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Shades of Chet, Sarah Jarosz, Ella Fitzgerald, Sara K, Vinyl Record Reviews

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Shades of Chet

Studio Recordings from Baden-Baden 1958-59
45rpm 180g 2LP
Limited Edition of 496 copies
Pure Analogue Recording and cutting, One-Stage Pressing Process

Musicians:
Enrico Rava, trumpet, flugelhorn
Paolo Fresu, trombone
Stefano Bollani, piano
Enzo Pietropaoli, bass
Roberto Gatto, drums

Selections:
LP 1
1. Doodlin (Horace Silver)
2. My Funny Valentine (Rodgers – Hart)
3. Anthropology (Charlie Parker)
4. Retrato Em Branco e Preto (Antonios Carlos Jobim)

LP 2
5. Doxy (Sonny Rollins)
6. You Can’t Go Home Away (Don Sebesky)
7. Line For Lyons (Gerry Mulligan)
8. Strike Up the Band (George Gershwin)
9. Donna (Kramer – Garinei – Giovannini)

Let me start by saying I love these LPs; a tribute to jazz trumpeter & flugelhorn player Chet Baker. Enrico Rava leads this quintet of musicians for this recording of nine selections from people like Rodgers & Hart’s George Gershwin, Sonny Rollins, and others. Rava is joined by Paolo Fresu, Stefano Bollani, Enzo Pietropaoli, and Roberto Gatto.

I found the selection, a collection of standards and less familiar tunes, to be much to my liking. The interpretation of these songs was very involving and moving. The performances are exceptional and so is the recording. We don’t get that many pure analogue recordings these days and even fewer with really great music, so this 2-LP set is truly a treat. I don’t know why they cut so few, but they are still available as I write this. My recommendation is to hurry and get this one before it’s gone.

Sarah Jarosz – Build Me Up From Bones

Studio Recordings from Baden-Baden 1958-59
Welk Music Group

Selections:
Side 1
Over the Edge
Fuel the Fire
Mile on the Moon
Build Me Up From Bones
Dark Road
Rearrange the Art

Side 2
Simple Twist of Fate
1000 Things
Gone Too Soon
Anything Else
The Book of Right-On

Even though she is just 22 years old, this is Sarah Jarosz’s third album. She is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter. I reviewed her second album Follow Me Down back in 2011 and it has become one of my favorite LPs. If you’ve never listened to Sarah’s music, you need to. Her approach to acoustic music is invigorating; she puts all her heart into playing, singing and writing. With Build Me Up From Bones her choice of songs is expansive with a mixture of American Roots music.

She has a husky, alto voice that brings that fits the music and brings these songs alive. My favorite song is her cover of Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate” — it is hauntingly beautiful, and may be my favorite version of this song. Yet nearly every song draws me in and I find them really emotionally involving. If you like female vocals, American roots, modern bluegrass, or folk with punch, then you should give this album a try. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Ella Fitzgerald – Let No Man Write My Epitaph

Studio Recordings from Baden-Baden 1958-59
Mastered by George Marino at Sterling Sound!
• Cut from the Absolute Original Analog Master Tapes!
• 200 Gram, 45rpm 2LP
• Pressed at Quality Record Pressings
• Mono

Selections:
1. Black Coffee
2. Angel Eyes
3. I Cried For You
4. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
5. Then You’ve Never Been Blue
6. I Hadn’t Anyone Till You
7. My Melancholy Baby
8. Misty
9. September Song
10. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
11. Who’s Sorry Now
12. I’m Getting Sentimental Over You
13. Reach For Tomorrow

The first thing that hit me about this recording was “how had I missed this work by Ella Fitzgerald?” I have over 20 of her LPs and still didn’t even know this recording existed. I recently saw the musical “Ella.” In it you see the struggle she had with the record labels who wanted to keep her as a pop singer. This recording shows another side of Ella. Ella sings accompanied by Paul Smith on piano. The music is raw, simple, and powerful.

Let No Man Write My Epitaph was a 1960 Hollywood movie featuring Fitzgerald. The album has a kind of emotional involvement that I find missing in most of Ella’s recordings. These have become some of my favorite interpretations of the Great American Songbook.

Sara K – In the Groove

Studio Recordings from Baden-Baden 1958-59
STOCKFISCH 180g LP (DMM)
• Heavy Weight High Quality 180 Gram Audiophile Vinyl
• Gatefold Full-Color Matte Jacket
• Direct Metal Master Cut Vinyl
• DMM Disc Cutting by Hendrik Pauler on a Neumann VMS-82
• Made in Germany

Selections:
Side A: Studio Side
1. I Can’t Stand the Rain (from Hell or High Water)
2. Sizzlin’ (from Made In the Shade)
3. Curtain Calls (from Hell or High Water)
4. Streetlight’s On (from Hell or High Water)
5. Don’t I Know You From Somewhere? (edited version) (from Made In the Shade)

Side B: Live Side
1. Stop Those Bells (edited version) (from Live In Concert – Are We There Yet?)
2. Water Falls (from Live In Concert – Are We There Yet?)
3. (Would You) Break My Heart (from Live In Concert – Are We There Yet?)
4. Gypsy Eyes (from Don’t I Know You From Somewhere?)
5. What Matters (edited version) (from DVD: Nautilus Tour 2002)

I know, I know, as music lovers we aren’t supposed to like audiophile recordings. Well, I just want to tell you if I had never purchased any audiophile recordings there is a lot of music that I now love I would have never heard of. Sara K. falls into this category. I have been listening to her for years now and while I don’t love every one of her recordings there are a few I can’t imagine being without. This is one of those. It is simple acoustic music at its best.

On one side we have her impressive and very convincing solo, live concerts. Here she fascinates her audience with her unique voice and her almost fragile-sounding accompaniment on the 4-string guitar. On the other side we get to hear some of her most beautiful studio recordings, with a whole range of musicians and instruments, from concert harp, string quartet and accordion through to fretless bass, tuba and piano to complement her.

Sara K. is in a class all her own. This singer is gifted with the rare ability of having an emotional grasp of the listener by virtue of her spontaneous and intensive aura that casts a spell on her audience. All her records have received several high-caliber awards, including a number of jazz awards.

Stockfisch wanted to document these two sides of her work on the second release in their “In the Groove” series: an audiophile 180g vinyl LP, recorded onto vinyl using their own Neumann VMS-82 Direct-Metal-Mastering (DMM) cutting lathe. If you like female vocals accompanied by great acoustic music you will love this LP — even if it is an audiophile record.

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