One of the few benefits of quarantine has been an abundance of time for listening to music. As resident Latin music specialist, I offer the following recommendations for your enjoyment. Buenos Hermanos was Ibrahim Ferrer's 2003 follow up to Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer released in 1999. Both recordings are from World Circuit.... Read More »
About 25 years ago I was producing a very exciting project called “People”. It was based on a book and was going to be an animated film with an accompanying album with great special guests singing songs based in the movie. We were getting ready to go to California for an extended trip to record with a number of different artists and musicians and decided something fun to do would be if we could take a few days off beforehand and go skiing at Lake Tahoe. Since we hadn’t skied in a while and we knew a personal trainer we wanted to schedule a few sessions just to get limbered up and in shape. So here we were working with this lady, who is excellent, but then she opens her mouth and says, “It must be really exciting for you going to awards shows and concerts and hanging with all these stars you work with.” Well !! We explain to her that’s not part of our life in this business, that we make albums and we are in the studio and are always working and we don’t go to award shows and randomly hang out with music stars. She was truly surprised, but it made me realize that 98% of the people out there have no idea what it’s like to be in the music world and doing what we do. Yes, I have worked with some amazing artists and musicians but we are in the trenches in various scenarios and spend hours and hours perfecting our craft. So here is a little course based on what it’s like to really focus your life and try to make a career in the music and entertainment world.
The first thing to address is money. How are you going to support yourself in one’s quest to build a career and be recognized in this business and world? The late great piano player Don Grolnick said to me in 1974, “Be prepared to go for long periods of time without making money.” That was about as accurate a statement as one could make. The positive thing was that I was still very young and had the energy and the determination to start to make the journey. For five years I basically got very little work. I was just finding myself and meeting some great people along the way who were encouraging me to stay my course because I was in the right direction using electronic keyboards and synthesizer. There came a time, however, after years of scuffling, having my wife go back to substitute teaching and me doing gigs when I could come up with them, when we somehow made it by. The one thing that anybody getting into this has to know is that the arrow doesn’t always point straight up. There are times when it is definitely flat and there are times when it actually goes down and you struggle to try to find answers. How many can really hang in there for years to go and build a career?
One thing I can say is that you definitely need support and encouragement, especially from friends and family. If you are with a partner and they don’t support your journey and passion the relationship can’t work. My wife, who then was my girlfriend, never wavered in her belief of what my ability was and my talent was. I can’t say that about everybody that I knew and that’s why they are no longer together. You have to be a special breed to support that person and believe in them in the hardest business in the world to make it in. What I was happy about was when I started I wasn’t shy about meeting people and putting myself and my beliefs out there. What I discovered was that I had ideas that others didn’t and I started building on those. I immersed myself in the technology and the music and was always in the middle of the technology that was emerging for electronic musical instruments.
So this struggle had been going on for 10 years, but I still believed in myself as did my wife and we forged on. After years, I finally got the opportunity to work with Miles Davis and I was totally prepared for what was about to be put in front of me. It was those hours and hours of work and dedication that made it so when I was in there, I had confidence in knowing my ability and knowing what I could deliver to them, and to my joy and surprise it worked and Miles Davis got a hit record with “Tutu”. Then came Luther Vandross, Roberta Flack, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston, and many other musical situations I found myself in the middle of because of my work on synthesizers. The one thing that I was always conscious about was that the highs never last as long as you would like them too. After 15 years of being in Studios and working with so many great people, I couldn’t take it any farther and had to make a change and that change was to become a producer.
That was always a great ambition of mine and I spent years watching great producers like Tommy LiPuma, Marcus Miller (A 10-year collaboration!), Russ Titelman, and others who were great influences on me. I found myself working with the elite producers and top artists but I always said that I was the low man on the totem pole of the upper echelon. Even though I was a part of these great albums and their production teams, I wasn’t going to advance any more in that situation and then after that, I also didn’t realize one thing; just because I was doing multi-platinum work with other artists, didn’t mean that I would be trusted as a producer. I basically had to start from scratch at the bottom and start proving myself as a producer. I was very happy that my friend Arnie Holland, who had Lightyear Entertainment, started to really trust me in making projects for him. Before I was to go and jump into the big time, I did a Jane Fonda workout for him as well as several children’s albums that did really well. I got several awards and he was convinced I was ready to do this major project “People”. It’s a two-year journey to make this album and score (and in a later column I will tell the amazing story of how it all came together) and I wound up with an Emmy nomination for best original song and lyrics in a show.
Even after that, it was still hard getting work as a producer. I took all the opportunities I could to prove myself. Did demos for Artists, produced a track here and there. It wasn’t until my friend Saxophonist Jay Beckenstein encouraged me to try to make an album based on one of our favorite bands that wasn’t around anymore, Weather Report, that I had another shot. Here we go again, making an album and having to shop it around to labels. That, by the way, is not very fun to do, as you are always open to a so-called expert’s opinion. You really have got to develop a very thick skin to take all of the criticism. No matter how much criticism I’ve taken over my career and lifetime, it is still very difficult to get used to and not be emotional about it, because of how close you are to the project and the music.
Qobuz, the world’s first Hi-Res streaming and download service, is launching its family plan today. The release of this much-anticipated feature comes following the recent news of the financial and industrial partnership with Québecor, the Canadian telecom giant, allowing Qobuz to strengthen its position as an international player in the music industry.
Allowing up to six members per account for $24.99/month, Qobuz Family is the best way for families to all learn about and listen to the best quality music. Everybody deserves a chance to experience lossless (CD quality) and Hi-Res music for themselves. Most music fans simply do not know what they have been missing. Qobuz Family offers more than 50 million tracks including music in every genre. The service’s integrated articles, performer and production credits, original reviews, and expert playlists give the listener context that makes the music experience more immersive. For music lovers and audiophiles that have been struggling to get their families to join the current Hi-Res music revolution, the Family Plan – at just $10/month more than an individual subscription – is the answer.
The Qobuz Family option applies to both plans available, Studio Premier and Sublime+:
Studio Premier, which allows unlimited streaming in up to 24-bit / 192 kHz, will be free for the first month (new customers only) then $24.99/month for up to six household members ($269.99 annually with no free trial)
Sublime+, which also allows Hi-Res unlimited streaming and offers discounted Hi-Res downloads, will be $499.99/year for up to six household members with no free trial.
Any current Qobuz customer will have the option of upgrading to a family plan. When someone purchases a family plan subscription, they will be able to invite up to five other household members to join the plan with independent memberships that can be used simultaneously. Each family member can manage their individual favorites, playlists, listening history, and settings.
Founded in 2007, Qobuz is the premier service for streaming and downloading high-quality music that meets the needs of demanding music lovers and audiophiles. Available in 11 countries in Europe and open in the United States since February 2019, Qobuz offers an exceptional range of exclusive editorial content written by a team of experts. With a catalogue of more than 50 million total tracks, Qobuz also has the largest number of high-resolution (hi-res) tracks on the market, with more than two million in 24-bit FLAC up to 192 kHz. For more information: www.qobuz.com
This is an ongoing project by Claude Lemaire of Soundevaluations "I can't breathe" Eric Garner, George Floyd "We can't breathe" People all over the World "What's Going On" Marvin Gaye "Why Can't We Live Together" Timmy Thomas "Love Is the Message" MFSB (Gamble & Huff) "RESPECT" Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin "Get up, stand up, stand up for... Read More »
Samoa Wilson reminds me a little of the Occaquan Inn in Virginia, one of my favorite restaurants in the world. The Occaquan Inn, which is located right on the bank of the Potomac, has a reputation for being haunted by a Native American spirit who dwells in the upstairs ladies’ room and loves to come out and knock all the butter knives off the tables. That’s cool in and of itself, but my fondest memory of the Occaquan is the Victrola near the entry which was always playing 78 rpm records during the dinner service. That detail alone created an indelible impression–especially when they played Depression-era recordings of hot Parisian jazz. On I Just Want to Be Horizontal, singer Samoa Wilson has partnered with guitarist Jim Kweskin to pay tribute to the type of music that might be played on that old Victrola, especially the recordings Teddy Wilson made with Billie Holliday back in the 1930s when she was still relatively unknown. The two have been working on this sound for a decade, and it’s a mature and thorough result. Wilson has that ’30s voice down pat, pure and simple with a measured yet generous vibrato. Kweskin, who sings along [...]
Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2020/06/15/samoa-wilson-and-jim-kweskin-i-just-want-to-be-horizontal-the-vinyl-anachronist/
The brilliance of today’s film producers is thoroughly demonstrated in the 2019 Netflix Original movie, The King. Except for a few passing scenes during the Battle of Agincourt, camera movements are fluidic and never disruptive, well composed and choreographed, and eminently enjoyable to watch. Director David Michod is to be praised also for a movie watching experience resplendent with not loud and bashing sound effects but an audiophile-grade, musical and unusually creative score by composer Nicholas Britell.
The Shakespearean play of Henry V is fantastical and elusive compared to the one in the Brad Pitt co-produced, new Netflix Original movie. Breaking from common conception, The King portrays the newly crowned protagonist as somber and cautious, his demeanor forged from trappings and misgivings throughout his juvenile years, not the least for being in contentious strives with his tyrannical father, Henry IV, and his younger brother, Thomas of Lancaster. Thus set the tone and background of the movie, insomuch devout Shakespeareans may be disillusioned to witness a movie aiming for a less poetic or fantastical but a grittier depiction of history.
For one, while the character of Sir John Falstaff remains in the movie, he is completely unlike the Shakespearean character and even goes on and leads the Battle of Agincourt! Forget the timeless “We happy few” St. Crispin’s Day Speech by Henry V, for in its place is a script that beckons one to fight as if he was England itself. And then there is the slaying of William Gascoigne, who the history never recorded as having accompanied the king at Agincourt, or died by the hand of the king. Note that Falstaff’s calling Henry V “Hal” is an invention of Shakespeare’s, curiously adopted by the film’s producers.
In spite of the artistic license aforementioned, The King is a dramatically rousing and choreographically stunning work, not the least of all the visceral and haunting soundtrack by Britell.
Played through the 6-feet tall, 35 inches wide curved electrostatic panels of the Sound Lab Majestic 645 as driven by the Pass Laboratories XA200.8 pure Class A monoblocks, sourcing from the new Esoteric K-01XD SACD player, the rambling bottom-end of the synthesizer accompanied richly textured tuba is captivating.
It matters not the position and station one possesses in life, misery exists in all. It is self provoked and never-ending, refuses to be annulled by health and wealth. It is a condition of existence of humans as old as there has been recorded history, as long as we are dissatisfied with where we are and what we have. The King depicts that amply. The Nicholas Britell score is sympathetic to the quandaries faced by the newly crowned Henry V. It trudges along the many scenes of internal struggles of the king, who despite his extraordinary intellect is nonetheless inexperienced, thus easily coerced by self-serving, treacherous politicians.
It is, thus, a moment of genius as the producers take us, the audience, along on an up note in turn of events as war declaration is made and the country is beckoned towards the path of war. The score remains sonorous and communicative, according us insights into the king’s mental state. It takes the vantage point of history and not insomuch of the actions or characters themselves. History views the Battle of Agincourt as calamitous though England prevailed, and the score reminds one of it.
In most cases, a historically correct production of a Shakespeare play always makes a minor noise during its release and is promptly cast aside in perpetuity. This version of Henry V is too well made to be forgotten.
For the Shakespearean enthusiasts, Kenneth Branagh’s 1989 movie with the stirring score by Patrick Doyle, performed by the then lesser known City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Simon Rattle at the podium is indispensable. The Netflix version, then, is the new pole bearer for the history buff and has no peers. It is a beautiful thing that director David Michod’s vision for the film includes a high deference for the Britell score and maintains the serene and majestic music audible and clear during and above all scenes.
The soundtrack is epic and merits being experienced and enjoyed on its own. Tidal streams it, and it can be purchased as 24-bit, 48KHz high-resolution downloads from websites such as HDtracks and Presto Classical.
PS Audio DirectStream Power Plant 20 AC regenerator
Acoustic Sciences Corporation TubeTraps
Audio Reference Technology Analysts EVO interconnects, power cable
Audio Reference Technology Analysts SE interconnects, power cables
Audio Reference Technology Super SE interconnects, power cables
Stealth Audio Cables Helios phono cable
Esoteric K-01XD SACD player
Pass Laboratories Xs Preamp
Pass Laboratories XA200.8 pure class A monoblocks
Bricasti Design M28 class AB monoblocks
Margules Audio u-280SC Black ultralinear tube monoblocks
Sound Lab Majestic 645 electrostatic panels
Sometimes great recordings fall through the cracks here at Vinyl Anachronist World Headquarters, and Enrique Haneine and his new album Unlayered was almost one of those casualties. I received this a few months ago, listened to it once, loved it and then promptly forgot about it until last week. Its second chance came in the form of buzz, that this “modern jazz” recording was succinct at representing the state of jazz in 2020, the vanguard. A lot of people are talking about Unlayered right now, so it’s time for me to do the same. Over the last few years I’ve heard a lot of this so-called modern jazz, occasionally referred to as free jazz, and my approach always involved finding the structure in the chaos. Enrique Haneine doesn’t hide his musical structures in noise or epiphany–it’s laid out for all to see, melodies and themes and all the things you expect and want from music. His themes resemble an edgy pastiche of noir and world music, perhaps culled from an old film about foreign agents in exotic locations. Enrique Haneine was born in Mexico City from Lebanese descent, so he borrows liberally from those cultural touchstones. He’s a drummer and [...]
Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2020/06/08/enrique-haneine-unlayered-the-vinyl-anachronist/
Unique fan-focused service comes to BluOS enabled products via previously announced adaptive streaming protocol
PICKERING, CANADA, MAY 26, 2020 – Lenbrook International, developer of the BluOS hi-res wireless premium distributed audio and music management platform, proudly announced the integration of the Neil Young Archives (NYA), the high-resolution, studio-quality streaming online archive of famed Canadian-born rock icon, Neil Young, into the BluOS platform.
Effective immediately, Canada- and US- based users of BluOS Enabled products from NAD Electronics, Bluesound, and DALI Loudspeakers, will be prompted to update their players for the unique opportunity to freely sample Neil Young Archives’ “Song of the Day” and “Album of the Week” in high-resolution, with a tap of a button in the BluOS Controller app. Existing subscribers of the Neil Young Archives can simply enter their credentials into the “Add Music” area of the BluOS app to access the service, and those who wish to become a subscriber will find a link to the sign-up page on NYA’s website.
This integration is possible due to the addition of OraStream’s adaptive streaming protocol utilizing the MPEG 4 SLS codec in BluOS, introduced late last year as part of BluOS’s goal to maintain its leadership in offering high-resolution music content options for its users. Music files are encoded and delivered in their native resolution, thereby retaining and preserving the nuances and details of the original source file.
ALL-CANADIAN COMMITMENT TO HIGH-RESOLUTION AUDIO
In 2018, Canadian-born Young launched his Neil Young Archives, an ambitious project that models a novel way for artists to distribute unique content to their fans without the damaging compression so prevalent in today’s mass market streaming music world. His website and app provide access to all of his audio, video, memorabilia, notes, lyrics, original manuscripts, and news.
Meanwhile, Canada-based Lenbrook International was in the midst of growing its reach with a new and modern audiophile customer seeking a completely new performance standard and user experience supporting high-resolution 24/192 audio streaming, layered with multi-room music capabilities. Such an innovative solution had never before been made commercially available and the Bluesound brand, with its BluOS operating system, had been setting new standards and winning awards worldwide since its launch in 2012.
This “Canadian connection” around high-resolution audio has been developing over a number of years, with Young even mentioning Lenbrook as an example of hardware manufacturers who remain dedicated to hi-res audio in his 2019 book co-written with Phil Baker, “To Feel the Music.”
“Perhaps an underappreciated point for those who want to experience hi-res audio is that it takes two elements working together to achieve the optimal outcome,” explains Gordon Simmonds, President and CEO of the Lenbrook Group of Companies. ”Hi-res audio is only possible when both the content is offered in hi-res and the audio equipment that music lovers use can decode that content in its highest quality. In this integration, we have put these two pieces together for the end consumer to enjoy, simply and elegantly.”
A CONTENT AND HARDWARE PARTNERSHIP TO MODEL
Beyond just the technical integration of Young’s service with BluOS, the agreement also demonstrates how a content creator and a home audio equipment provider can collaborate and model an effective and simple solution for music lovers to access and enjoy a unique and fully high-resolution streaming experience.
“It is important to me to be able to offer my life’s work to music lovers in its highest resolution. I want them to experience my music in the absolute best quality possible on their devices,” says Young. “Creating Neil Young Archives has enabled me to support and partner with established hi-res audio brands using BluOS to achieve great improvement over mainstream consumer devices and bring the true beauty of music to you.”
“Although my music already sounds better on all devices because our master’s high-resolution source is so pure,” Young continues, “to reach its true potential, it will sound even better with BluOS Enabled products!”
“This is how the hi-res masters enable the very best quality for all music lovers, combining the best source with superior playback of devices using BluOS, designed to provide all the music and easily unwraps the true emotional hit from my hi-res music.”
About The Neil Young Archives
The Neil Young Archives (neilyoungarchives.com), described as a “Revolution in fandom” by The Guardian, is a website and app where fans have access to Neil Young’s audio, video, memorabilia, notes, lyrics, original manuscripts and an eight-page newspaper. It’s where Neil is continually adding new content and where his fans and he communicate with each other. It went live a little over a year ago and has tens of thousands of paid members. A subscription costs $19.99 per year.
BluOS is a premium multi-room audio ecosystem that manages stored and cloud music sources and playback, with support for high-resolution audio streams up to 24/192. Adopted by some of the most renowned hifi audio brands and integrated with numerous smarthome and voice control systems, BluOS allows for interoperability among enabled devices across brands for maximum versatility and use cases. Integrations with popular streaming music services like Tidal, Spotify, Amazon Music HD, Qobuz, and Deezer, as well as featuring support for FLAC, WAV, OraStream, MQA, and other high-resolution formats and codecs, BluOS offers virtually unlimited access to music of all genres for any occasion. Made up of an operating system and a control application for smart phones, tablets, and PC desktops, BluOS is the ultimate choice for the modern audiophile.
About Lenbrook International
Lenbrook International, a subsidiary of the Lenbrook Group of Companies, is the owner and manufacturer of award-winning brands for home audio and residential install applications. Its full suite of products from NAD Electronics, PSB Speakers, Bluesound wireless multi-room players, and Bluesound Professional commercial audio, are distributed in over 80 countries, while its BluOS hi-res distributed audio platform continues to be adopted by some of the world’s leading premium audio brands.
Herein the latest from our goodly colleague, John Marks, editor of The Tannhauser Gate, his worthy and informative blog site. He points us to a male soprano whose voice would delight the angels. O! Can he sing! Dr. David W. Robinson, Ye Olde Editor "Well, the Welsh do sing, do they not?" I murmured to myself, upon... Read More »
Thankfully, Hit It from the BK Trio sounds quite different from the seemingly countless jazz trio recordings coming out this spring. Much of that comes from guitarist Brian Kooken, the BK in BK Trio, who leads his organ trio through a blistering set with loose undercurrents of rock and the blues. That’s not to say he sounds like a rock guitarist who wandered into the wrong room, but when you learn Kooken was born in the ’60s and openly declares his love for David Gilmour’s playing, the same as me, you hear it in his music. BK Trio is indeed an organ trio, an ensemble always welcome in my house. Organ trios continue to intrigue me because they can be so down and earthy and full of the sound of air moving slowly. Since the bass is usually played with the organ’s foot pedals, something I used to call the Ray Manzarek syndrome, there’s a greater simplicity at work here. Greg Hatza‘s Hammond B-3 is locked in a foot race with Kooken’s guitar–they play together and they play fast, matched by the swift drumming work from Robert Shahid. This is indeed one of the quickest and liveliest organ trios [...]
Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2020/05/29/bk-trio-hit-it-the-vinyl-anachronist/