SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

Jane Ira Bloom, sop. sax – Sixteen Sunsets – Pure Audio Records

An excellent and unusual approach to jazz ballads in hi-res surround sound.

Published on October 17, 2013

Jane Ira Bloom, sop. sax – Sixteen Sunsets – Pure Audio Records

Jane Ira Bloom, soprano sax – Sixteen Sunsets [TrackList follows] – 5.1 DTS-HD MA or PCM 2.0 or mShuttle Pure Audio Records PAR 55017, 77:40 *****:

(Jane Ira Bloom, sop. sax; Dominic Fallacaro, piano; Cameron Brown, doublebass; Matt Wilson, drums)

Award-winning soprano saxist Jane Ira Bloom has collaborated with Jim Anderson in producing this terrific Pure Audio Blu-ray album. She been a leading voice on the soprano sax for over 30 years now, pioneering the use of live electronics and movement in jazz, and has collaborated with such artists as Fred Hersch, Marc Copland, Charlie Haden and Kenny Wheeler.  The album title comes from astronaut Joseph Allen’s quote about seeing 16 sunsets and sunrises each day when you’re in the space station.

The 14 tracks here employ five originals from Bloom and nine from the Great American Songbook, including pieces by Gershwin, Arlen, Weill, Billie Holiday and Mal Waldron. Famous photographer Jay Maisel picked the cover photograph from his collection while listening to a preview of the album, and it really seems to fit perfectly.  For the 5.1 hi-res recording session in NYC, an array of mics surrounded Bloom’s sax and she sometimes creates a Doppler-like effect by sweeping the bell of the sax past the mics rapidly. The idea is that the sound comes out of the sax unidirectionally, and that is preserved in this unusual surround soundfield—not just with a pair of mics.  This album sets new standards for the hi-res surround recording of jazz, and will be submitted in the 2014 Grammy surround sound category.

The packaging is also the best compromise between the now-dated plastic jewelbox and some of the throw-away cardboard alternatives that have shown up. Why can’t all audio discs be just like this one?Jane Ira Bloom’s concentration on the ballad is strongly evident in this collection. It’s difficult to pick any favorite track, but the longest and most developed is the over-seven-minute medley of an improvisation she calls “Gershwin’s Skyline” together with his “I Loves You Porgy” from Porgy & Bess. Absolutely mesmerizing!

TrackList:

1. For All We Know
2. What She Wanted
3. Gershwin’s Skyline / I Loves You Porgy
4. Darn That Dream
5. Good Morning Heartache
6. Out of This World
7. Ice Dancing
8. Left Alone
9. The Way You Look Tonight
10. But Not For Me
11. Primary Colors
12. My Ship
13. Too Many Reasons
14.  Bird Experiencing Light

—John Henry




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