed to capture, with considerable fidelity I might add, the prodigious big band energy they produced onto a reel of analog tape. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't heard it with my own two ears.

More Count Basie


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Ted Heath - Shall We Dance

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: heathshall_2016) 



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

One of the best sounding records we have ever played, the Gold Standard for Tubey Magical Big Band. Both sides are huge, rich, weighty and dynamic like few records you have ever heard. Three elements create the magic here: Kingsway Hall, Kenneth Wilkinson and the Decca "Tree" microphone setup.

More Big Band Jazz


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White Hot Stamper

Ted Heath
Swing Session

  (Item #: heathswing_1904) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Ted Heath Swing Session makes its Hot Stamper debut with KILLER Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to last - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This pressing is bigger, bolder and richer, as well as more clean, clear and open than any copy we played (which is of course the way it earned those Triple Plus grades)
  • These original pressings are ridiculously hard to come by with this kind of superb sound AND quiet vinyl - this one has it all!
  • "... the sound is open and airy with great separation of instruments and very much alive. The band is tight and the music is energetic."
See all of our Ted Heath albums in stock


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Ted Heath - Swings In High Stereo

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: heathswing_2010) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper has DEMO QUALITY SOUND. Just listen to Heath's arrangement of My Funny Valentine on side one, or Big Ben, the second track on side two, for audiophile Big Band sound. Many consider Ted Heath's early London recordings to be some of the best big band ever recorded. The American big bands rarely got the kind of sound that the Decca engineers were able to achieve on records like this. For one thing they didn't have Kingsway Hall, Kenneth Wilkinson or the Decca "Tree."

See all of our Large Jazz Ensemble albums in stock


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The Recordings of Milt Jackson

These Are Some that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: jackson_milt) 



These are just some of the recordings by Milt Jackson that we've auditioned recently and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Milt Jackson Albums with Hot Stampers

Milt Jackson Albums We've Reviewed



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Harry James & His Big Band - The King James Version

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: jameskingj_2008) 



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

This White Hot Stamper has the best side two we have ever heard! Side two fulfills the promise of the direct to disc recording approach in a way that few -- very few -- direct to disc pressings do. To be honest, the typical pressing of The King James Version leaves much to be desired. As a rule two areas are especially lacking: there is a noticeable lack of presence on most copies, causing the brass to get stuck in the speakers and lose its bite; and, every bit as bad, the sound is often just plain compressed, lacking energy and life. The musicians on most copies are just not giving it their all.

More Audiophile recordings


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White Hot Stamper

Junior Mance
Get Ready, Set, Jump!!!

  (Item #: mancegetre_1907) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • This outstanding copy of the Mance's 1964 release boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Both sides are wonderfully big, rich and LIVELY, with boatloads of Tubey Magic and three-dimensional space
  • Recorded in 1964, this vintage stereo pressing boasts exceptionally natural piano sound and the kind of energy you rarely get outside of a live performance
  • 4 stars: "For his first recording session for Capitol, jazz blues pianist Junior Mance abandoned his usual small-group format for a big-band recording. Mance is joined by some of the cream of the West Coast studio and jazz players for a session that features Mance doing his blues thing on piano while the band swings at various tempi... resembling somewhat the style of the Count Basie Orchestra."


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Super Hot Stamper

Junior Mance
Get Ready, Set, Jump!!!

  (Item #: mancegetre_1907_1) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • This outstanding copy of the Mance's 1964 release boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
  • Both sides are wonderfully big, rich and LIVELY, with boatloads of Tubey Magic and three-dimensional space
  • Recorded in 1964, this vintage stereo pressing boasts exceptionally natural piano sound and the kind of energy you rarely get outside of a live performance
  • 4 stars: "For his first recording session for Capitol, jazz blues pianist Junior Mance abandoned his usual small-group format for a big-band recording. Mance is joined by some of the cream of the West Coast studio and jazz players for a session that features Mance doing his blues thing on piano while the band swings at various tempi... resembling somewhat the style of the Count Basie Orchestra."
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Super Hot Stamper

Glenn Miller Orchestra
The Direct Disc Sound of...

  (Item #: milledirec_1906_2) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • A superb pressing of a great recording with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
  • Great energy, but the sound is relaxed and Tubey sweet at the same time, never squawky, with plenty of extension on both ends -- that's analog for ya!
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout with both sides playing Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • This is no sleepy over-the-hill Sheffield -- these guys are the real deal!
See all of our Glenn Miller albums in stock


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Glenn Miller Orchestra - The Direct Disc Sound of...

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: milledirec_2010) 



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

One of the all time GREAT Direct to Disc recordings. For sound and music this one is hard to beat. And the vinyl is as quiet as any you will find.

We went a bit overboard years ago when we wrote, "I don't think you can find a better sounding big band record on the planet." Well, we've heard plenty of amazing big band albums in the course of our Hot Stamper shootouts for the last five or ten years, albums by the likes of Basie, Zoot Sims, Ellington, Shorty Rogers, Ted Heath and others.

More Big Band Jazz


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Super Hot Stamper

Joe Newman Quintet
Jive At Five

  (Item #: newmajivea_1903_1905) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This outstanding copy of Jive At Five boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This Prestige reissue LP is big, spacious, swinging with energy and absolutely jumping out of the speakers
  • 4 stars: "...[this music] is very much in the Count Basie vein. That fact is not too surprising when one considers that the quintet includes three members of Basie's men: trumpeter Joe Newman, tenor saxophonist Frank Wess and bassist Eddie Jones. Joined by the complementary pianist Tommy Flanagan and drummer Oliver Jackson, Newman and his friends swing their way through four vintage standards and a couple of the leader's original blues..."
See all of our Joe Newman albums in stock


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Joe Newman Quintet
Jive At Five

  (Item #: newmajivea_1906) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This KILLER copy of Jive At Five, a classic Rudy Van Gelder recording from 1960, boasts Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound, right up there with our Shootout Winner
  • This Prestige reissue is big, spacious, full-bodied, swinging with energy and came jumping right out of our speakers, just the way we like it
  • 4 stars: "...[this music] is very much in the Count Basie vein. That fact is not too surprising when one considers that the quintet includes three members of Basie's men: trumpeter Joe Newman, tenor saxophonist Frank Wess and bassist Eddie Jones. Joined by the complementary pianist Tommy Flanagan and drummer Oliver Jackson, Newman and his friends swing their way through four vintage standards and a couple of the leader's original blues..."
See all of our Joe Newman albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper (With Issues)

Joe Newman Quintet
Jive At Five

  (Item #: newmajivea_1907) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • A killer pressing of Newman's 1960 release, with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to last
  • This Prestige LP has sound that's absolutely jumping out of the speakers - big, spacious, and swinging with energy
  • 4 stars: "...[this music] is very much in the Count Basie vein. That fact is not too surprising when one considers that the quintet includes three members of Basie's men: trumpeter Joe Newman, tenor saxophonist Frank Wess and bassist Eddie Jones. Joined by the complementary pianist Tommy Flanagan and drummer Oliver Jackson, Newman and his friends swing their way through four vintage standards and a couple of the leader's original blues..."
See all of our Joe Newman albums in stock


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Pablo Jazz

One of Our Favorite Labels for Audiophile Sound Quality

  (Item #: pablo) 



Visit this link to find our in-stock Pablo Jazz albums.

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Oscar Peterson - Peterson + Harry Edison + Eddie Cleanhead Vinson

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: peterpeter_2005) 



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

This is a long out of print Pablo LP with AMAZING sound and music. It's one of those superb Allan Sides engineered recordings at Ocean Way, like Basie 88 Street. Demo disc quality sound is the result! With players like these, the music is every bit as good as any jazz record I know of. In other words, I really like this album.

More Oscar Peterson


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Super Hot Stamper

Perez Prado
Prez

  (Item #: pradoprez_1808_1902) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A superb copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound throughout - this bad boy is a BIG step up from any Perez Prado record you have ever heard, guaranteed
  • With Tubey Magical Stereoscopic presentation like you will not believe; this copy is spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience
  • The driving, syncopated, heavily percussive arrangements add immensely to the fun, with the timbre of every scratcher and drum rendered in glorious Technicolor sound
  • This is Vintage All Tube Analog at its best - the magic hidden in the grooves of the record really comes through on this pressing
See all of our Living Stereo albums in stock


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Perez Prado - Prez

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: pradoprez_2013) 



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

This AMAZING sounding White Hot Stamper copy of Prez has a lot in common with the other Living Stereo / Exotica titles we've listed over the years, albums by the likes of Henry Mancini, Esquivel, Arthur Lyman, Dick Schory, Edmundo Ros, Ted Heath, Martin Denny and a handful of others. Talk about making your speakers disappear, these records can do it!

1958 - It Was a Very Good Year


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Perez Prado - Prez

What to Listen For

  (Item #: pradoprez_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of the album.

If you like the sound of percussion instruments of every possible flavor, including some you have never tasted before, you will have a hard time finding a more magical recording of them than this.

Big and spacious, yet clear, dynamic and energetic. The brass is never "blary" the way it can be on so many Big Band or Dance Band records from the '50s and '60s. (Basie's Roulette records tend to have a bad case of blary brass as a rule.)

More Living Stereo


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Lou Rawls - Live!

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: rawlslive_2014) 



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

This is one of the best live vocal recordings we know of, but only a great copy like this will bring that sound to your stereo. Lou is live, singing his heart out in a small club that exists between, behind and maybe even around your speakers. If you can reproduce the three-dimensional space of this club well you are in for a real treat.

The songs are great, the musicians are brilliant, the sound is amazing -- what else could you ask for?

This album was a late addition to our 2014 update of our Rock and Pop Top 100 list. or live soul-infused vocals we know of none better.

See all of our Lou Rawls albums in stock


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Edmundo Ros - Latin Hits I Missed

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: ros__latin_2011) 



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

It's unfortunate that Edmundo Ros and his orchestra command so little respect these days from the general record buying public. As for audiophiles, it's doubtful that many even know who he or they is/are. We at Better Records are doing our best to change all that, continuing with this, the second Ros title we've managed to find with amazing sound and music since the first one went up in 2013. It's one of the liveliest, best sounding Phase 4 titles we have heard in quite a while. Stampers simply do not get much hotter than these.

More Phase 4


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Edmundo Ros - Ros On Broadway

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: ros__onbro_2009) 



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

Edmundo Ros and his orchestra don't command much respect these days from the general record buying public. As for audiophiles, it's doubtful that many even know who he or they is/are. But we at Better Records are going to change that, starting with this very record, because it's one of the best sounding records we have ever heard. Stampers just do not get any HOTTER than these!

From the perspective of a level playing field, I cannot think of a single rock record that sounds as BIG and DYNAMIC, nor one that is as spacious and clear, as is the side two of this London Blueback. As good as the best German pressings of Dark Side of the Moon may be, shockingly good in fact, this recording is clearly more exciting and lifelike, with instrumental timbres that are uncannily accurate.


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Edmundo Ros - New Rhythms of the South

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: ros__rhyth_2015) 



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

It's unfortunate that Edmundo Ros and his orchestra command so little respect these days from the general record buying public. As for audiophiles, it's doubtful that many even know who he or they is/are. We at Better Records are doing our best to change all that, continuing with this, the second Ros title we've managed to find with amazing sound and music since the first one went up in 2013. It's one of the liveliest, best sounding Phase 4 titles we have heard in quite a while. Stampers simply do not get much hotter than these.


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Zoot Sims - Passion Flower

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: sims_passi_2014) 



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

One of the all time great Pablo sleepers. Why is no one else writing about records like these? The music is wonderful and the sound is top drawer on the best copies. If you've tried and failed with other Pablo Zoot Sims records -- some of the ones we didn't care for are pictured above, and there are plenty more where those came from -- fear not: this title is one of his best, musically and sonically.

If you want to hear the Duke’s music swing in top sound, get this album.

See all of our best Pablo records in stock


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Zoot Sims - Zoot Sims Plays Johnny Mandel: Quietly There

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: sims_zoots_2010) 



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

This Minty looking Pablo LP, engineered by the brilliant Allen Sides, has very good sound. Which is to be expected from this amazing engineer, responsible for recordings like 88 Basie Street and Kenny Burrell’s Heritage album.

This is one of the best Zoot Sims records as well. He plays beautifully. This melodic, smooth material is what he excels at. His breathy saxophone style will remind you of Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. This recording captures that sound perfectly.


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Super Hot Stamper

Frank Sinatra and Count Basie
Sinatra At The Sands

  (Item #: sinatatthe_1901_1907) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • This outstanding set boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on all four sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Truly one of the greatest live albums of all time, recorded late at night in the big room at the Sands Hotel in Vegas
  • This is Basie and Sinatra in their natural habitat and in their prime, putting on the show of a lifetime
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Basie and the orchestra are swinging and dynamic, inspiring a textured, dramatic, and thoroughly enjoyable performance from Sinatra ... the definitive portrait of Frank Sinatra in the '60s."
See all of our Frank Sinatra albums in stock


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Frank Sinatra and Count Basie - Sinatra At The Sands

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: sinatatthe_2013) 



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

This double album presents Sinatra and Basie at the height of their powers, in a setting especially conducive to both men's music, the big room at the Sands Hotel in Vegas. If you missed it -- and I'm sure most all of us did -- here's your chance to go back in time and be seated with the beautiful people, front row center. This two disc all tube-mastered analog set is practically the only way you'll ever be able to hear the greatest vocalist of his generation -- in his prime no less -- performing with one of the swingingest big bands of the time.

More Frank Sinatra


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Frank Sinatra and Count Basie - Sinatra At The Sands

Mobile Fidelity Reviewed

  (Item #: sinatatthe_mobile_fidelity) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another MoFi LP reviewed.

It's pretty good. Compressed and veiled, but the tonality is correct. I give it a B. It will beat the vast majority of reissues, which tend to be thin, gritty, and woefully lacking in Tubey Magic. And the vinyl will be quiet, which is something not many of the best pressings can offer.

But who wants to listen to a B grade record when we you can buy A and A+ pressings from us?

More Sinatra at the Sands


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Sinatra At The Sands on Dahlquist DQ-10s

My Neophyte Mind Is Blown

  (Item #: sinatatthe_progress) 



The story of our latest shootout is what real Progress in Audio is all about.

Back in the early '70s this was actually the album that first introduced me to honest-to-goodness "audiophile" sound.

I was at my local stereo store listening to speakers one day, and the salesman made a comment that the speakers we were listening to (the old Infinity Monitors with the Walsh tweeter) sounded "boxy". I confessed to him that I didn't actually know what that meant or what it would sound like if it weren't boxy.

More Sinatra at the Sands


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Frank Sinatra and Count Basie - Sinatra At The Sands

What to Listen For

  (Item #: sinatatthe_wtlf) 



There is some edge on Sinatra's voice on every side of every copy; it's so common it's got to be on the tape. Those copies with less edge and grit on the vocals which are not overly smooth or dull tend to do very well in our shootouts.

Also, richness is very important. We look for a combination of rich, Tubey Magical sound that still maintains a fair amount of space, clarity, transparency and freedom from smear.

The original label pressings (always in stereo; the monos are really a joke) are richer and thicker as a rule.

The pressings with the orange two-tone labels tend to be thinner and clearer. A high percentage of them are much too modern sounding, bright and gritty, and when they are we throw them right in the trade-in pile.

More Sinatra at the Sands


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White Hot Stamper

Frank Sinatra / Count Basie
It Might As Well Be Swing

  (Item #: sinatitmig_1907) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • A KILLER sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound from the first note to the last
  • These side are doing it all right -- big, rich and Tubey Magical yet still clean, clear and present with lovely breathy vocals
  • "It Might as Well Be Swing, was a more structured, swing-oriented set than Sinatra-Basie, and in many ways the superior album... , what makes [it] more successful is the consistently high level of the performances. On their previous collaboration, both Sinatra and Basie sounded a bit worn out, but throughout this record they play with energy and vigor." - All Music
See all of our Frank Sinatra albums in stock


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Sinatra / Basie
It Might As Well Be Swing

  (Item #: sinatitmig_1907_1) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • A KILLER sounding copy with nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from the first note to the last
  • These side are out of this world -- big, rich and Tubey Magical yet still clean, clear and present with lovely breathy vocals
  • "It Might as Well Be Swing, was a more structured, swing-oriented set than Sinatra-Basie, and in many ways the superior album... , what makes [it] more successful is the consistently high level of the performances. On their previous collaboration, both Sinatra and Basie sounded a bit worn out, but throughout this record they play with energy and vigor." - All Music
See all of our Frank Sinatra albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Frank Sinatra
My Kind of Broadway

  (Item #: sinatmykin_1812_1907) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This superb pressing of Sinatra's 1965 release boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to them on both sides
  • Superb Tubey Magical mid-'60s Sinatra sound which was recorded in various sessions from 1961 to 1965
  • The sound on this original Reprise LP is richer, fuller and, importantly, SMOOTHER than the other pressings we played
  • "When Sinatra delivers, as he does on the show-stopper "Luck Be a Lady," the results are pretty spectacular..."
More Frank Sinatra / More Count Basie


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Frank Sinatra - My Kind of Broadway

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: sinatmykin_2016) 



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

Sinatra set very high standards for his repertoire, his musicians, his arrangements and most of all, his performances. I find no evidence to support the contention that any of the above are lackluster or second-rate on My Kind of Broadway.

If you have any doubts, go to youtube, pull up the album and take a listen to some of the tracks. We can't find a bad one and we would be surprised if you could either. There are lots of great ones in fact.

More Frank Sinatra


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Super Hot Stamper

Frank Sinatra
Sinatra-Basie

  (Item #: sinatsinatra_basie_1811_1906) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This beloved Sinatra/Basie collaboration boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from top to bottom
  • Big space, breathy vocals, lovely leading edge transients, and plenty of Tubey Magic make this album a true audiophile treat
  • 4 stars: "The long-awaited first collaboration between two icons did something unique for the reputations of both. For Basie, the Sinatra connection inaugurated a period in the 1960s where his band was more popular and better-known than it ever was, even in the big band era. For Sinatra, Basie meant liberation, producing perhaps the loosest, rhythmically free singing of his career."
More Frank Sinatra / More Count Basie


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Frank Sinatra - Strangers In The Night

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: sinatstran_2013) 



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

Folks, for The Best Sound on a Frank Sinatra record it simply does not get any better than Strangers In The Night. It's a real treat to be in the presence of the Chairman Of The Board, in his prime, working his magic -- but only an exceptional copy like this one has the power to put him right in the room with you.

1966 was a very good year indeed for Frank Sinatra -- he recorded Live at the Sands with Count Basie that year as well.

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Sarah Vaughan - Send In The Clowns

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: vaughsendi_2018) 



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

Sarah Vaughan's 1981 collaboration hits the site for the FIRST time and this pressing is KILLER - guaranteed to beat any copy you've ever heard. Basie's horns are really blastin' on this pressing. Sassy's remarkable vocal range and flexibility are on full display here, singing favorites including "I Got A Right To Sing The Blues," "When Your Lover Has Gone," and, of course, the title track.

More Sarah Vaughan


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White Hot Stamper

Joe Williams
Sings About You

  (Item #: williabout_1907) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • KILLER sound throughout with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades
  • These sides are doing it all right -- rich and Tubey Magical yet still clean, clear and spacious with a lovely bottom end
  • "Joe Williams was the last great big-band singer, a smooth baritone who graced the rejuvenated Count Basie Orchestra during the 1950s and captivated audiences well into the '90s." - All Music, Biography
More Joe Willliams


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