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3 Albums you'd recommend... and why.

Hifi jim

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I'm sure we all have a favorite CD or LP that gets more than its fair share of playtime. Most of my favorite recordings hold that special place in my heart for reasons of musicality, recording quality or both. I have loads of "favorites", but lately I find myself yammering on about two recent finds and one "old" favorite. What are your 3 favorite albums and why? I've tried to escape the ordinary or the expected, as I'm sure all jazz fans know of Miles' "Kind of Blue" or Dave Brubecks "Take Five". I wanted the unexpected, the album you'd probably only buy because a friend wouldn't shut up about it. I love discovering music that is new to me and I'm always open to recommendations. So without further ado, here goes my list. #1 Patricia Barber, Companion: While not entirely unknown, she deserves far more popularity and success then she has already garnered. Her studio albums are of the upmost recording quality and her original compositions and arrangements of old standards are beautifully unique. She has beautiful expression through her voice that will win most any Krall fan and unfortunately it will quickly send you searching for audio nirvana so that you may fully appreciate her wonderful art. "Companion" is a live album in an intimate setting. You are surrounded by the audible details of people eating, drinking and even spilling their drinks. The band is "ON" this particular night and a listen to the third track "Like JT" is an excellent example of how Patricia's band sounds live. The drummer and percussionist are simply amazing and only outshined by the quality of the recording.


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#2: Feist, Let it Die. Leslie Feist is a brilliant young song writer with a knack for catchy riffs. Her first album "Let it Die" shows beautiful examples of her song writing such as "Gatekeeper" and "Mushaboom". Unfortunately the producer got a little trick happy in the studio and some of the tracks are ruined by digital effects. Her third and most recent album "The Remainder" is also affected by this to some extent as well. I guess we can hope for a live album someday. I'm not sure who I could compare Feist to, as her sound is as original as her character.


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#3: Devon Sproule, Keep Your Silver Shined. If you love Joni or Emmylou than you may want to have a listen to Devon. Her voice and song writing belie her age of just 24 years. "Keep Your Silver Shined" is her most recent effort and her best in my opinion. Try "Stop by Anytime" or the title track, and listen to Devon's beautiful voice and finely crafted song writing. The recording is very natural with a black background that her voice and accompanying guitars and banjos leap from. Most of the arrangements are simple and free to let the music breathe, a seemingly rare trait in today's recordings. This is my most recent "find", and one that I simply cannot stop playing. Highly recommended!


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Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Trilogy. Prog rock taken to the next level, with dynamics from solo instrumental to monstrous super group. Nothing you would hear on the radio, yet one of the most listened to lp's of the cognoscenti.

Chick Corea--Return to Forever. The very first RTF lp, before the era of expanded group size. A new direction for jazz, with stellar musicianship and wild vocals. It's a recording that puts you into the studio, very intimate and detailed.

The Steeleye Span Story--Original Masters. This is the oddball of the mix. A double lp of 70's versions of old brittish isles folk tunes. Modernized in a way that is not quite kitsch or trivial, yet purely of the period. The songs speak for themselves, and are rendered beautifully thanks mostly to the voice of Maddy Prior. There are some real gems in this mix, with some songs that never lose their relevance.

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#1 Music for Eighteen Musicians. Steve Reich

Some may immediately reject this piece due to its minimalist context. However, in my honest opinion there is more to this one than at first meets the eye (or the ear).

This is an absolutely mesmerizing piece of music. At first listen the uninformed listener may mistake certain sounds as synthetic, electronic. But I can assure you this is not the case. I have seen and heard this music performed live by The Steve Reich Ensemble and it is absolutely stunning to watch the performance and hear what you are hearing. It’s all acoustical instruments and voice, no electronic effects.

I’m going to have to think about #2 & #3, will post later.

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new favorites in heavy rotation are

1) steve earle: washington square serenade, some really soulful songs with acoustic instruments that won me over immediately so much so i have hunted down all his recordings. a laid back style with just good songwriting and playing really good music

2) kings of leon: either only by the night or because of the times, a little more fast paced and a tad on the alternative side some good rocking songs that get you to singen along in short order, lead singer has a different style and a voice that stands out

3) my morning jacket: acoustic citrousa just some great acoustic music and vocals (not everyones cup o tea but i cant stop playing it

i could name a few more recordings but i will stay within the thread requests


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The Crusaders, 2003, "Rural Renewal" - soulful jazz, old school, great horn work, nice keyboard (Hammond B3) work, just great songs I'll listen to over and over again.

Max Carl and Big Band, http://www.nebrocks.org/max.htm "One Planet, One Groove" - Good songwriting, good musicianship, great sounds all through this CD, rock music with R+B influences, large band with horn section.

Little Feat, "Kickin' It At the Barn" - If you like classic Little Feat, you'll love the laid back flavors of this one.


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Roger Waters - Amused to Death. Takes up where DSOTM left off - adds the amazing Q-sound surround sound from 2 speakers and blows me away.


Rachmaninof's 3rd piano / Ashkenazy - LSO - Previn on Japanese Super Analgoue of original London recording. Definitive performance of definitive concerto on amazing recording beautifully transcribed to vinyl. It dont get any better.

Elgar Cello concerto / Jacqueline Du Pre /London Symphony / Sir John Barbirolli / EMI. Definitive performance of definitive concerto on decent recording well transcribed to vinyl - not as good as the above - but still to die for.

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Jesse Cook, Tempest : Classical guitarist from Canada..nice modern beats..excellent recording on cd...all this guys stuff is awesome!

Mickey Hart, Planet drum: The deads drummer...great eclectic mix of rhythmic instruments from around the world...one of my long time go to albums

Tommy Dorsey's Band, On the Sunny Side Of the Street: Late 50's lp, playing all of the big bands classics...Tangerine has never sounded better...this is one hell of a recording

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>Elgar Cello concerto / Jacqueline Du Pre /London Symphony / Sir John Barbirolli / EMI. Definitive performance of definitive concerto on decent recording well transcribed to vinyl - not as good as the above - but still to die for.

[Y][Y][Y][Y][Y]Seems like she DID, didn't she? Or shortly thereafter. In any event, one of the most extraordinary performances of a heart-rending concerto ever. I'd vote for this as well...


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Alright, for something a bit different than the typical material that I see people listening to on here...

#1 - This is something that is brand new as of this past month that I picked up while I was in Atlanta...

Xystus (featuring USConcert Orchestra) - Equilibrio : A Rock Opera:


This is one extremely well composed and produced album, featuring a full 60-peice orchestra and 20 voice choir, along with a very talanted progressive metal band. Simone Simons voice is just angelic on here, along with some incredible tenor vocals by Bas Dolmans, along very solid vocal work from the other performers. Even if you are not a fan of heavier metal music, I would still highly recommend giving this one a listen. A truly powerful and awe inspiring work that I would easily put up against some of the great classics of the past.

#2 Dark Water - Calling the Earth to Witness:


First time I've heard this, I was completely blown away. There is some incredible musicianship on display here. Some of you may already be familier with this as I played a couple tracks from it in Indy.

#3 Beyond Twilight - For the Love of Art and the Making:


This is something you will definitly not be hearing on the radio! This is one incredibly complex, but epic sounding album here. Again, the composition and production is really top notch, some really awesome musicianship as well. This is basically one long 40 minute track that is on here. Another one of those albums where I say what happens when a symphony gets mixed up with a prog metal band.

Honorable Mention goes to...

Vox Tempus - In the Eye of Time:


The sound production on this album is just friggan phenomenal! Easily one of my own reference disks when I want to go out and listen to gear. Not only that, but the music itself is really top-notch. Basically think of Styx meets Dream Theater.

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Roger Waters - Amused to Death. Takes up where DSOTM left off - adds the amazing Q-sound surround sound from 2 speakers and blows me away.

This one was on my mind too but I see Max beat me to it, so I'll second it. Amazing 3-D surround from 2 speakers like Max said. I can actually turn my head far left or right to hear sounds coming from that direction even though there's no speakers for the sound to be "in between". It's quite uncanny. I think the tunes are quite catchy and introspective in the usual Roger Waters fashion. And watch out for the HUGE "one-cycle" (not sure thats the right word) low tone wavefront. Guaranteed to wake you up if you fall asleep (and your nieghbors too). I can literally feel this pass through the concrete floor, through my body and chair, all in an instant, and its gone. It's more like a concussion type of sound.

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OK, I have my third and final pick.

Glenn Gould, “The Goldberg Variations”

There are two primary, or “main” versions that I am referring to. One is the original from 1955, and then the “second take” in 1981. My first introduction was the 1981 performance.

I’ve heard pro’s and con’s regarding sound quality, but for me, it works just fine. Gould, occasionally grunting away, finger nails clicking on the keys.

The performance, IMO, is quite stunning.

And reproducing solo pianissimo~forte to the max............

If it doesn't sound real, don't blame the recording.


The Goldberg Variations

Glenn Gould

CD CBS Masterworks MK37779

This was later released as a two performance set, 1955 + 1981

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