May 2006

Joe McQueen and Friends - Ten at 86
IsoMike 55802
Format: Hybrid Multichannel SACD
Released: 2006

by John Crossett

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ****1/2
Overall Enjoyment ****

Too often, talented local musicians never get to shine on the national stage. Perhaps it is because we, the music-buying public, have come to expect music to be selected for us by the major record labels' public relations machines -- whose only real interest is generating revenue. Thanks to the efforts of Ray Kimber (of Kimber Kable fame) and his new IsoMike recording system, at least one such musician has finally been given his due.

To celebrate his 86th birthday, Joe McQueen and his cohorts ripped through ten jazz standards from the pens of Wardell Gray, Charlie Shavers, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, and others. And before you yawn and say "Oh, another audiophile recording," you’d best be giving this one a spin. You might just find yourself having a mind-altering experience. You see, by playing tunes this well known, McQueen and his mates demonstrate whether or not they have the chops. They do.

But yes, it is Ten at 86’s recording quality that will be grabbing your attention. Using the IsoMike system, Kimber has recorded both a stereo and 4.0-channel hybrid SACD. Yeah, that’s right, 4.0 -- no center channel. If you are truly curious regarding the IsoMike system, visit for an in-depth analysis. While I thoroughly enjoyed the stereo presentation, the multichannel mix got my juices flowing fastest. It places you front row center, with a reach-out-and-touch-them sound.