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FFS (Franz Ferdinand & Sparks) - FFS (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz


Artist: FFS (Franz Ferdinand & Sparks)
Title: FFS
Genre: Pop Rock, New Wave, Post-Punk Revival, Dance-Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Synth Pop
Label: © Domino Recording Co Ltd
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:03:00
Recorded: Late 2014


A long time in the making as well as a complete surprise on its arrival, the self-titled debut from FFS -- the collaboration between Franz Ferdinand and Sparks -- is the work of two great, and distinctive, acts at the top of their game. In fact, FFS works so well because these groups aren't carbon copies of each other. Over the years, Sparks brainy shape-shifting has touched on glam and new wave, two of the styles that were most influential on Franz Ferdinand's suave dance-rock, but that's just the tip of their musical iceberg. What the bands do share -- jaunty wit and a flair for indelible choruses -- gives FFS plenty of fertile common ground. These songs are inspired, even-handed combinations of all of their strengths, whether Ron and Russell Mael lend a dash of weirdness to Franz Ferdinand's spiky hooks, as on "Call Girl," or the Glaswegian outfit adds some heft to Sparks' flights of fancy on the satirical "Police Encounters" or the hyperactive "So Desu Ne." FFS' strongest moments bring passion to its abundant cleverness. Somewhat perversely and sometimes poignantly, the supergroup is at its best when singing about different kinds of solitude. "Piss Off," the first song Sparks sent Franz Ferdinand back in 2004 after the release of their debut album, is a cheerfully antisocial anthem for those who'd rather be alone. "Collaborations Don't Work"'s self-referential duet turns into a duel, with Alex Kapranos and Russell Mael trading barbs like "I don't need your navel gazing/I don't like your way of phrasing." However, the best showcase for their vocals is the brilliant opening track "Johnny Delusional." At once grandiose and self-deprecating, it's a vivid portrait of unrequited love that combines Kapranos' smooth baritone and Mael's anxious counter tenor like a juxtaposition of fantasy and reality. Similarly, FFS boasts so much personality that character sketches like "Dictator's Son," which tells the story of a despot's offspring who is more into creature comforts than tyranny, also rank among the standouts. A near-perfect blend of Sparks and Franz Ferdinand's skills, FFS is a collaboration that works very well and offers just about everything a fan of either band could want. --AllMusic Review by Heather Phares
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Anthony Phillips - The Geese & The Ghost (1977/2015) DVD ISO


Artist: Anthony Phillips
Title: The Geese & The Ghost
Genre: Rock, Folk Rock, Art Rock, Prog Rock
Label: © Esoteric Recordings
Release Date: 1977/2015
Recorded: August 1973 – October 1976 at Argonaut Galleries, Island Studios and Send Barns Studios
Quality: DVD V/A
Duration: ~
DVD-Video section has the following audio tracks:
- DTS 5.1 Surround
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
- LPCM Stereo 48 KHz / 24 Bits
DVD-Audio section has the following audio tracks:
- MLP 5.1 Surround 48 KHz / 24 Bits
- MLP Stereo 48 KHz / 24 Bits


Genesis founding member Anthony Phillips has his 1977 debut album The Geese and the Ghost reissued as a deluxe 2CD+DVD set in March. The album has been newly re-mastered (from the original tapes) by Simon Heyworth and comes with a bonus CD of demos and early versions of the tracks from the album, as well as two previously unreleased songs from 1973 (Silver Song and Only Your Love) that feature Phil Collins as a vocalist. Even better, the DVD includes a new 5.1 surround sound mix of the album (by Andy Myles and Simon Heyworth) and everything is packaged in a smart clamshell box, which also finds room for an illustrated booklet with new essay by Jonathan Dann. This three-disc ‘definitive edition’ of The Geese & the Ghost will be released on 9 March 2015 via Esoteric Recordings.
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Paul Chambers - Whims Of Chambers (1956/2010) High-Fidelity ISO SACD 2.0 Mono DSD64/2.82MHz

Artist: Paul Chambers
Title: Whims Of Chambers
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Guitar Jazz
Label: © Blue Note Records | Analogue Productions
Release Date: 1956/2010
Quality: ISO SACD 2.0 Mono DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: PS³SACD
Duration: 38:17
Recorded: Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, September 21, 1956
Mastered: cousTech Mastering, Camarillo, California by Kevin Gray & Steve Hoffman.

"...if you haven't picked up every one of the Blue Note and Nat King Cole reissues from Chad Kassem and company at Acoustic Sounds, you're really missing out!" - David W. Robinson, Positive Feedback, Issue 52

"...an album that still resonates more than fifty years after its debut. Each of these musicians would develop as dominant musicians, but this cooperative effort stands on its own. The SACD gives the music cleaner, less muddled acoustics, with a penchant for detailed instrument separation." - Robbie Gerson, Audiophile Audition

Paul Chambers' first album features an amazing lineup of John Coltrane, Donald Byrd, Kenny Burrell, Horace Silver and Philly Joe Jones. A classic Blue Note session of what might be considered "cerebral" jazz.
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Johnny Griffin - Introducing Johnny Griffin (1956/2011) High-Fidelity ISO SACD Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Artist: Johnny Griffin
Title: Introducing Johnny Griffin
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Saxophone Jazz
Label: © Blue Note Records | Analogue Productions
Release Date: 1956/2011
Quality: ISO SACD 2.0 Mono DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: PS³SACD
Duration: 47:42
Recorded: April 17, 1956 at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey.
Mastered: cousTech Mastering, Camarillo, California by Kevin Gray & Steve Hoffman.

"...if you haven't picked up every one of the Blue Note and Nat King Cole reissues from Chad Kassem and company at Acoustic Sounds, you're really missing out!" - David W. Robinson, Positive Feedback, Issue 52

Johnny Griffin had been kicking around in R&B bands for years before his Blue Note debut in 1956. And what was "introduced" was a tenor saxophonist with a fresh sound, a warm, soulful style and the fastest technique in jazz. He moves from lyrical ballads to blistering tempos with ease. Within two years, Griff would become one of the leading tenor saxophonists in jazz as a member of Thelonious Monk's quartet.

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Joe Henderson - Page One (1963/2009) High-Fidelity ISO SACD Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Artist: Joe Henderson
Title: Page One
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Saxophone Jazz
Label: © Blue Note Records | Analogue Productions
Release Date: 1963/2009
Quality: ISO SACD Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: PS³SACD
Duration: 42:06
Recorded: June 3, 1963 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs
Mastered: cousTech Mastering, Camarillo, California by Kevin Gray & Steve Hoffman.

"...if you haven't picked up every one of the Blue Note and Nat King Cole reissues from Chad Kassem and company at Acoustic Sounds, you're really missing out!" - David W. Robinson, Positive Feedback, Issue 52
Page One introduced the jazz world to the unusually mature and original young tenor saxophonist, Joe Henderson. "Recorda Me" and "Blue Bossa" have become jazz classics for their mix of Brazilian rhythms with Hard Bop muscle.

Page One is the debut release by American jazz tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson. It features some of Henderson's most appreciated pieces such as "La Mesha", named after Dorham's daughter, and "Out of the Night", originally written in 1957. The front cover lists "Joe Henderson/Kenny Dorham/Butch Warren/Pete La Roca, etc.". Only McCoy Tyner's name is absent. Bob Blumenthal explains, in his 1999 liner notes, that Tyner had just signed with Impulse!, so this first Blue Note appearance was not very adherent to the contract.

The title Page One is fitting for this disc, as it marks the beginning of the first chapter in the long career of tenor man Joe Henderson. And what a beginning it is; no less than Kenny Dorham, McCoy Tyner, Butch Warren, and Pete La Roca join the saxophonist for a stunning set that includes "Blue Bossa" and "Recorda Me," two works that would be forever associated with Henderson. Both are bossa novas that offer a hip alternative to the easy listening Brazilian trend that would become popular with the masses. Henderson and Dorham make an ideal pair on these and other choice cuts like the blistering "Homestretch" and the engaging swinger "Jinrikisha." These both show the already mature compositional prowess that would become Henderson's trademark throughout his legendary career. The final blues number, "Out of the Night," features powerful work by the leader that only hints of things to come in subsequent chapters. --Rovi Staff
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Miles Davis - Bags' Groove (1957/2014) SACD ISO 2.0 Mono DSD64/2.82MHz

Artist: Miles Davis
Title: Bags' Groove
Genre: Jazz, Bop, Hard Bop, Trumpet Jazz
Label: © Prestige Records | Analogue Productions
Release Date: 1957/2014
Quality: ISO SACD 2.0 Mono DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: PS³SACD
Duration: 46:02
Recorded: June 29 & December 24, 1954 at Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack
Mastered: Cohearent Audio by Kevin Gray.

There are a multitude of reasons why Bags' Groove remains a cornerstone of the post-bop genre. Of course there will always be the lure of the urban myth surrounding the Christmas Eve 1954 session -- featuring Thelonious Monk -- which is documented on the two takes of the title track. There are obviously more tangible elements, such as Davis' practically telepathic runs with Sonny Rollins (tenor sax). Or Horace Silver's (piano) uncanny ability to provide a stream of chord progressions that supply a second inconspicuous lead without ever overpowering. Indeed, Davis' choice of former Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra and concurrent Modern Jazz Quartet members Milt Jackson (vibes), Kenny Clarke (drums), and Percy Heath (bass) is obviously well-informed. This combo became synonymous with the ability to tastefully improvise and provide bluesy bop lines in varied settings. The up-tempo and Latin-infused syncopation featured during the opening of "Airegin" flows into lines and minor-chord phrasings that would reappear several years later throughout Davis' Sketches of Spain epic. The fun and slightly maniacally toned "Oleo" features one of Heath's most impressive displays on Bags' Groove. His staccato accompaniment exhibits the effortless nature with which these jazz giants are able to incorporate round after round of solos onto the larger unit. Bags' Groove belongs as a cornerstone of all jazz collections. Likewise, the neophyte as well as the seasoned jazz enthusiast will find much to discover and rediscover throughout the disc. [Some reissues include both historic takes of "Bags' Groove" as well as one additional rendering of the pop standard "But Not for Me."] --Lindsay Planer
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Lou Donaldson - Blues Walk (1958/2010) High-Fidelity ISO SACD Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Artist: Lou Donaldson
Title: Blues Walk
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Saxophone Jazz
Label: © Blue Note Records | Analogue Productions
Release Date: 1958/2010
Quality: ISO SACD Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: PS³SACD
Duration: 34:12
Recorded: July 28, 1958 at Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey.
Mastered: cousTech Mastering, Camarillo, California by Kevin Gray & Steve Hoffman.

Lou Donaldson's undisputed masterpiece, Blues Walk, marks the point where the altoist began to decisively modify his heavy Charlie Parker influence and add a smoky, bluesy flavor of his own. The material is still firmly in the bebop style, and the mellower moments aren't as sleepy as some of Donaldson's subsequent work, so the album sounds vital and distinctive even as it slows down and loosens things up. What elevates Blues Walk to classic status is its inviting warmth. Donaldson's sweetly singing horn is melodic throughout the six selections, making even his most advanced ideas sound utterly good-natured and accessible. The easy-swinging title cut is arguably Donaldson's signature tune even above his late-'60s soul-jazz hits, and his other two originals, "Play Ray" and "Callin' All Cats," are in largely the same vein.

Lou Donaldson's undisputed masterpiece, Blues Walk, marks the point where the altoist began to decisively modify his heavy Charlie Parker influence and add a smoky, bluesy flavor of his own. The material is still firmly in the bebop vein, and the mellower moments aren't as sleepy as some of Donaldson's subsequent work, so the album sounds vital and distinctive even as it slows down and loosens things up. That makes it the definitive release in Donaldson's early, pre-soul-jazz period, but what elevates Blues Walk to classic status is its inviting warmth. Donaldson's sweetly singing horn is ingratiating and melodic throughout the six selections, making even his most advanced ideas sound utterly good-natured and accessible. The easy-swinging title cut is a classic, arguably Donaldson's signature tune even above his late-'60s soul-jazz hits, and his other two originals -- "Play Ray" and "Callin' All Cats" -- are in largely the same vein. Elsewhere, Donaldson displays opposite extremes of his sound; the up-tempo bebop classic "Move" provokes his fieriest playing on the record, and his romantic version of "Autumn Nocturne" is simply lovely, a precursor to Lush Life. The addition of Ray Barretto on conga is a subtle masterstroke, adding just a bit more rhythmic heft to the relaxed swing. There are numerous likable records in Donaldson's extensive catalog, but Blues Walk is the best of them all. --Steve Huey
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Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan - Peckin' Time (1958/2011) ISO SACD Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Artist: Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan
Title: Peckin' Time
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Saxophone Jazz
Label: © Blue Note Records | Analogue Productions
Release Date: 1958/2011
Quality: ISO SACD Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: PS³SACD
Duration: 01:02:12
Recorded: February 9, 1958 at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey.
Mastered: AcousTech Mastering, Camarillo, California by Kevin Gray & Steve Hoffman.

"Peckin' Time rises to the top 10% of the Analogue Productions Blue Note SACD run. Call it classic plus one with acoustics to match. Give your other Peckin' Time editions to those you want to impress with your good taste, and invest in the release with the whole package..." - Jeff Krow, Audiophile Audition, September 2011
This hard-swinging February 9, 1958 date with Lee Morgan, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Charlie Persip was the last in a run of outstanding albums that Mobley and Morgan made for Blue Note in the two years prior.

Tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley was overshadowed by more influential tenors such as Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane during his career, but although he wasn't deliberately flashy or particularly innovative, his concisely measured, round sax tone made him the perfect ensemble player and he was a fine writer, as well, a talent who has often been undervalued and overlooked. The Peckin' Time session was recorded February 9, 1958 (the LP was issued a year later) and came in the midst of what was a period of whirlwind creativity for Mobley, who recorded work for the Savoy and Prestige imprints as well as six full albums for Blue Note (two were never released -- it was not that uncommon for Blue Note to stockpile sessions at the time) in a little more than a year's time (later Blue Note albums like Soul Station and Roll Call were still well in the future). For this session, Mobley found himself working with a young Lee Morgan on trumpet and in front of a fluid rhythm section that included pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Charlie Persip, and it's solid stuff, bright and always energetic. All but one of the tracks, a rendering of Kurt Weill's "Speak Low," were written by Mobley, and again, his hidden strength was always his writing, and it should probably come as no surprise that the best two tracks here, the title tune "Peckin' Time" and the wonderful "Stretchin' Out," were both penned by Mobley. It all adds up to a fine program, and if Mobley didn't push the envelope a whole lot, his lyrical and economical playing was always appropriate and graceful, and that's certainly the case here. --Steve Leggett
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