As anyone knows who has read my articles on the recordings of Benny Green and the stunning Clique album by Patricia Barber, you know that I am a big fan of the engineering prowess of Jim Anderson. It may be a bit of a secret but Jim thinks that his wife, Ulrike Schwarz, is even a better engineer that he is. Ulrike is better known for her engineering on classical recordings and her immersive sound mixes. It is the immersive sound aspect that drew me to this recording given Chris Connaker’s new infatuation with Dolby Atmos.
July 12, 2022 marks the formal release the latest recording by Jane Ira Bloom, Picturing The Invisible-focus 1. This is a special recording in many respects. First, it features Award winning jazz soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom on what else, soprano sax, drummer Allison Miller, Kato artist Miya Masaoka and bassist Mark Helias. Recorded in February 2022, it was performed in real time while connected remotely from each artists’ respective homes in New York City, and captured in 32 bit384 DXD by Ulrike Schwarz. Given that each performer was located in various locations, one could possibly expect a disjointed performance. Not here. The recording and performances are seemless, sounding like the musicians were recording together in the same real vs. virtual space. This is a testament to the talent of the musicians, modern technology and the engineering chops of Ms. Schwarz. The stereo and multichannel versions of the album are available on Native DSD in redbook (gulp) MQA and 24/192 and 24/384 and all flavors of DSD up to 1024. The stereo versions are available as well on Qobuz and Spotify.
I have had a chance to listen to the stereo version of the recording and it is a stunner sonically. It has everything you would expect from the team of Jim Anderson and Ulrike Schwarz, space, spot on timbre, silkiness and dynamics. While a bit on the avant-garde side, the music is beautiful and well worth a listen if you are unfamiliar with Ms. Bloom’s artistry. BTW, Jim mixed the album. While my Atmos system will be likely be completed in late 2022 or 2023, I tipped Chris off on to the release of this recording in Atmos, which was mixed at Skywalker Ranch. The force is clearly with this mix! The Atmos mix is available on Tidal, Amazon and Apple Music as noted on the link below. I expect that Chris will eventually chime in on the Atmos mix when he has the time, but he did indicate to me that it was a really cool album and features great use of all available channels. I would expect nothing less from this stellar recording duo.
For those without an Atmos system, I have been advised that you can hear the spatial version of this recording with Apple AirPods or Max and via an iPhone or iPad. I have been advised that you need to set “head tracking” and “spatial” to on. Conventional headphones and Android units will also display some aspects of the spatial mix, but that the Apple devices will provide a far superior experience, or so I have been told. In addition to Atmos, an Auro 3D mix is also available which obviously requires an Auro 3D decoder.
To check out the various stereo and multichannel options for this recording, follow this link:
It is my belief that multichannel and Atmos in particular, is the future of music playback. With this new release, you get not only great music but a stellar sounding recording mixed by true experts in the field of multichannel playback. This release is well worth a listen, regardless of your mix preference.