Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul (1969) [MFSL 2003] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul (1969) [MFSL 2003]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 45:37 minutes | Scans included | 1,84 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 990 MB
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab # UDSACD 2005
Genre: R&B, Soul, Funk

Released at the tail end of the ’60s, Hot Buttered Soul set the precedent for how soul would evolve in the early ’70s, simultaneously establishing Isaac Hayes and the Bar-Kays as major forces within black music. Though not quite as definitive as Black Moses or as well-known as Shaft, Hot Buttered Soul remains an undeniably seminal record; it stretched its songs far beyond the traditional three-to-four-minute industry norm, featured long instrumental stretches where the Bar-Kays stole the spotlight, and it introduced a new, iconic persona for soul with Hayes’ tough yet sensual image. With the release of this album, Motown suddenly seemed manufactured and James Brown a bit too theatrical. Surprising many, the album features only four songs. The first, “Walk on By,” is an epic 12-minute moment of true perfection, its trademark string-laden intro just dripping with syrupy sentiment, and the thumping mid-tempo drum beat and accompanying bassline instilling a complementary sense of nasty funk to the song; if that isn’t enough to make it an amazing song, Hayes’ almost painful performance brings yet more feeling to the song, with the guitar’s heavy vibrato and the female background singers taking the song to even further heights. The following three songs aren’t quite as stunning but are still no doubt impressive: “Hyperbolicsyllabicsequedalymistic” trades in sappy sentiment for straight-ahead funk, highlighted by a stomping piano halfway through the song; “One Woman” is the least epic moment, clocking in at only five minutes, but stands as a straightforward, well-executed love ballad; and finally, there’s the infamous 18-minute “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and its lengthy monologue which slowly eases you toward the climactic, almost-orchestral finale, a beautiful way to end one of soul’s timeless, landmark albums, the album that transformed Hayes into a lifelong icon.

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Indigo Girls – Become You (2002) [2.0 & 5.1] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Indigo Girls – Become You (2002) [2.0 & 5.1]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 47:56 mins | Scans included | 3,08 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 976 MB
Genre: Alternative Rock

The Indigo Girls are an American folk rock music duo consisting of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers. Become You is their eighth studio album, released in 2002.

Indigo Girls’ eighth studio album, released 15 years after their first, finds the duo of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers in a sense starting over. Using their regular backup band of keyboardist Carol Isaacs, bassist Claire Kenny, and drummer Brady Blade, but only a couple of guest musicians — in contrast to albums that featured lots more players, many of them well known — and returning to producer Peter Collins, who worked with them on their second, fourth, and fifth albums, they have stripped down their approach to something approaching the folk-rock style with which they began. The restrained instrumentation and arrangements focus attention on the songs themselves, and Ray and Saliers, as usual writing separately and alternating tracks, have similar things to say. Eleven of the 12 songs are addressed by an “I” to a “you” (the exception, “She’s Saving Me,” might as well be), and for the most part they deal in romantic complications, with the “I” looking back on a past romance or detailing the difficulties that may lead to a breakup. In the opening track and first single, Ray’s “Moment of Forgiveness,” for example, the narrator notes that two years have gone by since her lover left and asks, hopelessly, “When are you gonna come home?” Ray is characteristically more raw in her singing and in her expression; she also provides the album’s musical contrasts, whether it’s the “Games People Play”-style Southern soul of “Moment of Forgiveness” or the Mexican tone of “Nuevas Senoritas.” Saliers is more abstract, titling one of her laments “Deconstruction” and, in “She’s Saving Me,” even offers a more positive statement. But it is Ray’s title track, in which a daughter of the South confronts the region’s reprehensible mythology — not a song of romance — that is the album’s most wrenching and powerful statement.

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Indigo Girls – All That We Let In (2004) [2.0 & 5.1] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Indigo Girls – All That We Let In (2004)
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 45:42 minutes | Scans included | 2,84 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 972 MB
Genre: Alternative Rock

Nearly 20 years on, and Indigo Girls are still spinning their dualistic tales of love, anger, and life. Over the years, the formula has had its bouts with rigidity — for a while there, it even threatened to reach obsolescence (think of the phoned-in late-’90s effort Shaming of the Sun). But Emily Saliers and Amy Ray did a wise thing with 2002′s Become You, returning to the threads of personal experience that had made their folk-rock tapestry so strong in the first place (and reducing their sound). All That We Let In continues Indigo Girls’ throwback arc, opting for just their longtime band with a few well-placed guests. (For example, pedal steel player Mark Van Allen and cellist David Henry make Saliers’ darkly searching “Come On Home” a particularly velvety moment.) All That We Let In has some fun before getting to the serious stuff, opening with a pair of strong tracks taking different routes to a rootsy hook. Carol Isaacs’ organ shines on the warm and inviting “Fill It Up Again,” which despite musing about getting dumped does so with the promise of refueling and hitting the open road. And despite it being the same old trick, darn it if it isn’t comforting to once again hear the intertwined yearn of Saliers and Ray’s harmonies. Ray’s “Heartache for Everyone” opts for a skipping ska off-beat, in its own way suggesting the 1986 Housemartins jingle “Happy Hour.” “Perfect World” is a well-crafted Indigo Girls single, broadcasting its message of universal hope with earthy lyrical allusions and tasteful touches of accordion and recorder. There are still demons in their world, which they take on with typical pluck. “Dairy Queen” deals again with relational drama, while “Tether” is live-wire raw with its Crazy Horse distortion and desperate foment. “Do we tether the hawk, do we tether the dove?” Ray and guest vocalist Joan Osborne wonder. A neighbor spits out his chaw. “We need a few less words dear,” he says. “We need a few more guns.” Like the best Indigo Girls work, All That We Let In continually dwells on the dynamic of internal, emotional tumult and outward-looking, world-wondering fervor. Its strongest example of this comes in the album’s twilight. As Saliers’ inner Joni Mitchell resurfaces for the heartening but bittersweet prodigal friendship number “Something Real,” Ray’s trademark activist fire smolders mournfully in “Cordova”‘s darkness. It’s the album’s truest stretch, and proves Indigo Girls haven’t lost a step even as they look back to their musical roots.

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Ike Quebec – It Might As Well Be Spring (1964) [Analogue Productions Remaster 2010] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Ike Quebec – It Might As Well Be Spring (1964) [APO Remaster 2010]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 Stereo > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 35:41 minutes | Scans included | 1,44 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 710 MB
Genre: Jazz

Working with the same quartet that cut Heavy Soul — organist Freddie Roach, bassist Milt Hinton and drummer Al Harewood — Ike Quebec recorded another winning hard bop album with It Might As Well Be Spring. In many ways, the record is a companion piece to Heavy Soul. Since the two albums were recorded so close together, it’s not surprising that there a number of stylistic similarities, but there are subtle differences to savor. The main distinction between the two dates is that It Might As Well Be Spring is a relaxed, romantic date comprised of standards. It provides Quebec with ample opportunity to showcase his rich, lyrical ballad style, and he shines throughout the album. Similarly, Roach has a tasteful, understated technique, whether he’s soloing or providing support for Quebec. The pair have a terrific, sympathetic interplay that makes It Might As Well Be Spring a joyous listen.

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Ike Quebec – Blue & Sentimental (1962) [Analogue Productions Remaster 2011] SACD-R

Ike Quebec – Blue & Sentimental (1962) [APO Remaster 2011]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 Stereo > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 50:29 minutes | Digital booklet | 2,03 GB | Genre: Jazz

Ike Quebec’s 1961-1962 comeback albums for Blue Note were all pretty rewarding, but Blue and Sentimental is his signature statement of the bunch, a superbly sensuous blend of lusty blues swagger and achingly romantic ballads. True, there’s no shortage of that on Quebec’s other Blue Note dates, but Blue and Sentimental is the most exquisitely perfected. Quebec was a master of mood and atmosphere, and the well-paced program here sustains his smoky, late-night magic with the greatest consistency of tone. Part of the reason is that Quebec’s caressing tenor sound is given a sparer backing than usual, with no pianist among the quartet of guitarist Grant Green, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones. It’s no surprise that Green solos with tremendous taste and elegance (the two also teamed up on Green’s similarly excellent Born to Be Blue), and there are plenty of open spaces in the ensemble for Quebec to shine through. His rendition of the Count Basie-associated title cut is a classic, and the other standard on the original LP, “Don’t Take Your Love from Me,” is in a similarly melancholy vein. Green contributes a classic-style blues in “Blues for Charlie,” and Quebec’s two originals, “Minor Impulse” and “Like,” have more complex chord changes but swing low and easy. Through it all, Quebec remains the quintessential seducer, striking just the right balance between sophistication and earthiness, confidence and vulnerability, joy and longing. It’s enough to make Blue and Sentimental a quiet, sorely underrated masterpiece.

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I Ching – Of The Marsh And The Moon (1996) [Reissue 2003] {2.0 & 5.1} {SACD-R + FLAC 24-96}

I Ching – Of The Marsh And The Moon (1996) [Reissue 2003] {2.0 & 5.1}
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 52:16 minutes | Artwork | 3,21 GB

I Ching – Of The Marsh And The Moon (1996) [2003 _HDTracks 24-96]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 52:18 minutes | 1,15 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: | Digital Booklet
Genre: World

Take three Chinese musicians schooled in the ancient art of traditional music making. A tradition that evokes images of romance and mystery. Add the futuristic, yet always musical sound of a synthesizer and apply state-of-the-art Chesky sonic technology. The result? I Ching: Of The Marsh and The Moon. This instrumental recording offers melodies that are at times distressingly beautiful, rhythmically driving and lushly melodic. Featuring Sisi Chen playing the Yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer), Tao Chen on Chinese flute and Bao Li on Erhu (two stringed Chinese fiddle) with the synthesizer of Joel Goodman, this is World music meeting New Age. This is I Ching.

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Hiromi Uehara – Spiral (2006) [2.0 & 5.1] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Hiromi – Spiral (2006) [2.0 & 5.1]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 65:18 mins | Scans included | 3,91 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,25 GB
Jazz / Post-Bop / Piano Jazz | Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Telarc # SACD-63631

Hiromi Uehara (上原ひろみ), known as Hiromi, is a jazz composer and pianist born in Hamamatsu, Japan. She is known for her virtuosic technique, energetic live performances and blend of musical genres such as post-bop, progressive rock, classical and fusion in her compositions.

With the release of Spiral, the award-winning pianist/composer Hiromi Uehara stands at the threshold of limitless possibility. Her third trio recording in as many years finds her in the familiar company of drummer Martin Valihora and bass player Tony Grey, but the CD itself goes beyond expectations. It features all original compositions, including the 28-minute”Music for a Three-Piece Orchestra,” a suite of four tracks — “Open Door/Tuning/Prologue,” “Déjà Vu,” “Reverse,” and “Edge” — that spotlight Hiromi’s formidable technique and impressive compositional skills. The suite was inspired by Hiromi’s desire to expand the sound of her trio into orchestral spaces and to give her listeners an intense listening experience. By contrast, the highly energetic “Return of Kung-Fu World Champion” captures the essence of the trio in a smaller, jazz-rock fusion format that kicks with the same excitement as a martial arts tournament. The title track “Spiral” alternates between improvisation and carefully crafted jazz elements, while the delicate comping chords heard on “Love and Laughter” are a sure indication of jazz giant Ahmad Jamal’s positive influence as a mentor. Both songs beautifully captivate and induce your imagination to spiral toward the trio’s interplay, flurry of notes, and aural qualities. Overall, Spiral exceeds the standards set by Hiromi’s previous releases, Another Mind and Brain, and should garner her a wider audience. [This Hybrid Disc edition features discreet, multi-channel surround in addition to both standard stereo and SACD-stereo playback].

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Hiromi – Hiromi’s Sonicbloom: Time Control (2007) [2.0 & 5.1] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Hiromi – Hiromi’s Sonicbloom: Time Control (2007)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 61:33 minutes | Scans included | 3,84 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 1,23 GB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Telarc # SACD-63665

Hiromi Uehara’s version of jazz is unique without being willfully strange — clearly deeply rooted in the straight-ahead jazz verities, she nevertheless writes with a distinctly postmodern sensibility, gleefully juxtaposing wildly disparate musical elements and infusing everything with a joyful energy. In fact, joyful energy is probably the most significant hallmark of her music; on her latest album, even her attempt at a ballad eventually winds up in swinging uptempo territory, and just about everything else either rushes headlong or rocks out strongly in midtempo. This is actually something of a concept album centered on the idea of time, the control of time, and the effects of time on humans. It opens with the frantic but lovely “Time Difference,” on which guest guitarist David “Fuze” Fiuczynski is given ample room to rock out, and then lapses into the slower, funkier, but no less energetic “Time Out” (an Uehara original, not the Dave Brubeck standard). “Time Travel” starts out strong but runs out of gas about halfway through its eight and a half minute length, but “Real Clock vs. Body Clock = Jet Lag” is a real hoot — a surf-rock theme that alternates with a barrelhouse barroom piano theme and then becomes an exercise in advanced guitar and synthesizer tonal insanity. One of the most interesting things about this album is the way that Fiuczynski’s tonal experimentation draws out a similar adventurousness in Uehara, to the extent that it’s sometimes hard to tell which of them is playing a solo. Several tracks on this album are several minutes too long, but overall it’s a real treat. You’ll be tired at the end, but it will be a good tired.

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Hiromi – Hiromi’s Sonicbloom: Beyond Standard (2008) [2.0 & 5.1] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Hiromi – Hiromi’s Sonicbloom: Beyond Standard (2008)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 59:31 minutes | Scans included | 3,84 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 1,26 GB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Telarc # SACD-63686

After four Telarc albums dedicated to original material, keyboardist Hiromi Uehara and her talented Sonicbloom trio tackle that most treasured of jazz traditions, the standard. Only 27 when this was recorded in 2008, her song choices and execution are less orthodox than other jazz artists’, hence the album’s intriguing title. The pops and clicks of an old vinyl record intro the proceedings, which officially kick off with a smooth rendition of Oscar Hammerstein’s “Softly As in a Morning Sunrise.” While it’s not unrecognizable from the original, bassist Tony Grey quickly steers into a solo that shifts the approach to improvisation and fusion-tinged waters, followed by Hiromi and guitarist David Fiuczynski trading licks. Ultimately the melody becomes obscured by the magnificent playing, as is typical of the jazz approach to interpretations. Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” is handled in a more traditional swinging style that soon shifts into slightly experimental territory with a hyperactive take on the Duke Ellington chestnut “Caravan.” Again Fiuczynski’s nimble guitar commands attention, twisting notes, playing with time and driving the arrangement, with Hiromi’s acoustic piano coming in later as the nearly nine-minute performance winds through its changes. Hiromi’s flying fingers and percussive attack are matched by Martin Valihora’s lively drum work. Some song choices are more unusual, with a funky “Sukiyaki” (listed by its original Japanese title “Ue Wo Muite Aruko”), Hiromi covering herself on “XYG” (the original “XYZ” substitutes “G” for added guitar) and Jeff Beck’s “Led Boots,” where Hiromi pulls out the synths and electric piano and plunges into full bore electrified fusion. She pays tribute to John Coltrane with “My Favorite Things” as she and the band slide and sidestep around the chorus and chords. She closes the hour-long disc with a solo “I’ve Got Rhythm,” which features her hyperventilating speedy runs. It’s a classy, impressive set that displays Hiromi’s obvious talents on keyboards, but also her commendable ability to integrate solos into the band format without losing the thread of the original song’s structure. Co-billing her talented Sonicbloom musicians is well earned, since they are nearly as much a part of this album’s success as its star.

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Hiromi Uehara – Brain (2004) [2.0 & 5.1] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Hiromi – Brain (2004) [2.0 & 5.1]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 61:00 mins | Scans included | 3,75 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,2 GB
Jazz / Post-Bop / Piano Jazz | Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Telarc # SACD-63600

Hiromi Uehara (上原ひろみ), known as Hiromi, is a jazz composer and pianist born in Hamamatsu, Japan. She is known for her virtuosic technique, energetic live performances and blend of musical genres such as post-bop, progressive rock, classical and fusion in her compositions.

Japanese pianist and composer Hiromi Uehara dazzled the jazz world with her 2003 debut, Another Mind. Its mash of keyboard pyrotechnics and range of compositional styles was multiplied exponentially by her irrepressible energy. On that set she used variously sized ensembles to articulate her compositions. On Brain, Hiromi strips it back to a trio and offers a more intimate look at her wide musical universe, utilizing drummer Martin Valihora, bassist Tony Grey (both fellow Berklee College of Music alums), and alternately bassist Anthony Jackson. The album opens with the wacky “Kung-Fu World Champion” with its mélange of sequenced keyboards. It’s a fusion tune to be sure, but it’s so kooky and funky that it transcends the label despite its reliance on staggering time signatures and stop-on-air turnarounds and changes. It’s a careening tour de force where electronic keyboards and pianos are layered over a scattershot rhythm that pulls and pushes the deep pocket funk and strafes it with a post-bop sensibility. Grey’s bassing here is so choice, so utterly fluid and physical. But it’s back to jazz on “If…” with Jackson taking the bass chair. It’s a strolling soul-jazz figure, bubbling over a series of chromatically arranged ostinati. Its beauty is crystalline despite all the activity. “Wind Song” is a mid-tempo ballad with beautiful ringing lines in the middle register. Its repetitive figure shifts and shapes an alternate melodic line in the solo. The knottiness of the title track offers a close, scrutinizing view of Hiromi’s mad muse; using her piano to articulate a figure she creates a warped and angular counterpoint with electronic keyboards keeping the rhythm section striating in between, with precise interstitial motifs before the entire cut gives way to a blessed out of minor key prelude on the piano and her rhythm section dancing around the changes in hushed tones. The centerpiece of the set is a stunningly beautiful tune called “Green Tea Farm.” A solo piece, it is pastoral. In sum, Hiromi has built upon her previous effort by stripping down her band and showcasing the less physical but no less ambitious side of her improvisational and compositional flair. Her sound might still be confounding to the purists, but who cares? Hiromi is a jazz pianist for the new century, one whose “yes” to the wealth of musical styles that are available to her is only eclipsed by her ability to work them into a unique whole that bears her signature.

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