Stan Getz, Charlie Byrd – Jazz Samba (1962/2014) [HDTracks 24-192]

Stan Getz / Charlie Byrd – Jazz Samba (1962/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 35:15 minutes | 1,39 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Digital booklet | Source: HDTracks

Jazz Samba was the first major bossa-nova album on the American jazz scene. It was the beginning of bossa-nova excitement in America, which climxed in the mid-1960s. The album was very strongly inspired and designed by the guitarist Charlie Byrd. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2010.

Partly because of its Brazilian collaborators and partly because of “The Girl From Ipanema,” Getz/Gilberto is nearly always acknowledged as the Stan Getz bossa nova LP. But Jazz Samba is just as crucial and groundbreaking; after all, it came first, and in fact was the first full-fledged bossa nova album ever recorded by American jazz musicians. And it was just as commercially successful, topping the LP charts and producing its own pop chart hit single in “Desafinado.” It was the true beginning of the bossa nova craze, and introduced several standards of the genre (including Ary Barroso’s “Bahia” and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Desafinado” and “Samba de Uma Nota Só” [aka “One Note Samba”]). But above all, Jazz Samba stands on its own artistic merit as a shimmering, graceful collection that’s as subtly advanced — in harmony and rhythm — as it is beautiful. Getz and his co-billed partner, guitarist Charlie Byrd — who was actually responsible for bringing bossa nova records to the U.S. and introducing Getz to the style — have the perfect touch for bossa nova’s delicate, airy texture. For his part, Byrd was one of the first American musicians to master bossa nova’s difficult, bubbling syncopations, and his solos are light and lilting. Meanwhile, Getz’s playing is superb, simultaneously offering a warm, full tone and a cool control of dynamics; plus, Byrd’s gently off-kilter harmonies seem to stimulate Getz’s melodic inventiveness even more than usual. But beyond technique, Getz intuitively understands the romanticism and the undercurrent of melancholy inherent in the music, and that’s what really made Jazz Samba such a revelatory classic. Absolutely essential for any jazz collection.

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Stan Getz, Laurindo Almeida – Stan Getz with Guest Artist Laurindo Almeida (1963/2014) [ProStudioMasters 24-192]

Stan Getz with Guest Artist Laurindo Almeida (1963/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 32:13 minutes | 1,29 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover | Source: ProStudioMasters

Stan Getz With Guest Artist Laurindo Almeida is an album by American saxophonist Stan Getz and guitarist Laurindo Almeida, recorded in 1963 and originally issued on Verve as V/V6-8665.

Three weeks after completing his meeting with Luiz Bonfá and only two days after the epochal Getz/Gilberto sessions, Stan Getz was back in the studio recording more bossa nova. Producer Creed Taylor was obviously striking while the iron was hot, getting in as many Brazilian sessions as he could, yet the quality of the music-making remained consistently marvelous. Continuing his practice of running through one star guitarist after another, this time Getz has Laurindo Almeida as the designated rhythm man, featured composer, and solo foil. The rhythm section is an authentically swinging mixture of American sidemen (including Steve Kuhn on piano and George Duvivier on bass) and Brazilian percussionists. Almeida didn’t like to improvise, so his solos stay close to the tunes, inflected with a perfectly matched feeling for the groove along with classical poise. Jobim’s “Outra Vez” is a particularly lovely example of Getz’s freedom and effortless lyricism contrasted against Almeida’s anchored embroidering. Sessions like these might have been seen as cashing in on the boom at the time, yet in the long view, one should be thankful that these musicians were recording so much cherishable material.

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Stan Getz & Luiz Bonfa – Jazz Samba Encore! (1963/2014) [Acoustic Sounds 24-192]

Stan Getz & Luiz Bonfá – Jazz Samba Encore! (1963/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 43:47 minutes | 1,78 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

When Stan Getz and Luiz Bonfa surprised the Americans with their first samba recording they did not imagine that this was to be their biggest success together. With such titles such as “Desafinado” and “One Note Samba”, Brazilian pop music stormed the borders. So popular was the music that voices cried for more – and the VERVE producers satisfied the fans with Jazz Samba Encore. The music contained in this album delved somewhat deeper into the heart of Brazilian melodies. Bonfa and Jobim, the composers and famous guitarists, picked up their instruments and both they and their soloists, – Maria Toledo in particular proves herself a maestra of her country’s music -, proceeded to delight their fans with their seemingly effortless music-making. Although he was not Brazilian and only later became a samba expert, Stan Getz fits amazingly well into this ensemble. His full tenor voice even in the upper regions and his rippling legato are wholly characteristic of his art. A delightful sound and natural rhythm – above all, rhythm! – make this record a “must” for every party.

Here’s some more bossa nova from Stan Getz when the bloom was still on the first Brazilian boom. This time, however, on his third such album, Getz relies mostly upon native Brazilians for his backing. Thus, the soft-focused grooves are considerably more attuned to what was actually coming out of Brazil at the time. Two bona fide giants, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfá (who gets co-billing), provide the guitars and all of the material, and Maria Toledo contributes an occasional throaty vocal. Getz injects more high-wailing passages into his intuitive affinity for the groove, even going for some fast bop on “Un Abraco No Getz,” and Bonfá takes adept care of the guitar solos against Jobim’s rock-steady rhythm. Clearly Jobim’s songwriting contributions — “So Danco Samba,” “How Insensitive,” and “O Morro Nao Tem Vez” — would have the longest shelf life, and though the album didn’t sell as well as its two predecessors, it certainly helped break these tunes into the permanent jazz repertoire. Avid bossa nova fans will certainly treasure this album for the lesser-known Bonfá tunes.

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Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto – Getz,Gilberto #2 (1964/2014) [Acoustic Sounds 24-192]

Stan Getz & João Gilberto – Getz/Gilberto #2 (1964/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 34:59 minutes | 1,39 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

This live follow-up to the surprise blockbuster Getz/Gilberto was inevitable. Interestingly, the original LP release of the October 1964 Carnegie Hall concert focused on separate sets by Getz’s quartet (featuring vibist Gary Burton) and Gilberto’s trio: each is as meditative and sweetly melancholic as you’d expect.

Justifiably overshadowed by the peerless Getz/Gilberto album (which featured “Girl from Ipanema”) from a year before, Getz/Gilberto #2 still holds its own with an appealing selection of fine jazz and bossa nova cuts. Unlike the first album’s seamless collaboration by Getz, João Gilberto, Astrud Gilberto, and Antonio Carlos Jobim, here Getz and João Gilberto turn in separate sets recorded live at Carnegie Hall in October of 1964. Backed by a stellar quartet comprised of vibraphonist Gary Burton, bassist Gene Cherico, and drummer Joe Hunt, Getz turns in a sparkling performances on the seldom covered ballad “Tonight I’ll Shall Sleep with a Smile on My Face,” while stretching out nicely on his original blues swinger “Stan’s Blues.” With the support of bassist Keeter Betts and drummer Helcio Milito, Gilberto displays his subtle vocal and guitar talents on a set of bossa nova favorites, including his own “Bim Bom” and Jobim’s “Meditation.” An appealing title amongst Getz’s many bossa nova outings, but not an essential one. Newcomers should definitely start with the Getz/Gilberto album before checking this one out.

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Stan Getz & Gary McFarland – Big Band Bossa Nova (1962/2014) [Acoustic Sounds 24-192]

Stan Getz & Gary McFarland – Big Band Bossa Nova (1962/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 33:43 minutes | 1,47 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover | Source: Acoustic Sounds

Big Band Bossa Nova is a 1962 album by saxophonist Stan Getz with the Gary McFarland Orchestra. The album was arranged and conducted by Gary McFarland and produced by Creed Taylor for Verve Records. Bossa nova means ‘new wave’ or ‘new trend’, and this album rode that wave, making No. 13 on the Billboard album chart in 1963 in the wake of the success of Jazz Samba (1962) and prior to the release of Getz/Gilberto (1964). Sandwiched as it is between the two classic albums of the era, it sometimes gets unfairly overlooked. The piano playing of Hank Jones is particularly good while Jim Hall plays acoustic guitar in the Charlie Byrd role. Four of the tracks are written by the arranger Gary McFarland, while the other tracks come from the Brazil’s Jobim, Gilberto and Bonfa; Getz recorded Jazz Samba Encore with Jobim and Bonfa a few months later in February 1963.

Fresh from the sudden success of Jazz Samba and “Desafinado,” Stan Getz asked the 28-year-old, strikingly gifted Gary McFarland to arrange a bossa nova album for big band as a follow-up. Getz is always his debonair, wistful, freely-floating self, completely at home in the Brazilian idiom that he’d adopted only a few months before. McFarland usually keeps things nice and spare (although “One Note Samba” is uncharacteristically cluttered and a bit too discordant for the material), letting his pungent voicings stab the air now and then, while allowing the soloists all the room they want within the confines of producer Creed Taylor’s tight timings. Four of the eight songs are by McFarland (none of which would become standards), and Getz makes relaxed impressions with “Manha de Carnival” and “Chega de Saudade.” Jim Hall takes the role of acoustic guitarist from Charlie Byrd with his usual fluidity, and Hank Jones ruminates in a boppish way on piano. This album also charted quite respectably (number 13) in the first flush of the bossa nova boom.

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Soundgarden – Superunknown (1994) {Deluxe Edition 2014} [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Soundgarden – Superunknown (1994) [Deluxe Edition 2014]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 148:31 minutes | 2,52 GB | Genre:  Alternative Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover

The 20th anniversary of Superunknown is a global priority and the band is very involved in the reissue celebration. Deluxe anniversary products features never-before-released bonus material and demos. As far as products, there is something for everyone from the hardcore, super fan to the teen who is just discovering Soundgarden’s music.

In 2014 we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Soundgarden’s massive album Superunknown which to date has sold 9 million albums worldwide and is certified five times platinum by the RIAA in the US. Both a critical and commercial success, in 1994 Superunknown debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts and earned the band two Grammys® for the singles “Black Hole Sun” and “Spoonman” in 1995. As relevant today as they were in 1994, the multiplatinum-selling Soundgarden continues to be in the Top 10 most played artists on Active Rock radio and the band’s top 4 most played radio songs – accumulating over 1 million in total airplay and 4 billion in total audience to date – are all from this very beloved album: “Black Hole Sun,” “Fell on Black Days,” “Spoonman” and “The Day I Tried To Live.” In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked the album as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and the 100 Greatest Albums of the Nineties.

Soundgarden’s finest hour, Superunknown is a sprawling, 70-minute magnum opus that pushes beyond any previous boundaries. Soundgarden had always loved replicating Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath riffs, but Superunknown’s debt is more to mid-period Zep’s layered arrangements and sweeping epics. Their earlier punk influences are rarely detectable, replaced by surprisingly effective appropriations of pop and psychedelia. Badmotorfinger boasted more than its fair share of indelible riffs, but here the main hooks reside mostly in Chris Cornell’s vocals; accordingly, he’s mixed right up front, floating over the band instead of cutting through it. The rest of the production is just as crisp, with the band achieving a huge, robust sound that makes even the heaviest songs sound deceptively bright. But the most important reason Superunknown is such a rich listen is twofold: the band’s embrace of psychedelia, and their rapidly progressing mastery of songcraft. Soundgarden had always been a little mind-bending, but the full-on experiments with psychedelia give them a much wider sonic palette, paving the way for less metallic sounds and instruments, more detailed arrangements, and a bridge into pop (which made the eerie ballad “Black Hole Sun” an inescapable hit). That blossoming melodic skill is apparent on most of the record, not just the poppier songs and Cornell-penned hits; though a couple of drummer Matt Cameron’s contributions are pretty undistinguished, they’re easy to overlook, given the overall consistency. The focused songwriting allows the band to stretch material out for grander effect, without sinking into the pointlessly drawn-out muck that cluttered their early records. The dissonance and odd time signatures are still in force, though not as jarring or immediately obvious, which means that the album reveals more subtleties with each listen. It’s obvious that Superunknown was consciously styled as a masterwork, and it fulfills every ambition.

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Simon & Garfunkel – Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. (1964/2014) [Qobuz 24-192]

Simon & Garfunkel – Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. (1964/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 31:57 minutes | 1,18 GB  |  Genre:  Folk Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front Cover

The duo recorded their first album as Simon & Garfunkel in 1964, producing a record that sounds different from the music they released in later years. Between the release of Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. and their second album, Simon & Garfunkel would score a major folk-rock hit with The Sound Of Silence. This album includes the original acoustic version of that song, along with early signs of Paul Simon’s growing songwriting ability on favorites like “Sparrow” and “The Sounds of Silence”.

Wednesday Morning, 3 AM doesn’t resemble any other Simon & Garfunkel album, mostly because their sound here was fundamentally different from that of the chart-topping duo that emerged a year later. Their first record together since their days as the teen harmony duo Tom & Jerry, the album was cut in March 1964, at a time when both Simon and Garfunkel were under the spell of folk music. As it had in 1957 with “Hey, Schoolgirl,” their harmonizing here came out of the Everly Brothers’ playbook, but some new wrinkles had developed — Paul Simon was just spreading his wings as a serious songwriter and shares space with other contemporary composers. The album opens with a spirited (if somewhat arch) rendition of Gibson and Camp’s gospel/folk piece “You Can Tell the World,” on which the duo’s joyous harmonizing overcomes the intrinsic awkwardness of two Jewish guys from Queens, New York doing this repertory. Also present is Ian Campbell’s “The Sun Is Burning,” a topical song about nuclear annihilation that Simon heard on his first visit to England as an itinerant folksinger the year before. But the dominant outside personality on the album is that of Bob Dylan — his “Times They Are A-Changing” is covered, but his influence is obvious on the oldest of the Simon originals here, “He Was My Brother.” Simon’s first serious, topical song, dealing with the death of a freedom rider — and dedicated to Simon’s slain Queens College classmate Andrew Jacobs — it was what first interested Columbia Records producer Tom Wilson in Simon & Garfunkel. By the time the album was recorded, however, Simon had evolved beyond Dylan’s orbit and developed a unique songwriting voice of his own, though he still had some distance to go. His other originals betray the artifice of an English major at work, sometimes for better, as on “Sparrow” and the original, all-acoustic release of “The Sound of Silence,” and at times for worse, on the half-beautiful but too-precious title song (which he would re-write more successfully as “Somewhere They Can’t Find Me”). There are also a pair of traditional songs, a beautifully harmonized rendition of “Peggy-O” — which they probably picked up in Greenwich Village, or from recordings by Dylan or Joan Baez — and “Go Tell It On the Mountain,” both of which fit well into the zeitgeist of the folk revival. The record didn’t sell on its original release, however, appearing too late in the folk revival to attract much attention — Bob Dylan was already taking that audience to new places by adding electric instruments to his sound. But the seeds of the duo’s future success were planted when, months after the album had been given up for dead — and the duo had split up — the all-acoustic rendition of “The Sound of Silence” started getting radio play on its own in some key markets, which possessed to producer Wilson to try and adapt it to the new sound, overdubbing an electric band.

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Simon & Garfunkel – The Concert In Central Park (1982/2014) [HDTracks 24-192]

Simon & Garfunkel – The Concert In Central Park (1982/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 68:04 minutes | 2,68 GB | Genre: Folk Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front Cover | Source: HDTracks

Recorded at a benefit concert in Central Park, New York City in 1981, The Concert in Central Park was a live album by Simon & Garfunkel. The concert showcased hit songs from their career as a duo, as well as music from their solo careers as well.

Simon & Garfunkel reunited on September 19, 1981, to perform a free concert in Central Park, New York City. This two-record set presents some of the duo’s biggest hits in a live context, and also allows listeners a chance to hear what many Simon solo numbers could sound like in S&G mode.

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Simon & Garfunkel – Sounds Of Silence (1966/2014) [Qobuz 24-192]

Simon & Garfunkel – Sounds Of Silence (1966/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 29:62 minutes | 1,07 GB | Genre:  Folk Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front Cover

Following the success of The Sound Of Silence, which was transformed into a folk-rock hit, Simon & Garfunkel returned to the studio in 1965 to record their second album. Sounds Of Silence includes the title track as well as other songs that have stood the test of time, including: “I Am a Rock”, “Richard Cory” and “Anji”. The record peaked at number 13 on the UK albums chart and 21 on the US charts in 1966.

Simon & Garfunkel’s second album, Sounds of Silence, was recorded 18 months after their debut long-player, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM — but even though the two albums shared one song (actually, one-and-a-half songs) in common, the sound here seemed a million miles away from the gentle harmonizing and unassuming acoustic accompaniment on the first record. In between, there had been a minor earthquake in the pop/rock world called “folk-rock,” which resulted in the transformation of their acoustic rendition of “The Sound of Silence” into a classic of the new genre, complete with jangling electric guitars and an amplified beat that helped carry it to the top of the charts. The duo hastily re-formed, Paul Simon returning from an extended stay in England with a large song bag (part of which he had already committed to vinyl, on his U.K. album The Paul Simon Songbook). Simon & Garfunkel rushed into the studio in the fall of 1965 to come up with a folk-rock album in a hurry: fortunately, they’d already recorded two sides, “Somewhere They Can’t Find Me” (actually, Simon’s rewrite of their first album‘s title track) and “We’ve Got a Groovey Thing Goin’,” both featuring a band accompaniment. Davy Graham’s bluesy “Anji,” a rare instrumental outing by Simon, filled another slot, and “Richard Cory” filled another. The latter, Simon’s adaptation of poet Edwin Arlington Robinson‘s work, was a sincere effort at relevance — Richard Cory has every material thing a man could want but still takes his own life, a hint at one aspect of middle-class teenaged angst of the mid-’60s; high school English teachers were still using it to motivate students in the ’70s. Though a rushed effort, this was a far stronger album than their debut, mostly thanks to Simon’s compositions; indeed, in one fell swoop, the world learned not only of the existence of a superb song-poet in Paul Simon, but, in Simon’s harmonizing with Art Garfunkel, the finest singing duo since the Everly Brothers. But it also had flaws, some of which only became fully apparent as their audience matured: the snide, youthful sensibilities of “I Am a Rock” and “Blessed” haven’t aged well. And the musical concessions, on those tracks and “Richard Cory,” to folk-rock amplification have also worn poorly; even in 1966, the electric guitars, piano, organ, and drums, sounded awkward in context with the duo’s singing, like something grafted on, though in fairness, those sounds did sell the album. The parts that work best, “Kathy’s Song” and “April Come She Will,” two of the most personal songs in Simon’s output, were similar to the stripped-down originals Simon had cut solo in England, and among the most affecting (as opposed to affected) folk-style records of their era; similarly, Simon’s rendition of the folk-blues instrumental “Anji” is close to composer Davy Graham’s original, just recorded hotter, while “Leaves That Are Green” is pleasantly if unobtrusively ornamented with electric harpsichord, rhythm guitar, and bass. –Bruce Eder

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Simon & Garfunkel – Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme (1966/2014) [Qobuz 24-192]

Simon & Garfunkel – Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme (1966/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 28:47 minutes | 1,08 GB  |  Genre:  Folk Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front Cover | Source: Qobuz

After the release of Sounds Of Silence, Simon & Garfunkel spent more time developing their next album. The result was Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, a music masterpiece. On “Scarborough Fair/Canticle,” the duo used vocal overdubs and instrumentation to weave together a traditional song and anti-war protest to stunning effect. The album also includes classics like “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy),” “Cloudy,” “Homeward Bound,” and “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her.” Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme reached number 4 on the US Billboard 200 chart in 1966.

Simon & Garfunkel’s first masterpiece, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme was also the first album on which the duo, in tandem with engineer Roy Halee, exerted total control from beginning to end, right down to the mixing, and it is an achievement akin to the Beatles’ Revolver or the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album, and just as personal and pointed as either of those records at their respective bests. After the frantic rush to put together an LP in just three weeks that characterized the Sounds of Silence album early in 1966, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme came together over a longer gestation period of about three months, an uncommonly extended period of recording in those days, but it gave the duo a chance to develop and shape the songs the way they wanted them. The album opens with one of the last vestiges of Paul Simon’s stay in England, “Scarborough Fair/Canticle” — the latter was the duo’s adaptation of a centuries-old English folk song in an arrangement that Simon had learned from Martin Carthy. The two transformed the song into a daunting achievement in the studio, however, incorporating myriad vocal overdubs and utilizing a harpsichord, among other instruments, to embellish it, and also wove into its structure Simon’s “The Side of a Hill,” a gentle antiwar song that he had previously recorded on The Paul Simon Songbook in England. The sonic results were startling on their face, a record that was every bit as challenging in its way as “Good Vibrations,” but the subliminal effect was even more profound, mixing a hauntingly beautiful antique melody, and a song about love in a peaceful, domestic setting, with a message about war and death; Simon & Garfunkel were never as political as, say, Peter, Paul & Mary or Joan Baez, but on this record they did bring the Vietnam war home.

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