The Real Deal

There's nothing like ending a day at RMAF with a reminder of what the real deal sounds like. If Ray Kimber had his marching band blasting their way around the lobby, the fabulous multi-feted, Grammy Award-winning recording engineer/producer Cookie Marenco gifted us with her renowned piano teacher, Art Lande tinkling the keys in the Marriott's Atrium on Saturday night.

Unfortunately, Lande's instrument by default was one of the most brittle-sounding Yamahas I've ever had the misfortune of hearing. If you've ever heard a piano recording whose timbre you abhor, you may very well have heard this piano's cousin.

Since Lande is so incredibly gifted, his live performance whet my appetite to hear him on Marenco's second release on her own Blue Coast Records label. Entitled While She Sleeps: Art Lande Piano Lullabies, the hybrid SACD features Lande playing Marenco's personal 1885 Steinway. The recording, co-produced with Jean Claude Renaud, features no EQ, reverb, or other enhancements. Marenco's first all-acoustic Blue Coast release, which I'll discuss in a future issue of Stereophile, has been praised up and down and around the block for its demonstration-quality sound. I can't wait for the opportunity to hear what Lande can really do when given an instrument that can sing as well as his fingers.