SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews
Closer To The Music, Volume 4 – Stockfisch Records
Published on July 13, 2011
Closer To The Music, Volume 4 – Stockfisch Records – Stereo-only SACD – SFR 357.4011.2, 73:13 ****:
(Featuring: Allan Taylor; McKinley Black; Paul Stephenson; David Munyon; Eugene Ruffolo; Paul O’Brien & The Uli Kringler Trio; Katja Werker; Zebra Sommerwind; Michael Schlierf; Ralf Illenberger; and Blue Chamber Quartet)
Closer To The Music – Volume 4 showcases a variety of Stockfisch artists. The eighteen selections are from current releases and upcoming projects. In essence this is a representation of the unique eminence of this label…that is acoustic music defined by pristine engineering. Folk singer Allan Taylor opens with two songs (“Let The Music Flow”, “Midnight Call”). From the initial guitar notes, the sonic texture is established. Taylor’s “Mark Knopfler-esque” baritone is road-weary, but captured in warm tones. A dobro (Michael Koschorreck) adds the delicate accent often associated with Stockfisch recordings. American vocalist McKinley Black (“My Diamond Mine”, “All I Need”) shoes off her bluesy riffs and emotional vocals. Another guitarist/singer, Paul Stephenson (“Rainy Day Man”, Back Where You Belong”) turns in a pair of tunes with help from session players, Ian Melrose (guitar) and Beo Brockhausen (saxophone). Lea Morris’ exquisite voice is a welcome addition to both tracks. Paul O’ Brien (“Madrona”, “Without A Trace”), and David Munyon (“I Want Your Love”, “Hollywood Town”) contribute listenable original compositions.
Blue Chamber Quartet is compelling on Chick Corea’s Children’s Songs (No. 16 and No. 6). The arrangement of piano, vibraphone, double bass and concert harp is inspired. The instrument separation is excellent. Every nuance and pulsating tempo shift flows gracefully. At a mere five minutes, this excerpted material has the listener calling for more. Some cuts are reminiscent of the Windham Hill legacy. Michael Schlierf (“Hickory/The Southern Caress") shines on piano with a deft soulful take. Ralf Illenberger embraces an introspective coloration with his flowing instrumental arrangements (“Light Wave”, “Falling Down”). Even traditional pop/jazz is covered in a bouncy, faithful version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” (Eugene Ruffolo). Katja Werker (“Uber Sieben Brucken Musst Du Gehn”) and Zebra Sommerwind (“Es Sass Ein Klein Wild Vogelein”) offer German language pieces with contrasting styles.
Fans of Stockfisch Records will appreciate the variety of new and previous material. Gunter Pauler continues to set the pace in enhanced detailed engineering. For anyone with a predilection for superior audiophile recordings, this is an opportunity to expand their collection by selecting for purchase some of the albums sampled.
TrackList: Let The Music Flow; Midnight Call; My Diamond Mine; All I Need; Rainy Day Man; Back Where You Belong; Baby It’s Cold Outside; I Want Your Love; Hollywood Town; Madrona; Without A Trace; Uber sieben Brucken Musst Du Gehn; Es Sass Ein Klein Wild Vogelein; Hickory; Light Wave; Falling Down; Children’s Song No. 16; Children’s Song No. 6
– Robbie Gerson