Rosa Passos and Ron Carter – Entre Amigos (2003) [Reissue 2005] {2.0 & 5.1} SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2

Rosa Passos & Ron Carter – Entre Amigos (2003) [Reissue 2005]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 51:51 minutes | Scans included | 2,24 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 947 MB
Features 2.0 Stereo & 5.1 multichannel Surround sound | Genre: Jazz

Rosa Passos made her recording debut as a leader in 1979, but this 2003 Chesky release may be her first to be released outside of South America. The Brazilian singer is paired with veteran bassist Ron Carter, who provides a solid melodic foundation for her throughout the date; the delightful Brazilian guitarist Lula Galvao; percussionist Paulo Braga, and, on a few tracks, veteran session musician Billy Drewes on tenor sax or clarinet. While the focus is clearly on the soft, effective vocals of Passos, who is extremely effective in her interpretations of bossa nova classics such as “Insensatez,” “Desafinado,” “Caminhos Cruzados,” and “O Grande Amor,” Carter’s solos are also subtly swinging. Not satisfied with sticking exclusively to a well known repertoire, Passos is a superb interpreter of less familiar songs like Jobim’s “Por Causa de Voce” (a duet with Carter, whose playing is phenomenal on this track) and the lively “Feitio de Oracao.” The warm, very intimate sound throughout this studio date makes this a particularly memorable bossa nova release.

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Renaissance – Scheherazade And Other Stories (1975) [Audio Fidelity 2014] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Renaissance – Scheherazade And Other Stories (1975) [Audio Fidelity 2014]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 46:09 minutes | Scans included | 1,86 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 865 MB
Mastered by Kevin Gray | Audio Fidelity # AFZ-183 | Genre: Progressive Rock

This album was the group’s magnum opus in the perception of many onlookers and fans, and it still plays well, though its flaws are more evident than they were at the time. The “Song of Scheherazade,” really a suite for the group supported by the London Symphony Orchestra and a chorus, started with guitarist-composer Michael Dunford, who had a personal fascination with the medieval literary work Tales of 1,001 Arabian Nights, and was realized by Dunford and his composing partner Betty Thatcher, with bassist Jon Camp and pianist John Tout. The piece, really nine sections assembled together, was one of the more ambitious works to come out of the progressive rock boom — it fits together nicely and does have some gorgeous passages and many lyrical, powerful sections, although it also seems slightly repetitive, overstaying its welcome somewhat; additionally, it never uses the orchestra quite as effectively as one senses it might have, for anything except embellishment. Less ambitious and more completely successful are “Ocean Gypsy,” “The Vultures Fly High,” and “Trip to the Fair” on side one, all relatively unpretentious pieces which feature extraordinary singing by Annie Haslam.

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Rainbow – Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (1975) [Japanese SHM-SACD 2014] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Rainbow – Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (1975) [Japanese SHM-SACD 2014]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 37:11 minutes | Scans included | 1,51 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 792 MB
Genre: Hard Rock

Perhaps the first example of “dragon rock” — a style perfected by bands like Iron Maiden and Dio in the early to mid-’80s — was Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, a rather pretentious 1975 collection from the guitarist’s first post-Deep Purple project. Fittingly enough, a young Ronnie James Dio provides the goblin-like frontman presence required by the increasingly Baroque Blackmore. The young Dio is at his best when he fully gives in to his own and Blackmore’s medieval fantasy leanings, in hard-rocking tracks like “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” and “Man on the Silver Mountain.” The dark, trudging doom rock of “Self Portrait” most clearly showcases what they were capable of. The album’s ponderous lyrics are occasionally punctuated by poetic phrases such as “crossbows in the firelight.” Rainbow become a true embarrassment when they try to lighten up and boogie down. “If You Don’t Like Rock ]n’ Roll” is really an abomination, a pale imitation of second-rate radio-rockers like BTO. Although Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow provides a few listenable tracks, its primary value is historical. Look to Rainbow’s next album, Rainbow Rising (1976), to grasp the heavy metal potential that is only hinted at here.

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Rainbow – Rising (1976) [Japanese Limited SHM-SACD 2011 # UIGY-9508] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Rainbow – Rising (1976) [Japanese Limited SHM-SACD 2011 # UIGY-9508]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 33:33 minutes | Scans included | 1,37 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 707 MB
Genre: Hard Rock

On their second release, Rainbow not only avoid the sophomore jinx; they hit a home run. After replacing the entire band (except Ronnie James Dio) immediately following the recording of the first album, Ritchie Blackmore and the Rising lineup (Blackmore; Dio; Tony Carey, keys; Jimmy Bain, bass; and the late, great Cozy Powell, drums) had plenty of time on the road touring the first album to get the chops and material together for their second. In particular, “Stargazer” really came together on the 1975 tour and featured stunning keyboard work from Carey. The material is uniformly strong, with “Starstruck” and “A Light in the Black” standing out in particular. Ronnie Dio turns in a great vocal on the stunningly direct (under three minutes!) “Do You Close Your Eyes.” All six songs on the album are up there with anything the band has done, before or since. The playing has a very tight, colorful feel to it, which was lacking a bit on the first record. This album can legitimately be mentioned in the same breath as classic Deep Purple.

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Rainbow – Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll (1978) [Japanese Limited SHM-SACD 2010 # UIGY-9040] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Rainbow – Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll (1978) [Japanese Limited SHM-SACD 2010 # UIGY-9040]PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 39:40 minutes | Scans included | 1,6 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 797 MB
Genre: Heavy Metal

Features the 2010 DSD mastering based on Japanese original analog tape. Reissue features the high-fidelity SHM-SACD format (fully compatible with standard SACD player, but it does not play on standard CD players). DSD Transferred by Manabu Matsumura.

Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll may be singer Ronnie James Dio’s last album with Rainbow, but at least he went out on a high note. While the material is not quite as strong as on the previous studio effort, Rising, Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll maintains the momentum the band had built up. “Kill the King” had been previously heard on the live On Stage record, but here it sounds more fully realized. Also, the title track from the album stands as one of the best songs the band did, not to mention a noble sentiment. The chugging “L.A. Connection” is another highlight. As with all of their first four albums, this one was produced by Martin Birch (who produced everyone from Blue Öyster Cult to Wayne County), and he really knows how to get the best out of the band by this point. The result is that the songs couldn’t sound any better, so even if some of the material isn’t quite up to their best, the album is still very cohesive, steady, and, ultimately, satisfying. This would turn out to be the last great album Rainbow would ever make, although they did enjoy a great deal of chart success in the post-Dio era.

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Rainbow – Difficult To Cure (1981) [Japanese Limited SHM-SACD 2013 # UIGY-9540] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

 

Rainbow – Difficult To Cure (1981) [Japanese Limited SHM-SACD 2013 # UIGY-9540]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 41:53 minutes | Scans included | 1,7 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 890 MB
Genre: Hard Rock

Rainbow ditched vocalist Graham Bonnet after Down to Earth, hiring former Fandango singer Joe Lynn Turner as their frontman. As it turns out, Turner is less hyperbolic than his predecessor, which fits the focused polish of Difficult to Cure. Where Down to Earth was a streamlined version of early Rainbow, Difficult to Cure is a shot at crossover. Problem is, the band never comes up with the right crossover songs. Russ Ballard’s “I Surrender” comes close, but much of the record is fairly undistinguished, riding on strident melodies and big riffs that are never quite memorable. It’s all given a contemporary sheen, with plenty of studio gloss that now instantly evokes the early ’80s. On that level, it’s somewhat of an entertaining artifact — anyone pining for an example of what album-oriented radio sounded like in the pre-MTV years should check this out — but it’s never more than that, since the bids at chart success are only occasionally memorable (“I Surrender,” “Magic”). Perhaps Ritchie Blackmore felt stifled by the exacting nature of Difficult to Cure’s attempt at crossover — witness how “Spotlight Kid” veers from a dexterous Blackmore solo to a ridiculous keyboard run, then just verges on collapse — and that’s the reason why each side ends with a pretentious pseudo-classical instrumental that functions as nothing more than a guitar showcase. Certainly, his playing is impeccable, but both numbers are really awkward (particularly the title track, based on Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and with a weirdly synthesized pulse as a rhythmic underpinning) and just highlight the fact that Difficult to Cure would have been better if Blackmore had channeled that energy into the rest of the album.

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Guillaume Perret & The Electric Epic – Open Me (2014) [Qobuz 24-44,1]

Guillaume Perret & The Electric Epic – Open Me (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 47:55 minutes | 548 MB
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital booklet
Genre: Jazz, Fusion

Guillaume Perret & The Electric Epic is a French jazz fusion band, founded in 2008 by composer and sax player Guillaume Perret. “Open Me” is the quartet’s third full-lenght album.

At the helm of his cyber-tenor sax driven by a floor pedal, Guillaume Perret Electric Epic captain of his Quartet, transports us into a stunning visual and aural spectacle. The confines of a multisensory universe made of frenzied improvisations and striking reminders, near a jazz universe transgender exhilarating influences master New York John Zorn are felt…

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Godflesh – A World Lit Only By Fire (2014) [Bandcamp 24-44,1]

Godflesh – A World Lit Only By Fire (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 76:08 minutes | 910 MB | Genre: Industrial metal
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Digital booklet

Powerful. Heavy. Brilliant. Sonic annihilation. Everything Godflesh was once, is again. As subtle as a baseball bat to the chin. If you are a fan of early Godflesh you will not be disappointed. This one is a natural extension of that raw anger and emotion. It’s good to have these guys back doing this again.

When Godflesh ended their tenure as a band with 2001′s Hymns, it felt like the influential industrial metal outfit was revealing a portent of things to come, pointing listeners toward the carefully layered, melodic post-metal excursions that Justin Broadrick would go on to create with Jesu in the years that followed. It felt like things were done, as if the band had said all they needed to and, as a favor, were hipping listeners to what would be the next big thing in underground metal for the next decade or so. Returning not just to the band but to the stylistic roots where it initially started, Godflesh make their return with A World Lit Only by Fire, the duo’s first album in 13 years. Where some bands tend to emerge from a long absence with a sound that feels inspired by the current trends in music, Godflesh’s seventh album feels like it was influenced by their first. Although the sound has been updated, with Broadrick making liberal use of the guttural drone created by the eight-string guitar he used on the Jesu record, the tone feels like classic Godflesh, evoking a world covered in rust and grime illuminated by the unforgiving and uneven light of a bare, swinging light bulb. Tense, muscular, and mechanical, it feels as though A World Lit Only by Fire is an elaborate machine created by BC Green and Broadrick, and from the moment the album’s opening track, “New Dark Ages,” switches over from its slowly building beat to an impossibly detuned, nearly atonal chug, it’s clear that once its inscrutable engines have been engaged, there’s no stopping them until they’ve run out of power. The worry when a band comes back from a long absence is that they’ll have forgotten whatever it was that made them interesting in the first place, but A World Lit Only by Fire makes it crystal clear that Godflesh have a long, unfailing memory, and that their punishing work has only just begun.

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Freddie Hubbard – The Night Of The Cookers 2 (1965/2014) [ProStudioMasters 24-192]

Freddie Hubbard – The Night Of The Cookers, Vol. 2 (1965/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 45:15 minutes | 1,87 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover | Source: ProStudioMasters

On The Night of the Cookers, Freddie Hubbard plays with Lee Morgan, James Spaulding, Harold Mabern, Jr., Larry Ridley, Pete LaRoca and Big Black. Recorded on April 9 & 10, 1965 and released that same year, the album has been described as “one of the most compelling documents of a live band in full flight” (Maxwell Chandler, Jazz Police).

The Night Of The Cookers Volumes 1 & 2 puts trumpeters Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan, two of the biggest guns of the hard-bop era, head to head throughout an extended live set. James Spaulding plays alto sax and flute, balancing out the brighter, brassier timbres of Hubbard and Morgan, and a crack rhythm section of pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Larry Ridley, drummer Pete La Roca, and conga player Big Black keeps things simmering. Each disc contains only two compositions, Clare Fischer’s “Pensativa” and Richard Carpenter’s “Walkin’” make up Disc One, and two Hubbard compositions, “Jodo” and “Breaking Point” occupy the second. Since each cut clocks in at approximately 20 minutes, there is ample solo time for each musician; the approach here is all about stretching out over solid grooves. Spaulding and Mabern turn in agile improvisations, but the spotlight is on the two trumpeters. Morgan’s playing pales a bit besides Hubbard’s on this date–understandably, as Hubbard is tirelessly playful and acrobatic. There are chops galore on this classic hard-bop document, and fans of the era (and of these musicians in particular) will find much to admire.

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Freddie Hubbard – The Night Of The Cookers 1 (1965/2014) [ProStudioMasters 24-192]

Freddie Hubbard – The Night Of The Cookers, Vol. 1 (1965/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 41:42 minutes | 1,74 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover | Source: ProStudioMasters

On The Night of the Cookers, Freddie Hubbard plays with Lee Morgan, James Spaulding, Harold Mabern, Jr., Larry Ridley, Pete LaRoca and Big Black. Recorded on April 9 & 10, 1965 and released that same year, the album has been described as “one of the most compelling documents of a live band in full flight” (Maxwell Chandler, Jazz Police).

The Night Of The Cookers, Volume 1 puts trumpeters Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan, two of the biggest guns of the hard-bop era, head to head throughout an extended live set. James Spaulding plays alto sax and flute, balancing out the brighter, brassier timbres of Hubbard and Morgan, and a crack rhythm section of pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Larry Ridley, drummer Pete La Roca, and conga player Big Black keeps things simmering. Each disc contains only two compositions, Clare Fischer’s “Pensativa” and Richard Carpenter’s “Walkin’” make up Disc One. Since each cut clocks in at approximately 20 minutes, there is ample solo time for each musician; the approach here is all about stretching out over solid grooves. Spaulding and Mabern turn in agile improvisations, but the spotlight is on the two trumpeters. Morgan’s playing pales a bit besides Hubbard’s on this date–understandably, as Hubbard is tirelessly playful and acrobatic. There are chops galore on this classic hard-bop document, and fans of the era (and of these musicians in particular) will find much to admire.

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