J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2013
The severe stereo delivery of this 1960 recording (drums and piano hard left, bass and Coltrane hard right) prevents a natural soundstage here, but arguably preserves a channel-separated clarity through which Coltrane’s post-Miles quartet can deliver its early modal exploratory of two Gershwins, one Cole Porter, and that unlikely choice of kitten-friendly ‘Sound Of Music’ title tune which yielded an (edited) hit for the group. While this version of the quartet featured Steve Davis on bass prior to the long-term arrival of Jimmy Garrison, it still points a path towards ‘A Love Supreme’, being loaded with Elvin Jones’ free-flowing drumming and McCoy Tyner’s percussive piano comping plus extended solos, given generous space by Coltrane, who sits out a full five minutes of the title track while making his first recorded outing on soprano sax. Marvellous stuff. JF Sound Quality: 90% Hi-Fi News Lab Report The graph above shows the 96kHz digitisation of this vintage recording (a 192kHz rendering would not capture any more useful information).
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2013
This is one of the analogue recordings produced and engineered by David Wilson now being distributed in high-res digital transfers via Naxos (in the States). These two sonatas appeared on LP in 1984 [W-8315] and were recorded at a hall in Oakland, California, using a simple Schoeps mic set-up suspended high over the players. Abel and Steinberg play respectively a Guarneri violin and a Hamburg Steinway D. It’s a pleasure to hear such clean, true piano sound, albeit with some pedal noise – although the violinist proves the more interesting interpreter.
J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2013
Devotees will need little convincing of the merits of HD Krall, resolving her soft dynamics and expanding the silences of this 1997 album of love song standards performed with her trio guitarist Russell Malone, whose rhythm figures verge on the subliminal at times, while Christian McBride returns to double bass duties provided previously for Ms Krall’s sophomore release, Only Trust Your Heart. Lacking that album’s percussion (though often retaining its high levels of vocal reverb – witness the sparse take on Billy Myles’ ‘My Love Is’), this fourth album’s vibe is even later-night and lighter, and Ms Krall’s confidence higher, her vocals pushing out for the Peggy Lee sass ’n’ swing of ‘I Don’t Know Enough About You’, but more often purring her parts with that delicious delicacy – her Chet vocal and sensitive piano dynamics a particular delight on ‘Gentle Rain’. JF Sound Quality: 85% Hi-Fi News Lab Report This 96kHz rendering shows the same slightly elevated (analogue) noise floor we’ve seen with other DK albums. Vocal harmonics (real or from a downstream limiter) often extend out to 20kHz.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2013
Recorded in a Tennessee Methodist Chapel during March, this is the debut album by a young American tenor, the programme comprising 26 short songs by American composers and with texts (not given in the booklet PDF) by American poets. Some of the names are unfamiliar but there’s Barber, Beach, Bernstein, Carter, Copland (‘Simple Gifts’), Griffes; with Irving Berlin’s ‘Change Partners’ and, by Stephen Foster, ‘Beautiful Dreamer’ and ‘Gentle Annie’ (with cellist Michael Samis – also in the Bernstein items). The balance with piano is good, and you don’t need the words as Bielfield’s diction means you miss nothing. A Juilliard graduate now with a wide-ranging repertoire, Bielfield has a ‘classical’ style which makes the Bernstein and Foster songs a touch too earnest.
J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Nov 01, 2013
96kHz/24-bit ALAC/FLAC/WAV, moscd4010 (supplied by www. naimlabel. com) It’s not uncommon that a recording identified as compromised in the Lab Report might still sound quite marvellous to these ears. Here, however, something was clearly wrong, with distortion hovering at the edge of audibility, pressuring the peaks and affecting image clarity on busier tracks like ‘Listen To Me’ and the surprising bottle-neck blues of ‘Dust My Broom’.
K. Kessler (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Nov 01, 2013
96kHz/24-bit ‘Studio Master’ FLAC, Linn Records AKD 405 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) A natural for high-res downloads, Barker and band’s fourth album is the first issued on a label they don’t own. The one that they found to be simpatico is Linn, which paradoxically has embraced digital with similar force to its analogue worship (minus the politics).
S. Harris (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Nov 01, 2013
Recorded for the German jazz label ACT at the end of 2012 at Nilento Studio, Gothenburg, this is Korean singer Youn Sun Nah’s third album (Same Girl, from two years before, is also available from highresaudio. com but so far not Voyage, from 2008). Lento takes its name from Scriabin’s E minor Prelude, Op. 16:4 and is the opening track.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Nov 01, 2013
In 2007 Vladimir Ashkenazy decided to relinquish playing the pianoforte in public but has continued to make studio recordings. (That same year, at 24 Visontay became joint leader of the Philharmonia Orchestra. ) Simultaneously released in Aug ’13 as a CD and via high-res outlets, this programme realises his dream of recording all of Rachmaninov’s music involving piano, which Ashkenazy began 50 years ago for Decca with the D-minor Concerto. The evergreen Vocalise is heard here in the original key of C-sharp minor with violin/piano, while ‘Dream’ is a transcription by the cellist from the Six Songs, Op.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Nov 01, 2013
This debut programme by duoW begins, not with the great Kodály unaccompanied cello sonata, but with a less familiar duo for violin and cello (his Op. 7); it ends with an arrangement of ‘The Stars And Stripes Forever’. The Servai/Léonard extravaganza Grand Duo de Concert draws upon our own National Anthem and ‘Yankee Doodle’, while the Halvorsen is based on a Handel passacaglia – their 2011 music video of this, Ghosts And Flowers, was apparently a viral hit. The two gifted string players have Masters degrees from Juilliard and they aspire to bring classical music to a younger generation.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 01, 2013
The young Britten’s Piano Concerto was thought too clever by half when introduced in 1938, and he replaced the third movement in 1945 – the original is a bonus track here. The first LP version (EMI, 1957) was with Jacques Abram, pianist in Utah and NY premieres. The definitive composer-conducted 1970 Decca was with Sviatoslav Richter, no less. The far superior Violin Concerto fared rather better – although The Times’ review in 1940 found ‘little achieved from so large a display’.