Two unrelated CD reviews

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike Broadman, Nov 26, 2002.

  1. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    1. Thelonious Monk- 5 By Monk By 5, SACD hybrid

    The latest hybrid jazz release in Analogue Production's batch of new classic albums on SACD is a must-buy.

    For those unfamiliar with Monk, he is one of the prime figures of modern/bop jazz. As both an innovative piano player and a composer, he set the standard for melody and the song in the fierce musicality of bop jazz. His quirky playing style is not for everyone's taste- his fingers are very straight, contrary to "proper" piano technique, resulting in a very percussive, angular approach. He insists on using syncopation and odd chords. The songs he writes, however, are very symmetrical, logical, and melodically accessible and melodic. This mixture is a never-ending source of joy to his fans.

    While his usual instrumentation was a quartert with a sax player, this album also features a trumpet player.
    Lineup:
    Art Taylor- drums
    Sam Jones- bass
    Charlie Rouse- sax
    Thad Jones- cornet

    This album features all Monk originals, so it's a great one to start with for Monk newbies and an essential one for fans.

    Jackie-ing and Played Twice are recorded for the first time here. Jackie-ing features Monk's composing skills at his sharpest, a real trip for the musicians. As evidenced by their participation in many Monk projects before and since, they perform with a lot of invention and respect for the music. Monk had a reputation for demanding a high level of creativity from his musicians.

    There are actually three versions of Played Twice presented here.

    As in most Monk albums, the rest of the tracks are not new, but it's in the interpretations that the fun lies. Straight, No Chaser can never be heard enough, and the moderate tempo fits in with the rest of the album nicely. It's also the only version I've heard with a trumpet outside of Miles Davis' performances.

    I Mean You is one of those classic Monk pieces with a hummable theme that is always a joy to hear.

    I've never heard the original CD release, so I can't compare it. The SACD of course sounds great- Analogue Productions never dissappoints. Smooth bass, clear horns, and especially the brilliant piano sound that Monk diserves.


    2. Opeth- Deliverance, CD

    My favorite death metal band has released another great album, but not quite the masterpiece as the previous two.

    The most common weakness of metal bands with a "progressive" bent is that they don't connect their various musical ideas well. A riff here, a riff there, different time signatures, but no rhyme or reason for it. Opeth's strength is that they managed to solved this problem admirably.

    A typical Opeth song runs pretty long, like 10 minutes. A riff or theme will be presented as a screaching death metal, then inverted in an acoustic thing with "normal" melodic vocals (performed by the same singer). At its best, the tempo is kept constant (usually mid-tempo) with a fluidity between the seemingly disparate sections, so that it isn't jarring and everything makes sense.

    It seems that they've put some of that aside on the new album. As brilliant as the music is, it doesn't quite have the unified feel of Still Life. I think this may be because Still Life and My Arms, Your Hearse are concept albums, while Deliverance is not.

    Other than that, these are some killer songs. The album opens with a burst of noise and a deep growl, letting you know what to expect. In fact, this album seems to emphasise the nasty, metal-head side of the band (contrast that to Blackwater Park which actually had a near-pure acoustic song).
    Keeping with their pattern, the second track is, IMO, the great masterpiece of the album. Starting off with a vicious riff, the song goes on a marvelous journey of lyrical and musical themes, voices, and ends on a phenomenal start-stop percussive attack (think One by Metallica).

    Except for one 2 minute acoustic guitar thing, the album consists of 5 epic songs. Each should be listened to on its own to appreciate its identity.

    Opeth continues to set the standard for what metal can be.
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mike, I appreciate your posting the review of the Monk SACD. Very insightful.
    You said:
     
  3. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Does anyone have the Cannonball Adderley/Bill Evans SACD? I was picking up a few new discs yesterday and saw that in the bin... nearly picked it up blind. Now, I'm thinking I wanna walk back over and get it. Got the day off, after all, and there's nothing but snow! [​IMG]
    Here's a possible first in my limited exposure to SACD: I think I prefer the 2-ch mix on Krall's "When I Look In Your Eyes". I only got to sample about half of the SACD last night, but I was much more engaged by the 2-ch and just a bit put-off by the multi-ch mix. Conversely, I prefer the multi-mix on Krall's "The Look of Love", and for that matter on such classic recordings as "Kind of Blue" and "Time Out", and I even prefer the much more aggressive multi-ch mix on "In A Silent Way". In fact, even though several two-channel-only titles are among my very favorite sounding SACDs, I've found in my limited exposure that I nearly always prefer the multi-ch mix... and I certainly expected to with "When I Look In Your Eyes".
    And has Isaac Hayes' "Hot Buttered Soul" been delayed?
     
  4. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Keith: jazz is good. [​IMG]
    Rich, you are simply learning that MC mixes vary from one recording to another. As you acquire more discs, there will be those that you like and those that you don't. The great thing about SACD is that they all have stereo mixes.
    I have the Adderly/Evans disc and I highly recommend it. You just can't go wrong with an Analogue Productions SACD for sound quality. Musically, it's great. It's more of a Bill Evans album than a Cannonball album, as Adderly's playing is toned down and more lyrical to sync up with Evans. The collaboration is great, though.
    NP: Bill Frisell, The Willies
     
  5. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Mike, I've got the Analog Productions SACDs of "Village Vanguard" and "Waltz for Debby" (a couple of my very favorite SACDs) - does the Adderley/Evans disc sound nearly as good as those? For that matter, how about "Moonbeams"?

    You're exactly right about the multichannel mixes, Mike, and I was wondering whether anyone agreed with my 2-ch preference for "When I Look In Your Eyes" (especially if one conversely prefers the multi-ch mix on "Look of Love")?
     
  6. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rich,
    I agree with Mike. The presentation style of multi-channel mixes varies widely from disc to disc. The inconsistency is a problem for me, so I almost always listen to the stereo tracks on SACDs.
    Mike said:
     

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