Kenny Dorham – Whistle Stop (1961/2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Kenny Dorham – Whistle Stop (1961/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192kHz | Time – 00:38:30 minutes | 1,67 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Blue Note Records
Recorded: January 15, 1961 at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Whistle Stop is a jazz studio album by Kenny Dorham, featuring performances by acclaimed musicians Hank Mobley, Kenny Drew, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. It was recorded in January 1961 at Van Gelder Studio, in Englewood Cliffs, and was originally released on Blue Note Records as BST 84063 and BLP 4063. “In 1975”, Blumenthal states in the CD liner notes, “five British critics picked Whistle Stop as one of 200 albums that belonged in a basic library of jazz recorded after World War II”.

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Kenny Dorham – Trompeta Toccata (1964/2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Kenny Dorham – Trompeta Toccata (1964/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192kHz | Time – 00:37:09 minutes | 1,41 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Blue Note Records
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on September 4, 1964

It seems strange and somewhat tragic that this was trumpeter Kenny Dorham’s last full album as a leader for he was only 40 at the time and still in his prime. Dorham contributed three of the four selections to the session (Joe Henderson’s catchy “Mamacita” also receives its debut), and his very underrated abilities as a writer, trumpeter, and talent scout are very much in evidence. This modern hard bop quintet set with Henderson on tenor, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath served as a strong (if premature) ending to Dorham’s impressive career as a solo artist. –Scott Yanow, AllMusic

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Justin Kauflin – Dedication (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Justin Kauflin – Dedication (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 01:00:44 minutes | 1,24 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Qwest Records
Recorded: July 2014 at EastWest Studios, Hollywood, CA

Justin Kauflin is all the rage now. His precocious talent was discovered when he was just 2—yes 2—years old. When he was just 15 he performed with the Jae Sinnett trio and appeared on the Trio’s extraordinary 2010 record, Theatre. But it was a year later that he was propelled into a rarefied realm. Placing 4th in the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition he came to the attention of critics and important music aficionados including Clark Terry. The 2013 film Keep On Keeping On is just one of the interesting documentations of the raw talent of Mr. Kauflin. The other, more recent document is the 2014 album Dedication produced by Quincy Jones, another admirer of the pianist. Naturally this would come with the special Q touch. But none of the production values would matter in the least bit if it were not for the exquisite nature of Justin Kauflin’s playing, so wise beyond his years and so wonderfully articulate that it is bordering on genius.

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Johan Brouwer plays Bach, Bohm, Couperin and Forqueray (2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Johan Brouwer plays Bach, Bohm, Couperin and Forqueray (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 01:10:38 minutes | 1,63 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: highresaudio.com | © Aluid Records
Recorded: 2014

Bach and the French baroque :: The working title of the programme is Bach and the French baroque. L’art de toucher le clavecin by François Couperin (1668-1733) was published in 1716 as a manual for the French style and gives important instructions for playing the harpsichord as regards finger positions and ornamentations. The préludes are written-out improvisations in the style of the Préludes non mésurée.
The Suites of Georg Böhm (1661-1733) were produced in an environment orientated towards France, like the court in German Celle, where the French consort of Duke Georg Wilhelm resided. After her husband’s death, she lived for some years in Lüneburg, where Böhm worked in the Johannis-Kirche. Besides the usual dances, the Suite in F Minor played here contains for instance a French Ciaconne.

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Jimmy Smith – A Date With Jimmy Smith, Vol. 2 (1957/2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Jimmy Smith – A Date With Jimmy Smith, Vol. 2 (1957/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192kHz | Time – 34:15 minutes | 1,08 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: acousticsounds.com | © Blue Note Records
Recorded: Manhattan Towers in New York City on February 11 (tracks 1 & 3), and February 12 (track 2), 1957

After cutting five albums with his trio, organist Jimmy Smith on Feb. 11, 1957, recorded with trumpeter Donald Byrd, altoist Lou Donaldson and tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley in a sextet that also included guitarist Eddie McFadden and drummer Art Blakey. Among the five songs recorded that day, two (lengthy versions of “Falling in Love with Love” and “Funk’s Oats”) are included on this LP along with a shorter trio rendition of “How High the Moon” from two days later with McFadden and drummer Donald Bailey in a trio.

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Jimmy Smith – A Date With Jimmy Smith, Vol. 1 (1957/2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Jimmy Smith – A Date With Jimmy Smith, Vol. 1 (1957/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192kHz | Time – 33:57 minutes | 1,15 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: acousticsounds.com | © Blue Note Records
Recorded: Manhattan Towers in New York City on February 11 (tracks 1 & 2), and February 13 (track 3), 1957

“These 1957 sessions were the first Jimmy Smith did with horns after his recording debut the previous year. With the calibre of the top-rank musicians involved – Smith, the first to translate Bird’s innovations to the organ, altoist Donaldson, the blues-drenched Bird follower, and both Mobley and Byrd contributing some thoughtful blowing of their own on tenor and trumpet respectively – the overall results were rewarding.
In the rhythm section, McFadden’s warm guitar offered another colour to the organ-and-horns sound, and Blakey, as always, was a force of nature on drums in this no-holds-barred meeting of modern minds.” — FreshSoundRecords

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Johann Sebastian Bach – Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of Fugue), BWV 1080 – Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin, Raphael Alpermann (2011) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44.1kHz]

Johann Sebastian Bach – Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of Fugue), BWV 1080 – Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin, Raphael Alpermann (2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44.1kHz | Time – 01:17:39 minutes | 774 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: prestoclassical.co.uk | © Harmonia Mundi
Recorded: October, 2009, Teldex Studio, Berlin

Bach’s unfinished Art of Fugue, published for still-debated reasons in open score, has been performed and recorded in dozens of different instrumental versions. But this one, by the veteran Akademie für alte Musik, founded in the former East Berlin, is unique; few others have differentiated the fugues by instrumental forces deployed, and perhaps in none has the overall effect been quite so kaleidoscopic as this one. The rationale for this remains a bit uncertain after perusal of the booklet notes (in German and English); the group members write that, as with other instrumental versions, they aim to “achieve transparent and legible textures,” but their “real motivation in tackling the work was the pleasure of plunging together into the structures, harmonic language, and chromatic content of this music, in which an ensemble can make extraordinary discoveries through musical and instrumental confrontations.” The Akademie für alte Musik is not a historical instrument group, and there are no claims of any kind for authentic performance. Instead there is a shifting set of forces with a few recurring groups or individual players: a string quartet, a solo keyboardist, small wind groups, various pairs of strings in the canons, and tuttis including the entire ensemble of strings, three oboes in different ranges, bassoon, trombone, and keyboard (either harpsichord or organ). The shifts in instrumentation do not correspond to the work’s broad sections (simple fugues, fugues in augmentation, double and triple fugues, and the awesomely complex mirror fugues), and it’s hard to find a pattern of any kind. The motivation is murky, but the effect is pleasing if the listener approaches the music in the same sort of freewheeling spirit that the performers seem to have; the incredible concentration demanded by the Art of Fugue, which may or may not have been intended as a work to be performed from start to finish, is replaced by a light sense of anticipation that is extrinsic to the work but not fundamentally alien to it. This is the kind of recording for which sampling will reliably place the potential buyer into the pro or anti group. The sound engineering, a product of Berlin’s Teldex Studio, is a major strong point.

Review by James Manheim

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Johann Sebastian Bach – Imagine – Jean Rondeau (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Johann Sebastian Bach – Imagine – Jean Rondeau (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 01:24:28 minutes | 1,65 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Erato/Warner Classics
Recorded: Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris. 2 – 6. VI. 2014

IMAGINE is the first Warner Classics release from the dynamic young French harpsichordist Jean Rondeau, who sees it as “an exploration of all the possibilities that lie in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and in the harpsichord”. Praised by radio station France Musique for his “maturity, fabulous touch and originality,” the multi-talented Rondeau feels that, as a young musician today, he has “an incredible opportunity to break out of the concert hall and meet the world”.
IMAGINE features one of Bach’s most celebrated harpsichord works, the Italian Concerto BWV 971, but it mainly comprises transcriptions of music that the composer conceived for other instruments: the violin, the lute and the flute, including the towering Chaconne in D Minor. “This isn’t a disc of transcriptions, though,” says Rondeau. “As its name suggests, it is about imagination – an exploration of all the possibilities that lie in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and in the harpsichord. And though it’s not making a direct link to John Lennon, it’s nice if the title of the CD calls him to mind.”

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Tobias Hume: Poeticall Musicke / Eric Fischer: Topographic Long Range – Marianne Muller (2010) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88.2kHz]

Tobias Hume: Poeticall Musicke / Eric Fischer: Topographic Long Range – Marianne Muller (2010)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88.2kHz | Time – 01:12:48 minutes | 1,15 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Zig-Zag Territoires , Outhere Music
Recorded: 20 au 24 juillet 2009 à l’église évangélique allemande PARIS 9

Marianne Muller – fierce player of viola da gamba, recently applauded for her outstanding interpretation of Folies d’Espagne of Marin Marais on Zig-Zag Territoires – brings us solo and consort pieces of Tobias Hume – captain and eccentric English composer of the XVII century. Committed to her instrument, Marianne Muller commissions to contemporary composers new pieces for viola di gamba…and Eric Fischer created a piece dedicated to Tobias Hume.Little is known of Hume’s life. Some have suggested that he was born in 1569 because he was admitted to the London Charterhouse in 1629, a pre-requisite to which was being at least 60 years old, though there is no certainty over this. He had made his living as a professional soldier, probably as a mercenary. He was an officer with the Swedish and Russian armies.His published music includes pieces for viols (including many solo works for the lyra viol) and songs. They were gathered in two collections, The First Part of Ayres (or Musicall Humors, 1605) and Captain Humes Poeticall Musicke (1607). He was a particular champion of the viol over the then-dominant lute, something which caused John Dowland to publish a rebuttal of Hume’s ideas.Hume was also known as a prankster, as some of his somewhat unusual compositions illustrate. His most notorious piece was “An Invention for Two to Play upone one Viole”. Two bows are required and the smaller of the two players is obliged to sit in the lap of the larger player. This work was notated in tablature and is indeed technically possible to play. His instructions to “drum this with the backe of your bow” in another piece, “Harke, harke,” constitute the earliest known use of col legno in Western music.Eric Fischer has composed more than 200 works, which range from pieces for solo instrument to symphonic form by way of every type of instrumental forces and the most diverse experiences, including chamber music, electronics, vocal works, incidental music for the theatre, improvised music and pieces for period instruments. His openness to encounters of all kinds has led to other highly unusual artistic exchanges.

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Paul Hindemith – Sonatas for… – Alexander Melnikov (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Paul Hindemith – Sonatas for… – Alexander Melnikov (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 71:01 minutes | 1,16 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: eclassical.com | © Harmonia Mundi
Recorded: septembre et décembre 2013, Teldex Studio Berlin

Hindemith composed more than 30 sonatas for the most diverse instruments – all of which he was capable of playing himself! This fascinating selection of works written between 1935 (when he became persona non grata in Nazi Germany) and 1948 (the brilliant Cello Sonata for Piatigorsky) is played by some of today’s finest soloists, with the guiding spirit of Alexander Melnikov at the piano. How often does one hear a sonata for Althorn? Especially one published along with a poem by the composer?

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Hildegard von Bingen – Vox cosmica – Hirundo Maris, Arianna Savall, Petter Udland Johansen (2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Hildegard von Bingen – Vox cosmica – Hirundo Maris, Arianna Savall, Petter Udland Johansen (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 01:17:35 minutes | 1,43 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Carpe Diem Records
Recorded: February 2014 at Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche Basel-Binningen (Switzerland)

Hildegard of Bingen was one of the most prominent women in medieval Europe. Her political, spiritual and artistic legacy has remained unique to this day. For good reason, she is still known to a wide public almost a thousand years after her death. The interest in Hildegard gained momentum after Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed her a Doctor of the Church. It is therefore to be welcomed that a young generation of musicians is exploring her works. Thanks to the Sequentia ensemble, Hildegard’s entrancing music has made it into the pop music charts since 1980. Initially, the aim was mainly to unveil the treasure of Hildegard’s compositions. As time has passed, not only has a great deal of knowledge about early music reading and performance practice been acquired, but also young musicians nowadays feel much more relaxed about developing their own views and interpretations of masterpieces, thus making valuable contributions from both a philological and musical standpoint.

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Herbie Hancock – Man-Child (1975/2013) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Herbie Hancock – Man-Child (1975/2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 00:45:19 minutes | 926 MB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Columbia Records
Recorded: 1974-75 at Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco; Village Recorders, Los Angeles; Funky Features, San Francisco; Crystal Studios, Los Angeles.

Released in 1975, Man-Child is one of Herbie Hancock’s most funk-influenced albums. It was produced by David Rubinson and Herbie Hancock, and was the final album featuring the core group of the Headhunters (Paul Jackson, Bill Summers, Harvey Mason, Bennie Maupin, and Mike Clark).

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Herbie Hancock – Crossings (1972/2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Herbie Hancock – Crossings (1972/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192kHz | Time – 00:46:03 minutes | 1,86 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Warner Bros. Records
Recorded: February 1972 at Pacific Recording Studios, San Mateo; Moog and mellotron at Different Fur Trading Company, San Francisco

Crossings is jazz pianist Herbie Hancock’s tenth studio album originally released in 1972. The record was the second during Hancock’s Mwandishi period, which featured a string of albums that focused on experimental electronics. Crossings was the first album to feature the newest member to Hancock’s group, synthesizer player Patrick Gleeson.

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Haydn 2032, Vol. 1 La Passione – Giovanni Antonini, Il Giardino Armonico (2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Haydn 2032, Vol. 1 La Passione – Giovanni Antonini, Il Giardino Armonico (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 01:10:41 minutes | 1,26 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Alpha Productions , Outhere Music
Recorded: Teldex Studio Berlin, 20–24 October 2013

‘Symphony No. 49 is of dramatic inspiration, as is the finale of the 39th (with four horns!) in a fairly “Gluckist” style. We are at the beginnings of Sturm und Drang.
‘The first performance of Gluck’s ballet Don Juan, in Vienna in 1761, was an outstanding event in the development of dramatic expression in music. This was the first “modern” ballet, featuring dancers illustrating the story, not through a pre-established dance form (minuet, gavotte, etc.) but through free expression of their bodies.
‘I am truly captivated by the very strong correspondence existing in Gluck’s score between the story of Don Juan (the dancers’ movements) and the music, like a sort of little dictionary of musical gestures, with elements that are to be found in purely instrumental music of the period, including Haydn’s.
‘Yet it was in the 1760s (thus after the first performance of Gluck’s Don Juan) that Haydn began his first “dramatic” symphonies. ‘So I find it very interesting to bring together this piece by Gluck and these symphonies.’ –Giovanni Antonini

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Joseph Haydn – String Quartets, op.33 – The London Haydn Quartet (2013) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Joseph Haydn – String Quartets, op.33 – The London Haydn Quartet (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 02:13:19 minutes | 520 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: hyperion-records | © Hyperion Records
Recorded: June 2012 at Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth, United Kingdom

The calling card here is the use of an Amsterdam edition of Haydn’s Op. 33 string quartets that reverses the order of some of the inner movements. It’s never made clear why this edition should get priority over the dozens of others that circulated around Europe, with and without Haydn’s consent, but so be it; there are some tempo novelties here that shed some light on how Haydn’s music was received, at least in some quarters. There the good news ends. These performances are sterling examples of the kind that gave historical-instrument readings a bad name for so long among ordinary listeners. The problem is not with the Classical-era bows and gut strings that many musicians have applied profitably to Classical chamber music. Nor is it with the lack of vibrato, which done right gives Haydn a brisk, bracing humor. The problem is instead with the total lack of humor and gradation in the music, which is as inexpressive as you will find anywhere. The London Haydn Quartet proclaims itself to have been born out of “a passion for Haydn’s string quartets,” but the passion is hard to hear, and the group’s playing would be more typical of musicians with a background in the terraced dynamics of Baroque music; for the most part they have an inflexible attitude toward dynamics. There may be a market for this among the historical-performance hard core, but even for this leaner in that direction it did not satisfy. Sample well before buying. Even the normally unimpeachable sonics of the Wyastone Estate concert hall get distorted here, with the players unpleasantly closely miked. –James Manheim

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