Tag Archives: HDTracks

Lou Reed – New York (1989/2015) [HDTracks 24-96/192]

Lou Reed – New York (1989/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz ,192kHz  | Time – 56:47 minutes | 1,15 + 2.1 GB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | ©  Warner Bros. Records
Recorded: May–October 1988, Media Sound, Studio B, New York City

New York was Lou Reed’s fifteenth studio album released in 1989. The record was considered one of Reed’s best solo albums, known for it’s great lyrical content, it featured single “Dirty Blvd.” which made it to number one on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart.

 

New York City figured so prominently in Lou Reed’s music for so long that it’s surprising it took him until 1989 to make an album simply called New York, a set of 14 scenes and sketches that represents the strongest, best-realized set of songs of Reed’s solo career. While Reed’s 1982 comeback, The Blue Mask, sometimes found him reaching for effects, New York’s accumulated details and deft caricatures hit bull’s-eye after bull’s-eye for 57 minutes, and do so with an easy stride and striking lyrical facility. New York also found Reed writing about the larger world rather than personal concerns for a change, and in the beautiful, decaying heart of New York City, he found plenty to talk about — the devastating impact of AIDS in “Halloween Parade,” the vicious circle of child abuse “Endless Cycle,” the plight of the homeless in “Xmas in February” — and even on the songs where he pointedly mounts a soapbox, Reed does so with an intelligence and smart-assed wit that makes him sound opinionated rather than preachy — like a New Yorker. And when Reed does look into his own life, it’s with humor and perception; “Beginning of a Great Adventure” is a hilarious meditation on the possibilities of parenthood, and “Dime Store Mystery” is a moving elegy to his former patron Andy Warhol. Reed also unveiled a new band on this set, and while guitarist Mike Rathke didn’t challenge Reed the way Robert Quine did, Reed wasn’t needing much prodding to play at the peak of his form, and Ron Wasserman proved Reed’s superb taste in bass players had not failed him. Produced with subtle intelligence and a minimum of flash, New York is a masterpiece of literate, adult rock & roll, and the finest album of Reed’s solo career. –Mark Deming

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Lou Reed – Magic and Loss (1992/2015) [HDTracks 24-96/192]

Lou Reed – Magic and Loss (1992/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz ,192kHz  | Time – 58:29 minutes | 1,22 + 2.38 GB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | ©  Warner Bros. Records
Recorded: April 1–27, 1991 at The Magic Shop, New York

Magic And Loss is Lou Reed’s sixteenth studio album. Produced by Lou Reed and Mike Rathke, it was released on Sire Records in 1992.

With 1982’s The Blue Mask, Lou Reed began approaching more mature and challenging themes in his music, and in 1992, Reed decided it was time to tackle the Most Serious Theme of All — Death. Reed lost two close friends to cancer within the space of a year, and the experience informed Magic and Loss, a set of 14 songs about loss, illness, and mortality. It would have been easy for a project like this to sound morbid, but Reed avoids that; the emotions that dominate these songs are fear and helplessness in the face of a disease (and a fate) not fully understood, and Reed’s songs struggle to balance these anxieties with bravery, humor, and an understanding of the notion that death is an inevitable part of life — that you can’t have the magic without the loss. It’s obvious that Reed worked on this material with great care, and Magic and Loss contains some of his most intelligent and emotionally intense work as a lyricist. However, Reed hits many of the same themes over and over again, and while Reed and his accompanists — guitarist Mike Rathke, bassist Rob Wasserman, and percussionist Michael Blair — approach the music with skill and impeccable chops, many of these songs are a bit samey; the album’s most memorable tunes are the ones that pull it out of its mid-tempo rut, like the grooving “What’s Good” and the guitar workout “Gassed and Stoked.” Magic and Loss is an intensely heartfelt piece of music, possessing a taste and subtlety one might never have expected from Reed, but its good taste almost works against it; it’s a sincere bit of public mourning, but perhaps a more rousing wake might have been a more meaningful tribute to the departed. –Mark Deming

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Lou Reed – Live: Take No Prisoners (1978/2015) [HDTracks 24-96]

Lou Reed – Live: Take No Prisoners (1978/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz  | Time – 01:38:31 minutes | 2.12 GB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | ©  Warner Bros. Records
Recorded: May 17–21, 1978, The Bottom Line, New York

“I do Lou Reed better than anybody, so I thought I’d get in on it,” Reed says at one point during this double live set, and that seems to sum up the album’s theme quite well. Recorded during a week of shows at New York’s Bottom Line in 1978, Live: Take No Prisoners presents Lou Reed the Standup Comic, doing schtick on Patti Smith (“F*ck Radio Ethiopia, man! I’m Radio Brooklyn!”), political activism (“Give me an issue, I’ll give you a tissue, and you can wipe my ass with it”), and the agony of playing “Walk on the Wild Side” (“It’s not that I don’t want to play your favorites, but there are so many favorites to choose from!”) while occasionally pausing to play a song. As a comic, Lou is no Lenny Bruce or Bill Hicks, but he’s funny by fits and starts (and he plays guitar better than either of them). On the odd moments when Lou is focused enough to actually perform a song from start to finish (such as “Pale Blue Eyes” or “Coney Island Baby”), he’s in fine form, sounding loose but enthusiastic, but those moments don’t happen especially often, and this album plows through a mere ten songs in close to 100 minutes, which gives you an idea of just how far he stretches out here. If you’re a fan who wants a look into the mind of Lou Reed, comic or otherwise, Live: Take No Prisoners certainly fills the bill, but if you want to hear Lou actually play his music, you’re better off with Rock N Roll Animal or Live in Italy. But then again, as Lou himself points out, “What’s wrong with cheap dirty jokes? I never said I was tasteful.” –Mark Deming

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Lou Reed – Ecstasy (2000/2015) [HDTracks 24-96/192]]

Lou Reed – Ecstasy (2000/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz ,192kHz  | Time – 01:17:34 minutes | 1,56 + 2.88 GB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | ©  Warner Bros. Records
Recorded: Sear Sound studios, NYC

Ecstasy was released in 2000 and is Lou Reed’s of eighteenth studio album. It was produced by Lou Reed and Hal Willner, and is a concept album about Reed’s personal experiences with marriage and relationships.

 

Never let it be said that Lou Reed has lost the ability to surprise his audience; who would have thought that at the age of 58, on his first album of the new millennium, Reed would offer us an 18-minute guitar distortion workout with lyrics abut kinky sex, dangerous drugs, and (here’s the surprise) imagining what it would be like to be a possum? For the most part, Ecstasy finds Reed obsessed with love and sex, though (as you might expect) his take on romance is hardly rosy (“Paranoia Key of E,” “Mad,” and “Tatters” all document a relationship at the point of collapse, while “Baton Rouge” is an eccentric but moving elegy for a love that didn’t last) and Eros is usually messy (“White Prism”), obsessive (“Ecstasy”), or unhealthy and perverse (“Rock Minuet”). Reed genuinely seems to be stretching towards new lyrical and musical ground here, but while some of his experiments work, several pointedly do not, with the epic “Like a Possum” only the album’s most spectacular miscalculation. Still, Reed and producer Hal Wilner take some chances with the arrangements that pay off, particularly the subtle horn charts that dot several songs, and Reed’s superb rhythm section (Fernando Saunders on bass and Tony “Thunder” Smith on drums) gives these songs a rock-solid foundation for the leader’s guitar workouts. As Reed and his band hit fifth gear on the album’s rousing closer, “Big Sky,” he once again proves that even his uneven works include a few songs you’ll certainly want to have in your collection — as long as they’re not about possums. –Mark Deming

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Laurence Hobgood – Left To My Own Devices (2000) [HDTracks 24-96]

Laurence Hobgood – Left To My Own Devices (2000)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz  | Time – 59:27 minutes | 1,08 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | ©  Naim Label
Recorded: Lily Reid Holt Memorial Chapel, Lake Forest College, 12-14 March 2000 by Ken Christianson, Pro Musica, Chicago.

Piano music is cherished here at Naim Label and we couldn’t believe our luck when Ken Christianson persuaded Laurence Hobgood to make a solo recording for us, which also features the Grammy Award winning vocalist Kurt Elling.
An eclectic mix of tunes is featured on this disc, including ‘Do Nothin’ Til You hear From Me’ written by Duke Ellington and Bob Russell, ‘Lovesick Blues’ by Hank Williams and Theloniuos Monk’s ‘Pannonica’.
Hobgood weighs in with ‘The Waltz’ co-written with featured vocalist, the Grammy Award winning Kurt Elling, who sings on this and two other great tracks.
This is a ‘must have’ collection, with something for everyone; beautifully played, sung and recorded and featuring two of the world’s most wonderful instruments – the piano and the human voice.
In 1996 Hobgood joined with Wertico and bassist Brian Torff to form a new trio called Union. Their two releases, both on The Naim Label, were selected as among the top ten jazz recordings of ‘97 and ‘99 by the Chicago Tribune. –Produced by Laurence Hobgood

 

For Laurence Hobgood’s debut recording as a leader, he has chosen the solo piano format. It’s a challenge for the most skilled of performers, but for the clearly brilliant Hobgood, it all seems as pure and natural as the driven snow of his native Chicago. Ideas easily tumble forth, rearrangements of standards sound renewed and revived, while the original material he plays is infused with a playful intensity and in many instances classical quality. His regular running mate vocalist Kurt Elling appears on four selections as crooner, wise man or surreal romantic soothsayer. Meanwhile it is Hobgood, as impressive a player as there is anywhere, who commands total attention. “It Could Happen to You” is usually played introspectively, but Hobgood infuses it with a buzzing, hyperactive, and minimalist deconstruction, astounding on all levels. Brittle phrases stopped and started, then furiously improvised, is the hallmark for Thelonious Monk’s “Panonica,” and he does fellow Chicagoan Ed Peterson’s “The Vocal Tune” (it’s an instrumental) with a kinetic bounce and truly amazing technique. Not completely bent on pyrotechnics, the pianist uses a lean, horse loping bluesy pace for “Do Nothing ‘Til You Hear from Me,” employs tiny and tender arpeggiated stair step chords for Lerner & Lowe’s “The Heather on the Hill,” is patient and pristine during “Say It” (Over & Over Again), is reverent and hymnal on “The Inconstant Lover,” goes baroque on the David Onderdonk waltz “Cycle,” and is spooky and dark for “Witchcraft.” The songs with Elling range from a pensive “The Waltz,” the classic barroom theme “Goin’ Back to Joe’s,” two-chord song of finality “The Masquerade Is Over,” and the straight boogie “Lovesick Blues” with Elling’s purposefully strained and campy whine. A solid, complete, and whole project fully realized and executed, it’s great to hear Hobgood with and without his bossman Elling, and more so an auspicious debut that should be sought by all fans of contemporary jazz piano. –Michael G. Nastos

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Jeff Ballard Trio – Time’s Tales (2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

Jeff Ballard Trio – Time’s Tales (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz  | Time – 56:31 minutes | 1,13 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | ©  LINOkeh Records , Sony Music Entertainment
Recorded: 2013

There could hardly be a better start for the new year – the 2014 jazz season will be opened by none other than Jeff Ballard, together with outstanding guitarist Lionel Loueke and the great Miguel Zenon on saxophone. Their first ever album collaboration Time’s Tales offers a varied repartoire from Thelonious Monk to Iranian folk melodies, with influences from Bartók, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Stevie Wonder and more. At the same time, it reflects the musicians’ different geographic backgrounds – the USA, Benin and Puerto Rico.
Opening with a funky african groove in 9/4 and moving over to imitated bird melodies, Time’s Tales also offers dark and slow textures, including a cover of contemporary rock band Queens of the Stone Age while closing with a completely improvised song which can be considered a glimpse into the future of the band. The album is characterized by complex rythms, exotic harmonies and soulful melodies.

 

For several decades Jeff Ballard has been the first call drummer for a host of contemporary jazz’s biggest names, notably pianist Brad Mehldau, with whom Ballard has played since 2005. Of late, however, Ballard has gone it alone. The 2013 debut shows of his quartet Fairgrounds, featuring electronics musician/bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Tigran Hamasyan and guitarist Lionel Loueke suggested Ballard’s desire for greater compositional freedom and experimentation. The Jeff Ballard Trio’s debut recording, on the other hand, is a fairly uncomplicated affair on the surface, with Loueke and saxophonist Miguel Zenon bringing their prodigious wares to the table on a highly melodic selection of tunes that draws from various traditions.
Right from the off, on Loueke’s dancing “Virgin Forest” Ballard’s lively polyrhythms on kit and African percussion drive the trio. Loueke and Zenon glide between singing unison lines and riff-based accompaniment for each other’s fizzing solos. Ballard duly steps up with a cracking solo over sparse accompaniment, sealing the tune with celebratory panache. Ballard’s own composition, the dancing “Beat Street” is essentially a feature for the drummer, whose shuffling rhythms underpin some lively blowing from Zenon, and, in a quieter segment, a breezy melodic improvisation from Loueke. By contrast, George/Ira Gershwin’s “The Man I Love” sees Ballard on brushes as Zenon and Loueke caress the melody with an improvisational subtlety that matches the trio’s tender approach.
The Weather Report-influenced miniature “Free 1″ segues into the heady “Hangin’ Tree” by Queens of the Stone Age. Zenon’s keening alto, Ballard’s thumping back beat and Loueke’s metal-ish guitar riffs create a potent brew that stylistically stands alone. On both this provocative rocker and the achingly beautiful ballad interpretation of Bela Bartok’s “Dal (A Rhythm Song)” Ballard’s trio shares something of the intensity and lyricism of saxophonist Yuri Honing’s Wired Paradise. Zenon’s delightful arrangement of singer Silvio Rodriguez’ “El Reparador de Suenos” swings with Afro-Cuban grace, inspiring wonderful individual solos and collective groove.
The music covers surprisingly wide terrain; Loueke’s elegant “Mivakpola”—with Ballard on hand drums—celebrates the beauty of a simple melody whereas the trio-penned “Western Wren (A Bird Call),” owes as much to the unified motifs and helter skelter call and response of bebop as it does to the birdsong that inspired it. The other collectively written number, “Free 3,” stems from a moody, slightly abstract space somewhere in the vicinity of trumpeter Miles Davis’ 1970s orbit, gathering momentum and intensity along the way.
Ballard’s trio draws liberally from influences across time and geographical space. The exotic, beguilingly fused sounds, however, are much more than the sum of the trio’s diverse backgrounds, which inevitably impart African, South and North American colors to the mix. Beyond the more obvious folkloric roots, the trio exudes an openness that embraces the simple and the experimental alike, the lyrical and the abrasive. This persuasive debut joyously disregards any distinctions between the timeless and the contemporary—the three musicians understand that the two are inextricably linked, and herein lies the simple formula for the magic of Time’s Tales. –Ian Patterson, All About Jazz

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