Jul 07

JD Allen – Americana: Musings on Jazz and Blues (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 45:00 minutes | 894 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front Cover | © Savant Records

This is tenor saxman and composer JD Allen’s tenth album as a leader and his fifth consecutive project for Savant. Once again, his regular sidemen for the past eight years, bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston, are back on board. Eight years is a pretty impressive stint for any band to put in together, especially in the jazz world and the ensemble work reflects the familiarity of the players, presenting a series of friendly obstacle courses hinged on spontaneous and collective choice-making.

Allen’s playing sometimes murmurs, and other times rises to a heartfelt cry, but he never abandons himself to free jazz screaming, or tangles himself up with knuckle-busting ribbons of notes. His phrases have a deep blues feeling, and his compositions are built around concise, memorable melodies which he repeats until they’ve sunk deep into the listener’s memory. But whether he is looking back to the earliest forms of America’s home-grown music or pointing the way to its future, JD Allen never fails to challenge and engage the listener as few of his generation can.

1 Tell The Truth, Shame The Devil 6:52
2 Another Man Done Gone 5:54
3 Cotton 5:50
4 Sugar Free 5:43
5 Bigger Thomas 4:16
6 Americana 4:51
7 Lightnin’ 5:52
8 If You’re Lonesome, Then You’re Not Alone 2:50
9 Lillie Mae Jones 3:31

JD Allen – tenor saxophone
Gregg August – bass
Rudy Royston – drums

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Jul 07

István Kertész, LSO – Dvorak Symphony No.8 “Scherzo Capriccioso” (1963/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Digital Booklet | 1.82 GB
Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: Highdeftapetransfers

Istvan Kertesz (1929-1973) was born into a Hungarian-Jewish, and he grew up taking violin lessons at a time “when terrible things were happening in Europe.” By the time Istvan was twelve, he had been mastering the piano as well. But Hungarian Jews were persecuted relentlessly, and many of his extended family members were sent to Auschwitz to be murdered. After the war, he resumed his studies in what is now the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, taking composition lessons with Kodaly and Leo Weiner. An interest in conducting led to studies with Laszlo Samogyi and Janos Ferencsik. Kertesz openly admired Bruno Walter as well as Otto Klemperer, the latter fo whom had led the Budapest Opera. Kertesz married soprano Edith Gabry, with whom he had three children, Gabor, Peter, and Katarin. Between 1953 to 1957, Kertesz conducted in Gyor, moving from 1955 to 1957 to the Budapest Opera.

With the Hungarian uprising Kertesz left for studies in Italy, at the St. Cecilia National Academy in Rome, with Fernando Previtali. Germany soon called for Kertesz’s talent, and he appeared at Hamburg Symphony and State Opera, Wiesbaden and Hanover, leading performances of La Boheme and Fidelio that guaranteed his reputation. In March 1960 he was appointed Music Director of the Augsburg Opera, adding Mozart, Verdi, and Richard Strauss to an expanding repertory. Guest appearances came, by way of Spoleto, Berlin, Israel, London, Paris, and San Francisco, with several major artists’ requests for his collaboration: Rubinstein, Curzon, Tuckwell, and Katchen. Kertesz debuted in Liverpool in 1960. He then assumed work with the Israel Philharmonic, where he performed 378 works over eleven years. The premier of Britten’s Billy Budd brought some distance between Kertesz and German ensembles, who had complained of his fast tempos.

From 1965 to 1968 Kertesz led the responsive London Symphony Orchestra, also appearing with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Kertesz’s performances of the complete Dvorak symphonies took recorded form with Decca, 1963-1966. In 1973 Kertesz was appointed to lead the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. Cleveland courted him as conductor to succeed George Szell, but the Board refused him. Instead, Kertesz led the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, 1970-1972.
It was in Israel, off the coast of Herzliya, that Kertesz drowned (16 April 1973) under mysterious circumstances. He was forty-two, a much-beloved figure in music. Kertesz rejected authoritarian means to lead orchestras, and he would not lead scores he disliked, particularly modernists he felt “could be left to the specialists.” His repertory in opera included some 60 full scores, and his mastery in works by Schubert, Brahms, Mozart, Dvorak, Bartok – especially his recording of Bluebeard’s Castle – and all fellow Hungarians still reigns as a model for all to admire. A contemporary review of the Dvorak G Major Symphony and Scherzo Caprriccioso for Decca wrote:
Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony and Scherzo capriccioso inhabit an urbane and genial world, but István Kertész’s approach to them is direct. Thankfully, he did not see the first movement’s second subject (or any new theme or episode) as an excuse to grind to a halt, which means there is never any lack of impetus or momentum, nor is the structure of either work compromised. Kertész does mould the line, use rubato, strictly controlled tempo and dynamic variation, and pays close attention to detail and balance, and the results are marvellously idiomatic, expressive, and invigorating. As with Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic, Kertész’s relationship with the LSO was very close, and it plays magnificently.

The sound in both performances is outstanding. Anyone wanting to hear what is wrong with digital sound need only listen to the end of the Scherzo capriccioso. There is depth and width, huge presence, every section of the orchestra is clearly audible (the final timpani role is startlingly realistic) the timbre of each instrument can be heard, and the ersatz quality found in even the best quality 24bit high-resolution recordings is completely absent.

Symphony No.8
1. I. Allegro con brio (G major) 10:08
2. II. Adagio (C minor) 10:02
3. III. Allegretto grazioso – Molto vivace (G minor) 6:01
4, IV. Allegro ma non troppo (G major) 9:00
5. Scherzo Capriccioso 11:55

István Kertész conductor
London Symphony Orchestra

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Jul 07

Sutherland, Pavarotti, Milnes, LSO, Richard Bonynge – Verdi: Rigoletto (1971/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:57:53 minutes | 2,08 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: PrestoClassical | Artwork: Digital booklet | © Decca

For sheer vocal splendor you can’t go wrong with the 1971 Decca recording featuring the virile baritone Sherrill Milnes as Rigoletto, Luciano Pavarotti in radiant voice as a stylish but slightly scene-stealing Duke, and Joan Sutherland as a Gilda who is a little too vocally resplendent to come across as innocent, but is certainly a treat to hear.

This Rigoletto has been around for so long it might be easy to take it for granted or skip it for a newer set. Don’t! It features all three principals in superb voice, as well as pacing from Maestro Bonynge that is much heavier on drama than most of us expect from him. Sutherland may sound a bit mature (and mush-mouthed) for Gilda, but not only is she sympathetic, she sings gorgeously. And speaking of gorgeous, those familiar only with the Pavarotti of the last 10 years would be wise to hear him here–this is stylish, full-blooded, Golden Age singing. The beautifully round tone, the easy high notes, the impeccable diction, and the pointed characterization are unique. Milnes, in the title role, is also in splendid voice, offering smooth legato, brilliant, Verdian ring and real attention to the text. The ADD sound is excellent. No other modern recording offers the visceral thrill of this Rigoletto – go for it.

01 – Rigoletto: Overture (Preludio)
02 – Act 1: ‘Della mia bella incognita borghese’
03 – Act 1: ‘Questa o quella…Partite? Crudele!’
04 – Act 1: ‘Gran nuova! Gran nuova!’…’Tutto è gioia, tutto è festa’
05 – Act 1: ‘Ch’io gli parti…Voi congiuraste contro noi’
06 – Act 1: ‘Quel vecchio maledivami…Va, non ho niente’
07 – Act 1: ‘Pari siamo’
08 – Act 1: ‘Figlia..Mio padre!’…’Quanto dolor’
09 – Act 1: ‘Ah! Veglia, o donna, questa fior’
10 – Act 1: ‘Giovanni, ho dei rimorsi…E il sol dell’anima’
11 – Act 1: ‘Che m’ami, deh, ripetimi’ – ‘Addio… speranza ed anima’
12 – Act 1: ‘Gualtier Maldè’ – ‘Caro nome’
13 – Act 1: ‘Riedo!… Perché?’
14 – Act 1: ‘Zitti, zitti…Soccorso, padre mio’
15 – Act 2: ‘Ella mi fu rapita…Parmi veder le lagrime’
16 – Act 2: ‘Duca, duca!’…’Scorrendo uniti’
17 – Act 2: ‘Possente amor mi chiama’
18 – Act 2: ‘Povero Rigoletto!’ ‘La rà, la rà’
19 – Act 2: ‘Cortigiani, vil razza dannata…Ebben piango’
20 – Act 2: ‘Mio padre!…Compiuto pur quanto’
21 – Act 2: ‘Schiudete, ire al carcere’
22 – Act 3: ‘E l’ami!’
23 – Act 3: ‘La donna è mobile’ – ‘E là il vostr’uomo’
24 – Act 3: ‘Un dì, se ben rammentomi’
25 – Act 3: ‘Bella figlia dell’amore…M’odi, ritorna a casa’
26 – Act 3: ‘Venti scudi hai tu detto’
27 – Act 3: ‘Ah, più non ragiono!…’
28 – Act 3: ‘Della vendetta alfin…Chi è mai’
29 – Act 3: ‘V’ho ingannato’ – ‘Lassù… in cielo’

Libretto: Francesco Maria Piave after Victor Hugo’s play “Le roi s’amuse”.
Recorded at Kingsway Hall, London, U.K., in June 1971.

Joan Sutherland – Gilda
Luciano Pavarotti – Il Duca
Sherrill Milnes – Rigoletto
Huguette Tourangeau – Maddalena
Martti Talvela – Sparafucile
Gillian Knight – Giovanna
Clifford Grant – Monterone

London Symphony Orchestra, Conducted by Richard Bonynge.
Ambrosian Opera Chorus. Chorus Master: John McCarthy.

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Jul 07

Jeremy Pelt – #Jiveculture (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 53:16 minutes | 1,15 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Artwork: Front cover | © HighNote

Jeremy Pelt adds another jazz album to an already impressive discography. The quartet on this album includes Danny Grissett on piano, Ron Carter on Bass, Billy Drummond on drums, and Jeremy Pelt on trumpet.

Great musicians need to play with great musicians. It’s not an ego-driven game, it’s tug-of-war. The way to get better, expand one’s horizons as both technician and visionary, is to have someone capable of challenging one’s established ability. Artists travel new paths most often because someone or something pushes us. Perhaps it’s for that reason that Jeremy Pelt has long entertained a wish to make a recording with Ron Carter, a solid claimant to the title of Greatest Living Bassist. “I didn’t know how it would happen, I didn’t know what it was going to be,” the trumpeter says, “But I knew I wanted to do a record with Ron.” With Jive Culture, that wish becomes reality. Long-time associates Danny Grissett and Billy Drummond are on hand backing Pelt as he roars and soars through some new compositions, a couple of standards and Ron Carter’s own “Einbahnstrasse”. Not to be missed!

Taking a more stripped-down approach than the expansive electric path he’s been pursuing since 2013’s Water and Earth, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt’s 2016 album, #Jiveculture, is a visceral exploration of small-group post-bop. It’s also Pelt’s first album featuring legendary bassist and Miles Davis associate Ron Carter. Also joining Pelt here are longtime bandmates pianist Danny Grissett and drummer Billy Drummond. While Pelt has never completely eschewed swinging, harmonically challenging, straight-ahead jazz, his previous efforts, Water and Earth, Face Forward, Jeremy, and Tales, Musings, and Other Reveries were notable for their more experimental flourishes that combined Pelt’s love of hip-hop and electronic dance music with his reverence for ’70s-era jazz fusion, à la Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. For much of his career though, Pelt has excelled at the kind of organic, modal-based jazz that Davis played in the mid-’60s. This is the approach he takes on #Jiveculture and one that works perfectly with the addition of Carter, whose languid, supple bass style helped to define modern jazz. Here, Pelt and company dive headlong into a set of originals and lesser-played standards, including a jaunty take on Carter’s own “Einbahnstrasse.” Similarly compelling is the relaxed midtempo swinger “Dream Dancing,” which brings to mind both mid-’50s Miles and ’80s Wynton Marsalis. Davis is also evoked on the angular “The Haunting” and the lyrical, sad-eyed ballad “Akua,” with Pelt utilizing a plaintive Harmon mute. Ultimately, while #Jiveculture is a more stripped-down, traditional jazz production than Pelt’s previous releases, it’s also one of his more densely packed, flowing with harmonic and melodic ideas that are all the more striking when set against the straight-ahead framework of a quartet.

01 – Baswald’s Place
02 – Einbahnstrasse
03 – Dream Dancing
04 – A Love Like Ours
05 – The Haunting
06 – Rhapsody
07 – Akua
08 – Desire

Jeremy Pelt – trumpet
Danny Grissett – piano
Ron Carter – bass
Billy Drummond – drums

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Jul 07

John McEuen – Made In Brooklyn (2016) 
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:05:03 minutes | 1,3 GB | Genre: Country, Folk
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Digital booklet | © Chesky Records

Made in Brooklyn, the new album from Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founder, John McEuen, is coming your way on September 30th via Chesky Records. The album is a time capsule of American Roots music that features guest performances from the likes of Steve Martin, David Bromberg, David Amram, John Carter Cash, and a dozen other well known stars of the genre. Featuring both original material from John, as well as unexpected covers such as Warren Zevon’s “Excitable Boy”, Made in Brooklyn is a “music-to-your-ears” audio feast.

Part of the Chesky Binaural + Series, all recorded with a single microphone, the band appears right before you with this spacious, lush and multi-dimensional
recording. Now headphone users will hear the same three-dimensional sound and imaging as audiophiles have for the past 25 years with Chesky Recordings. Also these new Binaural+ Series albums capture even more spatial realism for the home audiophile market, bringing you one step closer to the actual event. You will hear some of the most natural and pure cool music ever recorded.


01. Brooklyn Crossing
02. My Dirty Life and Times
03. Travelin’ Mood
04. She Darked The Sun
05. Miner’s Night Out
06. Excitable Boy
07. My Favorite Dream Intro
08. My Favorite Dream
09. I Still Miss Someone
10. Jules’ Theme
11. Blue Ridge Cabin Home
12. Acoustic Traveler
13. Mr. Bojangles
14. I Rose Up
15. The Mountain Whippoorwill
16. Bojangles Conversation

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Jul 07

Joe Lovano – Cross Culture (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 61:39 minutes | 1,39 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover | © Blue Note Records

Cross Culture is the newest work by GRAMMY Award-winning saxophonist/composer Joe Lovano. Lovano has been hailed by the New York Times as “one of the greatest musicians in jazz history.” The album marks his 23rd recording for Blue Note and his third consecutive release by his critically-acclaimed quintet, Us Five. Cross Culture features the band’s original line up of Francisco Mela, Otis Brown III, James Weidman, Esperanza Spalding and the newly recruited Peter Slavov, plus a special guest appearance by Lionel Loueke. Cross Culture is a stunning eleven-track album of ten Lovano originals along with a breathtaking rendition of Billy Strayhorn’s “Star Crossed Lovers.” The album fulfills Lovano’s lifelong dream to explore the notion of universal musical language.

Lexington Herald‘s Critics Choice – “There you have it, jazzers. We’re only a week into the new year and the bar for 2013 has already been set.” – Lexington Herald

2013 release, saxophonist and composer Joe Lovano’s most fully realized representation of a career-long quest to explore the notion of universal musical language. The album is an 11 track tour de force that represents I 0 of Lovano’s original compositions along with a stunning interpretation of the Billy Strayhorn ballad ‘Star Crossed Lovers.’ The album features his core Us Five ensemble of pianist James Weidman, bassists Esperanza Spalding and Peter Slavov, and drummers Otis Brown and Francisco Mela and is augmented with guitarist and fellow Blue Note artist Lionel Loueke.

01 – Blessings In May
02 – Myths And Legends
03 – Cross Culture
04 – In A Spin
05 – Star Crossed Lovers
06 – Journey Within
07 – Drum Chant
08 – Golden Horn
09 – Royal Roost
10 – Modern Man
11 – PM

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