Stuck at home for a long period of time, it’s not bad to be absorbed in audio trying to capture better sound as much as possible. Particularly, there are various packaged software producing high quality sounds. It is the most luxurious part of the world of audio as a hobby to enjoy the superb sound quality while many albums are released.
I have listened to the masterpiece of Simon & Garfunkel—released in 1970, remained No.1 in the charts for 10 weeks, and won six Grammys including Album of the Year—on the newly remastered 45 rpm double LP by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab. The process called “ultra-disc one step” is the direct pressing of the mother made from the original master tape. The effect of skipping the regular LP making process is tremendous, which makes the sound warm and soft in particular. Listening to the vibrant sound makes you feel as if you are in the studio. It is quite pricy but it is worth it.
I am surprised that “Bridge over Troubled Water,” which I have listened to many times are replayed vividly as if it were newly recorded beyond half a century. The echo on the piano Larry Knechtel plays for the title tune, divinely resonates in my heart. The playful rhythm of <Cecilia> is so vivid! The sound of brass instruments in <Keep the Customer Satisfied> is sharp. You could enjoy the vivacious sounds that you have never heard of on the tracks including the big hits such as <El Condor Pasa> and <The Boxer>. After this, S&G broke up and started solo activities respectively, but here you can truly feel something like the last afterglow because of its extremely high degree of perfection together with the glory of the group in the entire album.
Recorded for Deutsche Grammophon in 1980 and famous as the magnificent representative performance, the hybrid disc of SACD and CD remastered using the 96kHz 24 bit master was upconverted from the original by Esoteric has been released. Compared to the conventional CDs, the difference is huge, and you can tell the sharpness of sound and the increased richness of the timbre of the orchestra just by listening to it once.
Composed in 1915 by Richard Strauss, the maestro who loved the landscape of the Alps and had the second house in Garmisch in Southern Germany, “Eine Alpensinfonie” is one of those with strikingly colossal composition of musical instruments among his works. It describes a day of a mountain climber, who starts climbing a mountain from the dawn, reaches the top, and goes down a mountain, until the night comes. By listening to the music, you can enjoy the flow of the day as if you became a climber. The description of forests, creeks, and fields of flowers are marvelous. Further, he describes thunderstorm and storms experienced by the climber. The sunset is beautiful and even mysterious. Conducting by Karajan is outstanding. He not only describes the landscape but also reaches out to the feeling of the climber and emotionally expresses the feelings of human. I believe the Esoteric’s disc gives us the opportunity to enjoy the fascination of the spectacular score of Strauss more than ever.
Venus Records is well known by capturing the sound of a musician’s performance vividly. “From Birdland to Broadway” is included in the first “Venus Jazz Masterpiece LP Collection” started this spring. Originally “From Birdland to Broadway” written by Bill Crow was published, and triggered by publishing the Japanese translated version by Haruki Murakami, the idea of creating an album incorporating the atmosphere generated by the author arose and the recording has started. Bill Craw is the great bassist active in the first-class bands led by musicians such as Gerry Mulliganas and Clark Terry, however, it is said that this is the first time he recorded the album as a leader of the band.
Even though it was recorded in 1995, and is the one recorded in the early stage by Venus, the liveliness of the sound has not changed even now. Carmen Leggio is playing melodic tenor sax along with the light and stable bass performance by Bill Crow. Leggio’s tone is a bit rough, but the rough expression resonates in the ears of the listeners strikingly. <Night Lights> is the romantic ballad written by Mulliganas. Although CDs and SACDs are also released, here the cutting is done using the master disc produced by directly connecting the machine to the high-resolution digital sound source. You can feel the heavy weight of 180 gram LP, and I would like you to fully enjoy the richness of the adult jazz.
Established in 1983 by Giulio Cesare Ricci, an Italian engineer, “FONE,” has produced high-quality albums focusing on high quality sounds from the beginning, and it can be said the label is the true trailblazer of the modern “high quality sounds.” Originally the beautiful sound Cesare Chiacchiaretta believes is the one pursuing the beauty of timbre including the resonance in the air in a studio or a hall and is driven by expressing the space rather than the lucidness of performance. The direction it is aiming for is completely opposite of that of Venus discs, and we may be able to say that the sensibility is quite European.
The performance was held in the hall adjacent to Piaggio headquarters, an automobile and motorcycle manufacturer in Pontedera, Toscana Province. Since the hall was renovated from the plant originally, the resonance of sound is quite deep and broad. It is the decorous duo of Filippo Arlia’s piano and Cesare Chiacchiaretta’s bandoneon. Selected numbers are superb—mainly Astor Piazzolla’s works including <Il Postino> and <The Pink Panther>. It is marvelous indeed to relaxingly listen to rich sounds generated by the combination of the piano and bandoneon.
Surrounded by various kinds of music from his childhood, Masamichi Okazaki joined Waseda University Modern Jazz Club. He started contributing articles to music magazines when he was a student. He covers wide range of music not only trad, modern and contemporary jazz, but also from pops to classics. He writes liner notes for CDs and LPs, and is a regular contributor to JAZZ JAPAN, STEREO, and others. He joined a big band, Shiny Stockings, as a saxophone player. He is a director of The Music Pen Club Japan (MPCJ).