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

A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2016  |  0 comments
There’s no shortage of albums by drummers being released at the moment and this set is the third outing for Protocol, the outfit led by Simon Phillips and named after his first solo album of 1988. With as twenty years as part of Toto, Philips has also toured and recorded with the likes of The Who, Peter Gabriel, Joe Satriani, Tears For Fears and Roxy Music, to name just a few examples from an extensive CV. Recorded with the same core line-up as the previous Protocol album, with Steve Weingart on keyboards, guitarist Andy Timmons and bass player Earnest Tibbs, this album is more or less the definition of jazz/rock fusion, from Timmons’ wailing guitar to Phillips’ precise drumming. It opens with a little Indian percussion, but don’t let that fool you – this is a straight down the line powerhouse rocker, start to finish, and is treated to a clean, open sound quality throughout.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2016  |  0 comments
Part of the third and final tranche of Led Zep remasters, along with In Through The Out Door and the somewhat ragbag Coda, 1976’s Presence arrives in the second decade of the 21st century complete with a second ‘disc’ containing ‘reference mixes’ of four of its tracks plus a previously unreleased instrumental entitled ‘10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod)’. That ‘new’ track really stands out against what is perhaps the band’s roughest album: it’s gentle and reflective, driven by delicate piano, but I’m not too sure that one novelty is sufficient to justify a purchase of this set, even if it is in spiffed-up 96/24. For all the remastering work, overseen by Jimmy Page and thus given the stamp of approval, this version doesn’t really bring too much to the party in terms of new insights or revelations. I guess if you’re a Led Zep completist, this is a must-have, however… AE Sound Quality: 75% Hi-Fi News Lab Report These are genuine 96kHz renderings from what are clearly analogue masters – hence the noise is some 30dB higher than a modern all-digital recording [see Graph, above].
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2016  |  0 comments
The eighth album from this Philadelphia-based trio features the familiar line-up of Garrett Dutton (aka G Love) on guitar, harmonica and vocals, bassist Jim Prescott and Jeffrey Clemens on drums, and is a familiar mix of rock and blues styles. It opens with the slam into the title track, but soon settles down into a familiar groove, the three musicians as easy when laying down a good-time chug against which Dutton can solo as they are with the blues-boogie of ‘Back To Boston’ or the horn-laden ‘Let’s Have A Good Time’. But there’s little new ground being broken here, either stylistically or in terms of recording quality. This album may be delivered in 96/24, but there’s little to trouble a system’s hi-res capabilities, and the band’s usual laid-back, ‘rough round the edges’ sound isn’t the most obvious candidate for the audiophile polish treatment.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2016  |  0 comments
The shadow of Diana Krall looms large over the school of female singer-pianists, but Sarah McKenzie, though still in her early 20s, brings a freshness and exuberance of voice, allied to delicious phrasing and some demon work on the keyboard, to make even familiar material shine anew. On this album, originally released by ABC Classics Australia and now picked up by associated label Impulse! for wider distribution, she also displays quite a way with a tune on the self-penned tracks. (Sarah McKenzie has a degree in jazz composition, after all. ) Together with compatriots Hugh Stuckey on guitar and Alex Boneham on bass, plus an international supporting cast, she makes a great job of the standards here, beside which her own songs stack up very well.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2016  |  0 comments
Satriani’s latest outing fair shoots out of the traps with the explosive opening of the title-track, placed at the beginning of the album as if to say ‘yup, this is what you’re in for – business as usual’. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, at least provided you’re into the highly distinctive Satriani sound, but this 15th studio album is more like a small ensemble jazz outing, just rocked up a bit. Accompanied by Bryan Beller on drums, bassist Marco Minneman and Mike Keneally on keyboards, this of course is a showcase for Satriani’s guitar playing. Shockwave Supernova ranges from blues to more lyrical pieces, all mixed and mastered by long-time collaborator John Cuniberti, who has delivered a dense, somewhat retro sound.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2016  |  0 comments
As albums overtaken by events go, this is pretty definitive. Released amidst much hoo-ha as The Dame’s first new work for ages, it almost immediately became a self-obituary, and was thus subjected to even more analysis and interpretation than previous Bowie releases. Recorded apparently in something of a hurry in the final part of Bowie’s life, the artist working when his illness permitted with long-time collaborator Tony Visconti, this may explain its patchwork nature and the variable formats throughout. This may or may not be his swansong, as there are rumours of more recordings having been made.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 13, 2016  |  0 comments
Take an artist known for her velvety, soulful voice, add in some class musicians and acclaimed producer Larry Klein, who’s worked with the likes of Tracy Chapman, Madeleine Peyroux, Melody Gardot and Joni Mitchell, and you’re probably onto a winner. That’s exactly the case with this, Lizz Wright’s fifth album, mixing a number of self-composed numbers with two covers: a gospelled-up version of the Bee Gees hit ‘To Love Somebody’ and an unnerving take on Nick Drake’s ‘River Man’, accompanied by Till Brönner on flugelhorn. Wright’s classy, expressive vocals are well-served by Klein’s clean production, imbuing the set with a warm, generous sound. Musicians include Dean Parks and Klein on guitars, Pete Kuzma and Kenny Banks on keyboards, Dan Lutz on bass, and Vinnia Colaiuta and Pete Korpula on drums and percussion.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 13, 2016  |  0 comments
OK, so Scott Oracle’s début album for the famous Blue Note jazz label lives up to its title by opening with drums, but this isn’t a typical drummer’s album, with the tub-thumping all but dominating the mix to the detriment of the other performers. Yes, there are the inevitable drum solos, but this is much more of an ensemble set, with Scott joined by saxophonist John Ellis, keyboardist Taylor Eigsti, guitarist Mike Moreno, and bassist Joe Sanders, along with vocalist Lizz Wright. Scott seemed happy to play his part in the band rather than being the star turn. As he puts it, ‘The accent is on “we” in the title.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Mar 11, 2016  |  0 comments
This album does just what it says on the tin – well, sort of. For while Elias did return to the country of her birth to rehearse and record this set, other elements were recorded in the USA and the UK, giving the whole thing a slightly ‘samba by the numbers’ feel. Yes, it’s desperately commercial, and focuses the attention on the obviously very talented pianist/vocalist. However, the over-lush strings, which swell and shimmer away in the background, and without which the sound would have lost very little, do give this set a bit too much of the ‘latin Diana Krall’ effect.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Mar 11, 2016  |  0 comments
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.

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