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White Hot Stamper

Frank Sinatra and Count Basie
Sinatra At The Sands

  (Item #: sinatatthe_1812_1) 

Our Price: $699.99

  • A truly KILLER pressing of one of the greatest live albums of all time, recorded late at night in the big room at the Sands in Vegas
  • With all four sides rating a Triple Plus (A+++) or close to it, the sound here is incredibly big and bold with superb clarity and energy
  • This is Basie and Sinatra in their natural habitat and in their prime performing years, putting on the show of a lifetime
  • "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." - AMG
See all of our Frank Sinatra albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie
Ella and Basie!

  (Item #: fitzgellaandbasie_1811) 

Our Price: $399.99

  • 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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White Hot Stamper

Ray Charles
Genius + Soul = Jazz

  (Item #: charlgeniu_1808_1810) 

Our Price: $399.99

  • With stunning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides and Count Basie backing up The Genius himself, this copy is As Good As It Gets!
  • Most of this album is Ray stretching out with "some pretty mean and lean, cut-to-the-heart-of-the-matter B-3 Hammond organ licks."
  • Big and rich, clear and Tubey Magical, the 1962 sound of this vintage stereo pressing is just right; quiet vinyl too!
  • Allmusic notes: "...one of those instrumentals, a cover of the Clovers' "One Mint Julep," would give Charles one of his most unpredictable (and best) early-'60s hits."
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Super Hot Stamper

Frank Sinatra and Count Basie
Sinatra At The Sands

  (Item #: sinatatthe_1812) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • This outstanding 2 LP set boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • 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."
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Super Hot Stamper

Ellington-Basie
First Time - The Count Meets the Duke

  (Item #: ellinfirst_1805_1808) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Two stunning Double to Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sides both coming in just shy of our shootout winner
  • Huge amounts of three-dimensional space and ambience, and Tubey Magic by the boatload - this 30th Street recording 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
  • "... 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." - 4 1/2 Stars
Ellington / Basie


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White Hot Stamper

Count Basie & Joe Williams
Memories Ad-Lib

  (Item #: basiememor_1811) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • A stunning sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound from the first note to the last and the first copy to ever hit the site
  • 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 killer 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." - All Music
See all of our Count Basie albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie
88 Basie Street

  (Item #: basie88bas_1811_1) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This outstanding copy boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER 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 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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Super Hot Stamper

Frank Sinatra
Sinatra-Basie

  (Item #: sinatsinat_1811) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Superb Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides of this beloved Sinatra/Basie collaboration
  • Tubey, warm and smooth, with an extended top and bottom, the louder you play this record the better it sounds
  • "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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White Hot Stamper

Frank Sinatra
My Kind of Broadway

  (Item #: sinatmykin_1812) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • 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 most of the other pressings we played
  • Allmusic: "When Sinatra delivers, as he does on the show-stopper "Luck Be a Lady," the results are pretty spectacular..."
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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie Big Band
Farmers Market Barbecue

  (Item #: basiefarme_1806_1811) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • This famous Pablo recording has outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides - it's a record that belongs in every right-thinking audiophile's collection, and that means you
  • Musically, FMB is a killer - we consider it The Best Basie Big Band Record We've Ever Played
  • Demo Disc sound - guaranteed to beat the pants off of any Heavy Vinyl pressing, at any speed, of any Basie album
  • Allmusic: "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
Chairman of the Board

  (Item #: basiechair_1806_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding copy of Chairman Of The Board, with superb Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • 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
  • "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." - 4 1/2 Stars, All Music
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Super Hot Stamper

Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie
Ella and Basie!

  (Item #: fitzgella_and_basie_1804_1811) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • 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 copy, but these two sides pulled that trick off nicely
  • This early Verve stereo pressing plays about as quiet as they ever do - 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."
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Super Hot Stamper

Tony Bennett & Count Basie
Strike Up The Band

  (Item #: bennestrik_1812) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • 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..."
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Super Hot Stamper

Count Basie Meets Oscar Peterson
The Timekeepers

  (Item #: basietimek_1709_1811) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • 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
My Kind of Broadway

  (Item #: sinatmykin_1710_1809) 

Our Price: $79.99

  • You'll hear outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound quality on both sides of this killer pressing
  • Superb Tubey Magical mid-'60s Sinatra sound, recorded in various sessions from 1961 to 1965
  • With the Count Basie Orchestra backing him on several tracks, the swinging Sinatra is heard in his prime and we think he sounds just great
  • Allmusic: "When Sinatra delivers, as he does on the show-stopper 'Luck Be a Lady,' the results are pretty spectacular..."
See all of our Frank Sinatra 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 - 88 Basie Street

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: basie88bas_2011) 



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

A White Hot Stamper 2-pack giving you A+++ sound and quiet vinyl for both sides of this killer Basie album!

This is a Top 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 this album can be a real powerhouse -- if you have the right copy -- and this two-pack with White Hot Stamper sound for each side shows you just how lively and dynamic this music can be. It's got Demo Disc qualities, no doubt about it.

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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.

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Count Basie - Basie Plays Hefti

Original Versus Reissue

  (Item #: basieplays_versus) 



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 #: basieplays_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 #: 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.

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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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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.

More Ella Fitzgerald / More Count Basie


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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 - Sinatra-Basie

Our Shootout Winner from 2006

  (Item #: sinatsinat_2006) 



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

This is a very nice Reprise White Label Promo LP. I’m so glad I Disc Doctored this record, and I’m even more glad I flipped it over and played side two.

I dropped the needle on this one and heard that typical sour, shrill, Reprise Sinatra sound. The record was noisy so we cleaned it up, and to my shock and dismay (not really!) a lot of that sourness and shrillness disappeared. Side one won't win any awards but it's quite decent for '60s era Reprise Sinatra.

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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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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.

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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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