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Super Hot Stamper

Sonny Rollins
What's New?

  (Item #: rolliwhatsn_1807_1809) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • Two superb sounding sides with each rating a Double to Triple Plus (A++ to A+++), just shy of our shootout winner!
  • This is vintage 1962 Living Stereo sound at its best - big, rich, relaxed, tonally correct and full of Tubey Magic
  • Pretty quiet for a Black Label stereo original - it's Mint Minus Minus with no audible marks of any kind
  • 4 1/2 Stars: "Rollins' characteristically huge tone, relentless harmonic and rhythmic inventiveness, and fierce solos were consistently impressive. Not only did he state the melody clearly and superbly, but his ideas and pacing were remarkable; no solo rambled and his phrases were lean, thick and furious."
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Super Hot Stamper

Sonny Rollins & Coleman Hawkins
Sonny Meets Hawk

  (Item #: rollisonny_1806_1) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Only the second copy to hit the site in over four years and boy is it a good one! Double Plus (A++) from start to finish!
  • Both sides here are incredibly big, full-bodied and Tubey Magical with plenty of bottom end weight
  • Amazing music from two saxophone masters on one of the most exciting jazz records we've heard in some time!
  • 4 stars in the AMG: "... a deliciously exciting experience."


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Super Hot Stamper

Sonny Rollins
On Impulse

  (Item #: rollionimp_1804_1808) 

Our Price: $179.99
Sale Price: $149.00 (You save $30.99 / 17%)


  • Superb Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish; this was one of the better copies in our most recent shootout
  • Some of the best Sonny Rollins sax sound we've EVER heard! Both sides are super big, full and lively with a huge bottom end
  • 4 Stars: "This date is significant for the manner in which Rollins attacks five standards with a quartet that included pianist Ray Bryant, bassist Walter Booker and drummer Mickey Roker."
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Super Hot Stamper

Sonny Rollins
Way Out West

  (Item #: rolliwayou_1808_1) 

Our Price: $179.99

  • An excellent copy, earning Double Plus (A++) grades, or close to it, on both sides
  • This stereo pressing has superb 1957 Contemporary sound -- big, open and natural throughout
  • One of our favorite Rollins records, this copy will show you everything we love about the recording
  • 5 Stars: "The timeless Way out West established Sonny Rollins as jazz's top tenor saxophonist"
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Super Hot Stamper

Sonny Rollins
The Bridge

  (Item #: rollibridg_1711_1806) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • An excellent stereo copy of this Rollins classic, earning nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades or close to it on both sides
  • The 1962 sound is wonderfully Tubey Magical, full-bodied and solid, the bass note-like and clear
  • This is the kind of Demo Disc sound that the brilliant Ray Hall was able to engineer with tubes back in 1962, and it's glorious to hear in 2017
  • 4 1/2 stars: "The interplay between Rollins and Jim Hall [on guitar] is consistently impressive, making this a near-classic and a very successful comeback."
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Super Hot Stamper

The Rolling Stones
Tattoo You

  (Item #: rollitatto_1808) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • A hard-rockin' copy of Tattoo You, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound, or close to it, on both sides
  • Start Me Up and Waiting On A Friend are the two biggest bangers here and they both sound great
  • The sound is richer, bigger, clearer and just more energetic than any copy you've ever heard, guaranteed
  • 4 1/2 stars in the AMG: "Waiting on a Friend" and the vigorous rock & roll of the first side make Tattoo You an essential latter-day Stones album, ranking just a few notches below Some Girls."
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Analogue Productions

Heavy Vinyl Jazz Debunked

  (Item #: rollialter_debunk) 



Longstanding customers know that we have been relentlessly critical of most audiophile LPs for years, especially in the case of these Analogue Productions releases from back in the early ’90s. A well-known reviewer loved them, I hated them, and he and I haven’t seen eye to eye on much since.

Newflash!

Just dug up part of my old commentary discussing the faults with the orginal series that Doug Sax cut for Acoustic Sounds. Check it out!

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Sonny Rollins - Alfie (Original Music From The Score)

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: rollialfie_2017) 



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

A stunning Triple Triple Plus (A+++) pressing that is sure to beat any Sonny Rollins record you own (for sound anyway). Even though I've been playing this album for more than 25 years, for some reason this is the first truly killer copy to ever hit the site. A triumph for Rudy Van Gelder, a Top Impulse title, and as much a showcase for Oliver Nelson (+11) as it is for Sonny Rollins.

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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!

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Sonny Rollins - Brass / Trio

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: rollibrass_2013) 



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

Both sides sound WONDERFUL on this Verve T-Label pressing, including the Big Band side which almost never sounds good! We've played a number of these over the years and we're almost always let down by side one. Not on this copy! The sound is full-bodied and correct, not veiled and reserved as they tend to be. However, it's the Trio side where this copy really shines -- the sound is KILLER, earning out top grade of A+++. It's super clean and clear yet very tubey and warm. There's a ton of energy and the bass is superb.

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Sonny Rollins - Plus 4

Hello Hello Hello...

Is There Anybody Out There?

  (Item #: rolliplus4_2014) 



We recently awarded the 45 RPM 2 LP pressing of this album a place in our Hall of Shame. But that's not enough -- I'm not letting it off that easy!

I cannot recall hearing a more ridiculously thick, opaque and unnatural sounding audiophile record in my life, and I've heard a ton of them. It reminds me of the turgid muck that Doug Sax was cutting for Analogue Productions back in the '90s. The CD of this album has to sound better than this. There's no way it could sound worse.

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Sonny Rollins - Plus 4

45 RPM Analogue Productions Debunked

  (Item #: rolliplus4_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame Heavy Vinyl Pressing

I cannot recall hearing a more ridiculously thick, opaque and unnatural sounding audiophile record than this, and I've heard a ton of them.

As I noted in another commentary "Today’s audiophile seems to be making the same mistakes I was making as a budding audiophile more than thirty years ago. Heavy Vinyl, the 45 RPM 2 LP pressing, the Half-Speed Limited Edition -- aren’t these all just the latest audiophile fads each with a track record more dismal than the next?"

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Sonny Rollins - Rollins (2 LPs)

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: rollirolli_2008) 



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

This Prestige Two-Fer Double LP boasts EXCELLENT SOUND, right up there with some the best sounding copies we’ve played. Three sides out of four sounded surprisingly good, which is three good sides more than the average copy can claim. Oddly enough, the stampers are identical. Sample to sample variation? Fresh off the stamper transparency? Who's to say? I can't explain it, but I know a better record when I play one. This copy is clearly more transparent, no pun intended. It's also been through our extensive cleaning process, which as you can imagine helps the sound immeasurably.

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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.

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Sonny Rollins - Sound of Sonny

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: rollisound) 



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

Riverside White and Blue original 2 Mic Label Mono LP. Side one sounds like a typical old Riverside jazz record, but side two sounds EXCELLENT! I don’t know when I’ve heard an early Sonny Rollins record sound better. His horn is really full-bodied and dynamic and has amazing IMMEDIACY on some tracks. It makes side one sound sick in comparison.

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Sonny Rollins - Taking Care of Business

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: rollitakin_2010) 



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

This is a Prestige Demo Two-Fer Double LP.

Big, full-bodied, MONO jazz sound at its BEST. This is what classic ’50s jazz is supposed to sound like! These transfers from 1978 by David Turner are in tune with the sound of these recordings. There's not a trace of phony EQ on this entire record, and the vinyl plays nice and quiet.

This Two-Fer includes all of Tenor Madness and most of Work Time and Tour De Force. Top jazz players such as Ray Bryant, John Coltrane, Red Garland, Kenny Drew, Max Roach and Paul Chambers can be heard on the album.

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Sonny Rollins - The Bridge

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: rollibridg_2013) 



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

We found STUNNING sound for Sonny Rollins' classic LP The Bridge this week, and as you might have guessed from the image to the left, it wasn't on an original pressing! It's beyond tough to find copies of this album on any label these days, but we had a big stack of pressings from different eras and auditioned them in a big shootout. We've paired up our best side one with our best side two to create this killer White Hot Stamper 2-pack.

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Sonny Rollins - Vol. 2

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: rollivol2_2011) 



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

Even though this session was supposedly recorded in one day on April 14, 1957 we heard an anomaly that took us somewhat by surprise. The first and third track on side two sound amazing, better than anything on side one. However, the second track, You Stepped Out Of A Dream, has sound that is clearly a step down from anything else on the album. It's smaller and more congested. Why that is we have no idea, but we felt it was worth pointing out.

Sonny's horn on side two is especially big and rich, with huge amounts of Tubey Magic as befits an all-tube 1957 Blue Note recording. This is clearly the right sound for this music.

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Sonny Rollins - Way Out West

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: rolliwayou_2014) 



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

The Contemporary 1957 sax sound is so smooth and tubey it will have you drooling. All Music Guide gives it 5 Stars and so do we. Such a classic album. If you don't own a top quality Sonny Rollins album this would be a great place to start.

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Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins - Sonny Meets Hawk

Great in Mono

  (Item #: rollisonny_2010) 



WONDERFUL SOUND AND MUSIC! It is ridiculously tough to find copies of this album with good sound and quiet surfaces, but this pressing is a MONSTER. We’re generally not big fans of Mono recordings, but for this music it is really doing the job. It gives you mindblowing presence to the brass and real weight to the bottom end.
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Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins - Sonny Meets Hawk

Great in Stereo

  (Item #: rollisonny_2013) 



This is a TOP SHELF pressing, one of the most exciting jazz records we've heard in some time! We dropped the needle on side one of this RCA stereo pressing and were FLOORED. After evaluating it completely and awarding it our top grade of A+++, we flipped and were blown away to find that side two was every bit as good. And to top it all off, the vinyl plays quietly throughout.

Think about this -- due to the nature of our business we play tons of jazz vinyl every week, multiple pressings of multiple albums. And this record completely knocked us out.

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Sonny Rollins Quintet - Rollins Plays For Bird

  (Item #: rolliplays_fame) 



This is one of the BEST Sonny Rollins records around! Nobody seems to know anything about it but let me tell you, this is Rollins at his BEST. The sound is also EXCELLENT! This quintet features trumpeter Kenny Dorham, pianist Wade Legge, bassist George Morrow and drummer Max Roach.
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