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Fuse One - Silk (1981/2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Fuse One
Title: Silk
Genre: Jazz, Fusion, Soul Jazz, Jazz Funk
Label: © CTI Records, a division of Creed Taylor, Inc. | King Record Co., Ltd.
Release Date: 1981/2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: e-Onkyo
Duration: 00:33:33
Recorded: September 21-24, 1981 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

At his worst, Creed Taylor had a way of smothering a potentially great jazz album by producing it to death. But when he didn't overproduce -- when he gave musicians the right amount of guidance and direction yet let them have enough room to stretch out and improvise -- Taylor created some real winners. One of them was Fuse One's Silk, an all-star jazz-pop-funk project that boasted Stanley Turrentine on tenor sax, Tom Browne or Wynton Marsalis on trumpet, Ronnie Foster on electric keyboards, Stanley Clarke on electric bass, Eric Gale or George Benson on electric guitar, Sammy Figueroa on percussion, and Leon "Ndugu" Chancler on drums. With Taylor doing the producing and Clarke serving as musical director, congenial pieces like Foster's "Sunwalk" and Chancler's "Silk" offer a healthy blend of jazz, R&B, and pop elements. It's interesting to hear a 19-year-old Marsalis letting loose on Chancler's Latin-flavored "Hot Fire" (which originally appeared on George Duke's Reach for It album in 1977), and note how he sounded in 1981 -- at that point, he wasn't emulating Miles Davis and had a big, brassy sound along the lines of Clifford Brown and Freddie Hubbard. Considering how strident a jazz purist Marsalis would become, it's surprising to hear him playing crossover. Not that Silk is "watered down" or anything like that. Though the material proved to be accessible to pop and R&B fans, it's also quite creative and doesn't toss jazz considerations to the wind. Unfortunately, this LP remains out of print and has yet to be reissued on CD. --AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson

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Fuse One - Fuse One (1980/2013) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Artist: Fuse One
Title: Fuse One
Genre: Jazz, Fusion, Soul Jazz, Jazz Funk
Label: © CTI Records, a division of Creed Taylor, Inc. | King Record Co., Ltd.
Release Date: 1980/2013
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: e-Onkyo
Duration: 00:33:44
Recorded: #1,3-6 - Evergreen Sudio and Westlake Audio, April 1980; Additional recording at Secret Studio; #2,7 - Van Gelder Recording Studio, May and June 1980; Mixed and mastered at Van Gelder Recording Studio

This disc is a welcome addition to the discography of the now almost forgotten woodwind master Joe Farrell. Farrell was a multi-instrumentalist who chose to concentrate on tenor and soprano saxophones and flute. From the late 1960s onwards he was a highly sought after session player who appeared on many of the most significant recordings right until his early demise in 1986. He played with the Elvin Jones Trio, Chick Corea's Return To Forever and the earliest editions of Mingus Dynasty. My first recollection of him is as the player who produced the wonderful obligatos on Roberta Flack's first major album, " Quiet Fire."
Farrell is the featured soloist on the majority of this all star date and acquits himself with his usual aplomb and immaculate taste. He was a performer who was equally at home on straight ahead jazz, crossover music or more popular styles. He seemed to have the ability to adapt his talent to whatever was required without losing one iota of integrity. Although no credit is given in the personnel listing it is obviously Farrell playing the wonderful flute solos on many of the selections here.
Unlike the majority of the recent CTI reissues, this one is made up of original material and is none the worse for this. The other players are a veritable who' s who of session musicians associated with this style, and indeed, with this particular label. Apparently this record proved to be not so popular at the time of its release - hopefully this new appearance will redress the balance. --Dick Stafford, MusicWeb International
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Freddie Hubbard - Sky Dive (1973/2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Freddie Hubbard
Title: Sky Dive
Genre: Jazz, Post Bop, Jazz Funk, Soul Jazz, Fusion, Trumpet Jazz
Label: © CTI Records, a division of Creed Taylor, Inc. | King Record Co., Ltd.
Release Date: 1973/2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: e-onkyo
Duration: 00:34:43
Recorded: October 4–5, 1972 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Sky Dive is the twentieth album recorded in 1972 by jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. It was his fourth album released on Creed Taylor's CTI label and features performances by Hubbard, Keith Jarrett, George Benson, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, Airto Moreira and Ray Barretto.
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Freddie Hubbard - Polar AC (1975/2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Freddie Hubbard
Title: Polar AC
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Post Bop, Soul Jazz, Trumpet Jazz
Label: © CTI Records, a division of Creed Taylor, Inc. | King Record Co., Ltd.
Release Date: 1975/2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: e-Onkyo
Duration: 00:40:26
Recorded: September 16, 1971 (#1), April 12, 1972 (#2-3), October 4–5, 1972 (#4), ca. 1973 (#5) at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Warm and wonderful work from Freddie Hubbard – a killer of an album recorded for CTI, and one of his most soulful efforts for the label! The album's got a bit more of a human heart than some of the more cosmic sessions Freddie cut at the time – a bit more contemplative and introspective, but no less open-minded and electrically charged. The assortment of players is all top-shelf – with Billy Cobham, Airto, Lennie White, George Cables, Hubert Laws, and George Benson all backing Freddie up on the set – and titles include a great take on "People Make the World Go Round", plus "Naturally", and "Son of Sky Dive", which grooves just like its papa!
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Franco Fagioli - Rossini (2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)
Artist: Franco Fagioli
Title: Rossini
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Deutsche Grammophon
Release Date: 2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 01:15:20
Recording: Athens, Megaron, Metropoulos Hall, 11/2015

Franco Fagioli has taken the countertenor voice to a new heights, with a sound and technique that nobody thought were possible; he is the first countertenor to sign exclusively to the 'yellow label' in its 118-year history.
For his debut album on DG, Fagioli has chosen to focus on so-called "trouser roles" that confront the delightful confusion between voice and gender, particularly in Rossini’s rarely performed serious operas, with many male characters whose substantial roles were written for women rather than for castrati. But Rossini remained fascinated by the castrati and their "purity and wonderful flexibility; their profoundly penetrating accent”. For Franco Fagioli there is a special appeal to performing these roles which were written for the female voice out of necessity due to the dwindling supplies of castrati; therefore this album is so far the closest that we can get to the sound that Rossini had in mind and would have wished for this repertoire.
The exceptional bel canto technique which Fagioli has developed makes him the ideal choice for this repertoire; with his rich, colourful and at the same time incredibly agile voice, he paints a series of fascinating portraits of characters including Siveno from Demetrio e Polibio, and Arsace from Semiramide.
Franco Fagioli has already performed major roles on prestigious stages including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Semperoper in Dresden and the Zürich Opera House. In the coming seasons he will be performing this Rossini programme in selected concerts and appear in opera houses such as Aix en Provence (Grand Théâtre de Provence), Paris (Opéra National), Madrid (Teatro Real) and Lille (Opéra de Lille), among others.
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Andrea Falconieri - Il Spiritillo Brando - La Ritirata, Josetxu Obregon (2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/88,2kHz

Сomposer: Andrea Falconieri (1585-1656), Diego Ortiz (c.1510-c.1570), Giovanni Battista Vitali (1632-1692), Dario Castello (c.1590-c.1630), Giuseppe Maria Jacchini (1667-1727), Juan Cabanilles (1644-1712), Bartolomé de Selma y Salaverde (c.1580-c.1640), Giovanni Gabrieli (1563-1612), Domenico Gabrielli (1659-1690)
Artist: La Ritirata, Josetxu Obregón
Title: Andrea Falconieri: Il Spiritillo Brando (Dance music in the courts of Italy and Spain, c.1650)
Genre: Classical
Label: © Glossa
Item Number: GCD 923101
Release Date: 2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 88.2kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:02:22
Recorded: in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain, in May 2011 and December 2012

With Il Spiritillo Brando from La Ritirata comes an opportunity to enjoy exciting performances from a new name on the Spanish early music scene as well as a thrilling ride across the terrain of the Spanish and Italian courtly instrumental traditions as the Renaissance danced its way into the Baroque.

Not since the days when brothers José Miguel and Emilio Moreno made their first recordings for Glossa has any Spanish musician been invited to figure on the label from El Escorial. This is now changing with the arrival of the talents of Josetxu Obregón and his Spanish colleagues from La Ritirata – counting amongst them the best in the younger string, plucked-string, wind and keyboard players from the country – as they bring us the dance rhythm delights of Andrea Falconieri, whose music leads the way into contributions from the likes of Diego Ortiz and Bartolomé de Selma y Salaverde; permitting the individual members of La Ritirata to demonstrate their virtuosic skills and commitment to the music that they perform. This includes Josetxu Obregón himself, who as a cellist, delights in music from late 17th century exponents of the cello in Giuseppe Maria Jacchini, Giovanni Battista Vitali and Domenico Gabrielli.

As the title implies, Il Spiritillo Brando evokes both the social dancing which will have taken place in the court of the Spanish viceroyalty in Naples itself, and the mischievous duendes which roamed the streets, animating all the proceedings in the vicinity!
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Esther Phillips - From A Whisper To A Scream (1971/2013) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Artist: Esther Phillips
Title: From A Whisper To A Scream
Genre: Jazz, Vocal Jazz, Soul Jazz, Jazz Funk
Label: © CTI Records, a division of Creed Taylor, Inc. | King Record Co., Ltd.
Release Date: 1971/2013
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: e-Onkyo
Duration: 00:38:02
Recorded: December, 1971 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

One of Esther Phillips finest '70s releases, From a Whisper to a Scream is the first of seven albums the singer recorded for CTI offshoot Kudu. Arranged and conducted by Pee Wee Ellis, the December 1971 session also involved principal players such as bassist Gordon Edwards, drummer Bernard Purdie, percussionist Airto, guitarists Cornell Dupree and Eric Gale, keyboardist Richard Tee, and saxophonists Hank Crawford and David Liebman. Setting the tone for Phillips' Kudu era, Whisper offers a series of spacious, yet fully arranged ballads of burning heartache, along with a handful of relatively funky numbers that do nothing to compromise her talent, dishing out loads of classy grit. It's a definite point of departure from the likes of Esther Phillips Sings and And I Love Him, her field of contemporaries closer to Al Green and Aretha Franklin than before. She grabs onto "Home Is Where the Hatred Is," Gil Scott-Heron's most harrowing rumination on drug dependency -- which, at that point, wasn't even a year old -- as if it were her very own, and it's all the more poignant given its parallels with her own life. (Its meaning was only compounded by her death in 1984.) Though there is absolutely nothing lacking in the album's more energetic moments, it's still the ballads that shine brightest, like the alternately fragile and explosive "From a Whisper to a Scream" (Allen Toussaint) and a staggering "Baby, I'm for Real" (Marvin and Anna Gordy, made popular by the Originals) so vulnerable yet commanding that it really should've closed the album. --AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman
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Esther Phillips with Joe Beck - For All We Know (1976/2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Esther Phillips with Joe Beck
Title: For All We Know
Genre: Jazz, R&B, Blues, Jazz Blues, West Coast Blues, Jazz Funk, Soul Jazz, Disco
Label: © Kudu/CTI Records, a division of Creed Taylor, Inc. | King Record Co., Ltd.
Release Date: 1976/2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: e-onkyo
Duration: 00:34:22
Recorded: October 17, November 14 & December 08, 1975 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

This 1976 Kudu date under Esther Phillips' name is notable for two major reasons, and both of them are Joe Beck. While Creed Taylor produced the date, all of the sets arrangements were done by Beck, who wove an entire band's sound around the smoking, soulful grooves of his guitar. His playing is the other reason this set is so memorable: Beck is at his most inspired and fluidly funky; he is present everywhere in the mix but nonetheless crafts the strengths of the ensemble around Phillips' unusual voice. Other players include the Brecker Brothers, Don Grolnick, Fred Wesley, Will Lee, Bobby Lyle, Steve Khan, and many others. The band winds around Phillips, setting her up as "Soul Sister Number One," hitting the funky grooves and elongating her clipped trademark delivery. Highlights include the title track -- one of the greatest disco tunes never played in a disco -- her up-tempo rave-up of "Unforgettable," with killer breaks by Beck and Michael Brecker, the dirtiest, funkiest version ever of Jackie DeShannon's "Pure Natural Love," and a Latin-tinged read of "Goin' Out of My Head." --AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
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Eric Gale - Forecast (1973/2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Eric Gale
Title: Forecast
Genre: Jazz, Fusion, Smooth Jazz, Easy Listening, Crossover Jazz
Label: © Kudu Records/CTI Records, a division of Creed Taylor, Inc. | King Record Co., Ltd.
Release Date: 1973/2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Duration: 00:33:54
Recorded: January 1973 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Eric Gale's 1973 Forecast album on the Kudu label is one of his most varied texturally. Produced by Kudu label boss Creed Taylor, the rhythm tracks were arranged by Gale, and the horns and strings by Bob James. Taylor surrounded Gale with the cream-of-the-crop of the current session players: jazz's most soulful drummer, Idris Muhammad, was in the house for most of the album, and Rick Marotta filled out the rest. Saxophonists included Joe Farrell, Pepper Adams, and Jerry Dodgion (an underrated ace who made his name with Curtis Amy on his Pacific jazz sides in the early '60s), and trumpeters included Randy Brecker and Jon Faddis. Hubert Laws and George Marge sat in the flute chairs, and James played piano and synths. Gale, for his part, was blended into a meticulously arranged and gorgeously orchestrated set of mixed tempo originals, and a pair of carefully chosen covers: "Killing Me Softly," by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel, and Antonio Carlos Jobim's and Aloysio de Oliviera's deeply moving "Dindi." Gale's single string lines bite harder than some of the Brazilian counterparts, but because his blues inflection is so pronounced against the lush strings, keyboards, and horns, it works wonderfully. Gale's own grooved out "Cleopatra," and the otherworldly funk and blues feel of "White Moth," are just off-kilter enough to add a labyrinthine dimension to the album. Gale was a tear when he was on Kudu, and this album is the first example of his particular brand of street tough yet bedroom romantic soul-jazz for the label. --AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
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Eric Alexander - Second Impression (2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/88,2kHz

Artist: Eric Alexander
Title: Second Impression
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Contemporary Jazz, Improvisation, Saxophone Jazz
Label: © HighNote Records, Inc.
Release Date: 2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 88,2kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 00:54:49
Recorded: Trading 8s Recording Studio, Paramus, NJ on March 14, 2016; Mastered by Kevin Blacker, Blackler Mastering, Brooklyn, NY

It can be argued with some validity that one's overall movement through life is reflected in his creative endeavor, and Eric Alexander's strength and versatility on the saxophone can be viewed from this perspective. At this point in his career, Eric has certainly covered a lot of territory, both literally and figuratively. He himself has lost count of how many albums feature his playing; our guess is 100 or more. While he has garnered critical acclaim from every corner, what has mattered most has been to establish his own voice within the illustrious bop-based jazz tradition which is exactly what he does on his latest HighNote release. The close-knit ensemble of a band of regular buddies, coupled with the bass-clef contributions of the extraordinary Bob Cranshaw, make for a listening experience not soon forgotten.
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