A number of years back, Chesky came out with a jazz album that could stand with its fellows musically and blew them out of the water sonically. New York Reunion, featuring McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, Ron Carter and Al Foster was unusual in that it featured a roster of big-name jazz musicians recording on what was then a fledgling audiophile label. A couple of decades later, Chesky has decided to revisit that idea, only this time not as a one-off but rather a series of sessions released on SACD. The recordings would feature some of the biggest names in the current jazz world. All would be recorded in Cheskys preferred recording venue, St. Paul's Church in NYC, and give the artists the atmosphere to relax, stretch out, and create the kind of jazz they want, using Cheskys tried-and-true single-microphone recording method.
New York Time and Traffic are the latest two installments in the series, called New York Sessions, and they feature a number of grizzled jazz vets showcasing two different jazz styles: straight-ahead bop and fusion. New York Time punches out some superb classic jazz and features a relaxed, easy, flowing feeling that hearkens back to the great old Blue Note sessions. Traffic, on the other hand, is chock-a-block full of some excellent jazz fusion as played by three masters of the genre. It will make the years since the late '70s melt away.
Theres a realness to the sound of these discs along with a quietness that are spooky in the sense of atmosphere they create. Each musician occupies his own acoustic space, while still remaining a part of the overall whole. Maybe that single-mike setup does have something going for it. Each instrument is tonally correct, both in sound and size. Youll gain a better appreciation for the sonics of St. Pauls as you climb the ladder from CD to stereo SACD to, best of all, multichannel.
These albums can hold their own musically among any of the jazz albums out there, and they beat the pants off most of 'em sonically. Great stuff.
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