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Everything posted by JoeWhip

  1. Hi Teresa.i have the first two recordings you mentioned and enjoy them. I have about 25 of Monty’s recordings so it was not easy picking just 10. I enjoy the live recordings the best as he is just so good live. The energy level is just higher than the studio sessions. I do not have the Ranglin recording but do have the Ernest Ranglin Order of Distinction recording that features Monty on piano. That is from AIX records. I have the Blu-Ray which has a stereo flac 24/96 version of the album which can be extracted. That is a fun recording and is great in 5.1. I will look to grab the recording you mentioned. I will look for it on Amazon. Thanks.
  2. I have been a jazz fan essentially since birth. My dad was a musician and band leader who played jazz at home, so while others my age were listening to The Stones or eagerly anticipating the next Led Zeppelin album, I was listening to the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Nat Cole, Oscar Peterson and Mel Torme. Yeah, I know, I was the kid in school with the weird taste in music. It was not until I was in college that I was exposed to the genius of Monty Alexander, who in my humble opinion, is one of the finest jazz pianists of all time. I am somewhat amazed that when chatting with friends and even fellow audiophiles who enjoy jazz, how many of them have never heard of Monty or if they have, have only a vague notion of who he is. I thought a piece here at the recently rebranded Audiophile Style, would be a good opportunity to introduce this artist to a wider audience. The purpose of this piece is not to discuss his entire catalogue but to provide a short list of my favorites, that showcase why I find him to be one of the jazz greats. Monty Alexander was born in Jamaica and arrived in the US at the age of 17. He was discovered by Frank Sinatra at his club, Jilly’s, and the rest, as they say, is history. Monty’s music can basically be described as straight ahead jazz with a mix of soul, bop and reggae. The influence of his place of birth is unmistakeable and what makes him unique as a jazz pianist. His music is simply infectious. He can take a sappy tune like Feelings, and turn it into a classic. Well, maybe a near classic. I love how he is able to weave other songs and melodies into his runs. He is inventive, creative and above all else, fun. This is not stodgy Jazz. His discography is well over 60 releases. You will undoubtedly note that quite a few of my recommendations are live vs. studio recordings. The reason for this is that Monty is truly best experienced live. It has been my great privilege to see him perform quite often at various jazz clubs in New York. Each occasion can best be described as a joyful experience. No matter your state of mind when arriving for the show, you will leave a happy camper. Now on to my list of favorite recordings. 1. Montreux Alexander- Live at The Montreux Jazz Festival. This album was my introduction to Monty’s music. My college radio station was selling off a ton of jazz LPs and I think this one cost me all of 10 cents. Best 10 cents I ever spent. The album features what I consider to be his best trio with Jeff Hamilton on drums and John Clayton on bass. This trio still performs together occasionally. If they happen to be in your town, see them. You won’t regret it. This album features a stompin’ version of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. If it does’t get you moving, you don’t have a pulse. I have this recording on LP, CD and a fresh high res transfer of the master tape by MPS Records. All are great sounding although I find the most recent transfer from MPS in Germany to be the best. It is available on HD Tracks, Qobuz and Highresaudio. Listen via Qobuz Montreux Alexander - The Monty Alexander Trio Live at the Montreux Festival (96 Khz) Listen via Tidal Montreux Alexander - The Monty Alexander Trio Live at the Montreux Festival Purchase via HDtracks Montreux Alexander - The Monty Alexander Trio Live at the Montreux Festival (24/192) 2. Overseas Special This is another live recording, this time in Tokyo at the Satin Doll jazz club in 1982. It features the great Ray Brown on bass and Herb Ellis on guitar. This trio made several recordings on the Concord label but none are as good as this live recording. While it is clearly a Monty Alexander event, the trio share the time equally, with all three featuring on each tune. It is truly a group effort. My favorite track is that old jazz chestnut, C.C. Rider, with a driving bass solo by Ray Brown on the album’s last cut. This is one very dynamic recording. Not available for streaming anywhere. Here is a link for more information about the album - LINK 3. Uplift. Uplift was released in 2011 on the JPL label and features recordings from Monty’s private collection. The tracks are from various venues from large halls to small clubs and feature his normal touring trio of Hassan Shakur on bass and Herlin Riley on drums. The album is aptly named. My highlights are the opening track, Come Fly With Me, the Monty original Renewal, Django and the finale, Fungi Mama. Unavailable from Qobuz (at least in the US) Listen via Tidal Uplift Listen via YouTube Uplift 4. Road Dog This is another all live recording and I believe is still only available for purchase at one of Monty’s live gigs. Like Uplift, it consists of private recordings. It includes only original compositions and features the trio, his larger ensemble, The Harlem River Express, as well as solo piano. Unavailable for streaming. 5. Live at the Iridium. This is a recording from Telarc Jazz from 2005. The sound is excellent although a bit more distant from the ones noted above which put you in the front row. The album features the trio with Hassan Shakur on bass with Mark Taylor on drums and Robert Thomas, Jr. on congas. My favs are the opener, the Nat Adderley Classic, The Work Song, which is a staple of his current shows as well as Little Darlin’. Listen via YouTube to the track Runnin' Away 6. The Duke Ellington Songbook. This is a recording from 1983 from the MPS label and features Monty on piano and John Clayton on bass. This release features excellent playing as well as sonics. A real feast for the ears. Listen via Qobuz The Duke Ellington Song Book (24/88.2) Listen via Tidal The Duke Ellington Song Book Listen via YouTube The Duke Ellington Song Book 7. Trio. For my money, this is the best of the studio sessions with Herb Ellis and Ray Brown on Concord. On the solos, Monty and his piano sounds like it is right in the room with you. Great stuff. Not available for streaming anywhere. Here is a link for more information about the album - LINK 8. Facets. Released in 1979 by Concord, this recording features Ray Brown and Jeff Hamilton. What could go wrong? Nothing. Not available for streaming anywhere. Here is a link for more information about the album - LINK 9. In Tokyo Released in 1979 on Original Jazz Classics, this set features Andy Simpkins on bass and Frank Gant on drums. The set features many of the tracks that have become staples of the live performances of Monty’s various trios. Straight ahead jazz and bop at its best. Listen via Qobuz In Tokyo Listen via Tidal In Tokyo 10. Ray Brown, Monty Alexander, Russell Malone Technically, this is a Ray Brown date on Telarc and was Ray’s last recording date before his death in 2002. This set is a bit on the smooth side and is great for late night listening with the lights down low. Not available for streaming anywhere. Here is a link for more information about the album - LINK While this list just scratches the surface of what is a rather extensive discography, it features some stellar performances of one of jazz’s greatest pianists. Give a few a spin. I hope you enjoy! Happy listening. Joe
  3. Thanks for the kind words Peter. I agree that rooms such as a typical living room are problematical. I have been fortunate to have had a dedicated listening room that does not have to function as a public space in the home. My newer room is in a expanded attic. I have been able to use the prior structure of the room as well as some tweaking of the construction to get a neutral space. I do not use things such as tube traps but typical room decorations and items that work to great effect. It can be done but I would not be able to do it in a living room and keep my wife happy.
  4. Tribalism. It seems to be baked into human DNA. The compulsion of most of us to divide into groups. To associate with those that think like us, look like us, worship like us or worse, actively exclude those perceived as different from us. It invades our politics, our religious thinking. Audiophiles are not immune to tribalism as we all know. From tubes vs. solid state, to vinyl vs. digital, we see and hear the same topics brought up and discussed ad nauseam in various audio related magazines and on websites, like The Computer Audiophile. Even the digital tribe is further broken down into what sounds better, PCM or DSD. Some extoll the virtues of converting all PCM to DSD as that is the path to audio nirvana, and visa versa. Of course, simple DSD is not enough. We need quad DSD or even octa DSD to sound the best. Of course, red book Is not enough on the PCM side, hence the move to 24/96, 24/192, 24/384 etc. The higher the number, the better the sound, right? And, let’s not even get started with MQA. Please? My personal philosophy is that I am format neutral. For me, the format of the digital file is one of the least significant factors in getting true audio fidelity in the home. Assuming that one has competently engineered and manufactured electronics, which I find to be generally the case, the most significant and most often overlooked factor by audiophiles, is the room itself. The room can make or break the aural experience, the illusion of real musicians, playing in a real space. Perceived issues with our equipment can be room related, or a simple matter of dialing in speaker placement. Audiophiles can far too often find themselves essentially chasing their tails, constantly changing their equipment or cables or trying the latest and greatest USB dongle when simple room treatments or the tweaking of speaker placement will yield far more satisfactory results and more importantly, long term listening pleasure. As for the format of the recording, I find that the quality of the recording itself to be far more important than the format. The skill of the recording engineer, the microphones used, the placement of same, the recording venue, the placement of the musicians in that space all trump whether the format is DSD or PCM or analog tape. With great engineering and or course, a light touch by the mastering engineer, all of these formats can yield spectacular results. An example of this is a stellar recording by a local Philadelphia area group, The Hazelrigg Brothers, and their CD, “songs we like”. This group performed recently at the Capital Audio Fest. While I was not able to attend, I obtained a copy of their CD and was gobsmacked by the quality of the recording. The recording and the performances are superb. Beautiful piano sound, deep, tuneful and impactful bass and realistic drums that all recordings should strive for. The recording was made in their home studio at DSD 128. Despite the fact that the recording was “downrezed” to redbook, I really can’t imagine how this recording could sound better in my room than as presented on this CD. The CD is simply that good. A beautifully recorded album will sound sensational regardless of what format it was delivered to the listener. The fidelity of this recording comes through in spades on this CD, even if it was originally recorded in DSD. Whether it is delivered to you in redbook or some higher rez format simply does not matter, at least to me. Kudos to whoever performed the transfer. I think we can all agree the digital has come a long way since the introduction of the CD. The newer DACs available today are superb. The advent of computer based playback has further improved the sound we can get at home, with software programs that can playback all digital formats with aplomb, and convert PCM to DSD and visa versa at whatever resolutions one’s heart and ears may desire. Just give me well engineered recordings in whatever format the engineer or artists think sounds best to them. I will play them back in my format of choice depending on the formats my DAC or DACs support. That will make me a very happy audiophile. In short, it is the engineering that matters, not the format. Joe
  5. +1. Also nice to see JA still retains some of that British sense of humor!
  6. I would rather listen to Julie London. A much better singer than Ms. Stanley imho.
  7. I have experienced no such harshness with gen 5. I have a carbon usb which I replaced with an Oyaide pro usb cable. Both work great with the Yggy gen 5. The usb former sounds better than my Oppo feeding the Yggy via coax. Of course, ymmv.
  8. If you are looking for an album with stellar Sonics and sensational and interesting covers, check out this recording. It is a jazz trio expounding on the works of Jimi Hendrix, LED Zep and Ian Anderson. It was recorded in a home studio at DSD 128. I have the cd which is among the best sounding recordings I have ever heard on any format. I can’t imagine it sounding any better although Blue Coast has the DSD version if you want to see. Pretty pricey though. Check it out.
  9. I had to build a new listening room a couple of years ago myself as the space for the old room was being demolished and greatly expanded for a new master suite. Our attic was finished but too small. The old room and the attic had knee walls like yours. It was too small for my preferred near field listening position with the speakers along the long wall. Hence, a full shed dormer was required. The new space is much bigger than the old one, around 18 x 22. I ran two 20 amp circuits and put the speakers along the long wall using the sonic benefits provided by the knee wall. The room was filled up with my stuff and after some tweaking with speakers placement using measurements and pink noise, the room sounds fantastic. It was a pain but in the end, well worth it. Congrats on the new room.
  10. I have been in contact with Mark. He has the files. I informed him of the thread. He is on vacation. Maybe he will get around to chiming in here when he gets back.
  11. I sent Mark an email. Will let you know if he still has the recording. As for these Demos, you have to monitor the track number of the CD that is played for these demos as it may be the same tune but not the same track.
  12. Jud, you don’t have to accept everything Mark says as gospel. I agree with a lot he says, but not all. I love my wife but we don’t agree on everything. I respect his positions and have always found him to be a man of integrity, even if we disagree on a particular issue.
  13. I agree, let’s get back to the ridiculous treatment if Mark by the LAOCAS. I have known Mark for a few years and find him to be of the utmost integrity. It is a shame that so many in the high end audio press lack Mark’s courage.
  14. Kudos to the members here for this unmasking. Well done.
  15. It is laurel as it comes from vocabulary.com according to a new article. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/yanny-laurel-debate-explanation-real-answer_us_5afc7463e4b0779345d54ad9 so, I guess if you hear yanni...........
  16. Where on the east coast do you anticipate doing such a test?
  17. Too bad as I enjoyed doing my occasional music features, even if it was gratis.
  18. I have to agree with Andrew, who is a very nice bloke btw. Focus on the actual BS that MQA is and lay off the name calling.
  19. For that purpose I would use Vanatoos for a fraction of the cost. Just that and my laptop. Plug and play.
  20. If you do replace a fuse with a non certified fuse and the product catches fire and damages your home, good luck with that insurance claim as you won’t be covered.
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