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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Live and Learn

  (Item #: coltrgiant_learn) 



A classic case of Live and Learn. Previously we had written:

The extension on both ends of the frequency spectrum is what really sets the best copies apart from the pack. All the top end and that deep bottom and simply not to be found on most copies, and never on even the best originals in our experience. The cutters back then just couldn't cut it.

Now, having heard some amazing originals, we know that the vintage mastering equipment of the day was perfectly capable of getting all the top, all the bottom, and tons of Tubey Magic besides onto the vinyl.

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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: coltrgiant_2009) 



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

This Atlantic Stereo LP has EXCELLENT SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! As everyone should know by now, a killer copy like this is the exception, not the rule.

Side one had wonderful energy and the kind of full-bodied sound that is key to keeping the saxophone from tearing your head off when it really gets going. If you know anything about this music you know that Coltrane builds up a head of steam on practically every track on the album. He is blasting away here and it is a thrill to be sure.

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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: coltrgiant_2016) 



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

As you might expect, the original Blue and Green label pressings have -- potentially -- superb sound on Giant Steps, but somewhat surprisingly -- assuming you've heard a White Hot original copy -- the Red and Green label pressings can sound every bit as good.

The Tubey Magical richness and warmth carried over into the '70s, at least on some copies of this title, and we're very glad they did, as finding clean original Coltrane albums from the early '60s is not so easy these days.

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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Rhino 45 RPM 2 Disc Set Debunked

  (Item #: coltrgiant_rhino_45) 



Sonic Grade: F

The sound of the new 45 RPM 2 disc version cut by Bernie Grundman sounds thick and dull, much like the Deja Vu he remastered years ago for Classic Records.

As is the case with so many of the Heavy Vinyl reissues released these days, the studio ambience you hear on these pressings is a pitiful fraction of the ambience the real pressings are capable of revealing, the ones mass-produced by Atlantic, original and reissue alike. We're not sure why audiophiles have trouble noticing such an obvious shortcoming but it and others like it sure don't get by our crack listening panel here at Better Records too often.

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John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Rhino Debunked

  (Item #: coltrgiant_rhino) 



Sonic Grade: D

Mastered by Kevin Gray, this record has ''modern'' sound, which is to say it's clean and tonally correct for the most part, but it's missing the Tubey Magic the originals and the good reissues both have plenty of. Any properly mastered, properly pressed '70s copy on the red and green label will be richer, fuller, sweeter, and just plain more enjoyable than this 180 gram version. It's below average, which is why it merits a D.

That said, "Giant Steps" is not an easy record to find in good condition, because any serious jazz lover would have played it plenty. It is inarguably one of John Coltrane's greatest achievements.

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