Hi-Res Downloads

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J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2014
The reclusive American pianist Bill Carrothers has recorded several albums for the Munich-based Pirouet label over the years. For Castaways he was accompanied by fellow American bass virtuoso Drew Gress and Belgian drummer Dré Pallemaerts, the set recorded in April ’12 and first released on CD. Now the studio master can be enjoyed in its native 88. 2kHz/24-bit format and it sounds beautifully balanced, the trio laid out in a sound image you can virtually walk into.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 29, 2017
Well, this looks like perhaps the safest jazz set in the book: a trio, playing standards such as ‘I’ll Remember April’, ‘A Sleepin’ Bee’ and ‘On The Sunny Side Of The Street’. However, overlook it at your peril, for both the musicianship on offer here, and the quality of the recording, set it apart: Charlap’s piano playing is consistently light, tight and entirely in control, while still remaining remarkably expressive and able to bring something new. And the bass of Peter Washington and the drumming of Kenny Washington (no, they’re not…) fusing perfectly with the ‘lead instrument’ to create a tight, focused sound that’s at once easy on the ear and constantly intriguing. Listen to this album a second, third or fourth time and you’ll still be picking up little nuances you may have missed first time round, simply because you were enjoying the music so much.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 15, 2017
Another live Bill Evans set emerges from the archives, and this one, in DSD guise, is a cracker. Recorded in 1968, it has just the right combination of live atmosphere and focus on the performances, meaning one can enjoy what’s being played and the sense of event without Jazz At The Pawnshop levels of distraction. Engineer George Klabin recorded these performances for his radio show, and got an intimate, yet dynamic sound. Evans is here with a relatively new trio of Eddie Gomez – with whom he’d been playing for a couple of years – and recently-arrived drummer Marty Morell.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jan 01, 2017
Undiscovered for almost 50 years, this recording is as remarkable for its sound as its provenance. In fact it’s the only studio recording made by the short-lived trio of Evans, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Jack DeJohnette, and was recorded just a few days after the well-known live set was captured at the 1968 Montreux Jazz Festival. German jazz producer Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer took the trio into his studio in Villingen, in the Black Forest (hence the subtitle, The Lost Session From The Black Forest), and this set was recorded between tour dates. However, contractual matters at the time stopped the set being released, and nothing happened until the tapes were re-discovered in 2013.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Feb 12, 2016
So, why Space Squid? Drummer/composer Bill Stewart says ‘I like the sound of the title and I am slightly fascinated with squid and octopus. They can also be delicious’. With that out of the way it’s also worth knowing that, according to German label Pirouet, he ‘reaches for the sky and plumbs the depths with a group of like-minded musical explorers’. Hmmm… Joined here by Seamus Blake on sax, Bill Carrothers on piano and bassist Ben Street, and recorded at Sear Sound in New York, Stewart serves up ten original tracks, closing with a downbeat take on ‘Dancing In The Dark’.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Mar 01, 2014
It’s an unlikely pairing in anyone’s book: Billie Joe Armstrong, best known as the lead singer and guitarist of Californian punk band Green Day, teamed up with indie jazz/pop princess Norah Jones. Their Foreverly collaboration is a reinterpretation of Songs Our Daddy Taught Us, a 1958 Everly Brothers’ album of traditional country songs. Foreverly was released four weeks before Christmas: I doubt they ever imagined it might serve as something of a valedictory to Phil Everly, who sadly passed away on January 3rd at the age of 74. It’s a charmingly playful recreation of the Everly’s rootsy ballads famously characterised by closely entwined vocal harmonies, Jones’ honeyed and breathy vocal quality marrying surprisingly well with Armstrong’s more aggressive, nasal style.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2015
Blank & Jones is not so much a band as a brand: a duo of producers specialising in trance, techno and electronica, based in Köln, Germany and with a dozen or so albums and even more singles to their name since they got together to create Sunrise back in 1997. All of which might suggest what to expect here: banging choons, and a bit of ambient trippiness, right? Erm, no: here the duo teams up with German pianist and composer Marcus Loeber to create an album all about intimately recorded solo piano, playing gentle, melodic pieces. And that’s about it: this is, as the title suggests, a relaxed, slow-paced set of tracks, none of them especially memorable but all suitably chilled out. The piano sounds nicely weighted and detailed, and the whole thing might be just the thing to play at a dinner party (or a laid-back hi-fi show demonstration).
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2015
The veteran vibes player Bobby Hutcherson marks his return to the venerable Blue Note label with this all-star set, produced by label president Don Was and with an all-star line-up including saxophonist David Sanborn, organist Joey DeFrancesco, and drummer Billy Hart. None of these stalwart performers are exactly strangers to the recording studio thanks to extensive careers. As you might expect, this is a joyful set, with DeFrancesco’s Hammond bouncing off Hutcherson’s understated vibes, and assured rhythm-keeping by Hart. It’s a relaxed, good-time set of tunes, played by a bunch of old masters completely at ease with themselves and what the others are doing.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Mar 11, 2016
Taking its title from the idea that ‘Music starts and then you have to broadcast, listen, share, make quick decisions… so as to turn this four-person adventure into one’, this album could so easily have become another one of those exercises in indulgent, meandering music. Fortunately, though, pianist Angelini has here partnered with some clearly very talented musicians – Régis Huby on violins and electronics, bassist Claude Tchamitchian and Edward Perraud on drums and percussion – to come up with a constantly interesting set of originals and homages to the likes of Wayne Shorter. Full of sonic light and shade, it was recorded with excellent clarity and powerful dynamics by Gérard de Haro at Studio La Buissonne, on whose house label it’s released, and yes, it delivers a very real sense of musical exploration to keep the listener hooked. AE Sound Quality: 80% Hi-Fi News Lab Report This is an 88.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 17, 2018
Like other conductors, Stéphane Denève finds Prokofiev’s orchestral suites from Romeo And Juliet and the later, more traditional ballet, Cinderella, dramatically unsatisfactory and has prepared his own ‘Suites Romantiques’ that follow the story-lines more clearly. In the famous dissonances opening R&J his Brussels Orchestra articulates the brass writing with complete security, and these spacious readings – I have never heard the minuet with Paris and Juliet [trk 5, 1m 56s] taken so slowly before – allow every colour in the score to emerge with perfect clarity.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 13, 2016
The Milanese Giovanni Antonini, like Frans Brüggen, came to conducting via the baroque recorder; he was also co-founder of Il Giardino Armonico. So it’s not surprising to find his Beethoven the very antithesis of Karajan’s: a dry attack with sharp dynamic differentiation. (Wonderful how the concerto steals in from nowhere!) Recorded in the modern Luxembourg Philharmonie, the players patently give their all for him. The two ‘serious’ overtures are the most satisfying tracks here, but that’s only because Sony has frequently given the soloists too much prominence in the Triple Concerto – Gabetta being one of its ‘star’ signings.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2015
Belgian singer/songwriter Caroll Vanwelden takes another stab at the Bard’s back-catalogue with this collection – the follow-up to her first disc of sonnets, released a couple of years back. Ms Vanwelden has a decent set of pipes, which are unleashed full-blast on tracks such as her take on Sonnet 124: ‘If My Dear Love’. She is well recorded, as is her backing trio of Thomas Siffling (brass), Mini Schulz (bass) and Rodrigo Villalon (drums), even if the overall sound is perhaps a bit ‘in yer face’ and relentless in some instances. However, her vocal style is somewhat mannered, at times sounding almost like a parody of female jazz singers, and the incongruity of this and the words being sung, plus a sense that there’s often a disconnect between the subject-matter of the sonnet and the music we hear, makes this set something of an acquired taste.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 01, 2016
Despite the name, Carrie Newcomer is far from, well, a newcomer. With more than 15 albums behind her, and a career stretching back 25 years, she’s both a performer and writer – of both songs and books – and even a US cultural ambassador, and has toured with the likes of Alison Krauss and Mary Chapin Carpenter. So as you might expect, this set (her debut for Germany’s Stockfisch label) is a mature, soulful album, beautifully recorded along with a large supporting group of musicians that cleverly showcase Newcomer’s rich, warm voice amidst what the label calls ‘a warm, autumnal glow’. It’s just the sort of ‘audiophile’ singer-songwriter album you might imagine, and I can see it cropping up in more than a few demonstrations.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 01, 2015
Cassandra Wilson will need no introduction to most audiophiles as the singer is a demonstration-room favourite, and it’s not hard to hear why in this latest album – Wilson’s homage to Billie Holiday. Wilson’s voice is close-focused and centre-stage, and the instrumentation captured with every detail intact, from the sparse backing to ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ to the cinematic orchestra on ‘Strange Fruit’. The roster of musicians is also pretty impressive: production is by Nick Launay, T Bone Burnett adds guitar, and Van Dyke Parks wrote the string arrangements. And yet there’s something oddly one-note here as too many of these standards sound slow and mournful, while the Bond-esque orchestra on ‘Strange Fruit’ is at odds with the subject matter.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 05, 2017
96kHz/24-bit, FLAC; CDA68133 (supplied by www. hyperion-records. co. uk) Vol 1 in this survey of the major solo piano works was my Sep ’16 Album Choice.