Artist: Nels Cline & Julian Lage
Genre: Jazz, Modern Jazz, Guitar Jazz
Label: © Mack Avenue Records
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 88,2kHz/24bit
Recorded: December 1-3, 2013
Nels Cline is a major force as a guitarist and improviser, ever since he debuted on record in 1978 and as a leader in 1988. Named by Rolling Stone as one of 20 “new guitar gods” and one of the top 100 guitarists of all time, Cline has gained his widest fame as a member of acclaimed rock band Wilco since 2004. He’s known for a certain cranked-up experimental mayhem, the kind sometimes heard from his extraordinary trio The Nels Cline Singers, which released the well-received MACROSCOPE on Mack Avenue earlier in 2014. But throughout his career, Cline has undertaken projects, sometimes acoustic or semi-acoustic duos, highlighting an intimate and reflective approach that’s just as central to his artistry.
With ROOM, Cline returns to Mack Avenue, creating a world of melodic beauty but also hard sonic edges and technical brilliance in the company of Julian Lage. At just 26, Lage has taken the world of jazz guitar by storm. The New York Times hails the “disarming spirit of generosity” in Lage’s music and notes the young guitarist’s “roots tangled up in jazz, folk, classical and country music.” In addition to his work with Mark O’Connor, the late Jim Hall, Anthony Wilson and a great many others, Lage leads his own groundbreaking groups as documented on the albums Gladwell and Sounding Point (the latter earning Lage a Grammy® nomination).
In a 2013 Q&A with JazzTimes, Lage described the Cline-Lage duo sound as “200 percent power,” and that’s exactly what comes through on ROOM: an inspired collection of originals and collaborative pieces that run the full range from intricately composed and complex to free and spontaneous. Cline builds on the strength of his previous duo work with the likes of Vinny Golia, Zeena Parkins, Elliott Sharp, Thurston Moore, Carla Bozulich, Marc Ribot and not least of all the late West Coast bassist Eric Von Essen, to which the gorgeous dual-acoustic showcase “Whispers From Eve” is dedicated. Lage, for his part, has worked in duo settings with David Grisman, Martin Taylor, John Abercrombie, Taylor Eigsti and others.
The setup on ROOM is simple. Lage is on the left channel, Cline on the right, and they play just four guitars total: Cline a 1965 Gibson Barney Kessel archtop and a 1962 Gibson J-200 acoustic; Lage his tried-and-true Linda Manzer archtop and a 1939 Martin 000-18 acoustic. The sound is pristine, alive with personality and contrast, improvisational daring and jaw-dropping precision. “These are all ‘live’ performances,” Cline adds—there are no overdubs.
From the rolling arpeggiated figures and tight unison lines of “Abstract 12” and the deep, grooving interplay of “Racy,” it’s clear that ROOM is not a casual free-blowing session, though it sacrifices nothing in terms of unbounded creative energy. “The Scent Of Light,” one of the two longest pieces, moves through varied emotional terrain, from poetic rubato musings and rough abstraction to sweeping, expansive harmonic patterns and passages of an almost mathematical rhythmic exactitude. “The climactic coda goes from strummed chord clusters (non-notated) in 7/8 to 11/8 on cue,” Cline says, noting a certain kinship with “Odd End”—which is “mostly in 7/8 with some good old 4/4 thrown in here and there. I never write in odd time signatures to be clever or anything. I just hear music that way.”
“Blues, Too,” inspired by the late Jim Hall, first appeared as a Nels Cline Singers piece on the group’s 2004 release The Giant Pin as well as the 2010 double-disc Initiate. “Since I met Julian through Jim,” Cline says, “it seemed fitting to try it with Julian playing the bass part. The song entails certain Jim Hall references, such as the theme itself, and the sudden direction to play blues in E-flat but only for a few seconds before going into a free section—a sort of chamber music/instant composition space redolent of the Jimmy Giuffre 3 and other innovations of late ’50s and early ’60s jazz. Later there’s an up-tempo drone section on an A7 chord, in whatever time signature and tempo we feel like that day—it’s an homage to Jim’s frequent use of Latin-tinged, open-string/idiomatic areas. With Julian, I feel that the piece is closest to my original idea and intent.” Indeed, all of ROOM is a dedication to Hall.
Artist: Neil Young
Title: Bluenote Café
Genre: Rock, Rock & Roll, Blues Rock, Roots Rock, Heartland Rock
Label: © Reprise Records
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Recorded: November 1987 – August 1988
Bluenote Café is a live album by Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young, released on November 13 2015 on Reprise. The album is volume eleven in Young's Archives Performance Series, and features performances from Young's 1987-1988 American tour in support of his seventeenth studio album, This Note's for You (1988), with his then-backing band, The Bluenotes.
Natalie Merchant - Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/48kHz
Artist: Natalie Merchant
Title: Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings
Genre: Pop Rock, Soft Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Singer/Songwriter
Label: © Nonesuch Records
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 48kHz/24bit
Recorded at the Clubhouse, Rhinebeck, NY; Mixed at the Isokon, Woodstock, NY; Mastered at Masterdisk, New York, NY
When Natalie Merchant left 10,000 Maniacs in 1994, she had given the band two years notice and was ready to embark on a solo career. Given her high profile, she could have done anything she wanted -- and she did. She bucked conventional music biz wisdom, hired her own band, and self-produced the multi-platinum-selling Tigerlily. Some of its songs are still part of her live set and the classic album endures with fans and continues to find new ones. Twenty years later, Merchant presents Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings. It's completely re-recorded, re-arranged, and revisioned. The obvious question -- why mess with a classic? -- is answered convincingly. She's learned a lot about these songs in the interim. Her approach remains holistic; her optimism has not been tempered by time as much as deepened with it. The running order is very different. "Wonder," for instance, is now the album's closer. It has been stripped of electric instruments and adorned by acoustic piano, guitars, and a brushed trap kit. "River," an elegy for the late actor River Phoenix, remains a lament. The electric guitars are still there, but a string quartet bears up Merchant's voice. It continues to reflect her anger at the sensationalistic coverage of his death, but it's balanced now by an enduring sense of loss imbued with the weight of the heart's memory. A backing chorus featuring Gail Ann Dorsey and Elizabeth Mitchell adds spiritual resonance to her delivery. This version of "The Letter" is nearly twice as long. Merchant's vocal is accompanied only by an upright bass and the string quartet. "Cowboy Romance" offers a taut, upright bassline, a lonesome violin, a wafting accordion, and brushed snare. Merchant's voice is much deeper now, but also richer; it carries the authority of a personal truth that's been lived in. The wide-eyed innocent who delivered the line "...There's no man born that can rule me…" is gone. There is a nearly militant emphasis on those words here, offering the poignancy of experience as a testament. The rock & roll core of "Jealousy" has been replaced by a vintage R&B feel. Simi Stone's Motown-esque duet vocals and Sharel Cassity's tenor saxophone provide organic counterweights to Merchant's in-the-rear-view delivery and finally free of frustrated desire; the evidence of a lesson learned the hard way. On Paradise Is There, her songs thrive in new presentations. Their meanings have shifted and grown. This is not just a nostalgic look back at a classic album, but Merchant fully inhabiting the material in the present tense. The depth in these recordings makes it a welcome companion to Tigerlily. --AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
Сomposer: Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
Artist: Natacha Kudritskaya
Label: © 1001 Notes
Release Date: 2012
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 48kHz/24bit
Enregistré sur le CFX Yamaha, à la Fondation La Borie en Limousin
En 2009, le Festival 1001 Notes lance sa collection avec le projet du Maître et l'élève. Fort du succès de ce dernier, 1001 Notes décide de confirmer son soutien aux jeunes artistes et d’enregistrer le premier disque de la pianiste Natacha Kudritskaya consacré à Rameau.
Natacha Kudritskaya, pianiste ukrainienne, s’intéresse dès le Conservatoire de Kiev à la musique française et se passionne peu à peu pour Rameau dont on fêtera l’anniversaire des 250 ans de sa mort en 2014. En 2011, l’Abbaye de Royaumont, qui vient d’acquérir le plus grand fond de documentation sur Rameau, accueille Natacha en résidence. Elle effectue un travail de recherche approfondi sur Rameau et découvre de nouvelles œuvres et pistes d’interprétation de sa musique. Elle se penche tout particulièrement sur l’incroyable modernité de son écriture. L’enregistrement du CD se confirme et Natacha décide qu’elle jouera sur un piano moderne Yamaha. Elle explique son choix : « L’œuvre de Rameau pour clavecin constitue un trésor fondamental dans l’évolution de l’instrument et dans les techniques d’interprétation, cette richesse devienne une évidence lorsque les œuvres sont jouées sur une piano moderne, or très peu de ses œuvres ont été enregistrées sur piano moderne au XX°s.
Artist: Nat King Cole
Title: The Christmas Song
Genre: Jazz, Swing, Easy Listening, Holiday, Christmas, Traditional Pop, Vocal Jazz
Label: © Capitol Records W1967 | Audio Fidelity AFZ225
Release Date: 1962/2015
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: SACD ISO
Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio.
Nat King Cole's flawless vocals combined with ever so sweet orchestrations and choral backings, provide a collection of standard Christmas carols, hymns and songs that gloriously captures the spirit of the season. Without fireworks, improvisations, catchy rhythms, or unusual variations, Cole sings songs full of love in his relaxed and unpretentious style. The orchestra and chorus under the direction of Ralph Carmichael are used to highlight Cole's vocal interpretations, instead of making their own statements, and the use of bells, bell lyre, flutes, and harp add depth to the background while adding emphasis to the lyrics.
The title track, beautifully sung to an accompaniment of piano and strings, has always been Cole's biggest Christmas hit, it has remained a perinnial and is possibly his most widely heard record.
There are other superb tracks including a stirring rendition of "Adeste Fidelis" in the original Latin. "O Holy Night," with a 27-string orchestra, maintains its sense of quiet awe. Add to that favorites like "Deck the Halls," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," "Away in a Manger," "Joy to the World," "Silent Night" and "O Tannenbaum" (in its original German language). The soothing and thoughtful "A Cradle in Bethlehem" is a perfect lullaby and the cheerful "Caroling, Caroling" conveys its snowy frolic in a wonderfully scenic, slightly bracing spirit, and Nat's jaunty rendering of "I Saw Three Ships" and "The First Noel" are sung with an a capella chorus. The Christmas Song was the best-selling holiday album released in the 1960s, and was certified by RIAA for shipments of 6 million copies in the US. According to BMI "The Christmas Song" is the most-performed Christmas song of all time. This is a masterwork, plain and simple, traditional and restrained, Cole's album honors the season and its message.
Artist: Nat Adderley
Title: Work Song
Genre: Jazz, Post-Bop, Hard Bop, Soul Jazz, Guitar Jazz
Label: © Riverside Records | Concord Music Group
Release Date: 1960/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Recorded: January 1960 at Reeves Sound Studios, New York City
Nat Adderley led a double creative life at Riverside: featured on the highly successful working-group albums led by his brother Cannonball, and also devising several intriguingly different projects under his own name. Very possibly the most interesting was Work Song, which took its title from one of Nat's most widely known soulful compositions, and took its instrumentation from the younger Adderley's fertile imagination. Cornet, cello, and guitar make up a front line that will probably never be duplicated. The guitarist was his friend Wes Montgomery, just emerging towards jazz stardom; the cellist was the longtime bassist of Cannonball's band, Sam Jones.