A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)

A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 02, 2018  |  0 comments
Definitely smarter than your average charity album, this one has been produced by the veteran pianist to benefit the Southern Californian hospital where he received bone transplant surgery a few years back, spending his recovery time in the hospital auditorium composing the pieces here. OK, so all very worthy, but this is also a great album, both in the ease and fluidity of the playing and above all in the superb sound quality on offer. For anyone thinking that dynamics are all about the punch of a rock track or the Sturm und Drang of a big orchestra, the way this set captures the power, light and shade of Winston’s piano will be quite an eye-opener. From the tinkling ‘Carousel 1’, opening the album, through to the infectious ‘Requited Love’, this is a masterclass in vibrant, enchanting piano recording.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 11, 2017  |  0 comments
This set by German saxophonist Weidner is just one of a growing number of titles available on highresaudio. com both in straight FLAC and also in MQA, more or less halving the file size. I also tried it with my Meridian Explorer 2 DAC into the system, and can confirm that the MQA process proves entirely transparent, the ‘folded’ version sounding just like the bulkier FLAC files. The music itself, played by Christian Weidner with his quartet partners Achim Kaufmann on piano, Henning Sieverts on bass, and Samuel Rohrer on drums, is either endlessly inventive or a series of squeaks and parps, depending on your view of the freer end of the jazz spectrum.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Nov 13, 2017  |  0 comments
Our ‘MQA-encoded album of the month’ has no bass, rather no bass player – unusual for a jazz album. In practice there’s no shortage of low end in this largely improvisational set, treated to the usual excellent ECM sound quality. The album brings together Italian pianist Guidi and compatriot trombonist Petrella, who have previously worked together in bands and as a duet, and then adds to them American drummer Cleaver and French clarinettist Sclavis. The title track is treated to a considered, contemplative reading, there’s a slow-growing cover of ‘Per I morti di Reggio Emilia’, and the quiet interplay of ‘Rouge Lust’ lets one almost sense each performer step forward to take his place in a conversational series of near-solos.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 28, 2017  |  0 comments
The genesis of this release seems to hark back to 2004, when Neil Young remastered these tracks from his back-catalogue using the HDCD encoding he’d been favouring in the studio for almost a decade. Alongside it, there was also a 96kHz/24-bit release on DVD-Audio (remember DVD-A?), with Young hailing the format as ‘the difference between a true reflection of the music and a mere replica’. ‘I’ve always been a strong believer in analogue and this is about as close to the rewarding listening experience of vinyl as the real thing’, he added. Now the cynic night say ‘yes, but you also said that about Pono, Neil, and whatever happened to that?’.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 21, 2017  |  0 comments
Possibly all you need to know about this album is that ‘Glauco Venier plays sonorous sculptures built by the artists Harry Bertoja and Giorgio Celiberti’, so if that description sets you up to expect something extremely arty, you’re definitely on the right track. In fact Venier plays piano, gongs, bells and metals on this programme of self-composed pieces and reinterpretations of pieces from the classical canon, and the result falls somewhere between delicately contemplative and a harmless wash of sound that passes the listener by. Part of the reason is that much of the content here sounds very similar, and one really needs to work hard to hear the shimmers of percussion and the like behind the piano figures. It’s all very subtle and precise and beautifully recorded, as PM notes in his lab report [below], but I’m just not sure it’ll bear repeated listening.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 31, 2017  |  0 comments
Guitarist Eric Johnson says of this album, ‘With EJ, I just decided to be more honest with myself and everybody, and show more of my personal side. ’ Which is all well and good, and the result has a certain homespun charm with a feeling of the artist sitting in his own studio, noodling his way through some standards and some self-written tunes, both solo guitar pieces and songs. However, anyone expecting much sign of Johnson’s past catalogue might be disappointed in this all-acoustic set, which is winsome at best: it opens with a cover of ‘Mrs Robinson’ and continues in a similar vein. Taking on board PM’s comments about the sources of the material here, it sounds respectable enough in a very detailed audiophile kind of way, but it’s all rather uninteresting, sounding like music for hi-fi show demonstrations rather than anything able to withstand repeated listening.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 24, 2017  |  0 comments
Yotam Silberstein is said to have honed his guitar-playing by practicing during his period of national service in the Israeli army, but this fifth album, as the title suggests, is more a celebration of his life in the New York jazz community, and the influences on his work. It’s his first self-produced album, too, and while that might make one dread a set of complete self-indulgence, it doesn’t quite turn out like that. Yes, Silberstein is front and centre, but more impressive is the way he fits into the band on this set – Reuben Rogers on bass, Aaron Goldberg on piano and drummer Greg Hutchinson. But this is undeniably Silberstein’s album, and he can show his talents on tracks such as ‘O Vôo Da Mosca’.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 17, 2017  |  0 comments
Recorded in Paris in late 2015, this album by Israeli trumpeter Borochov has something of the life-story about it for even if the Middle Eastern sound is only really explicit in one track, the appropriately-titled ‘Eastern Lullaby’, there are hints of cultural fusion in other tracks. Surrounded by his tight four-piece band – his brother Avri on bass, Michael King on piano and Jay Sawyer on (decidedly punchily-recorded) drums and percussion – Borochov turns in performances showing his virtuosity and musicianship in equal part. It’s beautifully recorded, though I have some qualms with the fact the star turn is so relentlessly spotlit in the mix. Personally, I’d have preferred more sense of the ensemble playing together, rather than just providing the supporting act.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 03, 2017  |  0 comments
I’m not exactly sure ultimate fidelity was the aim of this great set, recorded ‘fast and dirty’ at West London’s British Grove Studios, with occasional drop-ins by passing musicians – Eric Clapton on a couple of tracks – and accomplished add-ons of the calibre of Darryl Jones on bass. Rather the intention was to return to the band’s roots, paying tribute to some of the artists influential in their early days: the likes of Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter, both of whom get more than a nod here. The familiarity with the material shows in confidence and swagger: rough round the edges this may be, but there’s an excitement and vitality about the music-making you may not expect from septuagenarian white boys, with Jagger in very fine voice (and harp) indeed, and Keef as laconic as ever, yet equally always ready with the killer riff. Lovely stuff.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 26, 2017  |  0 comments
He’s done the lutes, he’s done the concept album, and now Mr Sumner delivers perhaps the most down-the-line rock album of his solo career. It’s not quite as rootsy as one might expect, despite the road-trippy ‘Heading South On The Great North Road’: the album takes its title from the New York studio where it was recorded, after all. Yes, this outing by the Englishman in New York is occasionally overblown and stodgy, though that kind of goes with the ‘rediscovering one’s inner rocker’ genre, but when it’s good it harks back to the glory days of early Police tracks, which is no bad thing. The sound, while dense in places, has decent clarity, with of course the voice front and centre, but there’s nothing much here to challenge a high-res audio system, and frankly the ‘issues’ tackled here seem somewhat predictable, from refugees to the plight of the ageing rocker.