I continue to be impressed by the sonic quality of the Master Music series; XRCD 24 Bit Super Analog, audiophile quality works from JVC in Japan. My latest review sample is from the Duke Jordan Trio. On So Nice Duke, Duke Jordan, along with a bassist and a drummer supplies five covers of standards and two original works. Recorded on June 4, 1982, this 2014 remaster of traditional jazz is both sonically and musically magnificent. With the sound quality of the XRCD 24 mastering process, this work by Duke Jordan is something that can be enjoyed not only for the sonic quality but also for the enjoyment factor of the music. If you like traditional, small-scale, trio style jazz, you'll like this one.
The Ying Quartet occupies a place of prominence in the classical music world and particularly so in specific regard to chamber music. They have performed in many of the world's most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House. This work is comprised of three Schumann string quartets originally composed in 1842. When Op. 41 Nos. 1,2 and 3 are considered as a set, and that they were originally written in a few short weeks, the simple elegance at times, the dynamic energy at times, and still other times with subtlety and nuance, the performance is all the more impressive. If you like Schumann this is a selection that will be played over and over again. My review sample contained both the Pure Audio Blu-ray version and also the standard CD version. While the Blu-ray Audio version was marginally superior sonically, both were quite musically satisfying.
Loretta at her finest. And in case you don't know who Loretta might be, it is the name of the guitar Chris Cortez had custom built just for this project. Cortez is a standout guitarist and Top Secret includes a couple of original tracks but also some diverse covers. For instance, and done in a fast paced, jazz guitar style, you will find a cover of Earth, Wind and Fire's That's The Way of the World. Contrast that to the classic Stompin" At The Savoy and Leon Russell's This Masquerade and what results is a new take on classic tunes from a variety of genres. Not overdone, mostly simple and down to Earth, but not really ever subdued, this is a jazz guitarist with a new six string named Loretta that just goes.
Originally from Western Massachusetts, Andrew DiRuzza was a featured performer from 2013 to 2014 at the Iowa City jazz festival. His influence is quite varied, and in this release, the goal was a cross between traditional and contemporary jazz styles. DiRuzza is technically skilled on the guitar and tenor sax, keyboards, bass and drums compliment the quintet. Shapes And Analogies is a great example of a skilled guitarist, bandleader, composer and improviser and a release that is captivating in a traditional jazz style.