Analogue Productions (Prestige)
Part of the ultimate audiophile Prestige stereo reissues from Analogue Productions — 25 of the most collectible, rarest, most audiophile-sounding Rudy Van Gelder recordings ever made. All cut at 33 1/3 and also released on Hybrid SACD
All mastered from the original analog master tapes by mastering maestro Kevin Gray. 180-gram LPs pressed at Acoustic Sounds´ state-of-the-art pressing plant, Quality Record Pressings, plated by Gary Salstrom
Deep groove label pressings, tip-on jackets on thick cardboard stock
A 1961 set of standards heavy on the ballads, Nice An´ Cool is prime Gene Ammons. In front of a sympathetic piano-bass-drums trio (Richard Wyands, Doug Watkins, and the great J.C. Heard, respectively), Ammons´ brilliantly soulful tenor saxophone really stretches out on the familiar melodies, but the relatively concise arrangements (all of the eight tracks are between three and eight minutes, with most hovering around the five-minute mark) don´t allow him to wander too far afield as he occasionally does on less structured sessions. Nice An´ Cool is first and foremost a mood album, with the unity of sound more important than the individual performances, but Ammons particularly shines on the extended opener, a tender, restrained version of The Music Man´s "Til There Was You" that sidesteps the mawkishness of many interpretations in favor of a dignified grace. The backing trio is excellent throughout.