27 January, 2011

CD (DVD) Recommendations (4)

CD (DVD) Recommendations (4)
I cannot begin to tell you how the 2 sets I am recommending today have delighted and stunned me. All I can say is grab them!

Classy, Classic and Classical
Classically trained Cecil Taylor is a grossly under-valued jazz pianist. This issue is by the curiously named Real Gone Jazz/Music Melon, part of the ubiquitous mcps group, one of those re-issue labels that proliferate wildly in Europe. I ran into some of these CDs at HMV Hong Kong.

This 2-CD set, at HK$69, comprises three rather early but utterly magnificent Taylor albums, Looking Ahead (1958); Hard Driving Jazz (1959) and Love For Sale (1959), and the original covers are shown here rather like iTunes. Irritatingly, no personnel info is given (but you can find that on the net), though a rather surprisingly thorough and up-to-date biography is included.

One listen to the first cut and I was hooked, and transfixed. Sound quality could be very good. The front says "Digitally Remastered and Enhanced for Superior Quality". As no licensing info is provided I presume these used alternate sources (such as LP). These should be early stereo (and sound like such) but I did wonder whether "Enhanced" means re-channeled stereo from mono sources.

In Europe, the copyright for these recordings have lapsed. In the US, these probably could not be sold, and indeed Blue Note still issues these as singles. It would be fun comparing a Blue Note original and this. Nonetheless, if you are interested in jazz piano at the highest level, grab it.

While researching Taylor I came across an interesting Taiwan Blog in Chinese (here).

Jazzy Beethoven!
Paavo Jarvi, son of the wonderful Neeme Jarvi, is a conductor that I admire greatly. Very much his own man, and of the modern age. Here, his Beethoven cycle with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen out-HIPs any of the period specialists. Interpretively fresh as daisy, the performances are fast, rhythmically propulsive, texturally lean, very much sturm und drang, and shed light on every symphony. On the way were countless rhythmic felicities and unusual sonorities, bringing Beethoven much closer to Haydn. The playing was excellent throughout.

My set of DVD (Sony) sound first-class, but you could also collect them on CD or SACD (Sony/BMG). This is a set I'd not do without.

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