Archive for January, 2010

Dave Grusin – Homage To Duke (GRP Records)

January 21, 2010

Dave Grusin is definitely one of my favorite musicians and producers, as well as owner of GRP Records, one of my favorite labels.
He is a musician who just stood out for movie soundtracks, but has many jobs outside of this line, and Homage To Duke is one of them.
Combining traditional and contemporary jazz, he recorded basically the standards of Duke Ellington, but using his genius vision in both the performance and production areas. Remarks to the music Caravan, which was arranged surprisingly.

The recording quality is worthy of being played on our hifi sound systems.
Sometimes I wonder why a standard is a standard?
I’ve had several stages of music throughout my life and nowadays I can’t stand listening many things I’ve heard extensively.
When I put this CD to play, all the songs I’ve heard so many times in different versions.
The songs are still very nice and familiar, rising new creations and new interpretations, becoming immortal. This is a standard.



Bill Evans Trio – Waltz for Debby (Riverside)

January 21, 2010

The Bill Evans is considered a pianist who revolutionized the harmony of jazz piano. Many believe that there were two ages in the jazz piano harmony, one before and one after Bill Evans.
This is a recording that has been carefully remastered.
The recording is from 1961 and has a great ambience, resembling “Jazz at the Pawnshop”, where you can hear the ambience of conversation from the audience, ice cubes shaking in whisky, cups being washed, and many other details, something that no longer exist in the current recordings.
I really like this type of recording, making a meditation hearing style we can carry to the 60’s and feel there together with people at the tables, where things were very different from than they are today.

I knew this CD with my piano instructor, while I was studying music.
He lent me that because I was studying a (My Romance) and he wanted me to hear Bill Evans version. When I put here to play in my stereo I run to buy the original.

It’s a cool album to listen to, rather brush drums and very accurate acoustic bass.


George Duke – Dukey Treats (Heads Up)

January 21, 2010

For those who don’t know him, he is a great musician who began his career in 70’s. I have a short list of favorite musicians, most are jazz musicians. George Duke is one of them, but it is totally headed to the Jazz, at least not after the start of his career.
He follows a more funk, jazz and pop line. I consider him a genius, mainly for its creativity and ability to play the piano. I have other Duke albuns, but as this is my last purchase, it is still ringing in my ears.
At the beginning of the listening, I found the recording a little compressed. Along the tracks, this album showed that the sound quality is excellent, mainly because of the deep and correct positioning of the instruments.
At first it seemed to be one more Duke-style work, with a delicious Dukey Treats and others. To my surprise, when he played the Creepin ‘, an thriller-style music, I got impressed with the creativity. Going forward, “Are You Ready” is a Disco from 80’s, and it seems to be Earth Wind & Fire and, as it was not enough, the music “Images of Us”, a Jazz with plenty of groove to confuse our minds.
Several flavors available in this beautiful work of George Duke, perhaps that’s the reason why he chose the chocolate keyboard for the CD cover.

Best wishes

Oscar Peterson, We Get Requests (Verve)

January 21, 2010

Oscar Peterson is one of the greatest pianists of recent times. Died in 2007, left a legacy of recordings, so I advise buying only the essentials.
Today, this recording is not exactly essential from the point of view of music. He plays “Corcovado” and “The Girl from Ipanema” that are memorable music, but today have been very explored (not at the time of original release in 1964, of course, we must take that into consideration).
I always say that the artistic quality of a work is not only what the musicians do. What the techies do is essential and in most cases represents 50% of the final result.It is a pity that this requirement is not required much around the world.
This work was reissued by Verve that remastered very well and became a very enjoyable album to listen to (and hence an excellent disc). After this release, other more sophisticated versions (K2 HD K2 HD Gold) were pricey released.
Amazingly, what attracts me in this work is the battery and the bass and not the Oscar’s piano. The battery provides good ambience. It’s leakage down the other microphones provides information about the exact size of the stage. The accuracy and balance of bass notes fully fill the listening environment and, of course, the technical genius of Oscar Peterson leading the rest. If you have good equipment (read not mp3, earphone, etc.) you will only be satisfied after listening to all the songs until the end.
For those who like old recordings recovered with excellence, it’s a mandatory CD in your collection.


Joe Satriani – Joe Satriani (Legacy)

January 21, 2010

This CD is somewhat curious. It has no title, just called “Joe Satriani”. Usually this type of title (with the artist’s name) is used in the first work, but this was done in 1995 and he had already released other solo albums before that.
Maybe he has used it to create a remarkable single work in his career, it is an album quite different from the others.
Many don’t like this work because it is not exactly a Guitar Hero album. There are no killer solos and guitar electronic effects. He has simply used a slight distortion of a Marshall amplifier. To make things better (or worst, depending on your preference), is a work where the blues, rock and jazz are highlighted and not the Rock / Metal.
I personally don’t like Guitar Heroes, but I appreciate good guitar players and this CD fits perfectly in my musical taste.
With nice compositions, blues touch, rock and jazz. Satriani has shown that he is much more than just a musician that performs guitar solos. He knew how to explore the compositions, the grooves and rhythms.
To increase the good features and put this work many steps up, the recording quality was very meticulous. Excellent ambience/capture of drums and a dignified mastering, well balanced and extremely hifi.
I had this CD since the release in 1995 and got many scratches that I couldn’t hardly put to play. I ordered another copy from CD Universe for pocket money months ago.


Al di Meola – Electric Rendezvous (Columbia)

January 21, 2010

Al di Meola has been mentioned here before in Return to Forever. He is a jazz-rock featured guitar player and had his rise in the 70’s when he started playing with Chick Corea at the time of Return of Forever.
He is also known by its Latin influences with acoustic instruments, mainly playing flamenco music.
This work is basically rock and jazz, but it has nothing about basic. The songs are very creative and made me listen to the entire CD without wanting to skip any track.
Highlights to the title track where the riff changes completely every time and there is no repetition. When we think we understood, it changes again.
The recording quality is fairly typical from 80’s, when the recording became digital but still thinking of the analog LPs. Although is a Columbia recording, is very close to the style employed by the GRP in that time. A smooth recording with interesting features. Who likes GRP like me, knows what I’m talking about.

Best regards

Yo-Yo Ma – Bobby McFerrin – HUSH (Sony Music)

January 21, 2010

Once upon a time in a local Bookstore I found this CD, but it was costing $ 45,00 and I refused to pay that for this CD. I tried it on ebay and ended up buying one sealed for $ 14.00 (shipping included). My advice to the friends looking for bargains on ebay once in a while!

This album was recorded using 20-bit technology for “high definition sound”, bla bla bla. In short, is an excellent recording!

The songs alternate in classical and pop style by Bobby McFerrin.
This Bobby really was born with the gift of playing scales with the voice with absolute precision. In music GOUNOD/BACH: AVE MARIA he does the background melody using complicated notes and it seems he presses a button and sing any note that he wants, impressive.
Need also to mention the RIMSKY-KORSAKOV FLIGHT OF THE BUBLEBEE, where he performs a voice chromatic scales in unison with the yoyo Cello, amazing.
In track 7 JS BACH: MUSETTE, has a bit of comedy, where Bobby mimics some voices, including that of a German singing. In this range, the Cello yoyo is so well captured that some notes shake our heads (if you use mp3, ipod etc will not know what it is).


Zoltán Kodály – Cello Sonatas op.4, op8 – Duo violin-cello op.7 (Praga Digitals)

January 21, 2010

This CD was a found in a bookstore. It is a Praga Digitals recording and distributed by Harmonia Mundi.
Zoltán Kodály was a Hungarian composer born in 1882.
On this album, the first 3 moves are part of the sonata for Cello and as the name implies, only one cello is played.
The tracks 4 to 6 are part of a duet between violin and cello.
The Tracks 7 & 8 a duet between cello and piano.

What fascinated me in this CD was the cello sonata, played by the Michal Kanka (born in Prague). There are times when it is doubtful that have only one person playing. I was completely paralyzed.

The recording quality of this CD is also spectacular. The texture of the bass notes that the instrument produces is very pleasant to listen. A strong sound, medium-low, with weight. An addictive timbre. The violin capture is also impeccable.

No question about this CD had won the Diapason, among others prizes,
nor that the Michal Kanka has won several competitions, awards and was considered one of the greatest cellists in the world.

The cello used by Michal Kanka in this CD was made by the luthier Grancino Giovanni, in 1700. An instrument considered as a relic, along with the instruments of Amati and Stradivari I have already commented in previous posts.


The Anthony Wilson Trio – Our Gang (Groove Note, 24K Gold CD)

January 21, 2010

Anthony Wilson is the guitarist of Diana Krall band and recorded the first of a series of solo works in 2001.
That’s a good thing he decided to got out a little bit of glamor-grammy reality of Diana Krall and began recording their albums through a simple trio, drums, hammond and guitar. To our luck he has selected Groove Note to register his work with the quality we deserve.
In this high quality recording, including CD 24k gold (instead of aluminum), Anthony Wilson is accompanied by drums and a Hammond B-3 which has a very pleasant sound and is also responsible for the bass using pedals.
The guitar sound is also delicious, has a very light distortion, almost imperceptible, only giving a small seasoned. It’s not a disc with astronomic improvisations, the themes are very creative and the melodies very suggestive.
Very good songs, no stress. Leave the environment half light and enjoy the entire CD is a total travel.
The drums details are also impressive. The drummer uses a lot the loose wire snare drum, creating a different timbre. You can realize perfectly well that he never hits twice with the same force.
This is my first AW record, but the others are in my wish list.


Return To Forever – Returns (Eagle Rock)

January 21, 2010

Making a supplement in the style of previous post, one of the last treasures after Chick Corea Ultimate Adventure.

I bought it time ago, I heard once the very beginning of track 1, didn’t impress me and put it back to the CD shelf. I decided to give more credit to this work and forced myself to listen a little more and, suddenly, I realized that I was completely amazed listening such a piece of jazz art and recording quality.
Return to Forever is one of the Corea’s band I enjoy the most. first quality Jazz with the touch of genius Chick Corea. They recently returned for a tour because they said there was such a “unfinished business” between them since the end of Return to Forever was not very well defined. They are destroying everything out there. This CD is a spectacle for those who enjoy this style. Especially with the finger of Bernie Kirsh and Doug Sax at the technical staff.
Musicians: Chick Corea, Al Di Meola, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White.
It is recorded at several places, including Montreux. It has amazing songs like Sorceress, Duel Of The Jester & The Tyrant and 500 Miles High. Several bass solos, guitar and drums. Highly recommended!