Recording of the Month

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J. Gordon Holt  |  Sep 03, 2014  |  First Published: Jan 01, 1984  |  2 comments
rotm184.pjil.jpgDebussy: Three Nocturnes; Jeux
Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, Bernard Haitink conducting.
Philips ACD 400-023-2 (CD).

This is the first classical CD I have heard that was originally mastered on analog tape, and the sound is quite different from what I'm accustomed to hearing from the silver discs.

I had read so many critics' complaints about excessive background (tape) hiss from analog-mastered CDs that I was fully prepared to be appalled. I wasn't. Perhaps my speakers (Watkins WE-1s as of now) are smoother than what some other critics listen to, perhaps I prefer a more subdued high end than some, but I did not find hiss to be a problem with this Philips disc. Yes, it is audible at high listening levels, but it is not a ssss, it is a hhhh, like the sound of a very gentle rain far off in the background. I have heard worse hiss from microphone preamps.

J. Gordon Holt  |  Jun 09, 2014  |  First Published: Jan 01, 1985  |  1 comments
Performance Recordings is the closest thing to a one-man label. James Boyk is president, A&R director, musical director, recording engineer, production manager, jacket notes author, and the star performer. He is also Artist in Residence and lecturer in music and engineering (specifically sound recording and reproduction) at Cal Tech. And he happens to be one of digital's most ardent detractors, having conducted, and widely publicized, several controlled listening tests that proved to his satisfaction that digital recordings are destructive to musical sound. (I will not question his methodology or conclusions here; suffice it to say that James is as stalwartly pro-analog and anti-digital as it is possible to be.)
Richard Lehnert  |  Apr 26, 2012  |  First Published: Jan 01, 1988  |  0 comments
Branford Marsalis: Renaissance
Branford Marsalis, tenor & soprano sax; Kenny Kirkland & Herbie Hancock, piano; Bob Hurst & Buster Williams, bass; Tony Williams, drums
CBS FC 40711 (LP). Dennis Ferrante, Bob Margoleff, Howard Siegel, engs.; Delfeayo Marsalis, prod. DDA. TT: 57:09

These are heady days for those who believe that jazz may have reached its height in the mid- to late '60s, before its disastrous 15-year romance with fusion. With such strong new talents as the Marsalis and Brecker brothers and Chico Freeman embracing the spirit of that time, and fusion-scarred veterans like Freddie Hubbard and Joe Henderson returning to the basics of acoustic trios, quartets, and quintets in recent recordings and concerts, jazz has attained a new and cherished seriousness valued all the more for its unexpectedness.

Richard Lehnert  |  Apr 28, 2011  |  First Published: Jan 01, 1989  |  1 comments
BOBBY KING & TERRY EVANS: Live and Let Live!
Rounder 2089 (LP), CD 2089 (CD). Larry Hirsch, eng.; Ry Cooder, prod. AAA/AAD. TT: 44:42

If you've heard a Ry Cooder album in the last 12 years, you've heard Bobby King and Terry Evans—they're the gorgeously voiced gospel/R&B singers who've backed up Ry while he's learned to sing in public—and from whom he can't help but have learned a lot. To crib from the liner notes, King is from a Louisiana gospel background, while Evans sang R&B in Mississippi. Their music together is a seamless blend of the best of both sides of the churchyard gate, smack dab in the middle of the strongest undercurrents of American music. Virtually every tune is a gem, but "Let Love Begin," so warm and lovingly sensual it'll melt your speakers, and the best version I've ever heard of "Dark End of the Street," are instant classics. "Saturday Night" has a hint of sprung Cajun rhythm, and "Let Me Go Back to the Country" has that vital feel of a pick-up band one by one sitting down to sit in, music made for the sheer joy of singing and playing. Only "Bald Head," another misogynistic Cooder tune, falls flat, though not for lack of trying by King & Evans.

Richard Lehnert  |  May 03, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 03, 1990  |  0 comments
DANIEL LANOIS: Acadie
Opal/Warner Bros. 25969-1 (LP), -2 (CD). Daniel Lanois, prod.; Malcolm Burn, Mark Howard, engs. AAA/AAD. TT: 41:19
Ken Kessler  |  May 11, 2009  |  First Published: Jan 11, 1991  |  0 comments
Glasnost Mondial Supergroup: 1990 Aragon Jam Sessions
Anthony Federici, Michael Fremer, Roland Marconi, Bob Reina, Paul Rosenberg, Rob Sample, vocals; Frank Doris, Steve Harris, Roland Marconi, Paul Rosenberg, guitars; Elliot Kallen, Bob Reina, keyboards; John Atkinson, bass; Allen Perkins, Neil Sinclair, drums
Bainbridge GMS-1 (CD only). PJ Littleton, Michael Kusiak, Jr., engs.; PJ Littleton, Paul Rosenberg, prods. Recorded live with direct feed to the Colossus Digital Audio System from a single MS-4 surround 4-channel microphone. DDD. TT: 71:42
Corey Greenberg  |  Jun 03, 2008  |  First Published: Jan 03, 1992  |  0 comments
THE COMMITMENTS: Original Soundtrack
MCA MCAD-10286 (CD only). Paul Bushnell, Kevin Killen, Alan Parker, prods.; Kevin Killen, eng. AAD. TT: 46:54.
Richard Lehnert  |  Jan 04, 2004  |  First Published: Jan 01, 1993  |  0 comments
JOE HENRY: Short Man's Room
with The Jayhawks
Mammoth MR0037 (CD only). Joe Henry, prod.; Brian Paulson, eng. AAD? TT: 45:51
Richard Lehnert  |  Jan 21, 1995  |  First Published: Jan 21, 1994  |  1 comments
ELVIS COSTELLO: 2½ Years
Including: My Aim Is True (RCD 90271. Bazza, eng. TT: 60:22), This Year's Model (RCD 90272. TT: 52:46), Armed Forces (RCD 90273. TT: 63:29), all available separately, and Live at El Mocambo
Rykodisc RCD 90271/74 (4 CDs). TT: 3:45:33
All above (except as noted): CD only. Nick Lowe, prod.; Roger Bechirian, eng. & re-mastering. AAD.
Richard Lehnert  |  Jan 04, 1995  |  0 comments
GILBERT & SULLIVAN: H.M.S. Pinafore
Richard Suart, The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B.; Thomas Allen, Captain Corcoran; Michael Schade, Ralph Rackstraw; Rebecca Evans, Josephine; Felicity Palmer, Little Buttercup; Donald Adams, Dick Deadeye; Richard Van Allan, Bill Bobstay; Welsh National Opera Orchestra & Chorus, Sir Charles Mackerras
Telarc CD-80374 (CD only). James Mallinson, prod.; Jack Renner, eng. DDD. TT: 73:42
Wes Phillips  |  Jan 09, 1996  |  0 comments
TERRY EVANS: Puttin' It Down
AudioQuest Music AQ-CD1038 (CD), AQ1038 (LP*). Joe Harley, Terry Evans, Jorge Calderon, prods.; Michael C. Ross, eng. AAD/AAA. TTs: 53:25, 46:03*
Robert Baird  |  Jan 25, 1997  |  0 comments
DON BYRON: Bug Music
Don Byron, clarinet, baritone saxophone, vocals; Steve Wilson, alto saxophone; Robert DeBellis, tenor saxophone; Charles Lewis, Steve Bernstein, James Zollar, Trumpet; Craig Harris, trombone; Uri Crane, piano; Paul Meyers, banjo; David Gilmore, guitar; Kenny Davis, bass; Pheeroan akLaff, Billy Hart, Joey Baron, drums; Dean Bowman, vocals. Nonesuch 79438-2 (CD only) 1996. Don Byron, prod.; Danny Kapilian, assoc. prod.; Tom Lazarus, eng.; David Merrill, assist eng.; Alan Tucker, mastering eng. Carol Yaple, exec. prod. ??? TT: 51:07
Music ****
Sonics ****
Wes Phillips  |  Jan 07, 1998  |  0 comments
MUSIC OF CUBA: Buena Vista Social Club
World Circuit/Nonesuch 79478-2. Ry Cooder, prod.; Jerry Boys, eng. AAA. TT: 60:09.
Performance ****?
Sonics *****
Wes Phillips  |  Jan 24, 1999  |  0 comments
SANTIAGO DE MURCIA: ¡Jácaras!
Paul O'Dette, Pat O'Brien, Steve Player, baroque guitars; Andrew Lawrence-King, harp, psaltery; Pedro Estevan, percussion
Harmonia Mundi 907212 (CD). 1998. Robina G. Young, exec. prod.; John Hadden, prod., eng. DDD. TT: 78:21
Performance *****
Sonics *****
Chip Stern  |  Jan 02, 2003  |  First Published: Jan 02, 2000  |  0 comments
PATRICIA BARBER: Companion
Patricia Barber, vocals, piano, Hammond B-3; John McLean, guitar; Michael Arnopol, bass; Eric Montzka, percussion
Premonition/Blue Note 5 22963 2 (CD). 1999. Barber and Michael Friedman, prods.; Jim Anderson, eng. John Larson and Tom Reinholdt, asst. engs. AAD? TT: 58:11
Performance ****?
Sonics ****?

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