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SoundStage! Update

Where Have You Gone, AudioQuest Music?

May 11, 2007

I love used-CD stores. There's something about discovering recordings that others have discarded that gives me great satisfaction. Two recent used finds are Glen Moore, Larry Karush and Glen Velez's Mokave Vol.1 [AudioQuest AQ-CD1006] and Vol.2 [AudioQuest AQ-CD1007]. These are collections of serious jazz with African influences -- a mixture that I would normally avoid but works very well here. The sound is excellent -- spacious and rife with presence -- but it takes a backseat to the inventive original compositions and expert playing.

These two CDs made me to wonder about AudioQuest's catalog of recordings, most of which appeared in the 1990s. According to Joe Harley, who produced both Mokave CDs, AudioQuest Music was sold to music distributor Valley Entertainment in 2000, which keeps some of the titles current. What this implies, however, is that many AudioQuest titles are out of print. Indeed, the Mokave CDs are no longer available new from Amazon. However, Valley Entertainment has both listed for online purchase, and there are some Amazon resellers with used copies priced as low as $3.00 plus shipping, which is less than I paid. Other of the more recent AudioQuest Music releases, including some from Mighty Sam McClain and Terry Evans, are still in print, and there are also a handful of hybrid SACDs available new as well.

Joe Harley continues to produce recordings. "I was in the studio just this past Sunday mixing a new Jacintha album for Groove Note…. I do about three or four per year now for labels like Groove Note, ECM and Enja." New recordings get all of the media attention, but Mokave Vol.1 and Vol.2, as well as other AudioQuest Music releases, sound thoroughly contemporary, proving once again that good music is timeless. Both deserve some time in your CD player....Marc Mickelson, editor@soundstage.com

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