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Category: SACD

Quincy Jones – Ultimate Collection (2002) {PS3 ISO + FLAC}

Quincy Jones – Ultimate Collection (2002)
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 75:34 minutes | Scans included | 3,04 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,36 GB

In 1974, Quincy Jones, who already had a wide range of musical credits behind him, opted to enter the R&B mainstream by hiring vocalists and overseeing recordings in a commercial vein released under his name. The first of them was Body Heat, which went gold, and Jones followed with a series of records including 1981’s million-selling The Dude and the 1990 Album of the Year Grammy-winner Back on the Block. Meanwhile, he switched record labels, leaving A&M for his own Warner-distributed Qwest in the early ’80s. That has tended to make the assembly of a comprehensive best-of difficult, but Universal’s Hip-O reissue division specializes in licensing material from other labels to construct its Ultimate Collection releases, and this one borrows seven out of 18 tracks from Qwest to add to Jones’ A&M hits, making it the definitive one-disc compilation of Jones’ pop/R&B recordings of 1974-1999. Jones himself participated in the selection, which does not strictly follow chart rankings, since a couple of R&B Top 20 hits (“I Don’t Go for That” and “Slow Jams”) are missing, while a few non-chart items are included. To get more songs in, the singles edits have been used in many cases. But all the major hits are here. The chronological sequencing allows an appreciation of how Jones’ approach changed over the years. The ’70s stuff, which holds up surprisingly well, is tasty R&B, much of it groove-oriented, up-tempo music. By the late ’80s, however, there are a lot of big, bland ballads that showcase superstar vocalists (Ray Charles, Barry White, etc.) and sound self-important. Like his protégé, Michael Jackson, who went from the rocking “Billie Jean” to the messianic “Man in the Mirror” in the same period, Jones seems to have begun believing his press clippings, and his work suffered accordingly.

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New York Trio – Always (2008) [Japan 2016] {SACD ISO + FLAC}

New York Trio – Always (2008) [Japan 2016]
SACD Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 48:59 minutes | Front/Rear Covers | 2,0 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Front/Rear Covers | 1,01 GB
Genre: Jazz

The New York Trio, consisting of pianist Bill Charlap, bassist Jay Leonhart, and drummer Bill Stewart, have put together a spectacular jazz lineup for this audiophile SACD. Also known as the New York Jazz Trio, the group is known for recording classic standards in a straightforward, post-bop style. Together, they are a successful force, having marked their spot in East Coast jazz scene. But separately, they have also each reached their individual levels of success. In his career, pianist Bill Charlap has played alongside jazz icons Tony Bennett, Benny Carter, and Gerry Mulligan, and has recorded a handful of well-received albums as a bandleader. Jay Leonhart, a bassist for the Trio, has also dabbled in vocals and songwriting and has performed with Marian McPartland, Louie Bellson, Lee Konitz, and many others. And drummer Bill Stewart has rubbed musical elbows on stage with jazz guitarist John Scofield, sax player Maceo Parker and R&B legend James Brown.

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Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson – The Very Tall Band: Live at the Blue Note (1999) [Telarc] {PS3 ISO + FLAC}

Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson – The Very Tall Band (1999) [Telarc]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 70:23 minutes | Scans included | 2,86 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,29 GB

Oscar Peterson’s landmark meeting with Milt Jackson in the mid-’60s produced the very successful studio date Very Tall. They’ve played and recorded together on a number of occasions since then, joined by Ray Brown more often than not, but these live tracks recorded at the Blue Note are among their most satisfying sessions. Peterson continues his strong comeback from the serious stroke that he suffered in 1993, replacing his once ferocious tempos with an uncanny lyricism. Brown’s introduction to “Blues for JR” and his bass solo medley are superb, while Jackson remains a master of the blues. The finale of “Caravan” features drummer Karriem Riggins and brings the session to a thunderous climax. Highly recommended.

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Weezer – Weezer (1994) {Blue Album} [MFSL ‘2014] {PS3 ISO + FLAC}

Weezer – Weezer (1994) {Blue Album} [MFSL ‘2014]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 41:20 minutes | Scans included | 1,68 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 828 MB
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab # 2160

Even if you lived through it, it’s hard to fathom exactly why Weezer were disliked, even loathed, when they released their debut album in the spring of 1994. If you grew up in the years after the heyday of grunge, it may even seem absurd that the band were considered poseurs, hair metal refugees passing themselves off as alt-rock by adapting a few tricks from the Pixies and Nirvana songbooks and sold to MTV with stylish videos. Nevertheless, during alt-rock’s heyday of 1994, Weezer was second only to Stone Temple Pilots as an object of scorn, bashed by the rock critics and hipsters alike. Time has a way of healing, even erasing, all wounds, and time has been nothing but kind to Weezer’s eponymous debut album (which would later be dubbed The Blue Album, due to the blue background of the cover art). At the time of its release, the group’s influences were discussed endlessly — the dynamics of the Pixies, the polished production reminiscent of Nevermind, the willful outsider vibe borrowed from indie rock — but few noted how the group, under the direction of singer/songwriter Rivers Cuomo, synthesized alt-rock with a strong ’70s trash-rock predilection and an unwitting gift for power pop, resulting in something quite distinctive. Although the group wears its influences on its sleeve, Weezer pulls it together in a strikingly original fashion, thanks to Cuomo’s urgent melodicism, a fondness for heavy, heavy guitars, a sly sense of humor, and damaged vulnerability, all driven home at a maximum volume. While contemporaries like Pavement were willfully, even gleefully obscure, and skewed toward a more selective audience, Weezer’s insecurities were laid bare, and the band’s pop culture obsessions tended to be universal, not exclusive. Plus, Cuomo wrote killer hooks and had a band that rocked hard — albeit in an uptight, nerdy fashion — winding up with direct, immediate music that connects on more than one level. It’s both clever and vulnerable, but those sensibilities are hidden beneath the loud guitars and catchy hooks. That’s why the band had hits with this album — and not just hits, but era-defining singles like the deliberate dissonant crawl of “Undone – The Sweater Song,” the postironic love song of “Buddy Holly,” the surging “Say It Ain’t So” — but could still seem like a cult band to the dedicated fans; it sounded like the group was speaking to an in-crowd, not the mass audience it wound up with. If, as Howard Hawks said, a good movie consists of three great scenes and no bad ones, it could be extrapolated that a good record contains three great songs and no bad ones — in that case, Weezer is a record with at least six or seven great songs and no bad ones. That makes for a great record, but more than that, it’s a great record emblematic of its time, standing as one of the defining albums of the ’90s.

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Wayne Shorter – Native Dancer (1974) [Japanese Reissue 2000] {PS3 ISO + FLAC}

Wayne Shorter – Native Dancer (1974) [Japanese Reissue 2000]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 43:26 minutes | Scans NOT included | 1,75 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans NOT included | 851 MB
Genre: Jazz

Some jazz purists would say that Wayne Shorter went downhill in the 1970s, when he passionately embraced electric jazz-fusion and co-led the innovative Weather Report with Joe Zawinul. But remember: Those are the same people who also claim that Miles Davis’ stunning Bitches Brew has no value and that Chick Corea’s visionary Return to Forever was a complete waste — so it’s hard to take their opinions seriously. The fact is that the 1970s were a highly productive time for Shorter, and it wasn’t until the 1980s that the tenor and soprano saxophonist really declined creatively. One of Shorter’s best-selling albums from the 1970s was Native Dancer, a Brazilian-oriented jazz-fusion masterpiece that boasts Herbie Hancock on acoustic piano and electric keyboards, and employs such Brazilian talent as singer Milton Nascimento (a superstar in Brazil) and percussionist Airto Moreira. Everything on this melodic, consistently lyrical effort is a jewel, and that includes Hancock’s “Joanna’s Theme” as well as pieces by Nascimento (“From the Lonely Afternoons,” “Ponta de Areia,” “Tarde,” “Lilia,” and “Miracle of the Fishes”) and by Shorter himself (“Ana Maria,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Diana”). Reissued on SACD, Native Dancer is clearly among Shorter’s most essential albums.

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Warren Zevon – Excitable Boy (1978) [Audio Fidelity 2013] {PS3 ISO + FLAC}

Warren Zevon – Excitable Boy (1978) [Audio Fidelity 2013]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 31:34 minutes | Scans included | 1.3 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 622 MB
Mastered by Steve Hoffman | Audio Fidelity # AFZ-166

Warren Zevon’s self-titled album announced he was one of the most striking talents to emerge from the Los Angeles soft rock singer/songwriter community, and Linda Ronstadt (a shrewd judge of talent if a sometimes questionable interpreter) recorded three of its songs on two of her biggest-selling albums, which doubtlessly earned Zevon bigger royalty checks than the album itself ever did. But if Warren Zevon was an impressive calling card, the follow-up, Excitable Boy, was an actual hit, scoring one major hit single, “Werewolves of London,” and a trio of turntable hits (“Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner,” “Lawyers, Guns and Money,” and the title track). But while Excitable Boy won Zevon the larger audience his music certainly deserved, the truth is it was a markedly inferior album; while it had all the bile of Warren Zevon, and significantly raised Zevon’s dark-humor factor, it was often obvious where his previous album had been subtle, and while all 11 tracks on Warren Zevon were strong and compelling, two of the nine tunes on Excitable Boy — “Johnny Strike Up the Band” and “Nighttime in the Switching Yard” — sound like they’re just taking up space. Musically, most of Excitable Boy is stuck in a polished but unexceptional FM pop groove, and only “Veracruz” hints at the artful intelligence of Warren Zevon’s finest moments. It’s hard to say if Zevon was feeling uninspired or just dumbing himself down when he made Excitable Boy, but while it made him famous, it lacks the smarts and substance of his best work.

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Walter Trout And The Radicals – Relentless (2003) [2.0 & 5.1] {PS3 ISO + FLAC}

Walter Trout & The Radicals – Relentless (2003)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 69:21 minutess | Scans included | 4,41 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 69:04 mins | Scans incl. | 1,21 GB
Genre: Rock, Blues

New Jersey-born blues-rocker Walter Trout spent decades as an ace sideman, playing guitar behind the likes of John Lee Hooker, Big Mama Thornton, and Joe Tex. In 1981, he was also tapped to replace the late Bob Hite in Canned Heat, remaining with the venerable group through the middle of the decade. This led to an invitation to play in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers where he shared the stage with fellow guitarist Coco Montoya. He left the Bluesbreakers in 1989 and formed the ‘Walter Trout Band’ which developed a successful following in Europe…

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Walter Davis Jr. – Davis Cup (1960) [APO Remaster 2011] {PS3 ISO + FLAC}

Walter Davis Jr. – Davis Cup (1960) [APO Remaster 2011]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 38:00 minutes | Scans included | 1,55 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 762 MB

Walter Davis, Jr.’s debut record as a leader for Blue Note is a terrific hard bop session, a driving collection of six original tunes that emphasize the strengths not only of the pianist himself, but also his supporting band: trumpeter Donald Byrd, alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Art Taylor. Apart from the lovely ballad “Sweetness,” Davis Cup moves along at a brisk pace, with the rhythm section urging the soloists to new heights. Byrd has rarely sounded better, and on this date McLean provides ample evidence that he was moving beyond the conventions of hard bop and developing his own unique style. Davis, of course, does more than acquit himself — he contributes an engaging, energetic performance that keeps the music grounded. His compositions are just as captivating, whether it’s the swinging “Rhumba Nhumba” or the darkly invigorating “Minor Mind.” It all adds up to a wonderful straight-ahead hard bop date, one that’s so good it’s a wonder that Davis didn’t receive another chance to lead a session until 1979.

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W.A. Mozart – Ronald Brautigam – Piano Concertos Nos. 19 & 23 (2013) [Hybrid-SACD] {PS3 ISO + FLAC}

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Piano Concertos Nos. 19 & 23
Ronald Brautigam / Die Kölner Akademie / Michael Alexander Willens
SACD ISO (2.0/MCH): 2,30 GB | 24B/88,2kHz Stereo FLAC: 806 MB | Full Artwork | 3% Recovery Info
Label/Cat#: BIS # BIS-1964 SACD | Country/Year: Sweden 2013, 2012
Genre: Classical | Style: Viennese School, Piano

What a versatile pianist Ronald Brautigam is! I have recently been enjoying his RBCD set of Rachmaninov Preludes, played on a modern Steinway, and here he serves up the next episode in his on-going set of Mozart Piano Concertos on a Viennese Walther Fortepiano of c. 1795 (Paul McNulty replica). Die Kölner Akademie as usual provide sterling orchestral support on period instruments, under the direction of Michael Alexander Willens.

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Various Artists – Jazz Hits Of The 50s (2004) [2x SACD, 2004] {2.0 & 5.1} PS3 ISO + FLAC

Various Artists – Jazz Hits Of The 50s (2004) [2x SACD, 2004] {2.0 & 5.1}
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 138:23 mins | Scans included | 7,95 GB
or FLAC 2.0 (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 2,54 GB
Terrific Collection Of The Popular Songs Of The 50’s! | Released by Membran Music GmbH.

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