Robert Lighton Plays Good Music

Canned jazz: that inoffensive blend of 80s synths, smooth sax, and punchy bass guitar. There was a lot of this at the New York Audio Show.

That’s why Robert Lighton’s room was such a delight. On his nightstand were fat stacks of R&B, African beat, and international jazz records. Real music with real soul, and while the bass response from Lighton’s $20,000 floorstanders was a bit wolfy, as I heard last year, there was a heartfelt expressiveness to the music beyond the composition. Electronics were provided by Audio Note, which Lighton also sells in his New York City store.

While playing Abdullah Ibrahim’s Water from an Ancient Well, the large cabinets gave the music room to breathe. A customer came in: “These are better than the Audio Note speakers next door!” It was not the most accurate or detailed sound I heard at the show, but it was one of the most emotive with the music to match.