June 1998

Sara K - Hobo
Chesky Jazz JD155
Released: 1997

by Steven Rochlin

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****

[Reviewed on CD]Even with all the hype about the DAD disc (24-bit/96kHz) at the WCES, Chesky has been using this technology for recording for some time now. Sara K.'s newest CD (16-bit/44.1kHz) Hobo, was recorded at the DAD standards by the highly respected Bob Katz and then brought down to the CD's lower rates. The CD has surely come a long way in sound quality, and this recording shows it. Of course, having music as wonderfully played as it is on Hobo doesn't hurt either. Sara K. has this really mellow-yes, lustalicious-voice that seems to call out to my more seductive side. Most of you remember the song "Brick House." Usually I hate covers, although Sara surely handles this one with style. It starts out with acoustic bass layin' down the bass rhythms, and then the band followed by Sara comes in. She has this way of grabbing the flow of music and making it shine with gusto when needed. There are small and tasty riffs throughout--nothing that outwardly grabs your attention, but they just are there in a great way. Because Hobo was recorded in a church, it's very airy-sounding, and there's good transparency all around.

"Oh Well" might not immediately seem familiar until you hear it played. We gen-Xers definitely remember the tune. Here are the first few lines to shake the memory:

"Can't help it 'bout the shape I'm in
Can't sing, I ain't pretty and my legs are thin
But don't ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to"

It's a great song and lottsa fun. Musta played it over and over again five times in a row (thank goodness for the repeat function on my CD transport). The songs "If I Don't See You Later" and "Hobo" are really mellow and sweet-great for relaxin' to, especially during a mellow night or rainy/snowy day. Beautiful musicianship, great music-both recorded well. The hall can be a bit much, yet we all have our preferences about "hall sound" at times. What more can I say? I enjoy almost every song on this new Sara K. recording and humbly recommend that you check it out.