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Bill Evans Trio - Portrait In Jazz (1960/2003) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Artist: Bill Evans Trio
Title: Portrait In Jazz
Genre: Jazz, Cool Jazz, Modal Music, Post-Bop, Piano Jazz
Label: © Riverside Records | Analogue Productions
Release Date: 1960/2003
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: SACD ISO
Duration: 52:15
Recorded: December 28, 1959 at Reeves Sound Studios, New York City

The first of two studio albums by the Bill Evans-Scott LaFaro-Paul Motian trio (both of which preceded their famous engagement at the Village Vanguard), this Portrait in Jazz reissue contains some wondrous interplay, particularly between pianist Evans and bassist LaFaro, on the two versions of "Autumn Leaves." Other than introducing Evans' "Peri's Scope," the music is comprised of standards, but the influential interpretations were far from routine or predictable at the time. LaFaro and Motian were nearly equal partners with the pianist in the ensembles and their versions of such tunes as "Come Rain or Come Shine," "When I Fall in Love," and "Someday My Prince Will Come" (which preceded Miles Davis' famous recording by a couple years) are full of subtle and surprising creativity. A gem. --Scott Yanow
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Bill Evans Trio - Moon Beams (1962/2002) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Artist: Bill Evans Trio
Title: Moon Beams
Genre: Jazz, Post-Bop, Modal Music, Cool Jazz, Piano Jazz
Label: © Riverside Records | Analogue Productions
Release Date: 1962/2002
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: SACD ISO
Duration: 39:10
Recorded: June 2, 1962 (#2-4, 6, 7); May 29, 1962 (# 1, 8); May 17, 1962 (#5), Sound Makers Studio, New York City

Moonbeams was the first recording Bill Evans made after the death of his musical right arm, bassist Scott LaFaro. Indeed, in LaFaro, Evans found a counterpart rather than a sideman, and the music they made together over four albums showed it. Bassist Chuck Israels from Cecil Taylor and Bud Powell's bands took his place in the band with Evans and drummer Paul Motian and Evans recorded the only possible response to the loss of LaFaro -- an album of ballads. The irony on this recording is that, despite material that was so natural for Evans to play, particularly with his trademark impressionistic sound collage style, is that other than as a sideman almost ten years before, he has never been more assertive than on Moonbeams. It is as if, with the death of LaFaro, Evans' safety net was gone and he had to lead the trio alone. And he does first and foremost by abandoning the impressionism in favor of a more rhythmic and muscular approach to harmony. The set opens with an Evans original, "RE: Person I Knew," a modal study that looks back to his days he spent with Miles Davis. There is perhaps the signature jazz rendition of "Stairway to the Stars," with its loping yet halting melody line and solo that is heightened by Motian's gorgeous brush accents in the bridge section. Other selections are so well paced and sequenced the record feels like a dream, with the lovely stuttering arpeggios that fall in "If You Could See Me Now," and the cascading interplay between Evan's chords and Israel's punctuation in "It Might As Well Be Spring," a tune Evans played for the rest of his life. The set concludes with a waltz in "Very Early," that is played at that proper tempo with great taste and delicate elegance throughout, there is no temptation by the rhythm section to charge it up or to elongate the harmonic architecture by means of juggling intervals. Moonbeams was a startling return to the recording sphere and a major advancement in his development as a leader. --Thom Jurek
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Bill Evans Trio - Explorations (1961/2011) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz


Artist: Bill Evans Trio
Title: Explorations
Genre: Jazz, Modal, Post-Bop, Piano Jazz
Label: © Riverside Records | Universal Music Japan
Release Date: 1961/2011
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: SACD ISO
Duration: 51:01
Recorded: February 2, 1961 at Bell Sound Studios, New York City


When this album was recorded in February of 1961, it had been more than year since the Portrait in Jazz was issued, the disc that won the critics over. By the time of this issue, Evans had released four albums in six years, a pace unheard of during that time. Most musicians were issuing two, three, and even four records a year during the same era. Many speculate on Evans' personal problems at the time, but the truth of the matter lies in the recordings themselves, and Explorations proves that the artist was worth waiting for no matter what else was going on out there. Evans, with Paul Motian and Scott LaFaro, was onto something as a trio, exploring the undersides of melodic and rhythmic constructions that had never been considered by most. For one thing, Evans resurrects a number of tunes that had been considered hopelessly played out, and literally reinvents them -- "How Deep Is the Ocean" and "Sweet and Lovely." His harmonic richness that extends the melodic and color palette of these numbers literally revived them from obscurity and brought them back into the canon. He also introduced "Haunted Heart" into the jazz repertoire, with a wonderfully impressionistic melodic structure, offered space, and depth by the understatement of Motian and extension by LaFaro's canny use of intervals. Also noteworthy is Miles Davis' "Nardis," which Evans first played on a Cannonball Adderley set a couple of years before. The rhythmic workout by the Motian and LaFaro places Evans' own playing in a new context, with shorter lines, chopping up the meter, and a series of arpeggios that open the ground for revelatory solo in counterpoint by LaFaro. Explorations is an extraordinary example of the reach and breadth of this trio at its peak. --Thom Jurek
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Bill Evans - Interplay (1962/2011) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Artist: Bill Evans
Title: Interplay
Genre: Jazz, Post Bop, Modal, Piano Jazz
Label: © Riverside Records | Universal Music Japan
Release Date: 1962/2011
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: SACD ISO
Duration: 00:38:59
Recorded: Nola Penthouse Studio, New York City on July 16-17, 1962

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. --Thom Jurek

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Bill Evans - At the Montreux Jazz Festival (1968/2004) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Artist: Bill Evans
Title: At the Montreux Jazz Festival
Genre: Jazz, Post-Bop, Modal Music, Piano Jazz
Label: © Verve Records | Universal Music Japan
Release Date: 1968/2004
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: SACD ISO
Duration: 00:52:20
Recorded: June 15, 1968, Montreux Jazz Festival, Casino De Montreux, Switzerland

Bill Evans' 1968 release, At the Montreux Jazz Festival, marks the beginning of stylistic changes for the legendary pianist. Only one year earlier, his At Town Hall release found his approach generally more introspective and brooding. In contrast, this set is more lively, playful, and experimental. Much of this is down to the active and intense drumming of Jack DeJohnette, who had joined the trio only a short time before this concert was recorded; longtime bandmate Eddie Gomez is also featured on this album. His energetic soloing adds veracity to tunes such as "Embraceable You" and "A Sleeping Bee." DeJohnette, too, is given several opportunities to display his drumming skills. His lengthy solo on "Nardis" displays his technical prowess and four-way coordination; such acumen would later cause jazz fans and critics alike to hail DeJohnette as one of the world's premier jazz drummers. Evans, famous for a soft-spoken pianistic touch, seems driven to new vistas on this album. He experiments more with harmonic dissonance and striking rhythmical contrasts, making this his most extroverted playing since his freshman release, New Jazz Conceptions. --Rovi Staff
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Rob Thomas: Live At Red Rocks - Something To Be Tour (2009) BLU-RAY 1080i AVC DTS-HD 5.1

Title: Soundstage: Rob Thomas – Live At Red Rocks
Released: 2008
Genre: Rock
Directed by: Joe Thomas
Starring: Rob Thomas

Issued: United States | Koch Entertainment
Duration: 1:26:36

The Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado – a legendary venue that has been graced by rock luminaries from The Beatles to U2 – provides the awe-inspiring backdrop for Rob Thomas in one of the most memorable stops on his “Something To Be Tour.” Featuring the multi-platinum recording artist performing 18 hits from his solo career and Matchbox Twenty, this incredible set also includes a special acoustic arrangement of “Smooth” and a cover of the David Bowie classic “Let’s Dance.”

Features: Something To Be, Fallin’ To Pieces, If You’re Gone, When The Heartache Ends, Ever The Same, Not Just A Woman, 3 AM, You Won’t Be Mine, The Difference, Bent, Problem Girl, Let’s Dance, Lonely No More, I Am An Illusion, Now Comes The Night, Smooth, You Know Me, This Is How A Heart Breaks

Bonus: Streetcorner Symphony Video
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Roxy Music: Live At The Apollo (2001) Blu-ray 1080i MPEG-2 DD5.1

Title: Roxy Music: Live At The Apollo
Released: 2001
Genre: Pop Roscoe

Issued: Germany | Intergroove
Duration: 1:45:03

Recorded live at the Apollo in London, Roxy Music perform their greatest hits. Roxy Music are an English art rock band formed in 1971 by Bryan Ferry, who became the group’s lead vocalist and chief songwriter, and bassist Graham Simpson. The other members are Phil Manzanera (guitar), Andy Mackay (saxophone and oboe) and Paul Thompson (drums and percussion). Former members include Brian Eno (synthesizer and & treatments),and Eddie Jobson (synthesizer and violin). Although the band took a break from group activities in 1983, they reunited for a concert tour in 2001, and have toured together intermittently since that time. Roxy Music attained popular and critical success in Europe and Australia during the 1970s and early 1980s, beginning with their debut album, Roxy Music (1972). The band were highly influential, as leading proponents of the more experimental, musically sophisticated element of glam, as well as a significant influence on early English punk music. They also provided a model for many New Wave acts and the experimental electronic groups of the early 1980s. The group is distinguished by their visual and musical sophistication and their preoccupation with style and glamour. Ferry and co-founding member Eno have also had influential solo careers, the latter becoming one of the most significant record producers and collaborators of the late 20th century. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Roxy Music number 98 on its The Immortals, 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list. Their music was influenced by other British artists of the time such as Ferry’s favorite band The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who, The Pretty Things, Pink Floyd, The Creation, The Move, Traffic, David Bowie, King Crimson, and Elton John. Eno’s treatments were influenced by the experimental sound of The Velvet Underground.
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Vincenzo Bellini - La Sonnambula - Maria Callas, Orch del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Antonino Votto (1957/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835)
Artist: Maria Callas, Fiorenza Cossotto, Nicola Zaccaria, Nicola Monti, Eugenia Ratti, Giuseppe Morresi, Franco Ricciardi, Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Antonino Votto
Title: Bellini - La Sonnambula
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Warner Classics
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 02:00:56
Recorded: 3–9.III.1957, Basilica di Sant’Eufemia, Milan

While all of Callas’s bel canto roles were revelatory, her first Amina achieved instant legendary status partly because of the Luchino Visconti production surrounding it. Visconti replicated a bygone era visually by costuming the slimmed-down diva in the manner of a 19th-century ballerina, while Callas replicated that time vocally, combining bel canto style with a full dramatic impersonation not associated with a role owned at the time by bird-like coloraturas. Callas transported Bellini’s lyric masterpiece back to the age of Giuditta Pasta, for whom it was created, offering her share of vocal fireworks – but in the name of expression. Suddenly, the opera itself was understood anew.

Two years later, at the time of this 1957 recording, La Scala had revived the opera for Callas. She, her voice, and the score were all further slimmed: Conductor Votto made cuts to tighten the piece (fortunately barely affecting Amina’s role); Callas was more ballerina-like than ever; and most important, she had scaled down her sound, finding a new delicacy of delivery that made her Amina more tender, her singing more Bellinian than in those first Aminas. Her exchanges with Elvino here are meltingly sung, pianissimi ethereal, and even the vocal pyrotechnics are enhanced by this fleet lightness of execution – note the bell-like staccati in both her opening and final cabalettas, and the breathtaking (literally!) diminuendo on a high E flat in the latter.

Callas sang Amina 22 times in all, between 1955 and 1957. The chapter ended sadly, the soprano being accused of cancelling a performance with La Scala on tour in Edinburgh, for which she had actually not been scheduled. She never sang it again – save for a mesmerising rendition of ‘Ah! non credea mirarti’ on French television in 1965. The role had clearly remained deeply important to Callas, who had painstakingly tamed her powerful voice – fresh from performances of Medea and Andrea Chénier when she first tackled Amina – to become the thread of silvery perfection we hear on this recording.
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Vincenzo Bellini - I Puritani - Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, LSO, Richard Bonynge (1973/2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835)
Artist: Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, Piero Cappuccilli, Nicolai Ghiaurov, London Symphony Orchestra, Richard Bonynge
Title: Bellini - I Puritani
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Decca Music Group
Release Date: 1973/2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 02:54:05
Recorded: Kingsway Hall, London, May–July 1973

Pavarotti made only one studio recording of I Puritani. In 1973 he recorded the opera with Richard Bonynge conducting the London Symphony Orchestra and with Joan Sutherland as Elvira.

“Sutherland's singing here is brighter and fresher than her earlier recording, with the lovely aria 'Qui la voce' no longer a wordless melisma...The recording is vivid and atmospheric and one marvels at Bellini's gorgeous melodies...with Sutherland, Bonynge and all on electrifying form.” --The Penguin Guide
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Vincenzo Bellini - Beatrice di Tenda - Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, LSO, Richard Bonynge (1966/2013 ) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835)
Artist: Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, Josephine Veasey, Ambrosian Opera Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra, Richard Bonynge
Title: Bellini - Beatrice di Tenda
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Decca Music Group
Release Date: 1966/2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 02:27:45
Recorded: Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London, January & February 1966

„Bellini’s penultimate opera – written for La Fenice, Venice, in 1833 – has never enjoyed the popularity of such works as La sonnambula, Norma and I puritani. Listening to this vintage Joan Sutherland recording dating from 1966, it is hard to fathom why. The story is strong and stirring – a sort of cross between Maria Stuarda and La Gioconda – and offers fine roles for the wronged titular heroine, her villainous husband Filippo, her platonic admirer Orombello and his would-be mistress, Agnese del Maino (a Princess Eboli avant la lettre). How odd that Sutherland never managed to persuade Covent Garden to mount it for her, especially with this glorious cast. The Decca set is historic because it offered the legendary Sutherland/Pavarotti collaboration for the first time on disc. Luciano is wonderfully stylish here, elegant and ringing: Nureyev, vocally-speaking, to Sutherland’s Fonteyn. La Stupenda was going through one of her ‘moony’, muddy-diction phases, but the vocalism is quite dazzling. It’s a joy to encounter Josephine Veasey in her only commercially recorded Italian role: velvet-toned, shining, she is Sutherland’s most lustrous mezzo rival in any bel canto recording. More recent recordings include a Rizzoli set – Mariana Nicolescu in the title role – and a brand new one starring Edita Gruberova on the ominously named Nightingale label, which I have not yet heard.“ --Hugh Canning, BBC Music Magazine
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