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White Hot Stamper

Leroy Vinnegar Sextet
Leroy Walks!

  (Item #: vinneleroy_1904_1908) 

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


  • Leroy Vinnegar's debut album finally arrives on the site with a KILLER Triple Plus (A+++) on side two and an outstanding Double Plus (A++) on side one
  • The Contemporary stereo sound here is completely natural in all respects - rich, warm and smooth, the sound we love
  • I had no idea this record was a Top Contemporary Title, but I sure know it now. After playing this bad boy's side two, I would put it up against practically any jazz record from the era
  • Roy DuNann and Howard Holzer engineered some of the best sounding records we have ever heard - here's a textbook example of what the audiophiles at Contemporary were able to achieve in the studio
  • 4 stars: ...Vinnegar generously features his talented sidemen... A fine, straight-ahead session.
More Leroy Vinnegar


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White Hot Stamper

Sonny Rollins
Alternate Takes

  (Item #: rollialter_1901_1905) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • A stunning sounding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • One of our favorite Sonny Rollins records for sound - both sides here are incredibly big, full-bodied and Tubey Magical
  • 4 1/2 stars: "This LP contains alternate versions of selections from two famous Sonny Rollins albums: Way out West and Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders. These "new" renditions of "I'm an Old Cowhand," "Come, Gone," "Way out West" "The Song Is You," "You" and "I've Found a New Baby" hold their own against the classic versions. ...the music is hard-swinging and frequently superb."
More Sonny Rollins / More Shelly Manne


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Super Hot Stamper

Benny Carter
Jazz Giant

  (Item #: cartejazzg_1907_1) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • With two excellent sides each rating a solid Double Plus (A++) or BETTER, this was one of the better copies from our recent shootout; super quiet vinyl too!
  • If you still think that Analogue Productions is remastering records properly, you have definitely never heard a real Contemporary that sounds like this(!)
  • The sound of Contemporary Records is alive on this copy, with space, size, clarity and richness that no other pressing can match
  • "Benny Carter had already been a major jazz musician for nearly 30 years when he recorded this particularly strong septet session for Contemporary ... This timeless music is beyond the simple categories of "swing" or "bop" and should just be called "classic."
See all of our Benny Carter albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Benny Carter
Swingin' the '20s

  (Item #: carteswing_1907_1) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • With two superb sides each rating a Double Plus (A++) or BETTER, this Contemporary pressing was one of the better we played in our recent shootout
  • These excellent sides are so much bigger and more open, with more bass and energy - the saxes and trumpets are immediate and lively
  • Mr. Earl Hines himself showed up, a man who knows this music like nobody's business - Leroy Vinnegar and Shelly Manne round out the quartet
  • "Great musicians produce great results, and most of the LP's tracks were done in one or two takes. The result is 'a spontaneous, swinging record of what happened' when Carter met Hines 'for the first time. . . .'"


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Super Hot Stamper

Shelly Manne & His Friends
My Fair Lady

  (Item #: mannemyfai_1904_1906) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • This early Black Label Stereo pressing earned solid Double Plus (A++) grades from start to finish - practically unheard of quiet vinyl for an original!
  • This Contemporary pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce
  • Recorded entirely in one session, this album was the first jazz recording comprised entirely of songs from a Broadway musical - the results are decidedly provocative
  • 5 stars: "This trio set by Shelly Manne & His Friends... was a surprise best-seller and is now considered a classic...The result is a very appealing set that is easily recommended."
More Shelly Manne / More Andre Previn


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Super Hot Stamper

Leroy Vinnegar Sextet
Leroy Walks!

  (Item #: vinneleroy_1905) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This outstanding pressing of Leroy Vinnegar's debut album has solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides- exceptionally quiet too
  • The Contemporary LP stereo sound here is completely natural in every respect - rich, warm and smooth
  • Roy DuNann and Howard Holzer engineered some of the best sounding records we have ever heard - here's a textbook example of what the audiophiles at Contemporary were able to achieve in the studio
  • 4 stars: "...Vinnegar generously features his talented sidemen... A fine, straight-ahead session."
See all of our Leroy Vinnegar albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Sonny Rollins
Alternate Takes

  (Item #: rollialter_1901_1908) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • An outstanding vintage pressing which earned solid Double Plus (A++) grades from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • If you want to know just how amazing some of the tracks recorded during the Way Out West sessions can sound, this is the album that can show you
  • Big, rich and Tubey Magical, here is the natural tonality that's the hallmark of the best Contemporary recordings by Roy DuNann in the '50s
  • 4 1/2 stars in the AMG: "Hard-swinging and frequently superb."
More Sonny Rollins / More Shelly Manne / More Ray Brown


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Barney Kessel - Let's Cook

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: kesseletsc_2012) 



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

We were simply blown away by this Yellow Label pressing, which earned an A+++ for side one and an A++ for side two in a recent shootout. The transparency and clarity are SUPERB, and the amount of tubey magic is unbelievable! Folks, if you like guitar jazz, do not miss out on this album. I guarantee you will be absolutely knocked out by the sound of this pressing, not to mention the fantastic music!

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Benny Carter - Jazz Giant

Analogue Productions Debunked

  (Item #: cartejazzg_ap_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing and another Analogue Productions LP debunked.

You may remember that Acoustic Sounds did a version back in the '90s, which was a complete disaster. I haven't heard the new 45 RPM version, but I seriously doubt that it sounds like this. We have yet to hear a single Heavy Vinyl 45 that sounds any good to us, judged by the standards we set in our shootouts. (Actually the records themselves set the standards; we simply grade them on the curve they establish.)

More Benny Carter


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Benny Carter - Jazz Giant

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: cartejazzg_2011) 



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

HUGE DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! This Contemporary LP sounds AMAZING -- it has a wide and open soundfield that really allows you to hear into the music. Drop the needle on track three (Carter’s Own ’A Walkin’ Thing’) to hear these guys really swinging! The sound is so natural, and it really jumps out of the speakers. This knocked our original Stereo Records pressing out of the ballpark -- it wasn't even close.

More Benny Carter


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Benny Carter - Jazz Giant

The Amazing Sounding Mono Copy We Played in 2005

  (Item #: cartejazzg_2005) 



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

This Contemporary Yellow Label Mono LP has DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND! If you like the sound of Contemporary Records, you won’t find a better example than this! Midrange magic doesn’t get anymore magical. I don’t care who remasters this record, I don't think they can do it as well as it was done in 1958.

I haven't heard the new 45 RPM version, but I seriously doubt that it sounds like this. It wouldn't be done on vintage tube cutting equipment, and that sound is the sound we love here at Better Records.

More Benny Carter


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Benny Carter - Swingin’ The ’20s

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: carteswing_2012) 



STUNNING SOUND ON BOTH SIDES -- we've never played a better copy! The immediacy and presence of this copy will BLOW YOU AWAY -- it’ll put a swingin’ jazz quarter right in your living room. There’s plenty of extension on the top end anchored by some nice deep bass. The tonality is Right On The Money, and the overall sound is open and spacious with lots of room around the instruments.

We finally built up enough copies of this great album to do a shootout, our first since March 2008 which ought to tell you something about the used record market these days, and this one was the White Hot champion on BOTH sides. This copy had most of the Tubey Magic of the originals we played, with all of the amazing clarity and freedom from distortion of the later pressings -- the best of both worlds.

More Benny Carter


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Helen Humes - ’Tain’t Nobody’s Biz-ness If I Do

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: humestaint_2013) 



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

This EXCEPTIONALLY QUIET Contemporary Recording has wonderful sound on both sides. It’s got SHOCKINGLY DYNAMIC VOCALS -- just listen to Miss Humes really belting it out on a great reading of Stardust! The sound is really rich and full with a BIG punchy bottom end. The clarity and transparency are superb, and you can really hear the leading edge transients on the various horns (Carter on trumpet, Rosolino on trombone).

You Can Depend On Me, the opening track, has an exceptionally weighty piano; it's as if Andre Previn himself were pounding on a baby grand right there in your living room!

More Contemporary jazz


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Helen Humes - Songs I Like to Sing

Our Black Label Shootout Winner

  (Item #: humessongs_blk_2007) 



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

This Contemporary Black Label Original LP has AMAZING SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! It has that classic tube-mastered sound -- warmer, smoother, and sweeter than the later pressings with more breath of life.

More Helen Humes


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Helen Humes - Songs I Like to Sing

Our Yellow Label Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: humessongs_2008) 



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

Side one has OFF THE CHARTS, A+++ Master Tape Sound. It's amazingly tubey magical, yet incredibly clean and clear -- something you can't get from the tube-mastered originals. Helen's voice is PERFECTION -- breathy, full, and sweet. The orchestra sounds JUST RIGHT -- just listen to the nice bite of the brass. The overall sound is super full-bodied and rich and very transparent.

More Helen Humes


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Helen Humes - Swingin’ With Humes

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: humesswing_2008) 



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

SUPERB SOUND AND MUSIC! We’ve been finding great copies of Helen’s Songs I Like To Sing! for some time, but this is the first knockout copy we’ve ever found of this great title from 1961. Both sides have A+++ sound, As Good As It Gets (AGAIG).

More Helen Humes


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Howard McGhee - Maggie’s Back In Town

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: mcghemaggi_2007) 



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

This Contemporary LP has WONDERFUL SOUND AND MUSIC! It’s rich and full a very extended, very natural top end. The cymbals on this record sound AMAZING! Roy DuNann sure knew how to record this kind of jazz. Just listen to the leading edge transients of the trumpet or the punchiness of the drums. There's no trace of phony EQ or bad mastering whatsoever.

The lineup on this album is stellar, with Phineas Newborn, LeRoy Vinnegar and the great Shelly Manne backing McGhee. The best sounding tracks on this record are "Sunset Eyes" on side one and "Brownie Speaks" on side two.

1961 - It Was a Very Good Year


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Shelly Manne & His Men - More Swinging Sounds

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: mannemores_2011) 



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

This Contemporary Yellow Label MONO LP is West Coast Jazz at its best!

One quality of this side one that really took us by surprise was how DYNAMIC it is. The second track gets loud in a way that only one or two out of a hundred records does. (This is about the number of records we play in a week and I would have to say that no other record this week was more dynamic, hence the rough estimate above.)

More Shelly Manne


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Shelly Manne and Friends - My Fair Lady

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: mannemyfai_2012) 



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

This Contemporary Black Label LP is FULL OF TUBEY MAGIC! The sound is lively and dynamic with tighter bass than the typical old Contemporary pressing. Five big stars in the All Music Guide!

More Shelly Manne


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Sonny Rollins - Alternate Takes

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: rollialter_2015) 



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

An absolutely killer pressing of one of our favorite jazz albums! The album is comprised of alternate takes from the Way Out West and Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders sessions, and as such there is a bit of sonic variation between these tracks and the ones on the actual albums. The best-sounding songs here, particularly the material from Way Out West, sound amazing!

More Sonny Rollins


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Sonny Rollins - Sonny Rollins & the Contemporary Leaders

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: rolliconte_2013) 



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

SUPERB SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! This Contemporary Green Label LP has THE BIG SOUND -- rich and so full-bodied with amazing presence and immediacy. The bass is PERFECTION -- deep, rock solid, and note-like. There’s lots of extension on the top end, letting Shelley Manne's fantastic work on the cymbals really come to life. The clarity on this copy is superb -- just listen to those leading edge transients on Sonny's sax. The guitar has the tubey qualities that we love here at Better Records -- it's warm, rich, and sweet with lots of ambience.

More Sonny Rollins


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