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Reviews: Sugar Hill: The Music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn

Reviews: 3

Review by Barb December 16, 2007 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
D. Hazeltine p, J. Jackson ts, T. Reedus ds, P. Gill b, Chesky 2007.
The latest Chesky Jazz recordings, The New York Sessions, are to me the best recordings ever because they are the most natural sounding ever. They always record live, not in studios, with minimal but highest quality technical equipment. There is no multi-tracking, overdubbing or compressing what makes the music sound so natural with its original dynamics. The lack of technical equipment may be the reason for the natural, pleasing sound of so many Jazz records of the 50`s, even the monaural ones, combined with the highest quality technical equipment of today Chesky makes the perfect sound. Listening to Cheskys for the first time you will recognize they are out of the ordinary, but I think you`ll have to get familiar with them to hear that they are best. In some of the booklets there are diagrams showing the positions of the musicians during the recording session. That was not necessary, you can see them when playing the record.
On this disc, the quartet plays nine compositions by Ellington and Strayhorn. The interpretations are dominated by the full warm tenor sound of Javon Jackson who is a fantastic young sax man, playing in the Ben Webster tradition here. He is accompanied by the great Mr. Hazeltine, who is the musical director of the record and plays some nice solos, too. Bass and drums are played skilfully, relaxed and with deep feeling by the other two perfect sidemen. Very pleasing and relaxed, that`s the mood of the record, that every jazz fan will like.

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Review by analogue February 27, 2009 (3 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I really like this sacd a lot. It is extremely relaxing, has great sound and the musicians are very talented and create nice music together.

This sacd is typical great Chesky sound. It is very smooth, naturalistic, very realistic ,neither warm nor cool in sound and has good presence.

It is tempting to think of this as great background music and it is.......but there are times where you will stop what you;re doing and listen to the music. It's a quality recording and they tend to keep your attention.

Highly recommended.

Good job Chesky.

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Review by Claude April 28, 2010 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
As with most Chesky "New York Sessions" SACDs, this is a very realistic recording. It sounds somehow dryer, more studio-like than previous sessions. On other sessions recorded in St. Peter's Episcopal Church, NYC, there is more natural reverb and the drums sound a little too distant for my taste.

Musically, it's one of the more disappointing discs of the series. It's competently played by these well known musicians (only bassist Paul Gill was unknown to me), but it's sort of "let's play some Ellington standards for the audiophile nerds, so play it straight and don't take any risks". Relaxed indeed, but kind of boring too ... session musicians doing their job.

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