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White Hot Stamper

Count Basie Big Band
Farmers Market Barbecue

  (Item #: basiefarme_1911) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • Stunning Triple 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 exceptionally 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
  • Allmusic: "This was an excellent outing by the Count Basie Orchestra during its later years."
More Count Basie


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White Hot Stamper

Ellington-Basie
First Time - The Count Meets the Duke

  (Item #: ellinfirst_1909) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • You'll find Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides of this stunning Six Eye Stereo pressing of First Time!
  • Three-dimensional space and ambience, rich Tubey Magic by the boatload - this 30th Street recording shows just how good Columbia's engineers were back then
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Ellington's elegance and unique voicings meet Basie's rollicking, blues-based Kansas City swing, and it works gloriously. The Duke and his band accentuate their swinging dance band side, while Basie and company have never sounded as suave and exotic as when playing Billy Strayhorn arrangements. Everyone has a good time, and that joy infuses this album from start to finish."
More Ellington


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White Hot Stamper

Frank Sinatra / Count Basie
It Might As Well Be Swing

  (Item #: sinatitmig_1907_10) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • 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."
More Frank Sinatra / More Count Basie


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White Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Basie Big Band

  (Item #: basiebasie_big_band_1904_7_12) 

Our Price: $249.99
Sale Price: $199.00 (You save $50.99 / 20%)


  • 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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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Ellington-Basie
The Count Meets the Duke

  (Item #: ellinfirst_1912) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • 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."
More Duke Ellington


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Frank Sinatra-Count Basie
At The Sands

  (Item #: sinatatthe_1901_1907) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This wonderful 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."
More Frank Sinatra / More Count Basie


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie
April In Paris

  (Item #: basieapril_1910) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • April in Paris makes its Hot Stamper debut with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound fon this vintage mono pressing
  • This pressing showed us the sound we were looking for - big, bold, full-bodied mono, the kind they knew how to record in 1957
  • Here is the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s surely missing from whatever modern reissue has been made from the 60+ year old tapes (or, to be clear, a modern digital master copied from those tapes)
  • 5 stars: "April in Paris is one of those rare albums that makes its mark as an almost instant classic in the jazz pantheon... The title track has come to define elegance in orchestral jazz... Recorded in 1955 and 1956, April in Paris proved Count Basie's ability to grow through modern jazz changes while keeping the traditional jazz orchestra vital and alive."
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White Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Kansas City 5

  (Item #: basiekansas_city_5_1905_1907) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • 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 different sound for Basie, a small group setting with two of his favorite players at his side: Milt Jackson on vibes and Joe Pass on guitar
  • "The predictably excellent group performs spirited versions of some of Basie's "hits" (including "Jive at Five" and "One O'Clock Jump"), some blues and a few standards. 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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White Hot Stamper

Count Basie
On My Way & Shoutin' Again

  (Item #: basieonmyw_1905_8_12) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Incredible shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from start to finish - relatively quiet vinyl too
  • This All Tube Verve stereo Recording Verve from 1962 is one of the best Basie records from the era that we've played in a very long time
  • Here is the richness the music needs - horns need to be full-bodied if they are to sound like the real thing - but so are speed and clarity, two qualities that insure that all the horns have the proper bite and timbre
  • "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."
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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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Super Hot Stamper

Frank Sinatra-Count Basie
Sinatra At The Sands

  (Item #: sinatatthe_1912) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • This original Blue and Green Reprise Label pressing boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on all four sides
  • 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."
More Frank Sinatra / More Count Basie


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Sinatra / Basie
It Might As Well Be Swing

  (Item #: sinatitmig_1907_10_) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • 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."
More Frank Sinatra / More Count Basie


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie
88 Basie Street

  (Item #: basie88bas_1912) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This outstanding copy boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it 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."
More Count Basie


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White Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Basie Plays Hefti

  (Item #: basiebasie_plays_1905_7_11) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • 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."
More Count Basie


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White Hot Stamper

Frank Sinatra
My Kind of Broadway

  (Item #: sinatmykin_1812_7_11) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • 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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Super Hot Stamper

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

  (Item #: basieyessi_1907) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • 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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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie And His Orchestra
I Told You So

  (Item #: basieitold_1901_1907) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • 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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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Basie Big Band

  (Item #: basiebasie_big_band_1904_8_11) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • A superb sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
  • 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
Chairman of the Board

  (Item #: basiechair_1904_1908) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • 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."
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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie
Kansas City 5

  (Item #: basiekansa_1905_1_1907) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • Presenting yet another amazingly well recorded Count Basie album, with superb Double Plus (A++) sound throughout
  • Rich, smooth and Tubey Magical, this pressing has a lovely musical quality that's missing from some of the copies we played
  • A different sound for Basie, a small group setting with two of his favorite players at his side: Milt Jackson on vibes and Joe Pass on guitar
  • "The predictably excellent group performs spirited versions of some of Basie's "hits" (including "Jive at Five" and "One O'Clock Jump"), some blues and a few standards. 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
Me and You

  (Item #: basiemeand_1907_10) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • An excellent sounding copy of Basie's 1983 release, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they're making these days - if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of this wonderful session from 1983, this is the only way to go
  • This is the Basie Big Band album that came out right after 88 Basie Street, a hard act to follow - top engineering by Dennis Sands
  • "... recorded only a little more than a year before his death. However, the spirit of this music (helped out by some Ernie Wilkins) arrangements) make Count Basie seem ageless."
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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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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White Hot Stamper

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

  (Item #: basieyessi_1902_5_10) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • 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
Basie Plays Hefti

  (Item #: basiebasie_plays_1905_10) 

Our Price: $89.99

  • 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 / More Neal Hefti


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie Big Band
Farmers Market Barbecue

  (Item #: basiefarme_1906_10) 

Our Price: $79.99

  • 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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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

Frank Sinatra
Sinatra-Basie

  (Item #: sinatsinatra_basie_1811_1906) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • 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."
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Super Hot Stamper

Joe Newman Quintet
Jive At Five

  (Item #: newmajivea_1903_05_09) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • 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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Super Hot Stamper

Tony Bennett & Count Basie
Strike Up The Band

  (Item #: bennestrik_1812_1903) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • 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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White Hot Stamper (With Issues)

Joe Newman Quintet
Jive At Five

  (Item #: newmajivea_1907_9) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • 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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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.

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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.

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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.
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Count Basie - Basie Big Band

The Glorious Sound of Triple Flutes

  (Item #: basiebasie_big_band_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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Count Basie - Kansas City 5

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: basiekansas_city_5_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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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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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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