Hank Mobley
(Classic Records / Blue Note)

HANK MOBLEY: Hank Mobley (Classic Records / Blue Note)Classic Records has been touting their new Quiex SV-P pressings for about a month or so now, and we finally got the chance to check one of them out. 'Exhibit A' in this case is the label's new mono pressing of Hank Mobley's excruciatingly rare sixth album (and the fourth of six that the tenor saxman would record for Blue Note that year), simply entitled Hank Mobley. We received a comparison pressing of this album on the 'old' 180g Quiex-SV vinyl. When we compared the two, the improvement in detail and definition over the 180g pressing was startling (and the 180g pressing sounded awfully good to begin with).

Let's start off with a little background on exactly what the big deal is here. First of all, the 180g profile previously used on the label's Quiex-SV pressings has been upped to 200g for the SV-Ps, and the differences were readily apparent. Surface noise was literally non-existent. The low end was noticeably better, both in terms of depth and clarity. Since this is a mono release, we obviously can't talk about channel separation, but the dynamics were far superior to the album's 180g counterpart. Of particular note is the lightly swinging "Mighty Moe and Joe." Sonny Clark's piano is clearer, and Art Taylor's brushwork is more pronounced. This album may have been recorded 45 years ago, but when you hear it, you'll swear it was recorded yesterday.

One of the best things about Classic Records is the amount of attention they pay to details. Not just in terms of the music itself (which, of course, is what really matters), but the packaging as well. In the case of the label's new Classic Signature Blue Note Series, they replicated the original Blue Note design to a tee, all the way down to the flat, non-'groove guard' profile. Groove guards were the raised outer edge that prevented records from becoming scuffed when played on an automatic changer. While serious collectors would never use a changer to listen to their vinyl, most record pressing plants still adhere to the groove guard standard. The labels have both addresses on them--"47 W 63rd NYC" on one side and "47 West 63rd New York 23" on the other, plus the deep groove that true Blue Note collectors search for. And if that wasn't enough, they even used a 'tip on jacket' (paper affixed to cardboard) for that added touch of authenticity.

Classic outdid themselves once again with this release. If you were looking for a reason to spring for a high-end mono system, this is it.

© 2002 Steve Marshall
Purchase this album from Classic Records