Friday, October 17, 2014

CD Review: Audio Fidelity Brings Out The First Wave Of High Quality Surround Sound Titles

Just released from Audio Fidelity are the first two 5.1 surround sound titles on CD. The "Super Session" album featuring Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and Steve Stills is the perfect candidate for this type of release. Keyboardist Al Kooper booked two days at a recording studio to just jam and see what becomes of it. Guitarist Mike Bloomfield was invited along with Wrecking Crew drummer "Fast" Eddie Hoh and other session musicians to create some new music on the spot. The instrumental music that is laid down on the first two songs ("Albert's Shuffle" and "Stop") showcases this "super groups" musical talents as you feel as if you are placed right at the control desk of the studio. One of the highlights of the album is the nine-minute jazzy jam of "His Holy Modal Majesty," which is a tribute to the late-John Coltrane. The song showcases Bloomfield stepping out his mold to put his guitar talents on display. The second-half of the album replaces Bloomfield (who did not show up for the next day of sessions) with Steve Stills fresh off his break-up with Buffalo Springfield. The second day of sessions began with a quick sixties-pop version of Bob Dylan's "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Try To Cry," which allows Kooper's keyboards to really stand out on this 5.1 surround sound mix. Stills' guitar solo shines on the eleven-minute funk-filled jam of Donovan's "Season Of The Witch." The new 5.1 mix was mastered by Bob Ludwig and the new SACD stereo version was mastered by engineer Steve Hoffman and the new release contains new liner notes from Al Kooper. To find out more about this newly released version of "Super Session," please visit audiofidelity.net.
 
The other album receiving the 5.1 surround sound mix release is George Benson's "Brezzin'". It is considered the biggest selling jazz album of all time, selling over three million copies in the U.S. The album's biggest selling single "This Masquerade" proudly showcases Benson's guitar/scatting technique as the song feels more alive and spacious on this new remastered release. This award winning album features songs written by Bobby Womack, Leon Russel and Jose Feliciano. Benson gets to add some funk on "Six To Four" as you can almost feel him plucking the strings if you crank up the volume high enough. But, Benson's biggest moment is on the self-penned "So This Is Love?" as he feels the need to just go off and flex his fingers up and down the fretboard of the guitar. A truly "rock star" moment that allows Benson to continue with high-class of smooth jazz. The mastering for the stereo was also done by Steve Hoffman and the 5.1 Multichannel was mastered by Doug Sax. To find out more about this release, please visit audiofidelity.net.

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