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Gregory Porter - Take Me To The Alley (2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Gregory Porter
Title: Take Me To The Alley
Genre: Jazz, R&B, Blues, Modern Jazz Vocals, Vocal Jazz, Soul Blues
Label: © Blue Note Records
Release Date: 2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:07:09
Recorded: September 28, 2015 - October 1, 2015; October 25 & 26, 2015

With 2013's Liquid Spirit, jazz singer and songwriter Gregory Porter's Blue Note debut, he accomplished what few in his vocation have in recent decades -- sold over a million albums globally. He also won the 2014 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album. In addition, in 2015, U.K. electronic unit Disclosure released "Holding On" -- a co-write with the singer that featured his vocal -- as the lead single from their Caracal album. The track was a worldwide club hit and inspired numerous remixes. On Take Me to the Alley, Porter sticks to what he does best: writing and singing great songs in his honeyed, unhurried yet disciplined baritone. Kamau Kenyatta remains his producer and his longtime band is back -- drummer Emanuel Harrold, bassist Aaron James, pianist Chip Crawford, and saxophonists Yosuke Sato (alto) and Tivon Pennicott (tenor) -- with select guests including trumpeter Keyon Harrold, vocalist Alicia Olatuja, and organist Ondrej Pivec. The leadoff track, unsurprisingly, is his own version of "Holding On," with a double-timed, brushed hi-hat, Motown-esque bassline, and crystalline piano. It skirts the edges of pop-soul yet remains in the jazz camp. Porter's lyrics are direct, confessional, and poetic. The spiritual clarity of the gospel message in the title cut is underscored by Olatuja's harmony vocal and Harrold's melodic trumpet break. "Consequence of Love" is one of the finest moments here, a tender midtempo ballad offered with the no-nonsense conviction that reveals love may be beyond the measurement of the rational, but commitment to it remains necessary for the revelation of its truth. Porter employs gospelized soul-blues (à la Ray Charles) in "Don't Lose Your Steam," one of two songs inspired by his son. The horns frame the B-3 and rhythm section groove while Sato's solo becomes a responsorial voice. "Fan the Flames" is a swinging political post-bop finger-popper with punchy horns. It's an anthemic call to arms with great solos by Pennicott and Keyon Harrold. The artful, strident narrative in "French African Queen" is accompanied in feverish modal form by the ensemble, accented by fluid rhythms that touch on Latin and African grooves (check the Fela Kuti-inspired horns to boot). A second version of "Holding On," with urban soulman Kem, feels unnecessary in comparison to the first. Conversely, the closer, a second read of the ballad "Insanity" with Lalah Hathaway in duet, should have replaced the first one, because it is superior. A seamless intersection of pop-jazz and adult cotemporary soul, it is a set highlight. If there's a knock against Take Me to the Alley, it's that it feels a bit long. Editing out two or three tunes would have heightened its impact. That Porter doesn't break new ground here isn't a big deal; he doesn't need to. His voice, already a standard of excellence by which others are judged, is matched by a truth-laid-bare songwriting style that is singular and second to none. --AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
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George Maharis - New Route: George Maharis (1966/2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: George Maharis
Title: New Route: His Exciting Cafe Debut, Recorded Live in the Persian Room of The Plaza
Genre: Traditional Pop, Easy Listening, Vocal Jazz, Vocal Pop, Swing, Bossa Nova
Label: © Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: 1966/2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 00:50:57
Recorded Live in the Persian Room of The Plaza

George Maharis (born September 1, 1928, Astoria, Queens, New York City) is an American actor who portrayed Buz Murdock in the first three seasons of the TV series Route 66. Maharis also recorded numerous pop music albums at the height of his fame, and later starred in the short-lived TV series The Most Deadly Game.
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French Delights - Sharon Bezaly, Love Derwinger (2007) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44,1kHz

Сomposer: Various
Artist: Sharon Bezaly, Love Derwinger
Title: French Delights
Genre: Classical
Label: © BIS Records
Release Date: 2007
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: eClassical
Duration: 62:29
Recorded: April 2007 (Deux Poèmes de Ronsard: August 2007) at Nybrokajen 11 (the former Academy of Music), Stockholm, Sweden

During long periods the flute has been almost synonymous with France, the country from which the music, the great players and the finest instruments all came. The French flute – whether dreamy as in Debussy’s Syrinx or sprightly as in Poulenc’s Sonata – is simply unmistakeably French, in all its delights. On her new release, renowned flutist Sharon Bezaly – who herself studied in Paris – celebrates this tradition, with a programme consisting of works composed between 1889 and 1946. Among the composers, some – Widor and Milhaud – are more famous than others, but not necessarily for their flute works. (Widor, for instance, is mainly known for his organ compositions.) Others are closely associated with the flute and, indeed, with the works here recorded. Roussel’s Joueurs de flûte is a case in point: a panorama of the flute through the ages in which each of the four movements evokes a mythical flutist, such as the Greek god Pan and the Hindu deity Krishna. Roussel has also composed the settings of two poems by Ronsard, in which Sharon Bezaly is joined by Barbara Hendricks. French Delights is something of a companion piece to a previous Bezaly disc: Café au Lait, a predominantly French flute recital accompanied by Roland Pöntinen. Upon its release that disc, and the artistry of Sharon Bezaly, were highly acclaimed, for instance in French magazine Diapason: ‘The flute turns into the voice of enchantment, a lullaby of the senses or an invitation to dreamfulness, into planing light or the glitter of light on water – an instrument almost too beautiful.’ Here again, with the support of eminent pianist Love Derwinger, Sharon Bezaly displays her prodigious talent.
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Freddie King - Freddie King Is A Blues Master (1969/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Freddie King
Title: Freddie King Is A Blues Master
Genre: Blues, Modern Electric Blues, Electric Texas Blues
Label: © Atlantic Records
Release Date: 1969
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC 2.0 Mono 192kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 36:30
Recorded: 1969 at Atlantic Recording Studios, NYC

This week’s Mono Monday release is a 1969 album from a certified blues master. Well, actually, we didn’t ask to see his certificate of mastery, but we respect Freddie King enough to know that he wouldn’t release an album entitled Freddie King is a Blues Master if he couldn’t back it up that kind of bold claim. Also, in case this piece happens to be your introduction to the album in question, allow us to assure you that we’ve heard it, and there’s definitely no case of false advertising in play.
By the time he released Blues Master, King – who died in 1976 at a far-too-young 42 years of age – already had a well-established history of describing his activities in his album titles. His debut LP was entitled Freddie King Sings, and in 1965 he offered up Freddie King Sings Again; between those two releases, he asked of potential buyers Let's Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King (1961), then hit the waves in 1963 with Freddie King Goes Surfin’.
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Francis Cabrel - Hors-saison (1999/2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Francis Cabrel
Title: Hors-saison
Genre: Pop Rock, Folk, Blues Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Chanson française
Label: © Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: 1999/2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:52:08
Recorded and Mixed at studio Plus XXX, Paris. Additional recordings at Artistic Palace.

Hors-saison est le neuvième album studio de Francis Cabrel sorti en 1999. Il s'est vendu à près de 2 millions d'exemplaires. C'est l'album qui s'est le mieux vendu en 1999.
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Foghat - Live (1977/2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Foghat
Title: Foghat Live
Genre: Rock, Boogie Rock, Hard Rock, Blues Rock
Label: © Bearsville Records | Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company
Release Date: 1977/2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 38:20
Recorded: The RCA Mobile Unit, May 1977

Although they had scored some success on the album charts (Fool for the City being their biggest success), Foghat had always won the majority of their fans through their high-intensity live shows. Thus, when live albums became a salable rock music commodity in the wake of megahits like Kiss Alive and Frampton Comes Alive, it was only natural that Foghat would release a live recording. Live wisely restricts the running time to a single album (two album's worth of Foghat's boogie rock, no matter how energetic, would probably have been too much), resulting in a tight set that flows effortlessly and showcases the group's strengths in the best possible light. Everything is delivered with an energy and intensity that would be impossible to capture in a studio: good examples are "Honey Hush," a frantic hard rock blitz delivered at twice the speed of the studio version, and "Home in My Hand," a stomping anthem whose live version adds an a cappella break that allows the group to show off some impressive vocal harmonies as they get the crowd fired up. Elsewhere, the group transforms hits like "Slow Ride" and "I Just Wanna Make Love to You" into guitar-fueled epics that allow the group to show off its mastery of hard rock's sonic pyrotechnics. The end result is one of Foghat's finest albums because it cherry picks all the highlights of the band's catalog to that point and captures the band in its most natural and comfortable setting (i.e., in front of a group of adoring fans). These qualities make Live a gem of 1970s hard rock and a necessity for anyone who wants to understand the appeal of Foghat. --AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco
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Foghat - Fool For The City (1975/2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Foghat
Title: Fool For The City
Genre: Rock, Boogie Rock, Hard Rock, Blues Rock
Label: © Bearsville Records | Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company
Release Date: 1975/2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 35:33
Recorded: 1974 at Suntreader Studios, Sharon, Vermont

After building a solid core audience through relentless touring and a string of hard-rocking albums, Foghat finally hit the big time in 1975 with Fool for the City. It still stands out as the best album in the group's catalog because it matched their road-tested abilities as hard rockers to a consistent set of tunes that were both well-crafted and ambitious. The tone for the album is set by its title track: This hard-rocking gem not only pairs riff-driven verses with an effective shout-along chorus, but also throws in a few surprising moments where the guitars are taken out of the mix completely and Nick Jameson's bass is allowed to take the lead in a funky breakdown. Fool for the City also produced an enduring rock radio favorite in "Slow Ride," a stomping rock tune that transcends the inherent clichés of its "love is like a car ride" lyrics with a furious performance from the band and a clever arrangement that works in well-timed automotive sound effects during the verses and plays up the band's ability to work an R&B-styled groove into their hard-rocking sound (again, note the thumping bassline from Jameson). Further radio play was earned with "Take It or Leave It," an acoustic-based ballad that worked synthesizers into its subtle yet carefully layered arrangement to become one of the group's finest slow numbers. The album's other songs don't stand like the aforementioned selections, but they all flow together nicely thanks to a consistently inspired performance from the band and clever little arrangement frills that keep the group's boogie-oriented rock fresh (example: the witty spoken word bit at the end of "Drive Me Home"). All in all, Fool for the City is both Foghat's finest achievement in the studio and one of the high points of 1970s hard rock. --AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco
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