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Manu Katche - Neighbourhood (2005) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz


Artist: Manu Katché
Title: Neighbourhood
Genre: Jazz, Modern Creative, Progressive Jazz
Label: © ECM Records GmbH
Release Date: 2005
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:54:52
Recorded: March and November 2004, Rainbow Studio, Oslo


Neighbourhood is an astounding, if subdued, meeting of minds. Like other ECM projects of its ilk, this congregation feels as if it arose out of a fundamental and inescapable desire to create music for the sheer enjoyment of it. There is no showing off here. This is laid back, burnished, melt-in-your-mouth jazz perfect for a quiet evening or a rainy afternoon. That being said, this is a far cry from what might elsewhere derogatorily pass for “smooth.” In spite of its overall delicacy the album is not without solid grooves (how can we not bob our heads to the piano-driven ride that is “Number One” or to the swinging horns of “Take Off And Land”?), effectively concise solos (cf. Garbarek’s gorgeous outburst in “Good Influence” and titillating turns from Wasilewski and Stanko in “Lovely Walk”), and enough stellar moments overall to turn any depressing day into a blissful mental excursion. The ensemble plays us out beautifully with “Rose.”
As the brainchild of Manu Katché and producer Manfred Eicher, Neighbourhood is essentially a rhythmic enterprise. Katché’s percussion work provides the crowning motifs to which his compatriots are each a shining jewel. Multiple listenings reveal new nuances of texture and interaction every time. A very fine but impermeable thread connects these musicians and Katché never dominates, waiting in the wings as his motifs take shape of their own volition. The title of the sixth cut says it all: “No Rush.” Take your time with this one and it will reward you greatly. Just press PLAY and you’re there.
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Manu Katche - Playground (2007) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz


Artist: Manu Katché
Title: Playground
Genre: Jazz, Modern Creative, Progressive Jazz
Label: © ECM Records GmbH
Release Date: 2007
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:10:07
Recorded: January 2007 at Avatar Studios, New York


Playground is the spiritual successor to drummer Manu Katché’s auspicious ECM leader debut: Neighbourhood. Auspicious, because said debut practiced just the communal sort of sharing it preached. The lineup here replaces saxophonist Jan Garbarek with the multi-talented Trygve Seim and adds to its ranks trumpeter Mathias Eick—neither strangers to one another since their appearance on Iro Haarla’s Northbound. Rounding out the cast are two thirds of the Marcin Wasilewski Trio (bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and Wasilewski himself at the keys), as well as guitarist David Torn. Aside from the latter’s ambient contributions to its bookends, the album luxuriates in the all-acoustic interplay of Katché’s simple yet potent tunes.
Of those tunes, we get 11 artfully crafted gems, gradated from sunrise to sunset. From the first, there is a sort of lush Americana that pervades each smooth turn of phrase, swaying like poplars in anonymous urban landscapes—a result, perhaps, of these European jazzmen soaking in the spell of New York City, where Playground was recorded. Either way, one can hear the pulse of the city’s history in the underlying beat textures. In this regard, Wasilewski’s pianism is striking for both its sink and swim. In the album’s opener it acts as an intermediate force between Katché’s supporting brushes and Eick’s leading stare, while in “Song For Her” (and its variation, which ends the set) it enables reflective bassing, pinging like pachinko balls in slow motion. Here, as elsewhere, the horns build to the non-invasive sort of head at which Katché’s writing excels.
Tracks are designated by names that are as descriptive as they are simple. Most are relatively obvious. “Motion,” for example, moves flexibly. Noteworthy is Wasilewski, given free reign in one of the session’s strongest improvisational showings, of which there are a strategic few (others being Seim’s chromatic solo in “Inside Game” and Eick’s skyward lob in “Project 58”). Despite the groundedness of Katche’s drumming, there is always something airborne about the melodic front line, so that tracks like “So Groovy” showcase Katché’s multidirectional awareness. What distinguishes his grooves, then, is less their sense of push than of pull. Here, as in “Snapshot,” the music draws ocean waters like the moon. Whether piecing together the cymbal-happy backbone of “Clubbing” or paving the smooth runway of “Morning Joy,” Katché finds strength in his attractions to kindred spirits. They clearly take inspiration from him in kind, for by the end one feels the cycle ready to repeat for a third round.
The title of the second track, “Pieces Of Emotion,” describes it best: each fragment builds a larger mental whole, a place built on togetherness, listening, and, above all, synchronicity.
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Melody Gardot - Currency Of Man (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz

Artist: Melody Gardot
Title: Currency Of Man
Genre: Jazz, R&B, Singer/Songwriter, Jazz Blues, Retro-Soul
Label: © The Verve Music Group
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: ProStudioMasters
Duration: 01:08:25


Currency of Man from singer-songwriter Melody Gardot is an intensely creative milestone, transcending musical distinctions of jazz, blues and R&B to offer a stirring social and musical statement. Gardot once again joins forces with Grammy-winning producer Larry Klein, long associated with Joni Mitchell. A striking musical partnership, their previous collaboration, 2009’s My One and Only Thrill, sold over a million-and-a-half copies and yielded songs that have become modern classics. Currency of Man marks a substantial leap forward as Gardot takes her gift for songwriting in a a completely different direction from her preceding album, the critically acclaimed The Absence. This "artist's cut" deluxe edition includes five bonus tracks.
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Melody Gardot - The Absence (2012) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz


Artist: Melody Gardot
Title: The Absence
Genre: Jazz, Vocal Jazz, Vocal Pop, Bossa Nova, Soul Jazz
Label: © The Verve Music Group
Release Date: 2012
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 43:24


The Absence is the third record from Grammy-nominated Melody Gardot. Produced by Heitor Pereira, renowned for his work as a film composer (Despicable Me, It's Complicated, From Prada to Nada) and world-class session guitarist (Sting, Seal, Caetano Veloso), the Brazilian-born, US-based artist shared Melody's enthusiasm for driving off the beaten path of Western pop, jazz, blues and soul. And he was as adventurous as Melody when it came to inventive sonic ideas. From the deserts of Morocco to the streets of Lisboa, from the tango bars of Buenos Aires to the beaches of Brazil, The Absence captures the essence of each of these exotic locales, while at the same time remaining quintessentially Melody Gardot.
Written by Melody and produced by composer and guitarist Heitor Pereira – who also composed all the orchestral arrangements on the album – ‘The Absence’ is a stunning 11-track culmination of Melody’s year-long globetrotting experiences. From the deserts of Morocco to the beaches of Brazil, ‘The Absence’ pulses to the hypnotic rhythms of Fado, Tango and Samba. Melody is joined on the album by acclaimed musicians; bassist John Leftwich, percussionist Paulihno DaCosta and drummers Jim Kelter and Peter Erskine among many others.
Lead track ‘Mira’ is a warm bossa nova accent with a heart of gold, accompanied by a vibrant video shot in the streets and alleyways of Rio de Janeiro. Then there’s ‘Lisboa’, a glimpse of Melody’s stay in the Portuguese capital capturing the musical sounds of the streets.
Other album highlights include the classic Gershwin swell of ‘So We Meet Again My Heartache’, the tango-ready ‘Goodbye’, and the uplifiting world-beat of ‘Amalia’ – the first single, released May 21st which was co-written by Pereira and Phil Roy.
A renowned film composer (Despicable Me, Its Complicated, From Prada To Nada) – Heitor Pereira has also worked with Simply Red, Sting and Seal as a world-class session guitarist. “It was a beautiful connection,' Melody says of their meeting. 'I needed a partner - a collaborator, and a bit of genius in his own right. Someone crazy enough to understand how serious I am when I say, 'I want to play palm leaves and a washboard’ - and make it work.”
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Sonatas For Piano & Violin - Mitsuko Uchida, Mark Steinberg (2005/2012) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz


Сomposer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Artist: Mitsuko Uchida, Mark Steinberg
Title: Mozart - Sonatas For Piano & Violin
Genre: Classical
Label: © Decca is a Universal Music Company
Release Date: 2005/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: prestoclassical.co.uk
Duration: 1:09:51
Recorded: June-July 2004, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Suffolk, United Kingdom


In perusing CDs of Mozart's sonatas for piano and violin, a lot can be guessed in advance by noticing which performer is featured prominently, and who is relegated to second place. In these sonatas the violin is minimized to an obbligato accompaniment. Legendary pianist Mitsuko Uchida is clearly the dominant partner, and rising violinist Mark Steinberg is only her deferential sidekick. The usual problems of balance between the piano and violin are exacerbated by such a lopsided pairing, and it is inevitable that Uchida's interesting interpretations, refined expression, and impeccable execution will outshine Steinberg's efforts; no matter how desperately he tries to get on an equal footing with her, he must fail. As it happens, his playing eventually becomes an annoyance, little more than a doubling or elaboration of the melodic line, with little independence of thought, expression, attack, or color. Strangely, one wishes to hear Uchida's playing unadorned, without the chattering fiddling going on beside her, but this is just further evidence that this duo is mismatched. The sound quality is decent, except that the highly resonant acoustics emphasize the piano to the violin's further detriment. --AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
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Of Monsters And Men - Beneath The Skin (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Of Monsters And Men
Title: Beneath The Skin
Genre: Pop Rock, Indie Folk, Alternative, Indie Rock
Label: © Republic Records
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 01:05:39
Recorded: 2014-15


Four years after the band's quadruple-platinum debut album comes Beneath The Skin, the sophomore release from Icelandic outfit Of Monsters And Men. The lead single Crystals is another powerfully beautiful anthem, expanding the signature sound countless fans fell in love with. The group spent a year working on Beneath The Skin with co-producer Rich Costey (Muse, Foster The People, Interpol) between studios in Iceland and Los Angeles. This deluxe edition contains two bonus tracks and two remixes.
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Ophelie Gaillard - Schumann - Liszt (2012) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/48kHz


Сomposer: Robert Schumann (1810-1856), Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Artist: Ophélie Gaillard
Title: Schumann - Liszt
Genre: Classical
Label: © Aparté/Little Tribeca
Release Date: 2012
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo (#1-3) 48kHz/24bit; (#4-8) 88,2kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:50:09
Recorded: Radio Romania Concert Hall (Schumann), IRCAM (Liszt)


After Dreams, and the Bach Cello Suites, two recordings that enjoyed both critical and public acclaim, Ophélie Gaillard turns here to Robert Schumann's Cello Concerto and the complete music for cello and piano of Franz Liszt. The result of this juxtaposition of two worlds, those of two composers of great sensitivity, is a programme captivatingly combining passion with an expression of the mysteries of life. Once again we see the eclecticism that Ophélie Gaillard has always shown. For the Schumann Concerto, this brilliant young cellist is accompanied by the National Radio Orchestra of Romania (which has played with the likes of Yehudi Menuhin, David Oistrakh, Martha Argerich and Mstislav Rostropovich), under the young conductor Tiberiu Soare (a favourite of the singer Angela Gheorghiu).
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Orchestre National De Jazz - Piazzolla! (2012) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz


Composer: Ástor Piazzolla (1921-1992)
Artist: Orchestre National De Jazz
Title: Piazzolla!
Genre: Jazz, Tango, Latin Jazz, Contemporary Jazz
Label: © Jazz Village | harmonia mundi
Release Date: 2012
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:11:14
Recorded: Studios Ferber, February 2012


The ingenious artist, Piazzolla who crossed borders to mesh musical style and culture, symbolizes the many values that Daniel Yvinec holds dear, and that are inherent to the artistic approach he has used with his ONJ since 2009. Piazzolla's works are the perfect exploration playground for an orchestra accustomed to in-depth examination of sound, color, individual and group playing that advocates open jazz far from parochial and stylistic concerns.
Daniel Yvinec worked closely on the conception of this new repertoire with the brilliant musician and arranger, Gil Goldstein. Their work focuses on the melodies and rhythm developed throughout the Argentinean master's works, as much as it does on Piazzolla's bandoneon playing - the essential components that give this music its very special flavor. Piazzolla! by the ONJ celebrates the diversity of this music, offering a new and audacious reading full of surprise.
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Leonard Cohen - Can't Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz


Artist: Leonard Cohen
Title: Can't Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour
Genre: Folk, Folk Rock, Ballad, Singer/Songwriter
Label: © Columbia Records
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 00:48:32
Recorded: 2012-13


Leonard Cohen releases Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour on May 12, 2015. The ten songs of this hypnotic album are Cohen rarities recorded on his recent, celebrated "Old Ideas World Tour." Remarkably, this is Cohen’s third album release since last September’s Platinum selling Popular Problems which garnered four 2015 JUNO AWARD nominations and won for the coveted ‘Album of the Year’.
The songs on Can’t Forget have the immediacy, spontaneity, and thrilling intimacy of the best studio recordings made in the white heat of live performance and Cohen's legendary soundchecks, in which he brings the colors of his virtuoso band to full bloom in harmony with his voice, never more seductive. Here is a full range of Leonard Cohen's work: new songs including, from the realm of blues, the wickedly funny "Got a Little Secret" and "Never Gave Nobody Trouble"; luxurious performances of such Cohen masterpieces as "I Can't Forget," "Light As the Breeze," "Night Comes On," and a sublime "Joan of Arc". Cohen also treats us to a gripping version of the Quebecois love song "La Manic," performed before a captivated audience in Quebec City, and a moving tribute cover of the late country master George Jones's "Choices." These are songs and performances of the first order that you can't forget.
Cohen’s live concert tours were met with extraordinary and unanimous accolades as he performed around the world from 2008 through 2013. His mesmerizing performances totaled 470 shows in 31 countries, attended by four million fans. Can’t Forget gives listeners an extremely special glimpse into Cohen’s intimate rehearsal process, widely known to be in-depth ‘concerts before the concert!,’ heard by fans for the first time with this new record. Cohen continues to work with vocalists, musicians, producers and engineers who are the best in the business.
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Linda Ronstadt - The '80s Collection (1980-89/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz


Artist: Linda Ronstadt
Title: The '80s Collection
Genre: Rock, Soft Rock, Folk, R&B, Jazz, Country Rock
Label: © Asylum Records | Rhino Entertainment
Release Date: 1980-89/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 04:32:34


Linda Ronstadt's complete 1980s discography.
Mad Love (1980, certified Platinum in US)
Get Closer (1982, certified Gold in US)
What's New (1983, certified 3x Platinum in US, Platinum in Canada)
Lush Life (1984, certified Platinum in US)
For Sentimental Reasons (1986, certified Platinum in US)
Canciones de Mi Padre (1987, certified 2x Platinum in US)
Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind (1989, certified 3x Platinum in US, Platinum in Canada, and Gold in UK)
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