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Mapleshade Records
THE BEST OF MAPLESHADE VOL. 1:
The Art Of The Ballad
I love the way a great jazz player can stop your breath with an impossibly slow and tender ballad. I spent several happy days combing though our master tapes to assemble these drop-dead gorgeous ballads. They’re from a dozen different CDs featuring jazz icons like Larry Willis, David Murray, Stanley Cowell, Jack Walrath and Hamiet Bluiett. You’ll love the kaleidoscope of moods and colors they lay down. You’ll hear the difference a Mapleshade recording makes. The extra detail and small-club ambience heightens the impact of each ballad, capturing every gentle nuance. The Absolute Sound says “…excellent sound and good music…the stuff of fine wine and candlelight.” Check out our website for song titles, reviews and audio clips. (#06132)
 

 

TRACK LISTING:

1.
.
"BALLAD FOR FREDERICK" - Listen To Sample
from The Offering by the Bobby Battle Quartet (#01332)
2.
.
"IN A PERFECT WORLD" - Listen to Full Song
from Sound Roots by Andy McKee and NEXT (04432)
3.
.
"BESS, YOU IS MY WOMAN" - Listen to Full Song
from Portraits In Ivory And Brass by Jack Walrath & Larry Willis (#02032)
4.
.
"COME SUNDAY"
from Big, Sweet 'N Blue by the Norris Turney Quartet (#02632)
5.
.
"OUTSIDE MICHAEL'S WINDOW"
from A Deeper Well by the Rebecca Kane Sextet (#04932)
6.
.
"DESCENT INTO KANGNUNG"
from Cats Are Stealing My $hit! by Warren Smith (#05332)
7.
.
"THESE FOOLISH THINGS"
from Makin' Whoopee by the King/Bluiett Trio (#04832)
8.
.
"SEND IN THE CLOWNS"
from Love Locked Out by Chris Anderson (#56922)
9.
.
"I'LL CLOSE MY EYES"
from When Alto Was King by the C.I. Williams Quintet (#04532)
10.
.
"LONELY IN LONDON"
from Lonely Woman by the Frank Kimbrough Trio (#56282)
11.
.
"I'M GONNA LAUGH YOU RIGHT OUT OF MY LIFE"
from Shades of Brass by the Avi Lebo Quintet (#03932)
12.
.
"LULLABYE"
from QuietLand by the Mark Taylor Quintet (#05232)

 

THE ART OF THE BALLAD FEATURES SONGS FROM THESE CDs:

 

REVIEWS:

The Absolute Sound:
reviewed by Fred Kaplan

For more ballads, there’s The Art of the Ballad: Best of Mapleshade, Volume 1. Mapleshade, of course, is that rare entity: an audiophile jazz label that consistently puts out excellent sound and good music. After 10 years of recording in his back-woods Maryland mansion, proprietor-engineer Pierre Sprey has decided to compile a series of samplers, and he’s off to a good start. It boasts an impressive roster—saxophonists David Murray, Hamiet Bluiett, and Norris Turney, pianists Larry Willis, Chris Anderson, and Myra Melford, drummers Warren Smith, Bobby Battle, and Jimmy Cobb, to name a few—and the songs are well-chosen: the stuff of fine wine and candlelight. Clifford Jordan’s absence is a mystery; maybe Sprey figured that Mapleshade customers would already have his Live at Ethel’s and The Mellow Side [as indeed they, indeed you, should.] But that’s the only basis for complaint. The disc even sent me back to some Mapleshade albums [Andy McKee’s, Rebecca Kane’s, C.I. William’s, and Mark Taylor’s] that I’d nearly forgotten about. Sprey always records live-to-2-track analog, with minimal miking and no EQ, compression, or other electronic enhancements. The sonics here sometimes differ, in minor ways, from the original releases, but they’re all in the same ballpark—which, speaking of Mapleshade discs generally, amounts to the Fenway of High End.

August/September 1999

Positive Feedback:
reviewed by Rick Gardner

OK, this is just yummy! Larry Willis, David Murray, Harriet Bluiett and a host of other luminaries makes this “greatest hits” disc a real pleasure. As stated earlier, I like Pierre's taste about as well as anyone working in the audiophile music scene. If by some chance you are not familiar with Mapleshade, this disc is definitely the place to begin. Spanning a fairly wide range of styles, The Art of the Ballad is precisely what it purports to be...a nice cross section of ballad-based jazz styles beautifully recorded and assembled. First rate stuff!

Fall 2000

HiFi+:
reviewed by Dennis Davis

The first in a The Best of Mapleshade' series, this collection forms an excellent introduction to a fascinating (new to me) label. Mapleshade claim that their studio has 'warm, natural acoustics musicians decide when they want to play and when they want to stop. There are never any time limits… artists take more chances and play with more fire'. All Mapleshade CD's are recorded live to 2-track analogue with no added EQ, reverb, overdubbing or noise filtering, and this is certainly born out on every one of the samples on this CD. Whether in the delicacy of the Rebecca Kane Sextet, the big, breathy 'Websteresque' sax of Hamiet Bluiett, or the woody tones of Warren Smiths marimba from the intriguingly titled 'Some Cats Are Stealing My $Hit'. None of the music is particularly challenging, but it is real music making, sensitively recorded and light years away from the awful audiophile horrors that other labels have inflicted on an all too gullible public in years gone by. On my copy, the track listing is somewhat shuffled from the sleeve notes, but who cares this is an unusually consistent selection which, as intended, forms a great introduction to a fine label.

Postive Feedback Online:
reviewed by Rick Gardner

OK, this is just yummy! Larry Willis, David Murray, Harriet Bluiett and a host of other luminaries makes this "greatest hits" disc a real pleasure. As stated earlier, I like Pierre’s taste about as well as anyone working in the audiophile music scene. If by some chance you are not familiar with Mapleshade, this disc is definitely the place to begin. Spanning a fairly wide range of styles, The Art of the Ballad, is precisely what it purports to be... a nice cross section of ballad-based jazz styles beautifully recorded and assembled. First rate stuff!