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JazzTimes 10: Great Jazz Albums to Test Your Stereo With

A collection of sides that will reveal your system’s strengths—and weaknesses

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I only have Eyes for You by Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy
I only have Eyes for You by Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy

Frank Sinatra and Count Basie: It Might as Well Be Swing (Reprise, 1964)

Reproducing music’s most famous voice—in this case, backed by one of jazz’s best big bands plus a string section playing the dense, hard-swinging arrangements of Quincy Jones in one of the world’s most famous studios (Capitol Studio A)—might be the toughest imaginable task for an audio system. The standout track from a recording standpoint is probably “Wives and Lovers”; even during its most dynamic moments, you should be able to easily pick out the contributions from the individual horns and hear the resonance of Freddie Green’s acoustic archtop guitar chugging insistently underneath.

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Originally Published

Brent Butterworth

Brent Butterworth has been a professional audio journalist since 1989, and has evaluated and measured thousands of audio products. He is currently a writer at Wirecutter and editor of the SoundStage Solo headphone site; served as an editor at such magazines as Sound & Vision and Home Theater; and worked as marketing director for Dolby Laboratories. He also plays double bass with several jazz groups in Los Angeles.