Claire Martin – Perfect Alibi (2000) [Reissue 2008] {2.0 & 5.1} {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Claire Martin – Perfect Alibi (2000) [Reissue 2008] {2.0 & 5.1}
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 48:08 minutes | Scans included | 2,89 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 939 MB
Genre: Jazz, Pop

With 1998′s Take My Heart, Claire Martin made the transition from jazz to pop, and the British singer continues in a pop-oriented direction on Perfect Alibi. Even if you have a very liberal definition of jazz, this late-1999/early-2000 recording shouldn’t be considered jazz; Perfect Alibi is a pop album, although it’s a pop album with jazz, R&B, and rock references. Not surprisingly, many of England’s jazz enthusiasts are critical of Martin’s pop albums, she was among the most exciting and interesting young jazz vocalists of the 1990s, and they were sorry to see a talented improviser steering clear of improvisation. But from a pop standpoint, Perfect Alibi has a lot going for it. Martin doesn’t improvise on this album, although her performances of Jimi Hendrix’s “Up From the Skies,” the Rascals’ “How Can I Be Sure?,” and other rock and pop songs do have a personal quality. The jazz-oriented Martin of The Waiting Game and Old Boyfriends would have found a way to turn the Stylistics’ “People Make the World Go Round,” Al Kooper’s “More Than You’ll Ever Know,” and Todd Rundgren’s “Wailing Wall” into improvisatory cool jazz. The pop-oriented Martin of Perfect Alibi, however, personalizes those familiar songs without getting into improvisation. As far as Martin’s pop output goes, Take My Heart is a slightly stronger album. But Perfect Alibi is generally likable, although the jazz lovers of 1999 and 2000 hoped that she would get back to recording jazz.

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Candido & Graciela – Inolvidable (2004) [Reissue 2005] {2.0 & 5.1} {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Candido & Graciela – Inolvidable (2004) [Reissue 2005]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 55:50 minutes | Scans included | 2,54 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 1,14 GB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Chesky Records # SACD297
Genre: Jazz

In Spanish, the word “inolvidable” means “unforgettable.” A title as lofty as Inolvidable would, in many cases, be an example of excessive hype, but when the artists in question are percussionist Candido Camero and singer Graciela Perez, the word “unforgettable” is definitely appropriate — their contributions to Afro-Cuban jazz music are exactly that. Camero and Perez go back a long way; they first met in the ’40s, when Perez was a featured vocalist for Machito’s band (a gig that lasted into the ’70s). Perez retired from performing in 1993, but Camero managed to lure her back into the studio for this 2004 release. Both of them were octogenarians when Inolvidable came out; Camero was 82, while Perez was 88. Produced by Nelson Gonzalez and David Chesky (with Charles Carlini serving as associate producer), Inolvidable finds Camero and Perez turning their attention to classic Latin gems like “Cesar Portillo de la Luz,” “Tu Mi Delirio” and Rafael Hernandez’ “Desvelo” — and the octogenarians happily recreate the spirit of jazz-influenced Afro-Cuban dance music as it sounded in the ’40s and ’50s (but with the digital technology of the 21st century). Despite Perez’ physical limitations — she has been plagued by debilitating arthritis — the veteran singer brings a great deal of enthusiasm to this project. And for 88, Perez still sounds surprisingly good; she doesn’t have the vocal stamina of her youth, but she gets her points across nonetheless — and being reunited with Camero seems to really inspire her on the album’s up-tempo selections as well as romantic boleros such as Hernandez’ “Amor Ciego,” and Arsenio Rodriguez’ “La Vida Es Un Sueño.” For Afro-Cuban enthusiasts, a Camero/Perez reunion is truly an historic event — one that yields consistently enjoyable results on Inolvidable.

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Caetano Veloso – A Foreign Sound (2004) [2.0 & 5.1] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Caetano Veloso – A Foreign Sound (2004) [2.0 & 5.1]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 79:09 minutes | Scans included | 4,39 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 1,56 GB
Genre: Vocal

When an international artist records an English-language album, crossover is usually in the cards. For Caetano Veloso, however, it’s an entirely different matter. The statesman of Brazilian pop, a musical giant who is on track to record more in his fifth decade of artistic striving than in any other (not to mention his accompanying exploits in literature), Veloso has no need to begin an American campaign. He also has shown no wish to. Caetano Veloso has never courted an American audience, though he has drawn a sizeable one because of his prescient, emotionally charged songwriting and a performance style that can be studied or unhinged depending on the circumstances required. A Foreign Sound is not only an English-language album but an American songbook, one that explores Veloso’s long fascination with the greatest composers in American history. It began when he was a child in the ’40s and ’50s enamored of American culture, was strengthened when his hero João Gilberto began championing the great American songbook, and has remained steady if not continuous through his artistic career. The record is perhaps his most ambitious project ever, a 22-song album that ranges for its material from emperors of Broadway to the denizens of folk music, from the cultured (Rodgers & Hart’s “Manhattan”) to the torchy (Jerome Kern’s “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”) to the gritty (Nirvana’s “Come as You Are”). Veloso’s high tenor has only strengthened 30 years after his other English-language record — an eponymous 1971 LP, recorded in London as a forlorn postcard to the country he had been forcibly removed from by Brazil’s fascist-leaning government. Although few recordings in his discography (or any other’s) can rival that one’s emotional power, A Foreign Sound comes very close. Veloso transforms these standards by a clever combination of his subtle interpretive gifts, his precise, literate delivery, and his ability to frame each song with an arrangement that fits perfectly (usually either a small group led by his acoustic guitar or a small string group, though “Love for Sale” is given a spine-tingling a cappella treatment). Out of 22 songs, only Bob Dylan’s “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” sounds like a mistake; every other performance here is nearly irresistible, the perfect valentine to a country with a strong songwriting tradition that Veloso unites and celebrates with this album.

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Branko – My World Electric (2005) [2.0 & 5.1] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Branko – My World Electric (2005) [2.0 & 5.1]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 43:11 minutes | Scans included | 2,91 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 965 MB
- Heavy pop rock with lots of electronic soundscapes. Branko blends the electric 80′s with the grungy 90′s.

Welcome to the electric world of BRANKO: a new band with a fresh sound and a clear focus on the good old craftsmanship of writing pop songs with a twist. However new…..? The pop-rockers of Branko have all individually left their tracks in rock ‘n roll land, and now they have joined forces……
Branko was conceived by lead singer and producer Jacko Kreukniet. Together with soul mate Ben Franswa, also a former band member in the promising group Spitball, he worked on Branko’s debut album for two long years. Already in an early stage Branko was adopted by producer, mentor and former Urban Dance Squad drummer Michel Schoots, who clearly recognised and sponsored the potential of their music and even ended up drumming on the album. During the recording process old friends Marcel Singor (guitars) and Ivar Pijper (keys) added their essential flavours to the album and later on joined the band. Bas Hebing (drums) was the last member to join and very eagerly took the offered drum seat.
Supported by some very important ‘behind the scenes’ members of the rapid growing Branko-family, the band managed to produce an album with a true LP-vibe. Twelve strong songs under the title ‘My World Electric’, each with their own particular character but yet forming an unmistakable coherence. At the end of the album making process, Jacko travelled to Los Angeles to team up with a one of the newest members to join the Branko-family: mixing engineer Brad Gilderman. This celebrated technician, who already worked with US artists like Outkast, Brian Wilson en Tom Petty, mixed the album in his Little Big Room Studio and did a great job….. Besides being a huge fan of the band and a terrific person to work with, Brad definitely contributed to the genuine album feel and added a competitive and professional sound.

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Bob Barnard & The Swedish Jazz Kings – A Tribute To Young Louis (2002) [2.0 & 4.0] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Bob Barnard & The Swedish Jazz Kings – A Tribute To Young Louis (2002)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 4.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 60:52 minutes | Scans included | 4,27 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,32 GB
Genre: Jazz

The Swedish Jazz Kings third Opus 3 release is a swinging tribute to Louis Armstrong. Concentrating on a period when Louis was revolutionizing the shape of jazz music, this album contains many tunes from Armstrong’s early repertoire. The sound, as captured by the talented Opus 3 engineers, is even more stunning on SACD. Highly Recommended.

Opus 3 presents The Swedish Jazz Kings’ 3rd album for the label. This time around The Kings are joined by 1 of the world’s foremost interpreters of Louis Armstrong’s music – Australia’s jazz star & cornet player, Bob Barnard. The majority of tracks feature yet another jazz giant, English trombone player Roy Williams. There is surely no band more qualified than The Swedish Jazz Kings to do just this, they have after all, devoted a large portion of their musical lives to the preservation & portrayal of Louis’ music! As the title suggests, the main emphasis on this album is on Louis Armstrong’s early music, the time at which many consider him to have been at his creative peak.

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Billie Holiday – Songs For Distingue Lovers (1957) [Analogue Productions 2012] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Billie Holiday – Songs For Distingué Lovers (1957) [Analogue Productions 2012]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 33:02 minutes | Scans included | 1,4 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 714 MB
Genre: Jazz

Songs for Distingué Lovers forms part of the last series of extensive small-group recordings that Lady Day would make in the studio. Although her voice was largely shot at this point, she puts so much feeling into the lyrics that it’s easy to overlook her dark sound. The band is a major asset, and made up of all-stars: trumpeter Harry “Sweets” Edison, tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, pianist Jimmie Rowles, guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Red Mitchell, and Alvin Stoller or Larry Bunker on drums. There are plenty of short solos for Edison, Webster, and Kessel. Holiday does her best on such numbers as “A Foggy Day,” “One for My Baby,” “Just One of Those Things,” and “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” and there are plenty of haunting moments, even if one could tell (even at the time) that the end was probably drawing near for the singer.

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Billie Holiday – Lady In Satin (1958) [Reissue 1999] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Billie Holiday – Lady In Satin (1958) [Reissue 1999]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 65:27 minutes | No Scans | 2,65 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | No Scans | 1,24 GB
Genre: Jazz

This is the most controversial of all Billie Holiday records. Lady Day herself said that this session (which finds her accompanied by Ray Ellis’ string orchestra) was her personal favorite, and many listeners have found her emotional versions of such songs as “I’m a Fool to Want You,” “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” “Glad to Be Unhappy,” and particularly “You’ve Changed” to be quite touching. But Holiday’s voice was essentially gone by 1958, and although not yet 43, she could have passed for 73. Ellis’ arrangements do not help, veering close to Muzak; most of this record is very difficult to listen to. Late in life, Holiday expressed the pain of life so effectively that her croaking voice had become almost unbearable to hear. There is certainly a wide range of opinion as to the value of this set. [Some reissues add two alternate takes of “I’m a Fool to Want You,” part of which were used for the original released rendition, plus the stereo version of “The End of a Love Affair” (only previously released in mono) and examples of Lady Day rehearsing the latter song, including a long unaccompanied stretch.

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Billie Holiday – Lady In Satin (1958) [Reissue 2002] {2.0 & 5.1} SACD-R

Billie Holiday – Lady In Satin (1958) [Reissue 2002] {2.0 & 5.1}
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 & DST64 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 40:14 mins | No Art | 3,97 GB
Genre: Jazz

This is the most controversial of all Billie Holiday records. Lady Day herself said that this session (which finds her accompanied by Ray Ellis’ string orchestra) was her personal favorite, and many listeners have found her emotional versions of such songs as “I’m a Fool to Want You,” “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” “Glad to Be Unhappy,” and particularly “You’ve Changed” to be quite touching. But Holiday’s voice was essentially gone by 1958, and although not yet 43, she could have passed for 73. Ellis’ arrangements do not help, veering close to Muzak; most of this record is very difficult to listen to. Late in life, Holiday expressed the pain of life so effectively that her croaking voice had become almost unbearable to hear. There is certainly a wide range of opinion as to the value of this set.

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Bill Evans – Interplay (1962) [Japanese Limited SHM-SACD 2011 # UCGO-9018] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Bill Evans – Interplay (1962) [Japanese Limited SHM-SACD 2011 # UCGO-9018]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 38:59 minutes | Scans included | 1,63 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 878 MB
Genre: Jazz

Interplay stands as some of Bill Evans’ most enigmatic and unusual music in makeup as well as execution. It was recorded in July 1962 with a very young Freddie Hubbard from the Jazz Messengers, guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Philly Joe Jones performing five veteran standards. Evans has a more blues-based approach to playing: harder, edgier, and in full flow, fueled in no small part by Hall, who is at his very best here, swinging hard whether it be a ballad or an uptempo number. Hubbard’s playing, on the other hand, was never so restrained as it was here. Using a mute most of the time, his lyricism is revealed to jazz listeners for the first time — with Art Blakey it was a blistering attack of hard bop aggression. On this program of standards, however, Hubbard slips into them quite naturally without the burden of history — check his reading and improvisation on “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Ironically, it’s on the sole original, the title track, where the band in all its restrained, swinging power can be best heard, though the rest is striking finger-popping hard bop jazz, with stellar crystalline beauty in the ballads.

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Babatunde Olatunji – Drums of Passion (1960) [REISSUE 2002] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Babatunde Olatunji – Drums of Passion (1960)
SACD ISO (2.0/MCH): 3,75 GB | 24B/88,2kHz Stereo FLAC: 874 MB | Full Artwork
Label/Cat#: Columbia Legacy # CS 66011 | Country/Year: US 2002 | 3% Recovery Info
Genre: Folk, World | Style: African, Drum

Review by Stephen Cook
Having come to the U.S. from his native Nigeria to study medicine, percussionist Babatunde Olatunji eventually became one of the first African music stars in the States. He also soon counted jazz heavyweights like John Coltrane (“Tunji”) and Dizzy Gillespie among his admirers (Gillespie had, a decade earlier, also courted many Cuban music stars via his trailblazing Latin jazz recordings). And, in spite of it being viewed by some as a symbol of African chic, Drums of Passion is still a substantial record thanks to Olatunji’s complex and raw drumming. Along with a cadre of backup singers and two other percussionists, Olatunji works through eight traditional drum and chorus cuts originally used to celebrate a variety of things in Nigeria: “Akiwowo” and “Shango” are chants to a train conductor and the God of Thunder, respectively, while “Baba Jinde” is a celebration of the dance of flirtation and “Odun De! Odun De!” serves as a New Year’s greeting. The choruses do sound a bit overwrought and even too slick at times (partly due to the fact that most of the singers are not African), but thankfully the drumming is never less than engaging. The many curious world music fans who are likely to check this album out should also be sure to look into even better African drumming by native groups like the Drummers of Burundi and the percussion outfits featured on various field recordings. [The 2002 CD reissue on Columbia/Legacy adds the track "Menu Di Ye Jewe (Who Is This?)", which was recorded at one of the 1959 sessions for the album, but was previously unissued in the US.] allmusicguide

I “grew up” with this recording and remember it fondly from my college days, but was completely unprepared for the way it sounds in multi-channel stereo. This is the real thing! — the drummers and singers are in a seamless circle around the listener. Bass response is staggering — we never heard it like this on LP. It’s a remarkable achievement for all concerned. sa-cd.net

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