Wayne Shorter – The Soothsayer (1965/2013) [HDTracks FLAC 24/192]

Wayne Shorter – The Soothsayer (1965/2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 43:19 minutes | 1,54 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover | © Blue Note Records

Originally released as Blue Note LT-988

“In preparing these hi def remasters, we were very conscientious about maintaining the feel of the original releases while adding a previously unattainable transparency and depth. It now sounds like you’ve set up your chaise lounge right in the middle of Rudy Van Gelder’s studio!” – Blue Note President, Don Was.

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Marta Gomez – Entre Cada Palabra (2006) [HDTracks FLAC 24/96]

Marta Gómez – Entre Cada Palabra (2006)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 50:42 minutes | 1,07 GB | Genre: Jazz, Latin
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital booklet | © Chesky Records

Chesky Records release. Colombian singer/songwriter Marta Gomez is a wonderful, enigmatic talent. Her voice has the lulling softness that evokes Brazil’s female vocal icons, yet there’s a depth to her writing that goes far beneath the surface. She’s also something of an expert on Latin rhythms — there are 13 different ones on this disc, all of them rooted in different cultures, from Colombian bambuco to Argentine chamame. But everything is so perfectly put together that you forget the academic side, pulled along by the music and voice. Recorded over just three days, it’s a small masterwork. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand Spanish, as Gomez evokes delicate moods in her work, each piece beautifully arranged and shaded, with a very live sound. Her last album saw her labeled as a jazz singer, but there’s little evidence of that here, possibly quite deliberately. Instead it’s an album of low-key Latin music that at times edges toward a more straightforward singer/songwriter stance — albeit a very classy one (think Joni Mitchell, for example). On the evidence of this and her previous disc, Gomez is a rapidly rising star of genuine quality and inspiration.

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Marta Gomez – Cantos De Agua Dulce: Songs Of The Sweet Water (2004) [HDTracks FLAC 24/96]

Marta Gómez – Cantos De Agua Dulce: Songs Of The Sweet Water (2004)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 49:51 minutes | 1,05 GB | Genre: Jazz Vocal
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital Booklet |
© Chesky Records

This is the record that brought this Colombian-born songstress widespread critical acclaim. Cantos De Agua Dulce charted on Billboard’s Top 10 Jazz Albums tally, the CMJ New World Chart and the World Music Europe Chart. On the strength of this recording, Gomez was nominated for Best Latin Jazz Vocalist of 2005 by Billboard’s Latin Music Awards and was described by the magazine’s reviewer as “… the essence of Latin cool”.

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The Jim Hall Quartet – All Across The City (1989) [Reissue 2003] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

The Jim Hall Quartet – All Across The City (1989) [Reissue 2003]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 57:05 minutes | Scans included | 3,85 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 1,01 GB
Genre: Jazz

Jim Hall’s successful blend of contemporary and mainstream jazz should appeal to both camps on this well-crafted album. Hall displays the subtle quiet lyricism that makes his guitar sound instantly identifiable. Gil Goldstein is a perfect choice on keyboards, because he uses synthesizer only to color rather than overpower a song, while avoiding schmaltz. Both “Beja-Flor” and the title track benefit from his contributions. Though his piano is frequently in the background, it matches Hall’s hushed, effective guitar lines. Bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Terry Clarke frequently lay out during the introductions and then enter to add either gentle shadings or full steam, if needed. One of Jim Hall’s best albums.

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The Gene Harris Quartet – Listen Here! (1989) [Reissue 2003] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

The Gene Harris Quartet – Listen Here! (1989) [Reissue 2003]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 53:50 minutes | Scans included | 3,35 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,00 GB
Genre: Jazz

Although often associated with the blues, only one of the ten selections on this quartet set by pianist Gene Harris (who is joined by guitarist Ron Eschete, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Jeff Hamilton) is technically a blues. On this excellent all-around showcase for the soulful pianist, Harris sounds in prime form exploring such tunes as “This Masquerade,” “Don’t Be That Way,” Eddie Harris’ “Listen Here,” and “The Song Is Ended.” Listen Here! gives listeners a pretty definitive look at Gene Harris’ accessible and swinging style.

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The Cal Tjader Quintet – Latin + Jazz = Cal Tjader (1968) [Audio Fidelity 2003] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

The Cal Tjader Quintet – Latin + Jazz = Cal Tjader (1968) [Audio Fidelity 2003]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 44:54 minutes | Scans included | 1,8 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 874 MB
Genre: Jazz | Remastered by Steve Hoffman | Audio Fidelity # AFZ-004

TVibraphonist Cal Tjader is in typically fine form on this live set from 1968. His quintet at the time featured Armand Perazza on congas and pianist Joe Kloess and his repertoire ranged from Afro-Cuban jazz to occasional straightahead tunes. Six of the eight selections on this date are originals by band members or Gary McFarland. Although Tjader had been playing this style of music for 15 years by this time, he still was quite creative and enthusiastic, and is heard throughout in excellent form.

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Jim Hall – Live! Volume 2-4 (1975/2012) [FLAC 24/48]

Jim Hall – Live! Vol. 2-4 (1975/2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 187:37 minutes | 2,14 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: ArtistShare 24-48 files | Full Scans

Jim Hall: Live! Vol. 2-4 is an unprecedented live album release from an utter legend of jazz guitar. This box set features previously unreleased recordings from Jim Hall’s trio performances at Bourbon Street in Toronto, Canada circa 1975. The recordings provide an incredible additional 3 hours of music from the original Jim Hall: Live! (Horizon/1975) release. Featuring Don Thompson on bass and Terry Clarke on drums, the album was released as part of Jim’s latest Fan- Funded ArtistShare Project. These previously unreleased recordings are an absolutely essential addition to this guitar giant’s already extensive catalog of classic live recordings. Jim Hall’s fans will be absolutely delighted by this previously unheard music.

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George Shearing and Hank Jones – The Spirit Of 176 (1988) [Reissue 2003] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

George Shearing and Hank Jones – The Spirit Of 176 (1988) [Reissue 2003]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 50:33 minutes | Scans included | 3,63 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 973 MB
Genre: Jazz

George Shearing and Hank Jones have always been very well-rounded pianists fully capable of playing unaccompanied solos. Their unique matchup as a two-piano duo on this Concord release works surprisingly well for the two pianists manage to stay out of each other’s way and the ensembles are not overcrowded. The pianists tackle colorful material including “Angel Eyes,” and Thelonious Monk’s “I Mean You,” an original apiece, Mary Lou Williams’s “Lonely Moments,” “Star Eyes” and “Confirmation,” and the results are swinging and tasteful. This somewhat obscure Concord release is worth investigating.

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Spyro Gyra – Wrapped In A Dream (2006) {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

Spyro Gyra – Wrapped In A Dream (2006) [2.0 & 5.1]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 61:22 minutes | Scans included | 3,88 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 61:40 mins | Scans | 1,29 GB
Genre: Jazz, Fusion

The Buffalo-based instrumental ensemble is always credited for contributing to the pop, R&B, and jazz hybrid that eventually evolved into today’s smooth jazz — but happily, as the music in that genre has gotten slightly more predictable, Spyro Gyra have been rocking, rolling, and improvising in a lot of unexpected directions. So after nine Grammy nominations and nearly 11 million albums sold, where do saxman Jay Beckenstein, keyboardist Tom Schuman, and company turn to wrap themselves in a dream? How about some “Impressions of Madrid,” a moody, super-sultry Latin meditation that weaves the saxman’s soprano with his own flute and (for the first time) Spanish chanting. Former full-time member Dave Samuels (marimba) and acoustic guitarist Julio Fernandez make this an irresistible, totally trippy excursion. Closer to home, Beckenstein segues into the soulful, easy-rocking blues flavors of “Impressions of Toledo” — less exotic to be sure, but still loads of fun, with ample opportunity for his mates to jam and solo. The band also makes up new titles as clever and weird as its own name, via the steamy and mysterious, strutting blues drench of “The Voodooyoodoo” and the South African/gospel-infused closer, “Woogitybop,” which features some of Beckenstein’s most aggressive blowing amidst rich horn textures. Not that it’s ultra-important, but there are a few tracks that could qualify as artsy “smooth jazz,” like Schuman’s punchy “Walkin’ Home” and the lone outside composition, Chuck Loeb’s bouncy, super-funky “Tuesday.” Mostly, this is Spyro Gyra doing what they’ve done best in the 2000s — staying engaging and accessible while stretching out, taking risks, and having a blast like the kids they were in the ’70s.

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Spyro Gyra – In Modern Times (2001) {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

Spyro Gyra – In Modern Times (2001) [2.0 & 5.1]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 60:28 minutes | Scans included | 3,64 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,23 GB
Genre: Jazz, Fusion

When you consider that 1979 was the year that launched Spyro Gyra onto the pop charts with their number one hit “Morning Dance,” for what was essentially a new style of jazz, their achievements seem all the more astounding. With the release of In Modern Times, the group commemorates 25 years of recording and a move to Heads Up International with this fresh, new collection. The enhanced CD, complete with a video and biography, features the talents of its co-founder, Jay Beckenstein, on saxophones, Tom Schuman on keyboards, Julio Fernandez on guitars, Scott Ambush on bass, and Joel Rosenblatt on drums. The 12 original concepts written by members of the group, the inimitable Chuck Loeb, and co-writers Jeremy Wall and Phil Magallanes, keep the listening interesting, sweet, and real. The opening track, “After Hours,” is a sultry tune featuring orchestral enhancement, subtle horn charts, and creates a mood that signals the listener is in for a great time. Their retro soul tribute to Grover Washington, Jr., ” “Groovin’ for Grover” features an excellent soprano saxophone melody by Jay Beckenstein and glistens brilliantly among this great array of contemporary jazz gems. The crown jewel, however, is “Florida Straits,” a fiery, danceable, Latin jam. Beckenstein’s sax playing lights a fire under Julio Fernandez’ Carlos Santana-influenced guitar riffs, who cuts loose on a solo that sets the song ablaze. Along with percussionist David Quarles and drummer Joel Rosenblatt, this descarga helps to set In Modern Times apart from previous chart makers by Spyro Gyra. Another great song is “East River Blue,” which features the bluesy bop and soulful resonance of Beckenstein’s sax lines and the excellent B-3 organ solo by Tom Schuman. This enhanced CD is dynamic and flows as if self-propelled because of the superior technology, well-written songs, tight horn charts, eclectic grooves, and exceptional contemporary jazz, fusion, and R&B-based performers who mix various elements into a bold, modern sound.

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