Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vinyl Video

Records (full-length)! from Sharon Shattuck on Vimeo.

The Vinyl Countdown from Sleeve Notes 1948 on Vimeo.

Classic Rock Videos

Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb

Audiophile Audition Review

I want to thank John over at for the exclusive rights to reprint this great review!

AUDIOPHILE AUDITION focuses on recordings of interest to audiophiles and collectors, with an accent on surround sound for music, and on all hi-res disc formats. Over 100SACD, DVD Video/Audio and standard CD reviews are published during each month, and our archives go back to January 2001.

There are 15 reviews, we will explore them 3 at a time, look for another set on Sunday!

Vinyl Feature for April

Reviews of 15 Jazz, Blues & Pop Audiophile LPs

Diana Krall – Live in Paris – Verve Records/Original Recordings ORG 003 – 180 gram Audiophile LP edition – 2 LPs, (2001-2002) ****:

(Diana Krall, piano, vocals; Anthony Wilson, electric guitar; John Pisano, acoustic guitar; John Clayton, bass; Jeff Hamilton, drums; with specials guests, Paulinho Da Costa, percussion; Michael Brecker, tenor sax; Christian McBride, bass; Rob Mounsey, keyboards; Luis Quintero, percussion; Lewis Nash, drums; Alan Broadbent, music director and conductor, on Let’s Fall in Love, and I’ve Got You Under My Skin)

One of Diana Krall’s most beloved CDs, Live in Paris, has been given a loving audiophile LP remastering treatment by ace engineer legend, Bernie Grundman and produced by an audiophile label new to us, Original Recordings. The shimmering string arrangements on Let’s Fall in Love and I’ve Got You Under My Skin, are testament alone to the real life power of vinyl to convince the legions of Krall lovers to shell out the premium price that audiophile vinyl commands. Krall’s smoky vocals and piano skills are given a new sheen, as are the guitars of Anthony Wilson and John Pisano. John Clayton’s woody pizzicato fingerings are brought center stage during his solos and Clayton’s co-leader in the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra; Jeff Hamilton’s cymbal mastery is evident.

Krall has always surrounded herself with the crème de la crème in accompanists when she tours, and her 2001-2002 band mates were no exception. Diana is numero uno in the lighter fare jazz female vocal category both for her sexy smooth vocal delivery, the knockout beauty of her appearance, her more than adequate piano skills, and her choice of repertoire- Arlen, Porter, Gershwin, etc.

Krall will draw a jazz date audience, who view her performances as part of a sublime classy evening. I have observed her as headliner on numerous occasions both amongst the jazz savvy audiences at the Monterey Jazz Festival as well as at nightclubs where she commands a hearty cover charge. Her fans are loyal and Krall rewards them with top-notch arrangements and a seasoned bassist and drummer.

Live in Paris stands out in her discography as it presents Krall with the best sidemen she has had; two tracks with Alan Broadbent leading a European orchestra; Paulinho Da Costa on percussion, and the bonus of the closing track, Billy Joel’s Just the Way You Are, where the late saxist Michael Brecker and Christian McBride and Lewis Nash make up her rhythm section.

Ms. Krall has induced casual pop fans to put their toes into the jazz market, much like later day Tony Bennett performances have brought both old time jazz fans and the younger crowd to share the joy that a fine vocalist can elicit. For that, we have Diana Krall to thank.

Produced by the talented Tommy LiPuma, and recorded and mixed for CD by the brilliant Al Schmitt, the sonics of the CD issue were excellent. Bernie Grundman’s remastering for vinyl puts Live in Paris in the gold plated category for the legions of Krall aficionados. This two-LP audiophile edition would make an ideal late night listening experience, or the perfect background soundtrack for a special dinner party. [But bear in mind you'll be getting up very frequently to change sides...Ed.]


LP 1:

Side A:
I Love Being Here for You
Let’s Fall in Love
‘Deed I Do
Side B:
The Look of Love
East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)
I’ve Got You Under My Skin

LP 2:

Side A:
Devil May Care
Maybe You’ll Be There
‘S Wonderful
Side B:
Fly Me to the Moon
A Case of You
Just the Way You Are


Georgie Fame – Cool Cat Blues – Go Jazz Records - Pure Pleasure Records PPAN 009 (1991) – 2 LPs 180 gram Audiophile edition ****:

(Georgie Fame, piano, organ, vocals; Richard Tee, piano; Robben Ford, guitar; Will Lee, bass; Steve Gadd, drums; Ralph MacDonald, percussion. Special guests include Van Morrison, Ronnie Cuber, Bob Malach, Ben Sidran, Jon Hendricks, Boz Scaggs, and Michael Weiss)

Georgie Fame has always been a cool cat. His blend of American rhythm and blues and jazz has appealed to a cross section of musicians who have good taste in common. From ultra-hip vocalists Van Morrison, Boz Scaggs, and Ben Sidran to jazz musicians such as Ronnie Cuber, and Jon Hendricks, Georgie Fame has provided vocalese accompaniment and Hammond B-3 or piano duties.

Fame is best known for the dual fame brought on by his British band The Flames, as well as for being the musical director and right-hand man for Van Morrison from 1989 throughout most of the 90s. For Morrison, Fame provided a compatriot for Van’s mix of white soul, blues and jazz idioms. For many years, when you heard a Morrison CD, you’d expect to hear Georgie provide co-leader duties, whether it was leading Van’s band or providing background and lead vocal counterpoint to Morrison’s forays into his latest bag of tricks. Fame had the hip quotient to enter Van’s inner circle.

Fame’s ability to not be pigeonholed has enabled him to tackle blues with London’s best when he was only 17. After a series of Top Ten hits in Britain, Georgie explored his interest in jazz with the Harry South Big Band and even toured Europe as the featured vocalist with a late edition of Count Basie’s touring band. He later co-starred on British television with musician, Alan Price, and they recorded together as well.

The 70s and 80s were devoted to jazz and his acceptance in the jazz community was cemented when Blossom Dearie wrote “Sweet Georgie Fame” as a dedication. The later portion of the 80s and much of the 90s were devoted to his Van Morrison phase.

Pure Pleasure, the audiophile LP label out of Great Britain, has done the public a service by remastering Fame’s 1991 Go Jazz release onto 180-gram vinyl. It is apropo as it highlights Fame’s greatest strengths - blues and jazz. The strongest influence I felt listening to this vinyl treasure is Fame’s vocal resemblance to Mose Allison. Mose crossed the blues/jazz frontier as well with hipster élan. Fame’s vocals on Cool Cat Blues cover the gamut from Georgia, It Should Have Been Me, I Love the Life I Live, to Rocking Chair. Supported by top grade accompanists such as the underrated, Robben Ford on guitar, drummer, Steve Gadd, and percussionist, Ralph MacDonald, Fame shows he was a do it all virtuoso. Georgie has the opportunity to trade vocal hip licks with Boz Scaggs on It Should Have Been Me. His vocalese “cred” passes muster with the scat legend, Jon Hendricks, on Morrison’s classic Moondance. For Morrison fans, it provides a chance to appreciate the vocal prowess that Van so early recognized. Produced by Ben Sidran - no stranger to hip vocals - Pure Pleasure’s remastering is up to their usual high standards. I’ve yet to be disappointed by Pure Pleasure’s taste and choice of material to be given audiophile treatment. Check out Cool Cat Blues to appreciate the many sides of Georgie Fame.

Side A:
Cool Cat Blues
Every Knock is a Boost

Side B:
It Should Have Been Me
Yeah Yeah
I Love the Life I Live

Side C:
Big Brother
Cat’s Eyes

Side D:
You Came a Long Way From St. Louis
Little Pony
Rocking Chair


Booker Little Out Front Candid/Pure Pleasure Records 8027 (1961) ****:

(Booker Little, trumpet; Eric Dolphy, alto, bass clarinet, flute; Julian Priester, Trombone; Art Davis, Ron Carter, bass; Don Friedman, piano; Max Roach, drums)

Booker Little was heralded to be the next trumpet great after the death of the incomparable Clifford Brown. But it was not to be. Like Clifford, Booker Little did not make it to his 30th birthday. He died at age 23 of uremia, another tragic death to the jazz community. Booker had only five recordings as a leader, and Pure Pleasure records has chosen to rerelease his Spring, 1961 session recorded for Candid Records in a pristine 180 gram audiophile quality pressing. The British audiophile company claims that their European pressing plant is the best in Europe. I do not know if that claim is true but surely this pressing is audiophile quality. Little’s trumpet is clear, bright and luminous.

Booker wrote all seven compositions and they eclipse the bebop and hard bop of the early 60s in challenging the listener. Much of the searching quality that Little brings to this recording is the result of multi-instrumentalist, Eric Dolphy, another genius who left us much too soon. Drummer Max Roach, whose tutelage brought us both Clifford and Booker, drives the band with his percussive drumming. Don Friedman, an unappreciated pianist, who has had a long career, is featured on piano. Present Seattle resident, Julian Priester, a Roach band member of this period, rounds out the front line. Bass duties are shared by both Ron Carter and Art Davis, who both still are major forces on the bass.

Highlights of Out Front include Strength and Sanity, the free form Moods in Free Time, a precursor to both avant and modal genres that became more prevalent later in the 60s, and A New Day, in which the trombone and flute play in counterpoint to Little’s trumpet, and in which Roach has a magnificent percussion chorus.

Out Front fits the bill for audiophile LP fans as it chronicles the genius of Booker Little and Eric Dolphy in pristine sound. It is well worth the $25-30 price tag.

TrackList: We Speak, Strength and Sanity, Quiet Please, Moods in Free Time, Man of Words, Hazy Hues, A New Day

Look for 3 more reviews this Sunday!

Music News & Notes

Stevie & Joe

In an upcoming People magazine feature, Stevie Nicks talked about her romance in the 80's with Joe Walsh, calling him "the great, great love of my life."

She also states that they had to part ways because of their co-dependance on cocaine.

"There was nothing more important than Joe Walsh - not my music, not my songs, not anything. We had to break up or we thought we'd die. It took me years to get over it. It's very sad by at least we survived."


Bob Marley Places Nine Songs in Jamaica's 100 Best Song List

The University of the West Indies has announced the results of their recent survey into the 100 best songs from Jamaica over the last fifty years. The ranking was based on a survey of Jamaican notables from public and university life along with musicians and a select number of the public.

To no one's surprise, Jamaican icon Bob Marley took nine of the top 100, including #1"One Love" and #9 with the cut "Simmer Down." The entire top twenty is made up of veteran artists and two of the songs ("My Boy Lollipop" by Millie Small and "Israelites" by Desmond Dekker & the Aces) were major U.S. hits.

According to a Reuters article, the reaction to the list, announced yesterday, has been mixed. University spokesman Wayne Chen stated:

"People have said to me that they wanted more of the deejay and dancehall songs included, but like in everything else, you can't please everybody. I would have loved to see some more dub music, because I am a fan of dub, but that did not happen."

Here is the top 20:

1) One Love/People Get Ready - Bob Marley & the Wailers (726 points)
2) Oh Carolina - Folkes Brothers (540)
3) 54-46 - Maytals (516)
4) Got to Go Back Home - Bob Andy (493)
5) My Boy Lollipop - Millie Small (470)
6) Many Rivers to Cross - Jimmy Cliff (451)
7) Israelites - Desmond Dekker & the Aces (424)
8) Cherry Oh Baby - Eric Donaldson (367)
9) Simmer Down - Wailers (357)
10) Carry Go Bring Come - Justin Hands & the Dominoes (331)
11) The Harder They Come - Jimmy Cliff (316)
12) No Woman No Cry - Bob Marley & the Wailers (305)
13) Rivers of Babylon - Melodians (298)
14) Redemption Song - Bob Marley & the Wailers (289)
15) Easy Snappin' - Theophilus Beckford (281)
16) Girl I've Got a Date - Alton Ellis (261)
17) Satta Massagana - Abyssnians (253)
18) Everything I Own - Ken Boothe (249)
19) Eastern Standard Time - Don Drummond (246)
20) Wear You to the Ball - U-Roy (236)

One of my favorites- "Redemption Song" cracked the top 20, coming in at #14.

Check out my friend Daniel's Vinyl Art:


Record Store Day Boosts Indie Stores' Sales

Ed Christman, N.Y.

It's being reported Record Store Day produced a nearly 1% gain - to 566,000 for the week versus 561,000 from the corresponding week of the prior year - in U.S. album sales for the indie store sector, according to Nielsen SoundScan. While that may seem meager, it comes off as strong considering that U.S. album sales were down 15% last week to 6.3 million from 7.5 million in the corresponding week for the prior year.

"Any sales increase nowadays is a big victory," says one distribution executive. "Record Store Day was a big success."

Beyond album sales, Record Store Day is being felt in other places in SoundScan. For instance, 80,000 vinyl albums were scanned last year, versus 40,000 in the same week of the prior year, while 46,000 singles were counted last week versus 33,000 in the same week last year.

Read the rest of the article here: billboard story