Recording of the Month

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J. Gordon Holt Posted: Jun 17, 2014 Published: Dec 01, 1984 3 comments
1284rotm.promo.jpgBeethoven: Symphony 9 in d, Op.125 ("Choral")
Berlin Staatskapelle and Rundfunkchor, Otmar Suitner, cond.; Dietrich Knothe, chorus master; Magdaléna Hajóssyová, soprano; Uta Priew, contralto; Eberhard Büchner, tenor; Manfred Schenk, bass.
Denon CD383C7-7021 (CD).

This is a positively stunning performance, abetted by one of the best-sounding orchestral recordings on CD to date.

I have long felt that the best reading of Beethoven's Ninth ever committed to records was an antique Columbia 78 set with the Vienna Philharmonic and Felix Weingartner (later released on an abominable-sounding LP: SL-165). I almost hate to day it, because the oldest idols die the hardest, but Suitner's is better! This is a monumental, consummately joyous Ninth that leaves the listener with a wonderful feeling of elation. If the orchestral playing is at times a little less than world-class and a couple of the soloists not quite up to star level, so what? This may well be the definitive Ninth on CD, both interpretively and sonically.

J. Gordon Holt Posted: Mar 18, 2014 Published: Dec 01, 1985 9 comments
rotm1285.p.pngRespighi: Church Windows
The Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Keith Clark conducting.
Reference Recordings RR-15 (LP). Tam Henderson, prod.; Keith Johnson, eng. AAA

Some years ago, Harry Pearson, editor and publisher of That Other Magazine, announced his intention to help finance production of a no-holds-barred symphonic recording. The only question was, who would produce it?

Reference Recordings' Tam Henderson assures me he did not have HP's grant in mind when he conspired with the Pacific Symphony's conductor to record "something" in the Crystal Cathedral, a huge barn of a place in Santa Ana, CA. When that hall, graced by a large, romantic-sounding pipe organ and superb acoustics, proved to be unavailable because of some legal wrangle, the idea of recording something big and romantic for orchestra and pipe organ refused to go away.

Richard Lehnert Posted: May 18, 2012 Published: Dec 01, 1987 0 comments
Wynton Marsalis: Marsalis Standard Time, Vol.1
Wynton Marsalis, trumpet; Marcus Roberts, piano; Robert Leslie Hurst III, bass; Jeff Watts, drums
CBS CK 40461 (CD), FC 40461 (LP). Tim Geelan, eng.; Steve Epstein, prod. DDD. TT: 62:54

When someone has garnered as much hoopla as has Wynton Marsalis over the last five years, it becomes harder and harder for a critic to believe that the hype continues to be justified. Nor does winning Grammys in the jazz and classical categories help the situation's believability. Worse, Marsalis's own bristly demeanor and portentious pronouncements on the state of jazz—see "Book Reviews" elsewhere in this issue—make it all the more important that he put his money where his mouthpiece is. (As Miles Davis, never known as the soul of tact himself, groused a while back when leaving a Grammy Award ceremony at which Marsalis had held forth: "Who asked him?")

Richard Lehnert Posted: May 31, 2011 Published: Dec 01, 1988 1 comments
CHARLIE PARKER: Bird (Original Soundtrack)
Charlie Parker, Charles McPherson, alto saxes; Red Rodney, trumpet; Monty Alexander, piano; Ray Brown, Ron Carter, basses; Charlie Shoemake, vibes; John Guerin, drums; others
Columbia SC 44299 (LP), CK 44299 (CD). Bobby Fernandez, Neal Spritz, engs.; Clint Eastwood, Lennie Niehaus, prods. ADA/ADD. TT: 41:21

Unlike Round Midnight, which encased Dexter Gordon's Bud Powell character in a soft-focus, romanticized, soundstagily mythic NY/Paris jazz juncture that never quite was (Herbie Hancock's music direction was deliberately inauthentic for that or any time or place other than the film studio), producer/director Clint Eastwood's labor-of-love Bird attempts to place Charles Christopher Parker Jr. squarely in the bebop world he created. The modern musicians he "plays" with here blow strictly in that tradition, accompanying Parker's solos, as peeled off the original Savoy, Verve, and home recordings with audio wizardry (massive EQing, dynamic noise filters, etc.).

J. Gordon Holt Posted: May 28, 2010 Published: Dec 28, 1989 0 comments
Sonic Booms
Steam Locomotives, Jet Fighter Aircraft, Military Exercise (with live ammunition), WWII Aircraft, Comic Relief I & II, West Mountain Inn, Diesel Train, Steam Train with Rain & Thunder
Bainbridge BCD6276 (CD only). Produced & mixed by Brad S. Miller. DDD. TT: 58:00
Richard Lehnert Posted: Jul 06, 2008 Published: Dec 06, 1991 0 comments
TAKE 6: He Is Christmas
Reprise 26665-2 (CD only). Take 6, prods.; Robert Charles, Mike McCarthy, Warren Peterson, engs. DDD. TT: 35:34
Igor Kipnis Posted: Jan 25, 2004 Published: Dec 01, 1992 0 comments
SHOSTAKOVICH: 24 Preludes & Fugues, Op.87
Keith Jarrett, piano
ECM New Series 1469/70 (437 189-2, 2 CDs only). Peter Laenger, eng.; Manfred Eicher, prod. DDD. TT: 2:15:21
Les Berkley Posted: Dec 28, 1993 0 comments
ANONYMOUS 4: On Yoolis Night
Medieval Christmas Carols and Motets
Anonymous 4
Harmonia Mundi 907099 (CD only). Robina G. Young, prod.; Brad Michel, eng. ADD? TT: 68:03
Wes Phillips Posted: Dec 23, 1995 0 comments
KEITH JARRETT: At the Blue Note: The Complete Recordings
Keith Jarrett, piano; Gary Peacock, bass; Jack DeJohnette, drums
ECM 1575-80 (78118-21575-2, 6 CDs only). Manfred Eicher, prod.; Jan Erik Kongshaug, eng. DDD. TT: 7:03:37
Robert Baird Posted: Dec 20, 1997 0 comments
DELBERT McCLINTON: One of the Fortunate Few
Rising Tide RTD-53042 (CD). 1997. Gary Nicholson, Emory Gordy, Jr., Delbert McClinton, prods.; Russ Martin, Marc Frigo, engs. AAD? TT: 38:12
Performance ****
Sonics ****½
Robert Baird Posted: Dec 31, 1998 0 comments
EMMYLOU HARRIS: Spyboy
Eminent EM-25001-2 (CD). 1998. Emmylou Harris, prod.; Buddy Miller, prod., eng.; Dean Norman, Doug Dawson, engs. AAD? TT: 67:07
Performance ****?
Sonics ****?
John Atkinson Posted: Dec 26, 2000 1 comments
Little Feat: Hotcakes & Outtakes: 30 Years of Little Feat
Warner Archives/Rhino R2 79912 (4 CDs). 1970-2000. Russ Titelman, Ted Templeman, Lowell George, Van Dyke Parks, Erik Jacobsen, George Massenburg, Bill Payne, Paul Barrère, Bill Wray, Ed Cherney, Frank Zappa, Michael O'Bryant, Richard Moore, orig. prods.; Gary Peterson, Bill Payne, Paul Barrère, reissue prods.; Bill Inglot, reissue sound. AAD. TT: 5:13:48
Performance *****
Sonics ****
Robert Baird Posted: Dec 15, 2002 0 comments
COLDPLAY: A Rush of Blood to the Head
Capitol 5 40504 2 (CD). 2002. Coldplay, Ken Nelson, prods.; Mark Phythian, Ken Phythian, engs.; Rik Simpson, Jon Withnal, Ben Thackeray, Jon Bailey, Andrea Wright, asst. engs. AAD? TT: 54:14
Performance ****½
Sonics ****
Robert Baird Posted: Dec 15, 2003 Published: Dec 01, 2003 0 comments
RANDY NEWMAN: The Randy Newman Songbook Vol.1
Nonesuch 79689-2 (CD). 2003. Mitchell Froom, prod.; David C. Boucher, eng.; Steven Rhodes, asst. eng. AAD.? TT: 47:22
Performance *****
Sonics ****½
Robert Baird Posted: Dec 12, 2004 0 comments
BRIAN WILSON: SMiLE
Nonesuch 79846-2 (CD). 2004. Brian Wilson, prod., mix; Mark Linett, eng.; Kevin Deane, Daneil S. McCoy, Pete Magdaleno, asst. engs.; Darian Sahanaja, mix. AAD? TT: 47:01
Performance ****½
Sonics **** (footnote 1)

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