Orchester Gustav Brom – Missa Jazz (1969/[2016) [HighResAudio 24-88,2]

Orchester Gustav Brom – Missa Jazz (1969/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 37:09 minutes | 684 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HighResAudio.com | Front Cover | © MPS Classical

Czechian Gustav Brom led one of the foremost European big bands of the 1960’s. During this period it was rated among the top ten big bands in the world. The band played festivals and concerts throughout Europe, India and Cuba with international stars as Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Conniff, Maynard Ferguson, and Albert Mangelsdorff often appearing as guest performers. Composed and arranged by band trumpeter Jaromír Hnilička, Missa plays like an oratorio without the choir, but make no mistake, the emphasis is on the Jazz. There’s swing in the music’s solemnity, as well as inspired improvisation. The online record site Dusty Groove marvels at the “…great breakaway solos” and “stunning overall conception” of the album. With its extended length and processional feel, Kyrie highlights this sequence of seven pieces. A must album for those who take their big band jazz religiously.

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Orchester Gustav Brom – Gustav Brom Goes Pop (1970/2016) [HighResAudio 24-88,2]

Gustav Brom with Orchester Gustav Brom – Gustav Brom Goes Pop (1970/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88.2 kHz  | Time – 35:41 minutes | 696 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: highresaudio.com | Front Cover | © MPS Classical

Czechian Gustav Brom led one of the foremost European big bands of the 1960’s. During this period it was rated among the top ten big bands in the world. They played festivals and concerts throughout Europe, India and Cuba, with such international stars as Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Conniff, and Maynard Ferguson appearing as guest artists. The album rates more as easily accessible jazz than pop. With hip modern arrangements and outstanding solos, this 1970 release is proof positive that jazz had invaded the Iron Curtain and won. The rock-oriented Tell it Like it Is bursts forth with revelatory organ and trumpet solos. There’s a smooth trombone solo on Abendspaziergang, and Silbener Kerze features Josef Blaha’s sterling trumpet in the lead. The Latin-tinged Tortilla Flat, and the stately pageant-like Le Grand Roi are followed by the Austrian tango Schöner Gigolo – the standard “Just a Gigolo” to the English-speaking world. A jazzed-up version of the Beatle’s Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da precedes the swinging jazz waltz Happy Moments. Lady Carneval pulsates with a festive atmosphere, and For Sale ends the album on an upbeat note. This Czech band can stand on its own with any of the Western big bands of the period; it swings and the soloists are top-flight. For those who love great big band music, this is an album well worth having.

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Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue (1958/2013) [HighResAudio 24-96]

Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue (1958/2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 41:21 minutes | 902 MB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HighResAudio.com | Digital Booklet | Label: Bethlehem Records

Little Girl Blue is an artistic statement by jazz virtuoso Nina Simone that reinvents a wide variety of compositions. Simone’s combination of classical training, smoky-alto vocal delivery and the influence of modern jazz make her a novel and inspiring jazz singer and instrumentalist.

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Hideo Shiraki Quintet + 3 Koto Girls – Sakura Sakura (1965/2016) [HighResAudio 24-88,2]

Hideo Shiraki Quintet + 3 Koto Girls – Sakura Sakura (1965/2016) 
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 37:49 minutes | 730 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: highresaudio.com | Front Cover | © MPS Classical

Adulated in his native Japan, drummer Hideo Shiraki led the most famous Japanese jazz group of the early 60’s. His combining jazz and traditional Japanese music brought him an invitation to the 1965 Berlin Jazz Festival and a record date. Three women playing Koto, the traditional Japanese stringed instrument, accompanied the quintet. The results: world music that works. Known in the West as ‘the Cherry Blossom Song’, the traditional Sakura Sakura finds Shiraki employing mallets, fingers, brushes, and sticks in combination with the Kyoto players as jazz and tradition blend. Yosakoi Bushi means ‘better come at night to make love’. There’s a feel of bluesy early Coltrane in the relaxed swing and soprano solo. Yamanaka Bushi is a song from the Yamanaka Onsen, or hot springs. The quintet bathes in the song’s heat, as a young Terumasa Hino displays why he’s a world-renowned trumpeter. Matsuri No Genzo conjures the images of a rural temple feast. After a haunting Koto refrain, everyone has a taste, and Shiraki’s play makes sure there are no leftovers. Hino takes the melody and solos exquisitely on his ballad Alone, Alone And Alone. Suwa is another Hino piece. The Koto takes on an almost Avant-garde role here, with an electronic-sounding accompaniment to the muted trumpet melody. An amazing coalescence of the serene traditional music of Japan and the youthful vitality of jazz.

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Hans Koller – Vision (1966/2015) [HighResAudio 24-88,2]

Hans Koller – Vision (1966/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 28:40 minutes | 522 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: highresaudio.com | Front Cover | © MPS Classical

Vision I portrays canonically overlaid sax parts played at breakneck speed before moving into a relaxed bluesy groove, then turns to blistering multi-horn solos. The dirge-like For Dolphy, with the plaintive vocal cries of the altos, was dedicated to the great alto saxophonist Eric Dolphy. The med swing and skewed bluesy feel of For H.G. features the tenor out front. Tryptichon is a challenging angular composition in 3 parts with free improvisation moving from slow to up-tempo and back. With its Dolphyesque melody, Music For Jule is a frenetic excursion with an oblique reference to Monk. For Koller, Ballad For Marlies evokes the essence of a ballad. A Different Theme comprises three phrases played in different times – perfect food for the soloists. Vision II is a free-form ballad with Rittenbacher doubling piano and Koller’s expressive sax solo.

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Hans Koller – Relax With My Horns (1966/2015) [HighResAudio 24-88,2]

Hans Koller – Relax With My Horns (1966/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 29:41 minutes | 534 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HighResAudio.com | Front Cover | © MPS Classical

The re-release of Hans Koller’s 1966 Relax With My Horns (MPS, Germany) shows a master at the top of his game. For the listeners, the disc is composed, arranged and produced with a sense of cheekiness… Trio of jazz musicians, with overdubbing of up to four saxophones on the session. The sum is a tidy little package of swing, blues and multi-tracked sax that echoes the iconic group Supersax.

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Hank Jones & Tommy Flanagan – I’m All Smiles (1984/2015)) [HighResAudio 24-88,2]

Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan – I’m All Smiles (1984/2015) 
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz  | Time – 47:17 minutes | 734 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: highresaudio.com | Front Cover | © MPS Classical

„Although Tommy Flanagan tended to refer to two-piano dates as a gimmick, that’s hardly the case during this superb 1983 concert in Germany with Hank Jones. The two pianists have the kind of feel for one another’s playing that avoids the crash of egos and instead inspires the give and take necessary for each performance to reach its full potential. Immediately, the two veterans captivate their audience with a stunning aggressive improvisation upon Charlie Parker’s ‘Relaxin’ at Camarillo,’ then immediately quiet them with a soft, lyrical interpretation of the gorgeous ballad ‘In a Sentimental Mood.’ They’re clearly having a lot of fun during their upbeat waltz through the popular ballad ‘Someday My Prince Will Come.’ The rest of the concert is every bit as fulfilling, with an inspired treatment of ‘Rockin’ in Rhythm’ getting the nod as the highlight of a memorable evening.“ (Ken Dryden, AMG)

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Bob Malach – Some People (1980/2016) [HighResAudio 24-88,2]

Bob Malach – Some People (1980/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 37:41 minutes | 721 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source:highresaudio.com | Front cover | © MPS Classical

One of the great fusion saxophonists, Bob Malach made the move from his hometown of Philadelphia to NYC in 1976. He soon found work with the likes of Stanley Clarke and Alphonse Mouzon (he’s featured on Mouzon’s MPS release Baby Come Back), and was in the studio with Stevie Wonder, Spyro Gyra and the Brecker Brothers. For the first album under his own name, Malach assembled a group of well-known playmates: John Lee and drummer Gerry Brown were high school buddies, and he and keyboardist Jasper van’t Hof had worked together in Mouzon’s group. Malach and French violin star Didier Lockwood were also well-acquainted – Malach would appear on Lockwood’s MPS album “Live in Montreux” later that year. Dutch guitarist Eef Albers had already toured the states with Lee and Brown. The title piece shows that Some People are romantic, some are more on the funky side, as the band slides back and forth between the two. Guitar great John Scofield’s Who’s Who is a funky fusion fest with van’t Hof and Malach showing why they’re at the top of the list. The alluring ballad Three on a Cloud features atmospheric solos by violinist Lockwood and Malach in trio with guitarist Albers. The rock-march feel of Night Walk works as the perfect vehicle for Albers’ strolling guitar solo. Zbiggytism was written in honor of violin great Zbigniew Siefert, and both Malach and Lockwood catch the spirit of the Polish maestro. Van’t Hof’s lyrical Pineu has a nostalgic air to it, as well as Malach’s appropriately poignant solo. By the Way rocks the album out with a Shaft-like rhythm line and a smoking-hot tenor. Nothing ‘out’ or experimental here – just straight-ahead jazz fusion at its best.

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Billy Harper – Trying To Make Heaven My Home (1979/2016) [HighResAudio 24-88,2]

The Billy Harper Quintet – Trying To Make Heaven My Home (1979/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 38:22 minutes | 774 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source:highresaudio.com | Front cover | © MPS Classical

One of the best-known players of the post-Coltrane generation, Texas tenor saxophonist Billy Harper earned his spurs with Art Blakey, Randy Weston, Gil Evans, and Max Roach. This 1979 album features Harper’s then-current working group. Fellow Texan Malcolm Pinson and Harper have been playing partners since high school. Bassist Wayne Dockery gained recognition through his work with Art Blakey; trumpeter Everett Hollins’ roots are grounded in rhythm and blues including work with the legendary Otis Redding, and pianist Armen Donelian worked with jazz giants Lionel Hampton and Sonny Rollins. Harper grew up in the Church and credits that black spiritual heritage as a major influence on his music and world view, one similar to Coltrane’s. For Harper, spirituality is non-denominational: it’s about a universal truth. On the album, Harper’s compositions reflect on the spiritual a City Called Heaven and other gospel songs of his youth. The 18 minute Trying To Make Heaven My Home is infused with gospel, blues, and the incandescent spiritual striving that so impregnated Coltrane’s later works. Pinson’s fiery drum intro ignites Inside as the quintet races through the changes at breakneck speed. An incendiary sax and drum duet catapults the band back into the theme. Love On The Sudan is a recognition of Africa’s rhythmic and spiritual impact on Harper’s music as well as Western civilization. German jazz guru Joachim-Ernst Berendt called the album “a major piece of Black American Classical Music.” Deserved praise for a sublime recording.

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Viktoria Tolstoy feat. Iiro Rantala – Meet Me At The Movies (2017) [HighResAudio 24-96]

Viktoria Tolstoy feat. Iiro Rantala – Meet Me At The Movies (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 48:39 minutes | 999 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HighResAudio.com | Digital Booklet | © ACT Music

When Viktoria Tolstoy invites you to meet her at the movies, the emotions will run high, and it will be a pleasure and a privilege to accept.

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