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SoundStage! Update

New Jazz

November 1, 2006

A new jazz label has emerged from, of all places, Switzerland. Kind of Blue Records, which began operations earlier this year, is by all indications well on its way to becoming one of the premiere jazz labels of the new millennium. With an initial catalog numbering 14 diverse titles raging from bop to Gypsy swing to Latin to classical/jazz fusion, Kind of Blue offers a little something for everyone. The roster of talent is distinguished and includes fusion giant Stanley Clarke playing Standards ([Kind of Blue 10010] with a bonus DVD), the Phil Woods Quintet (American Songbook [Kind of Blue 10005]), the George Cables Trio (A Letter to Dexter [Kind of Blue 10006]), and the Classical Jazz Quartet (made up of Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, Stefon Harris and Lewis Nash; Plays Rachmaninov [Kind of Blue 10004]), among others. Using top-notch engineering talent, such as Jim Anderson and the late David Baker, Kind of Blue not only gets the music right but also offers sound to match. Some of the titles were recorded as far back as 2001 and only released this year.

Finding Kind of Blue discs on this side of the pond can be an exercise in frustration, but the results are extremely rewarding, based on my sampling of half of the initial CD releases. About the only nit I can pick is that these weren’t released as hybrid SACDs, as the music and sound quality are both good enough to take full advantage of the increased resolution. But, at the moment, I won't complain too loud....John Crossett, johnc@soundstage.com

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