Archive for June, 2010

John Pizzarelli – Knowing You (Telarc)

June 14, 2010

I always enjoyed John Pizzarelli music for the following reasons: He plays a lot guitar, is a scat singing master (sings the guitar solo at the same time), choose always a very good music set and has a Class A pianist: Ray Kennedy.
Sometimes ago, after buying my last Pizzarelli’s CD, I was certain that I had enough records of this musician and that I wouldn’t purchase more titles anymore.
I guess I listened this CD only once, some years ago, being idle in my collection since then.
In this meantime, I changed my stereo system around 2 times and never put it back to play.
Last week, I grabbed it back and put to play. I got totally amazed with the high quality of the recording. It is a jaw-dropping DSD-CD.
Put this CD to play in your system. If you don’t think it has a superb recording quality, it means that there is something wrong with your system or room.
He plays extremely pleasant musics, romantic style and also swinging tracks, with his humor touches too. Plays known standards (and unknown too).
After listening 2 times in a row, I decided that this is not going to be my last John Pizzarelli CD, at all. I’m already updating my wish-list with more titles, Telarc DSD preferably.

See also: John Pizzarelli – PS Mr. Cole – Rca Victor

Thank you


Earl “Fatha” Hines – Plays Hits He Missed (M&K Records)

June 2, 2010

We, music listeners and collectors, love to dig out there searching for good records. Sometimes we find a record that is much more than a good record, and this is the case of the work I present to you here.
Earl Hines, was a brilliant American pianist that started his career on the 20’s and had a strong left hand delivering a lot of energy to the music. He is almost an unknown guy nowadays and I hope to contribute to keep his name alive through this review.
When you listen to music recorded here you feel all the energy that Earl was capable of on the piano. In the solo track “Humoresque”, you can listen him playing like for fun (and it makes sense since it is a real time recording, commented in the following lines). The track “Birdland” is a classic standard from Zawinul, known by Weather Report and Jaco Pastorius fans and starts with a perfectly recorded Tuba in the center of the speakers, followed by Bill Douglas drums a Earl Hines keys.
This is a typical album that I don’t get satisfied with having only one version. In the above picture, you see the original cover of the LP from M&K Realtime records.
I owned a unit some years ago. I was looking for some records in the used music stores in my big city and I found a funny guy smiling to me. I was about to ignore it when the word “direct to disc” almost said: “yes, you want me”. I didn’t concern about the music quality (since it was my first contact with this musician) because I knew that there was (and is) high quality inside. When I put it to play in my Thorens turntable with ortofon MC cartridge, I got totally amazed with the quality of the music and also the so important quality recording.
Direct To Disc, in LP, is the technique to capture a live recording, usually inside a studio, and use the direct signal to cut a master disc. It is a totally unprocessed and lossless signal, with extremely high and natural quality.
Earl Hines, when started to record it, was a bit confused about this kind of recording technique. He had to play each side of the record without a break, like if he was in a live show. That’s one of the additional features of this work. You can really feel the liveliness of the session.
After I sold my Thorens turntable, I sold it also for a friend collector, but I started to search out for CD versions, and I found a compilation of 2 M&K Records: For Duke and Earl “Fatha” Hines

This is a very interesting remaster of the original LP version. It was done by the M&K owner Ken Kreisel. This is a very clean reissue and very important since joined two great records in only one.
In my opinion, this is not the best CD version. There is another one, released by Drive Archive:

The former CD here (gold) is very nice and has an incredible sound, but it seems that a filter was applied to minimize some noise from the original master disc and, then, make a more clear sound. For me it also removed some magic and some analog taste from the original issue, that are fully present in the latter CD version I presented (Drive Archive), which is my favorite.
Don’t worry. These differences between the CDs are subtle and you will have true state of the art recording of a great musician playing great musics.

Thank you