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Music Matters SRX Vinyl Series

By | February 5th, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Music Matters SRX Vinyl Series

The Blue Note jazz series has become an object of fascination for jazz collectors and aficionados alike. Much like the classical RCA Living Stereo series, it represents a unique marriage of great artists and a stellar recording engineer—in this case the legendary Rudy Van Gelder. “Goin’ to Rudy’s,” was what jazz musicians told each other when they were headed to his home for a recording session. Alas, the Van Gelder domicile in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, has been demolished according to Garden State denizen Michael Fremer (why didn’t it become a state historical landmark?) but Rudy’s legacy lives on in …… Read the full article

Cy Coleman: A Jazzman’s Broadway

By | February 1st, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Cy Coleman: A Jazzman’s Broadway

Before he became a multiple Tony Award winning Broadway songwriting great for his contributions to shows such as Sweet Charity, On the Twentieth Century, Barnum, and Little Me (book by Neil Simon), Cy Coleman was the toast of the New York’s 1950s cabaret scene, performing Great American Songbook standards in Gotham’s most exclusive boîtes. Reclaiming this early history, Harbinger’s single-CD reissue offers two long-forgotten Coleman albums from the late 50s plus four scratchy transcriptions (sourced from original vinyl of dubious quality) of Cy’s lively, romantic solo piano improvisations on evergreens from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific.… Read the full article

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Thelonious Monk Quartet: Mønk

By | January 25th, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Thelonious Monk Quartet: Mønk

Though not as earthshaking as the recently rediscovered John Coltrane session (Both Directions at Once), this previously unreleased set also demands the attention of serious jazz fans, particularly audiophiles. The difference is that this is not a “lost” studio session but a concert recording by a quartet (with Charlie Rouse, tenor saxophone; John Orr, bass; Frankie Dunlop, drums) that left us over a dozen other live recordings. And when one includes quartet dates by Monk, Rouse, and a different rhythm tandem, that number more than doubles.… Read the full article

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Duck Times Three

By | January 22nd, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , |

Duck Times Three

Listening to Duck Baker’s jaunty, insightful interpretations of Thelonious Monk compositions on Duck Baker Plays Monk, my mind immediately conjured Bach. Meaning the way that hearing, say, a well-loved piece for solo violin transcribed to the mandolin in the hands of a Chris Thile causes us to pause and rethink music that we believe we know so well—fresh, with ears ablaze, a knowing smile on one’s face. That’s how good he is. Though quietly so. Duck Baker Plays Monk is but one of three newly released—if not necessarily recorded—LPs from this multi-dimensional and highly prolific acoustic guitar picker (they span …… Read the full article

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Aretha, True and Free

By | January 14th, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , |

Aretha, True and Free

On the morning of August 16, I was awakened to news of Aretha Franklin’s passing as announced on New York City’s classical station, WQXR, followed by the sound of Aretha rolling out her stunning rendition of Puccini’s “Nessun dorma” live at the 40th Grammy Awards on February 25, 1998. Listening to this bravura performance, I began to consider the depth of Aretha’s roots; how, in my estimation, only two artists brook comparison to Aretha and, indeed, together define Aretha. The first would be Bessie Smith, the “Empress of the Blues” who sold millions of records over the course of the …… Read the full article

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Dust-to-Digital

By | December 27th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , |

Dust-to-Digital

In 2003, a cedar box appeared in my mailbox, with the words “Goodbye, Babylon” and an illustration of Babel’s famed tower on the front. I slid back the top of the box to find a thick book, a few clumps of Georgia cotton, and six CDs crammed with rare gospel songs from 1902 to 1960—blues, Sacred Harp, country & western, bluegrass, early jazz, a cappella quartets, you name it—the result of four years of hard work from Lance and April Ledbetter.… Read the full article

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Run Out Groove

By | December 21st, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , |

Run Out Groove

Formed in 2017, Run Out Groove is a vinyl-only and fan-engaged music label. Each month music lovers vote to decide which title will become the next limited edition one-time pressing. An imprint of Warner Music Group, Run Out Groove has access to recordings going back several decades—in other words, a treasure trove of music. As a result, the label is free to wander far and wide stylistically, with genres as diverse as garage/punk (MC5, The Stooges), alternative rock (Morphine, Luna), folk (Judee Sill), soul (Betty LaVette, Solomon Burke), and jazz (Bill Frisell).… Read the full article

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Nicola Conte & Spiritual Galaxy: Let Your Light Shine On

By | December 6th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Nicola Conte & Spiritual Galaxy: Let Your Light Shine On

Nicola Conte is an Italian musician known for his seductive mix of acid jazz and bossa nova. Available in vinyl, CD, or download form, his latest release finds him performing groove-oriented spiritual jazz (think Lonnie Liston Smith or the Strata East label) in the company of African, European, and American musicians. With song titles like “Cosmic Peace,” “Mystic Revelation of the Gods,” “Space Dimensions,” and “Essence of the Sun,” you might expect the record to sound cosmic—and while the music does have a mystical vibe, it will also engage your lower chakras thanks to a rhythm section that includes, along …… Read the full article

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Grant Green on Resonance

By | November 30th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Grant Green on Resonance

After establishing an industry rep as the premier archival jazz label on the scene today through a string of previously unheard recordings by such jazz giants as Wes Montgomery, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Larry Young, and Stan Getz, Resonance Records has upped the ante with its recent issue of two deluxe packages by guitar great Grant Green. Funk in France is actually two recordings in one—The Round House: Live at la Maison de la Radio in Paris, recorded with Green’s working trio on October 26, 1969; and Haute Funk: Live at the Antibes Jazz Festival, which captured Green’s organ quartet …… Read the full article

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A Roon Primer

By | November 19th, 2018|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , , |

A Roon Primer

What Is Roon? Roon is a music playback and management software suite for digital audio components. There are many such products on the market, including iTunes and JRiver’s Media Center, but what makes Roon special is the unmatched comprehensiveness of its user interface and, believe it or not, its sound. This primer will cover some of the more salient features of Roon’s UI, as well as how to implement Roon in your system. I’ll also describe why and in what ways Roon affects a system’s sound.… Read the full article

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