Recording of the Month

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Chip Stern Posted: Jul 07, 2000 0 comments
SONNY ROLLINS: The Freelance Years
Sonny Rollins, tenor sax; Clark Terry, Kenny Dorham, trumpet; Jimmy Cleveland, trombone; Ernie Henry, alto sax; Thelonious Monk, Hank Jones, Sonny Clark, Wynton Kelly, Gil Coggins, Hampton Hawes, piano; Victor Feldman, vibes; Barney Kessel, Oscar Pettiford, Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, Wendell Marshall, Leroy Vinegar, bass; Max Roach, Shelly Manne, Roy Haynes, Kenny Dennis, drums; Abbey Lincoln, vocals
Riverside 5RCD-4427-2 (5 CDs). 2000. Orrin Keepnews, Lester Koenig, Leonard Feather, original prods.; Eric Miller, compilation prod.; Dave Luke, tape transfers; Kirk Felton, remastering. AAD. TT: 5:58:42
Performance *****
Sonics *****
Chip Stern Posted: Jul 01, 2001 0 comments
TONY BENNETT/BILL EVANS: The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album
Tony Bennett, vocals; Bill Evans, piano
JVC JVCXR-0208-2 (CD). 1975/2001. Helen Keane, prod.; Don Cody, eng.; Akira Taguchi, XRCD2 prod., Alan Yoshida, XRCD2 mastering eng. AAD?. TT: 35:09
Performance *****
Sonics ****
Robert Baird Posted: Jul 14, 2002 1 comments
THE BAND: The Last Waltz
Warner Bros./Rhino Entertainment R2 78278 (4 CDs). 1978/2002. Robbie Robertson, prod.; Rob Fraboni, John Simon, co-prods.; Larry Samuels, exec. prod.; Terry Becker, Tim Kramer, Elliot Mazer, Wayne Neuendorf, Ed Anderson, Neil Brody, engs. AAD? TT: 4:10:16
Performance *****
Sonics ****?
Robert Levine Posted: Jul 13, 2003 0 comments
VIVALDI: La Stravaganza
12 Violin Concertos, Op.4
Rachel Podger, violin; Arte dei Suonatori
Channel Classics CCS 19598 (2 CDs). 2003. Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, prod.; C. Jared Sacks, eng. DDD. TT: 102:59
Performance *****
Sonics *****
Robert Baird Posted: Jul 10, 2004 Published: Jul 01, 2004 0 comments
CHRIS STAMEY: Travels In the South
Yep Roc 2033 (CD). 2004. Chris Stamey, Jefferson Holt, prods.; Don Dixon, Greg Elkins, prods., engs.; Tim Harper, Brian Paulson, John Plymale, Wes Lachot, Logan Matheny, Dan Korneff, engs. AAD. TT: 52:30
Performance ****
Sonics ***
Robert Baird Posted: Jul 17, 2005 0 comments
DAVID CHESKY: Area 31
The Girl from Guatemala, Flute Concerto, Violin Concerto
Wonjung Kim, soprano; Jeffrey Khaner, flute; Tom Chiu, violin; Anthony Aibel, Area 31
Chesky SACD288 (SACD/CD). 2004. David Chesky, David Eggar, prods.; Barry Wolfson, eng.; Rick Eckerle, second eng.; Nicholas Prout, mastering, editing. AAD? TT: 56:31
Performance ****½
Sonics *****
Robert Levine Posted: Jul 16, 2006 0 comments
MAHLER: Symphony 8
Barbara Kubiak, Izabela Klosinska, Marta Boberska, sopranos; Jadwiga Rappé, Ewa Marciniec, altos; Timothy Bentch, tenor; Wojtek Drabowicz, baritone; Piotr Nowacki, bass; Warsaw National Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra, Polish Radio Choir in Krakow, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University Choir, Warsaw Boys Choir; Antoni Wit, conductor
Naxos 8.550533-34 (2 CDs). 2006. Andrzej Sasin, Aleksandra Nagorko, prods. DDD. TT: 80:51
Performance *****
Sonics *****
Robert Levine Posted: Jul 16, 2006 0 comments
MAHLER: Symphony 8
Barbara Kubiak, Izabela Klosinska, Marta Boberska, sopranos; Jadwiga Rappé, Ewa Marciniec, altos; Timothy Bentch, tenor; Wojtek Drabowicz, baritone; Piotr Nowacki, bass; Warsaw National Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra, Polish Radio Choir in Krakow, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University Choir, Warsaw Boys Choir; Antoni Wit, conductor
Naxos 8.550533-34 (2 CDs). 2006. Andrzej Sasin, Aleksandra Nagorko, prods. DDD. TT: 80:51
Performance *****
Sonics *****
Thomas Conrad Posted: Jul 15, 2007 0 comments
JOHN ABERCROMBIE: The Third Quartet
John Abercrombie, electric & acoustic guitar; Mark Feldman, violin; Marc Johnson, bass; Joey Baron, drums
ECM 1993 (CD). 2007. Manfred Eicher, prod.; James Farber, eng. DDD. TT: 59:45
Performance ****½
Sonics ****½
Robert Levine Posted: Jul 10, 2008 0 comments
HAYDN The Creation Sandrine Piau, Miah Persson, sopranos; Mark Padmore, tenor; Peter Harvey, baritone; Neal Davies, bass; Chetham's Chamber Choir, Gabrieli Consort of Players; Paul McCreesh
Archiv 477 7361 (2 CDs). 2008. Nicholas Parker, prod.; Jonathan Stokes, eng. DDD. TT: 108:56
Performance *****
Sound *****
Robert Baird Posted: Jul 07, 2009 0 comments
Allen Toussaint: The Bright Mississippi
Nonesuch 480380-2 (CD). 2009. Joe Henry, prod.; Kevin Killen, eng.; Anthony Ruotolo, asst. eng. AAD? TT: 61:31
Performance ****½
Sonics ****
Robert Baird Posted: Jul 11, 2010 0 comments
Sinatra Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings
Concord CRE-32026 (CD). 2010. Sonny Burke, orig. prod.; Lee Herschberg, orig eng.; Hal Gaba, reissue exec. prod.; Charles Pignone, reissue prod.; Larry Walsh, reissue eng.; Dan Hersch, 24-bit remastering. AAD. TT: 58:23
Performance ****
Sonics ****
Robert Baird Posted: Jul 06, 2011 2 comments
Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What
Hear Music HRM-32814 (CD; the LP comes with a voucher for hi-rez downloads). 2011. Paul Simon, Phil Ramone, prods.; Andy Smith, eng. AAD? TT: 38:15
Performance ****½
Sonics ***½

"Love & Blessings"? "Questions for the Angels"? It seems that Paul Simon, who will turn 70 in October, has begun to ask life's Big Questions in preparation for his own exit. Yet in this case, seeming is not reality, and at 69, Simon has returned to his polyglot musical influences (that he may or may not have heisted...but that's an argument for another day) to fashion a startlingly powerful collection of songs that successfully mix the jaunty near-danceability of his world-music adventures with serious lyrics about impending death, the vagaries of love, and, especially, the many unknowables contained in the word God.

Robert Baird Posted: Jun 28, 2012 Published: Jul 01, 2012 0 comments
Bill Evans: Live at Art D'Lugoff's Top of the Gate
Bill Evans, piano; Eddie Gomez, bass; Marty Morrell, drums
Resonance HLP-2012 (2 LPs/2 CDs, HDTracks 24/44.1k download). 1968/2012. George Klabin, exec. prod., mix, sound restoration; Zev Feldman, prod.; Fran Gala, mix, sound restoration, mastering. ADA/ADD. TT: 49:12/40:50
Performance *****
Sonics * to ***

Complain if you will, analog lovers, about the evils of digital technology, but in one area there isn't a whiff of argument: the esoteric pursuit of rescuing live recordings with marginal sound. Without question, manipulating ones and zeros has cleaned up a lot of nearly unlistenable bootlegs. This bit of buried treasure, while never unlistenable, has been rendered in sound that is, at times, very good. The two-star sonics rating, which may seem shocking for a "Recording of the Month," is an average—while the sound quality rates a single star in the opening, it's nearly up to four stars by Disc 2. The long-ago sounds of these two live sets of the Bill Evans trio playing mostly standards, recorded in a long-gone Greenwich Village club, Top of the Gate (it was literally above the better-known Village Gate jazz club), are, if not the holy grail, then a very gilded cup.

Robert Baird Posted: Jun 24, 2013 Published: Jul 01, 2013 0 comments
Pedrito Martinez: Rumba de la Isla
Pedrito Martinez, vocals, congas, chekere, cowbell; Niño Josele, guitar, clapping; Alfredo de la Fé, electric violin; John Benítez, acoustic & electric bass; Pirana, cajón, clapping; Román Díaz, batas, cajón, spoons, vocals; Xiomara "La Voz" Laugart, Abraham Rodríguez, backing vocals
Calle 54/Sony Masterworks 8876 540607 2 (CD). 2013. Nat Chediak, Fernando Trueba, prods.; Jim Anderson, eng. DAD? TT: 50:20
Performance ****½
Sonics *****

Cross-cultural mashups are all the rage. There's the BlueBrass mix of New Orleans brass band and bluegrass, reviewed in this issue. The Border Music project mixes David Hidalgo's Norteño/East L.A. rock with Marc Ribot's downtown New York jazz. Here, conguero Pedrito Martinez, born in Cuba but based in New York City, successfully crosses Afro-Cuban rumba with Andalusian flamenco to celebrate the work of flamenco composer and singer Camarón de la Isla. Born José Monje Cruz, de la Isla is probably best known outside Spain for his collaborations with guitarist Paco de Lucía; together they made nine records, and toured extensively throughout the 1970s. De la Isla died in 1992 at the age of 41.

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