Hi-Res Downloads

Sort By: Post DateTitle Publish Date
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).
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.
J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 01, 2013
44. 1KHZ/24-BIT ALAC/FLAC/WAV, Sire Records (supplied by www. hdtracks. co.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Feb 12, 2016
Kaufmann and Puccini – how could anyone resist, when his vocal artistry is so complete? He floats a line with infinite care then expands dynamics to meet every theatrical demand. Terrific warm backing from Pappano too. And the production adds variety by changing vocal perspectives for soloists and chorus – occasionally, though, I found Kaufmann almost too forward and spread. Every Puccini opera is represented with these arias except, of course, the all-female Suor Angelica.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 01, 2013
‘No Wagner tenor sings with such musicianship, colour and sensitivity… he sets a standard for our time’ [Sunday Times]. It was Kaufmann who gave the Abbado/DG Fidelio distinction [HFN Nov ’11]; and the German singer’s artistry at times reminds me of the young Fischer-Dieskau. Here we have excerpts from the Ring cycle (don’t be alarmed at Siegfried’s painful attempts to play the reed: track 2, 7m 44s!), Rienzi, Tannhäuser, Meistersinger and Lohengrin. Then, unusually for a man (as he explains in the booklet foreword), we have the lovely Wesendonck-Lieder, with its Tristan references in ‘Im Treibhaus’.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 01, 2016
Ignore the shiver-inducing overtones of the title of this album by Dutch bass clarinettist Roelefs and you’re in for a treat. In fact, ignore the ‘oh really?’ reaction to the mention of bass clarinet. Having witnessed a killer set on that instrument by Courtney Pine not so long ago, I was up for hearing what Reolefs could do – and here, along with Matt Penman on bass and Ted Poor on drums, he delivers a set packed with instrumental colours, fine musicianship and plenty to keep a high-quality system busy, too. From the almost percussive lower registers of the instrument all the way up to its soaring solo potential, Roelefs keeps the attention, whether with the traditional jazz feel of tracks such as ‘Broadway’ and ‘Pseudo Bebop’ or the very short but very chilling title track, almost literally setting the teeth on edge.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 01, 2015
Like Cassandra Wilson’s Coming Forth By Day [reviewed here], this album marks the centenary of Billie Holiday’s birth – and while one might expect James’s voice to be less well suited to the music most associated with the singer than Wilson’s, in fact exactly the opposite is true. Whereas Wilson’s set sounds mannered and highly constructed, James’s has a more sincere feel to it, not least due to the relaxed interplay between his voice, Jason Moran’s piano, John Patitucci on bass and Eric Harland’s controlled, expressive drumming. The band sounds tight and intuitive – listen to the bluesy opening of ‘Fine And Mellow’ to appreciate that – and the perfect foil for James’s warm, rich voice. At the risk of labouring the point, this album’s gospelly, plaintive take on ‘Strange Fruit’ moves in a way Wilson’s widescreen epic reading entirely fails to.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 02, 2015
Joshua Bell became artistic director of the St Martin’s Academy in 2011. New to his discography, Bach’s concertos in E and A minor are followed by contemporary adaptations, with strings, by Julian Milone (composer/academic, he also plays in the Philharmonia), from older violin/piano transcriptions of two solo pieces, plus the ‘Air’ – taken at a rather old-school slow tempo, and with Bell prominent in the mix as leader/director. He introduces tasteful modest decorations. These are very cleanly played concerto performances, seriousness in slow movements contrasted with joyous finales, tempos steadily maintained.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 01, 2014
This collection of chilled-out country/folk songs by the curiously-named June In The Fields duo of composer Jean-Michel Renaud (guitar/vocal) and singer Mélissa Brouillette hails from Canada’s Fidelio Musique audiophile label. Visit a hi-fi show in North America and you might bump into recording engineer René LaFlamme – who runs Fidelio Musique in Montreal – demonstrating his recordings promoted with the tag line: ‘We capture the feeling…’. This is an intimate set, the duo accompanied on tracks such as ‘Andaman Sea’ and ‘Summer Road’ by Sebastien Saliceti on double-bass to flesh out the sparse arrangements. The vocals in particular have been beautifully captured by LaFlamme’s all-tube mic and preamplifier set-up to produce a ‘charming’ sound that’s exceedingly cosy and seductive, if a tad lacking air and space.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 25, 2017
Still thriving, Bologna’s Accademia Filharmonica was opened in 1666: a magnet for aspiring composers and performers. This (appropriately) 66m selection of unfamiliar concertos and sinfonias spans from primarily vocal 17th-century composers – Colonna, Perti – to followers whose music was exclusively instrumental. Director Julia Schröder proves well able to meet the technical demands of the ornate decoration in the violin concertos, and while a lot of this music will only interest the specialist collector, works such as Zavateri’s ‘A tempesta di mare’ or the dramatic first section of Perti’s Sinfonia ‘Gesù al sepolcro’ are worth investigating. As are Laurenti’s four-movement Violin Concerto and the anonymous galant tribute to Bologna’s patron saint Petronius.
J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2013
It is 30 years since Jarrett’s mesmerising Standards Trio with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette took its first try at taking known tunes to unknown places, but there’s nothing remotely stale in this 2009 performance recorded live in Switzerland. From the start the trio’s familial empathy allows a spectacular rise from an unpromising intro into Miles Davis’ ‘Solar’, while the big J’s melodic modifications of ‘Stars Fell On Alabama’ are as entrancing as the bastard rhythm slices of ‘Devil And The Deep Blue Sea’ are baffling. The grail here is the central 20-minute coupling of Bernstein’s ‘Somewhere’ with Jarrett’s own complementary composition ‘Everywhere’, the former’s bluesy sequences yielding rich plateaus of improvisation. All is enhanced by engineer Martin Pearson’s delivery of both ambient soundstaging and close stereo-miked piano clarity; you’ll never miss a moan.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2014
Previously featured in our jazz reviews [here], Last Dance is now available as a 96kHz/24-bit download as well as CD. To recap, back in 2007 pianist Keith Jarret invited bassist Charlie Haden to his Cavelight Studio where they spent four days recording. They’d met up during the making of a film about Haden and these intimate sessions were their first collaborations for 30 years. The result was the 2010 album Jasmine, the ECM label issuing a further collection of tracks for this year’s Last Dance which features the duo’s delightful interpretations of standards such as Monk’s ‘’Round Midnight’ and Cole Porter’s ballad ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 13, 2016
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)  |  Oct 01, 2016
Borich has four decades of work behind him, including supporting the likes of Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy and appearing with Bo Diddley, Taj Mahal and Joe Walsh. What’s on offer here is a no-nonsense mix of mainstream rock/blues, and if that has you thinking you know what to expect, you’re probably bang on the money. There’s something very old-fashioned (classic?) about this set, from the content to the recorded sound, which is all great swathes of grumbling bass, distorted guitars, tub-thumping drums: one minute it’s all a bit ‘Smoke On The Water’, the next it’s attacking weasel politicians and bankers on the revealingly-titled ‘SoapBoxBitchinBlues’. If you’ve a hankering for an album sounding like it was recorded in the ’70s, this is it – just don’t be too confused by the last three bonus tracks as it all goes at turns jazzy and then gets deeply, oddly New Age.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jan 01, 2017
The works in the Georgian pianist’s new programme – Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition, Ravel’s La Valse and the three scenes from Petrushka which Stravinsky transcribed for Rubinstein – make huge technical demands. But Buniatishvili says she chose them more for their artistic associations: painting, dance and puppetry. Using a huge range of keyboard colours every possible wisp of characterisation is seized upon and personalised: these are polar opposites to the ‘straight’ Paul Lewis Pictures or Pollini Petrushka, and I found them utterly seductive. Each ‘Promenade’ in the Mussorgsky is treated differently, while the brilliant ‘Limoges Market’ or the hatching chicks are fresh and vibrant.