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Winter's Delights - Early Christmas Music and Carols from the British Isles - Quadriga Consort (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Variuos
Artist: Quadriga Consort
Title: Winter's Delights - Early Christmas Music and Carols from the British Isles
Genre: Classical, Traditional, Christmas, Vocal Music
Label: © Deutsche Harmonia Mundi/Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:58:43
Recorded: July 4-9, 2013

“Summer hath his joys, and Winter his delights” – these words, written by Thomas Campion (1567–1620) perfectly describe the attraction of the winter season. Although nature may be in a slumber, we people have found ways to amuse ourselves with long evenings of conversation, accompanied by music and wine, or snuggling up in front of the fireplace with a big mug of a nice, warm beverage, or with physical activities such as skiing or tobogganing. We’ve also invented a large number of holidays that we can look forward to and rely on to bring cheer into this dark and sun-less period.
However, despite all attempts at merriment, it cannot be denied that winter is a cruel and inhospitable time of year and it is often used as a metaphor for a cold heart or unrequited love in ancient ballads.
It is this contrast that makes winter so intense: cold and warmth, companionship and solitude, affection and rejection, darkness and light – and, ultimately, life and death.
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Wilson Pickett - Don't Knock My Love (1971/2012) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Wilson Pickett
Title: Don't Knock My Love
Genre: R&B, Funk, Deep Soul, Southern Soul, Memphis Soul
Label: © Atlantic Records
Release Date: 1971/2012
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 36:56
Recorded: 1971, Muscle Shoals Sound Studios

Wilson Pickett's eleventh and final album for the Atlantic label is yet another example of why the ultimate pop-soul singer was not only a consistent hitmaker time after time, but was able to adapt and change with the times, covering tunes a lesser singer would not dare try. By the occasion of this 1971 date, disco was starting to rear its head, and Pickett picked up on the trend while still retaining his native Alabama and longtime Detroit roots. After many years working with bands from the Motor City or Memphis, the singer had just collaborated with the Kenneth Gamble/Leon Huff team in Philadelphia, then returned here to record at the legendary Muscle Shoals studio in 'Bama, bringing string arranger Wade Marcus, background vocal arranger Dave Crawford, Detroit session guitarist nonpareil Dennis Coffey (spelled wrong as Coffee on the credits, corrected in Gene Sculatti's excellent updated liner notes) and the Memphis Horns. As he was not much of a songwriter in this latter period of his career, Pickett was fond of covering tunes done by British or American rockers and friends from the Southern soul scene, hoping a couple of them would stick on the charts, which they usually did. For the most part, these tracks segue into each other, a nightmare for radio or club DJs, and a most peculiar trait of this straight CD reissue. Pickett's two-part title track is half funky rock & roll, half weird synth-drizzled disco instrumental, all with an out-of-tune electric bass guitar from David Hood, though qualified with the lyric "if you don't like it, don't knock it". The slow-burning "Hot Love" showcases the most action from a potent horn section over amorous lyric references, Marcus and Crawford exploit the strings and female vocal backup on the ballad "Pledging My Love," while the anti-climactic "Woman Let Me Be Down Home" is listless lyrically and musically. The highlights include a version of "Fire & Water" originally done by Paul Rodgers (and co-composer Andy Fraser) of Free before the singer headed up Bad Company. Pickett jumps head first into this classic rock tune-turned-soulful song loaded up with clavinet sounds -- it would have been a kick to hear the wicked one cover Free's other big hit, "The Stealer". Randy Newman's "Mama Told Me Not to Come" from the book of Three Dog Night is so much better in the soul sender's hands, almost campy and somewhat humorous. Stevie Wonder's minor hit "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover" is done in Pickett's comfort zone similar to his big Philly-based hit "Engine Engine #9," alright in this instance, but not spectacular, instead more watered down. The hardest-driving numbers are "A Mighty Long Way" featuring Pickett's harmonica playing, and the straight pop-funk of "Call My Name, I'll Be There" with a somewhat cliché lyric post-Damita Jo or the Jackson Five, with Coffey's thorny guitar as a focal point. "Covering the Same Old Ground" is the downhearted blues Pickett was always capable of doing, but is marred by the syrupy strings. A high point on every track is the spot-on drumming of Roger Hawkins and keyboardist Barry Beckett, nuclei of the true Muscle Shoals sound. This is a recording yielding mixed results, and considering this is the end of his initial prime period as a top drawer R&B icon, understandable that it's not his best, even though there are many redeeming moments for his still great vocal talent. --AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos
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Wilson Pickett - The Sound Of Wilson Pickett (1967/2012) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Wilson Pickett
Title: The Sound Of Wilson Pickett
Genre: R&B, Funk, Deep Soul, Southern Soul, Memphis Soul
Label: © Atlantic Records
Release Date: 1967/2012
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 29:13
Recorded: 1967, Muscle Shoals Sound Studios

The Sound of Wilson Pickett was one of the three albums Atlantic issued by the Wicked One in 1967. Produced by Jerry Wexler (who got co-writes on a couple of tracks), it featured great session players like Chips Moman and Spooner Oldham, to name just two. Looking at the track list, it looks like a slew of hits. But it wasn't. In fact, it was two sides packed with singles. While it contains his absolutely classic, wailing read of "Funky Broadway," it also features both parts of "I Found a Love" (renamed "I Found a True Love" for the 1968 album The Midnight Mover), the Oldham and Dan Penn suggestive classic "I Need a Lot of Loving Everyday." Pickett's reading of the song with a killer female backing chorus smolders with nocturnal nether-hipped fire. Pickett's version of Rudy Clark's swaggering "You Can't Stand Alone" is a burning throw-down with awesome guitar and horn charts and a killer little Farfisa break in the middle. He also sings the deep Memphis blues on "Something Within Me." The set closes with one of his finest performances, his signature reading of "Love Is a Beautiful Thing." Arguably, The Sound of Wilson Pickett may be his finest album performance of the entire decade. --AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
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Antonio Vivaldi - Concerti per fagotto IV - Sergio Azzolini, L'Aura Soave Cremona (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/88.2kHz

Сomposer: Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678–1741)
Artist: Sergio Azzolini, L'Aura Soave Cremona
Title: Vivaldi: Concerti per fagotto IV
Genre: Classical
Label: © 2015 Opus 111 / naïve classique
Series: The Edition Vivaldi vol.59 (concerti per strumenti a fiato vol.8)
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 88,2kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:08:29
Recorded: in April 2014, Santuario di Ariadello, Soresina (Italy)

As in the successful volumes 1-3 this is a very exciting recording, featuring the bassoon as you never heard before! The 54th release in the Vivaldi Edition features a selection of the finest works for bassoon ever composed, regardless of the instrument, this is a complete view of Vivaldi’s universe, performed by a true genius of baroque music. With each CD Azzolini proves himself to be an artist of endless immagination and virtuosity. With each new recording he surpasses the one before. A master…
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Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965/2012) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Vince Guaraldi Trio
Title: A Charlie Brown Christmas
Genre: Jazz, Cool Jazz, Mainstream Jazz, Christmas
Label: © Fantasy Records | Concord Music Group
Release Date: 1965/2012
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: ProStudioMasters
Duration: 44:50
Recorded: Late 1965 at Fantasy Recording Studios, San Francisco, California
Remastering: Joe Tarantino (Joe Tarantino Mastering, Berkeley, CA)

Vince Guaraldi's name will forever be inextricably linked to Charlie Brown's, thanks to the iconic piano jazz music Guaraldi composed and performed with his trio for 17 Peanuts television specials and a feature film. This beloved 1965 album, the soundtrack from the eternal favourite animated classic, has sold over three million copies in the US, making it the tenth best-selling Christmas album of all time. The album was also a Library of Congress National Recording Registry inductee in 2012 and a Grammy Hall of Fame inductee in 2007. This expanded edition has been newly remastered with 24-bit technology from the original analogue master tapes and includes three additional songs not on the original release.

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Vilsmayr, Pisendel, Biber - Works for Solo Violin - Vaughan Jones (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Johann Joseph Vilsmaÿr (1663-1722), Johann Georg Pisendel (1687–1755), Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644-1704)
Artist: Vaughan Jones
Title: Vilsmaÿr, Pisendel, Biber - Works for Solo Violin
Genre: Classical
Brand/Label: © First Hand Records
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:57:58
Recorded at St Mary Magdalene Church, Willen, Milton Keynes, 20, 24, 27 March, 14, April & 6 August 2015 (24bit, 96kHz hi-resolutin recording & mastering)

A fascinating, joyous set of rare works by the 18th century Austrian composer/violinist Vilsmaÿr, published it its entirety for the first time here, 300 years after its first publication. Many of the Partitas adopt what is called Scodatura, where open strings are tuned differently to standard tuning, adding some interesting colours to the music. Pisendel was a famous Baroque violinist and composer. His fiendishly difficult Solo Violin Sonata in A minor is an unpredictable, tempestuous and capricious work, showing great scope and ambition in the development of the violin. To round of the recording, the famous Passaglia in G minor by Biber, a sombre, moving work and a perfect end to this noteworthy 2CD set.
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Vienna Boys Choir - Merry Christmas From Vienna (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz

Сomposer: Various
Artist: Vienna Boys Choir
Title: Merry Christmas From Vienna
Genre: Classical, Choral, Christmas
Label: © Wiener Sängerknaben/Deutsche Grammophon
Release Date: 2004/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:55:15
Recorded: 2015

The world's best-known boys' choir begins its close cooperation with Universal Music with a major Christmas album. With the likes of Rolando Villazón and Aida Garifullina, the Choir Boys have invited two stars of classical music to be their guests. And instrumental support is provided by the band WienerWunderAllerlei and the brass ensemble phil Blech Wien.
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VA - Best From The West: Modern Sounds From California, Vol. 1 (1955/2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Various Artists
Title: Best From The West: Modern Sounds From California, Vol. 1 (A Musical Blindfold Test)
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Cool Jazz, West Coast Jazz
Label: © Blue Note Records
Release Date: 1955 (BLP 5059)/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC 2.0 Mono 192kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 23:55
Recorded: Radio Recorders Studio in Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, December 31, 1954

Originally released on 10-inch vinyl in early 1955, this album spotlights some of the best from Blue Note's West Coast jazz roster of the day, as the title implies, recorded in Los Angeles and featuring prominent jazz musicians from both coasts such as Harry "Sweets" Edison, Stan Levey, Conte Candoli and Marty Paich. The "blindfold test" refers to the fact that this was originally issued with no credits, presenting a challenge to jazz fans to identify the players who were only revealed on the second volume of this series. This note appeared on the original record jacket: "We're curious to see which of Blue Note's customers, long noted for their astute jazz tastes and discernment, can come up with a complete or at least partially correct answer."
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T-SQUARE plus - History (2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: T-SQUARE plus
Title: History
Genre: Jazz, Fusion, Jazz Rock, Smooth Jazz
Label: © Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.
Release Date: 2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: unknown
Duration: 49:00
Recorded: 2013

T-Square is a Japanese jazz fusion band that was formed in 1978. They became famous in the late 70s and early 80s along with other Japanese fusion bands. Its most successful lineup included its members from 1986 to 1990: guitarist Masahiro Andoh, bassist Mitsuru Sutoh, saxophonist/flutist/EWI player Takeshi Itoh, keyboardist Hirotaka Izumi, and drummer Hiroyuki Noritake. They are known for songs such as "Truth", "Japanese Soul Brothers", "Takarajima", and "Omens of Love" among others. "Truth" has been used as the theme for Fuji Television's Formula One (F1) coverage from 1989 to 2000 and since 2012. An Arrangement of said tune, "Truth 21c" was used as the theme for Japan's F1 2001 and 2002, respectively, and other remixes of "Truth" were used from 2003 to 2006.
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Tony Overwater & Bert van den Brink - Impromptu (2014) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Artist: Tony Overwater & Bert van den Brink
Title: Impromptu - Live at Rhapsody
Genre: Jazz
Label: © Sound Liaison
Release Date: 2014
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Duration: 56:53
Recorded on April 2nd, 2012 at Studio Eleven Hilversum, the Netherlands

Harry and Michel, our good friends and advisors from the High End audio shop ''Rhapsody" in Hilversum, were celebrating the shops 25th anniversary.
They invited master bassist Tony Overwater and pianist extraordinaire Bert van den Brink to come and play a concert in the listening room of the shop.
The room was filled to the brim with audio enthusiasts, the closest listener being just a few feet from the musicians and the microphones.
When the audience is so close to the musicians, a synergy occurs. The audience becomes part of the music making and help spur the musicians on to great heights. The musicians feeling the empathy from the audience dare to take chances that one rarely hears in a studio recording. Tony and Bert had not performed together as a duo before, and no rehearsal had taken place prior to the Rhapsody concert, but the music these two masters of improvisation created that sunny afternoon in Rhapsody, is simply breathtaking.
The recording conditions were not ideal. The doors in the back of the room were opened several times by people trying to squeeze in, making the sound from the espresso machine in the hall and the DJ playing ambient music in the garden faintly audible at the beginning of each set. Later halfway through the concert the windows of the room had to be opened for air. The DJ turned off his music but he was immediately replaced by the sound of birds singing. If listening closely one can hear them, chime in, in the quiet parts.
These outside factors contributed to the unique atmosphere of this recording and that is yet another reason why; Impromptu (a musical composition prompted by the spirit of the moment) is such an apt title.
Frans de Rond
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