Hi-Res Downloads

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A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 24, 2017
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
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.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 10, 2017
192kHz/24-bit, ALAC, FLAC; Linn CKD521 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) Robin Ticciati’s R&J or the Andrew Davis/Chandos [HFN Feb ’17]? The Swedish brass is leaner than the BBC SO’s and Chandos made more of the antiphonally set second violins. But the Linn has more dramatic light and shade, and a natural concert hall balance.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 03, 2017
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
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.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 19, 2017
This is the Alpha label debut of Belgian tenor van Mechelen and his period instrument group A Nocte Temporis (flute, organ, cello), set up in 2016. He’s devised a thematically related sequence of eight arias from cantatas by Bach, interspersed with chorale preludes and movements from instrumental works to create a 70m ‘little concert for a Sunday afternoon’ [see the trailer here], which they are touring this year. Be warned: it’s all unremittingly serious stuff! The recording was made last May at the Sainte Aurélie Church, Strasbourg, where the organ is a restored 1718 Silbermann. The performers are each close-set (presumably because of the generous ambient setting).
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 12, 2017
Well, he’s come a long way since founding Methodism in the 1700s, via The Porcupine Tree and a spell fettling guitars for Marillion, but here is John Wesley with one of those albums you can almost hear just from the cover image. Acclaimed by those in the know as reinventing the progressive genre, this album starts with a track seemingly designed to cram every metal/prog/heavy cliché into as short a track as possible, though, as a result, it does go on a bit all the way to the feedback howl with which it ends. As do several of the other tracks on this album, with their ponderous bass-lines and howling, distorted guitar noodlage, meaning there are times when it all gets a bit Spinal Tap. However, that’s not the main problem here: it’s the relentless ‘slam everything into the red’ onslaught of the mix that makes this set most wearing.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 05, 2017
Jubilo is, says Balsom, ‘a celebration’ of early music by Bach, Corelli (a concerto grosso), Fasch (a concerto) and Torelli (a trumpet sonata with strings and continuo), where she plays both a natural and a modern trumpet. The Corelli is a new arrangement of the ‘Christmas Concerto’ (to which purists might take exception, though somehow the baroque trumpet seems to ‘fit’), while the eight Bach tracks include pieces with organ – ‘In dulci jubilo’, ‘Wachet auf’, ‘Kommst du nun’, etc, from the Schübler Chorales – and with the Cambridge Choir, ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’, sounding a bit rushed here. About half of the programme was recorded at King’s College, and half in the more intimate acoustic of St Jude on the Hill, London. Alison Balsom’s legato lines, varied dynamics and overall technique make this a really enjoyable issue, and one that’s been well produced too.
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.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 22, 2017
This is the fourth dance-related Pentatone programme with the youthful-looking Yamada (now 37), principal guest conductor with the Suisse Romande. Its founder, Ernest Ansermet, made the imaginative orchestrations here for Debussy’s Épigraphes (two-piano originals). These come as a breath of fresh air after the elaborate scoring of the Roussel, although the Suisse Romande players certainly respond to its challenges. Les Biches is heard in the five-movement Suite adapted from the frothy 1924 ballet, and Yamada brings an ideal light touch to this music – where, incidentally, you hear a theme duplicated in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella.
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)  |  May 08, 2017
There’s obviously something of a blooming of Nordic double-bass player/composers with solo albums at the moment, for here we have Norwegian ‘big fiddle’ virtuoso Mats Eilertsen with a scintillating set of self-composed pieces originally part of a collection commissioned for the 2014 Vossa Jazz Festival, and evolved on the road to create this ensemble album played by a septet. And you can tell the musicians have been working closely to develop the recordings here, so well do they connect in an expressive mélange of brass and woodwind, pianos both acoustic and electric, some superb guitar-work by long-time Eilertsen collaborator Thomas T Dahl, and of course the composer’s own bass. The music is understated, mesmeric and consistently captivating, and – despite our reservations in the lab panel below – instruments still sound crisp, clear and natural. AE Sound Quality: 90% Hi-Fi News Lab Report While this is certainly a 96kHz rendering and one that avoids peak-level overload, spectral analysis reveals a clump of (digital?) spuriae around 30kHz [see graph].
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2017
Making his (Schumann) recording debut in 1973, Murray Perahia has always stayed with CBS/Sony, but has now signed to Deutsche Grammophon starting with this mid-2013 Berlin studio set of the six French Suites. His producer Andreas Neubronner was also responsible for the 1997-8 Perahia/Sony English Suites. We get all the repeats, because Perahia says he likes to introduce variation there, adding ornamentation, etc. And of course he’s long preferred his Steinway to any harpsichord (which he studied for four years).
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 25, 2017
96kHz/24-bit, FLAC; Chandos CHSA5175 (supplied by www. chandos. net) The BBC Symphony for Vivaldi? Well, Tasmin Little says she prefers a ‘big sound’ for ‘The Four Seasons’, and Chandos provides a warm cohesive balance with clear continuo. To my mind, harpsichordist David Wright is the star of the show, coming into his own in ‘Autumn’ with a linking cadenza and a virtual Doppelgänger shadowing the violin.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 20, 2017
The Texas-based choral ensemble Conspirare here performs musical director Craig Hella Johnson’s first major composition, a full-length concert piece about the murder of Matthew Shepard. A gay student at the University of Wyoming, in 1998 Shepard was kidnapped, beaten and left to die tied to fence in a field, his funeral later picketed by the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. Drawing on Shepard’s own journals, contemporary sources and musical snippets from the Bach opening to ‘Frère Jacques’, the piece evokes the senselessness of the crime. In its scope, structure and power, this is a modern oratorio, albeit as grounded in country music as it is in the sacred tradition.