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White Hot Stamper

Kenny Burrell
God Bless The Child

  (Item #: burregodbl_1812_1906) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Amazing sound from start to finish on this Shootout Winning TRIPLE TRIPLE (A+++) copy
  • One of our favorite CTI albums, and surely one of the best sounding, especially on this pressing
  • Credit goes to Rudy Van Gelder once again for the huge space that the superbly well-recorded orchestra occupies
  • AMG raves "This is Burrell at his level best as a player to be sure, but also as a composer and as a bandleader. Magnificent."
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Super Hot Stamper

Freddie Hubbard
First Light

  (Item #: hubbafirst_1907) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • First Light finally makes its Hot Stamper debut with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Features an outstanding lineup including Herbie Hancock on keys, Ron Carter on bass, George Benson on guitar, Airto on percussion, and Jack DeJohnette on the drums.
  • 4 1/2 stars: "The result is a masterpiece of textured sound, gorgeously far-flung charts, sweet, tight grooves, a subtle mystic feel, and some of Hubbard's most exciting playing ever. While Red Clay [a Better Records favorite] and Straight Life are both fine albums, First Light is the one that connects on all levels -- and it did with the jazz-buying public as well. A masterpiece."
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Super Hot Stamper

Stanley Turrentine
Sugar

  (Item #: turresugar_1906) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last, this copy is rich, musical and, above all, enjoyable - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • A dynamic and energetic recording by Rudy Van Gelder that really jumps on a copy like this
  • With top talent like Freddie Hubbard and George Benson, you will have a hard time finding a funkier Soul Jazz record
  • AMG raves: "If jazz fans are interested in Turrentine beyond the Blue Note period — and they should be — this is a heck of a place to listen for satisfaction."
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White Hot Stamper (With Issues)

Art Blakey Jazz Messengers
Free For All

  (Item #: blakefreef_1903_1905x) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Insanely good sound throughout for this Blue Note New York label pressing with both sides earning shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound
  • This LP was simply bigger, richer and clearer, with more Tubey Magic, less smear and distortion, and on and on down the list
  • A Van Gelder recording from 1964 is hard to beat for you-are-there immediacy, and this pressing delivers that qualitiy like no other copy you've heard - we guarantee it
  • "Free for All is a high point in drummer Art Blakey's enormous catalog. This edition of the Jazz Messengers had been together since 1961 with a lineup that would be hard to beat: Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Cedar Walton on piano, and Reggie Workman on bass."
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Super Hot Stamper

Freddie Hubbard
Red Clay

  (Item #: hubbaredcl_1902_1908) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • One of Hubbard's funkiest jazz recordings, this classic earned solid Double Plus (A++) grades throughout
  • One of our favorite CTI albums for sound and music - it's Hubbard's Soul Jazz Masterpiece, and it's a record that belongs in any audiophile's jazz collection
  • Lenny White (Return to Forever) drums up a storm on this album - with sound this good, he is playing right in the room with you!
  • 5 Stars: "This may be Freddie Hubbard's finest moment as a leader, in that it embodies and utilizes all of his strengths as a composer, soloist, and frontman. This session places the trumpeter in the company of giants such as tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Lenny White... This is a classic, hands down."
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Hot Stamper

Freddie Hubbard
Ready For Freddie

  (Item #: hubbaready_1907) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With two Hot Stamper sides and fairly quiet vinyl, this copy of Hubbard's classic 1962 release did well in our shootout
  • Forget whatever crappy Heavy Vinyl record they're making - these vintage Blue Note pressings are the only way to fly on Ready For Freddie
  • 5 stars: "Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard really came into his own during this Blue Note session. He is matched with quite an all-star group (tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Art Davis, and drummer Elvin Jones), introduces two of his finest compositions ("Birdlike" and "Crisis"), and is quite lyrical on his ballad feature, "Weaver of Dreams." Hubbard's sidemen all play up to par and this memorable session is highly recommended; it's one of the trumpeter's most rewarding Blue Note albums."
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Super Hot Stamper

Kenny Burrell
God Bless The Child

  (Item #: burregodbl_1901_1905) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • With a Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grade on side one and a solid Double Plus (A++) grade on side two, this one of the better copies we played in our recent shootout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • One of our favorite CTI albums, and surely one of the best sounding, especially on this pressing
  • Credit goes to RVG once again for the huge space that the superbly well recorded orchestra occupies
  • AMG raves: "This is Burrell at his level best as a player to be sure, but also as a composer and as a bandleader. Magnificent."
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Super Hot Stamper

Freddie Hubbard
Sky Dive

  (Item #: hubbaskydi_1909) 

Our Price: $89.99

  • With seriously good Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides, this copy will be very hard to beat - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This is the kind of spacious, low-distortion, dynamic, energetic sound Van Gelder was getting in the early '70s and we LOVE him for it
  • Hubbard got hold of a seriously talented group of funky jazz players to support him here, with Don Sebesky doing his usual inventive arrangements
  • 4 Stars: "Freddie Hubbard's fourth CTI recording certainly has a diverse repertoire. The charts for the brass and woodwinds are colorful; there is a fine supporting cast that includes guitarist George Benson, Keith Jarrett on keyboards, and flutist Hubert Laws; and Hubbard takes several outstanding trumpet solos."
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Hot Stamper

Freddie Hubbard
Sky Dive

  (Item #: hubbaskydi_1906_2) 

Our Price: $59.99

  • You'll find very good Hot Stamper sound on both sides of this wonderful Freddie Hubbard album - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This is the kind of spacious, low-distortion, dynamic, energetic sound Van Gelder was getting in the early '70s and we LOVE him for it
  • Hubbard got together a seriously talented group of funky jazz players to support him here, with Don Sebesky doing his usual inventive arrangements
  • 4 Stars: "Freddie Hubbard's fourth CTI recording certainly has a diverse repertoire. The charts for the brass and woodwinds are colorful; there is a fine supporting cast that includes guitarist George Benson, Keith Jarrett on keyboards, and flutist Hubert Laws; and Hubbard takes several outstanding trumpet solos."
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Freddie Hubbard - First Light

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: hubbafirst_2011) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper original CTI pressing has a truly SUPERB side two that just put to shame most of what we played. Smeary blurred trumpet blasts? Not here. Nope, the transient bite and energy of the trumpet is as REAL as it gets.

Hubbard was a master of funky jazz, and this pressing was one of the few in our shootout with the kind of high quality mastering that can do justice to his uniquely energetic, lightning fast jazz style.

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Freddie Hubbard - Goin’ Up

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: hubbagoinu_2011) 



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

This very nice looking Blue Note LP has good sound and some straight ahead Blue Note jazz, the kind that Blue Note jazz fans love. The second track on side one, ’The Changing Scene’, is a wonderful ballad reminiscent of ’Round Midnight. It's the best material on the album in my opinion.

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Freddie Hubbard - Hub-Tones

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: hubbahubto_2007) 



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

This Blue Note reissue LP has SUPERB SOUND AND QUIET VINYL! Freddie’s trumpet sounds Right On The Money -- breathy and full-bodied with clearly audible leading edge transients. The overall sound is tonally correct with extended highs and super low distortion. It's open and spacious and wonderfully dynamic. I don't think there's anything you could do to this music to make it sound much better than this!

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Freddie Hubbard - Polar AC

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: hubbapolar_2013) 



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

We're big fans of Hubbard's CTI material around here and this album has a lot of the qualities we love about this stuff. All the usual faces are here -- Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, George Benson, Airto -- and Rudy Van Gelder does a great job capturing their performances. (We used to criticize RVG pretty harshly, but in recent years we've found more and more pressings of his stuff that really work.)

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Freddie Hubbard - Ready For Freddie

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: hubbaready_2006) 



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

This is a QUIET Blue Note ’70s pressing with wonderful music and pretty good sound. The trumpet here sounds excellent with lots of breath and just the right amount of bite. The track Crisis on side two should particularly appeal to audiophiles -- just check out that well-recorded bass and all the cool little drum breaks.

We hardly ever see clean copies of this album, so we don't imagine we'll ever have the resources to do a proper shootout. I don't imagine that you'll find a much better sounding copy of this album that plays this quietly.

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Freddie Hubbard - Red Clay

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: hubbaredcl_2012) 



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

This original CTI pressing has two wonderful sides, including an AMAZING A+++ SIDE TWO! This side two has amazingly good Demo Disc sound. RVG knocked this one out of the park, that's for damn sure.

Hubbard was a master of funky jazz, and the song Red Clay is possibly the funkiest jazz track he ever got down on tape. At 12 minutes in length it is a transcendentally powerful experience -- and the bigger your speakers and the louder you turn them up the more moving that experience is going to be!

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Freddie Hubbard - Sky Dive

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: hubbaskydi_2011) 



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

With a sonic grade of A+++ this White Hot Stamper original CTI pressing has a side two that won Top Honors in our recent shootout. It's CLEARLY the best sounding side we have ever offered of this funky jazz classic, but it has serious condition issues, including a mark that plays at the end of track one all the way into track two. If you can live with that mark you will hear some amazing sound and music on side two. And if you buy this copy and realize you can't, feel free to send it back for a full refund.

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Freddie Hubbard - Sky Dive

What to Listen For

  (Item #: hubbaskydi_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on what you should be listening for when critically evaluating your copy (or ours) of the album.

Smear is by far the most common problem with the copies we played. When the transient bite of the trumpet is correctly reproduced, maintaining its full-bodied tone and harmonic structures, you know you have a very special copy of Sky Dive (or First Light or Red Clay, etc., etc.). When the sound is blurry, thick, veiled, dull or slow, you have what might be considered something more like the average copy.

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Freddie Hubbard - Straight Life

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: hubbastrai_2017) 



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

Straight Life is a great album for anyone who wants to hear some well recorded, seriously adventurous jazz. We freely admit that side one is fairly "out there," but side two balances it out with much more accessible, melodic material. A wonderfully sensitive and emotional version of Here's That Rainy Day closes out the side with George Benson proving to be an especially sympathetic accompanist on guitar.

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Freddie Hubbard - The Baddest Hubbard

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: hubbabadde_2008) 



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

This is the baddest copy of Baddest Hubbard we heard in our shootout. And by baddest, I mean THE BEST! It’s got tons of energy, a meaty bottom end, and amazing songs to boot. Red Clay, an AMAZING cut, sounds OUT OF THIS WORLD! The overall sound is HUGE and SPACIOUS. Hubbard was a master of funky jazz, and this pressing has the mastering that does his unique style justice.

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Freddie Hubbard - The Best Of... Live And In Studio

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: hubbabesto_2011) 



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

This is a Minty looking Pablo LP with Virtually No Sign Of Play (VNSOP).

This album has selected tracks from his 2 LP set ’Live at the North Sea Jazz Festival’ which are excellent. On the other side are three tracks recorded at Ocean Way which are equally good. All in all, this is some of the best later Hubbard work around.

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Freddie Hubbard - The Body and Soul of Freddie Hubbard

Speakers Corner Reviewed

  (Item #: hubbabodya_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: B

An outstanding Freddie Hubbard straight ahead jazz album on Speakers Corner vinyl that belongs in any jazz lover's collection.

Check out our Heavy Vinyl Scorecard to read all about the latest winners and losers.

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Freddie Hubbard - The Body and Soul of Freddie Hubbard

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: hubbabodya_2017) 



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

The bluesy version of Willow Weep For Me on side one is WONDERFUL. The rich, full-bodied sax sound is Right On The Money. The overall sound is totally transparent with superb clarity. Scrapple From The Apple (also on side one) has a silky top end anchored with deep, well-defined bass.

We had good success with both '60s originals and later copies pressed in the '70s.

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Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage

Keeping the Players Together

  (Item #: hancomaide_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

Freddie Hubbard on this album is nothing short of astonishing. I remember playing around with the stereo one day, listening for different effects as I made minor changes to the tracking weight, the VTA, adjustments to the Hallographs and the like, and at one point I noticed that the ensemble seemed to be really coherently connected, each of the players balanced with all the others.

It was a striking effect and it made me realize that musical values can often be overlooked while chasing after audiophile effects of one kind or another. Hearing the ensemble come together made me appreciate this album even more.

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Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: hancomaide_2008) 



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

We just finished a big Maiden Voyage shootout, and while we didn’t come up with too many winners, we did manage to find this one KILLER copy. Side two has A+++ MASTER TAPE SOUND -- it can't be beat! You won't believe how clean, clear, open, and transparent it is. Most importantly, the energy factor is OFF THE CHARTS, and the dynamics are INCREDIBLE. Too many copies we played left us cold and bored; this one kept us engaged throughout. It's got the silkiest highs and the breathiest brass we've ever heard for this album. Most copies we played this against couldn't even come close to the richness, sweetness, and warmth we heard here.

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John Coltrane - Ole Coltrane

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: coltrole_2016) 



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

Olé! Here's a great copy of a wonderful Coltrane album that we seriously enjoy but just don't see enough to keep in our regular rotation. And that's a shame, because these Top Copies are a THRILL to hear. Both sides give you an exceptionally strong bottom end, and with two bass players contributing on much of the album that is essential for this music. The overall sound is lively, dynamic, and very transparent.

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Kenny Burrell - God Bless The Child

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: burregodbl_2015) 



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

This is one of our favorite orchestra-backed jazz records here at Better Records. A few others off the top of my head would be Wes Montgomery's California Dreaming (1966, and also Sebesky-arranged), Grover Washington's All the King's Horses (1973) and Deodato's Prelude (also 1973, with brilliant arrangements by the man himself).

On a killer copy like this the sound is out of this world. Rich and full, open and transparent, this one defeated all comers in our shootout, taking the Top Prize for sound and earning all Three Pluses.

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Milt Jacskon - Sunflower

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: jackssunfl_2016) 



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

The first track, at more than ten minutes, is yet another one of our favorite orchestra-backed jazz recordings here at Better Records. Other albums of this sort that we love are Wes Montgomery's California Dreaming (1966, and also Sebesky-arranged), Grover Washington's All the King's Horses (1973) and Deodato's Prelude (also 1973, with brilliant arrangements by the man himself).

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Oliver Nelson - The Blues and the Abstract Truth

Mastering Better Than The Master

  (Item #: nelsoblues_rvg) 



Another in our ongoing series of Random Thoughts concerning the sound of old records.

For those of you who are still holding on to the idea that the original pressings are better, our Hot Stamper LPs may come as quite a surprise. Yes, we can all agree that Rudy Van Gelder recorded it, brilliantly as a matter of fact. Shouldn't he be the most natural choice to transfer the tape to disc, knowing, as we must assume he does, exactly what needs fixing and what needs to be left alone?

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Oliver Nelson - The Blues and the Abstract Truth

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: nelsoblues_2016) 



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

Oliver Nelson's masterpiece debuts at Better Records with at least White Hot Stamper sound on both sides. Side one was so HUGE and Tubey Magical we called it at least White Hot - it's out of this world. If all you know is the Van Gelder original cutting, you will surely have your mind blown by this Hot Stamper LP.

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Sarah Vaughan - Sassy Swings Again

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: vaughsassy_2015) 



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

On side one note how far back in the mix Sarah's voice is. This is her in a big group setting with lots of horns and that group needs to be right in the thick of the action along with her for this music to work.

One of the warmest, richest, smoothest sides we played all day, hence the very high grade. Excellent space and dynamics as well.

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Stanley Turrentine - Sugar

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: turresugar_2016) 



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

The best copies seem to have more space and are even more clear while at the same time keeping the sound rich and tonally correct from top to bottom. That sound is exactly what you will hear on this side two! It won our shootout because it gave us the feeling that we were hearing everything that was being recorded in the studio exactly the way Rudy, Stanley and his jazz buds wanted us to. In those long ago sessions at Van Gelder Studios in November of 1970, this is how it went down.

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Terry, Hubbard, Gillespie, & Peterson - The Alternate Blues

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: terryalter_2013) 



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

With Hot Stamper sound on both sides, this Pablo disc shows you what three of the greatest trumpeters of the last fifty years can do given the opportunity, nay, the encouragement, to let loose on a handful of classic slow blues jams. Many of the tracks here run in excess of eight minutes, giving the players plenty of space to explore, yet practically all of them are taken at a fairly slow pace, what used to be called a "slow drag", making them that much more involving and emotional. These are not your classic "blowing sessions" where the players try to outdo each other. No, this is something quite different.

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