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. Theyre from a dozen different CDs featuring jazz icons like Larry Willis, David Murray, Stanley Cowell, Jack Walrath and Hamiet Bluiett. Youll love the kaleidoscope of moods and colors they lay down. Youll 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)|
THE ART OF THE BALLAD FEATURES SONGS FROM THESE CDs:
The Absolute Sound:
For more ballads, theres 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 hes off to a good start. It boasts an impressive rostersaxophonists 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 fewand the songs are well-chosen: the stuff of fine wine and candlelight. Clifford Jordans absence is a mystery; maybe Sprey figured that Mapleshade customers would already have his Live at Ethels and The Mellow Side [as indeed they, indeed you, should.] But thats the only basis for complaint. The disc even sent me back to some Mapleshade albums [Andy McKees, Rebecca Kanes, C.I. Williams, and Mark Taylors] that Id 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 theyre all in the same ballparkwhich, speaking of Mapleshade discs generally, amounts to the Fenway of High End.
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!
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:
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!