SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

Amina Claudine Myers Salutes Bessie Smith – Top Music International

Bluesy songs of Bessie Smith in a top-fidelity SACD import.

Published on August 7, 2010

Amina Claudine Myers Salutes Bessie Smith – Top Music International

Amina Claudine Myers Salutes Bessie Smith – Top Music International stereo-only SACD 7012.2, c.  44 minutes – Music **** ½;  Sound  *****:

(Amina Claudine Myers, vocals, piano, organ; Cecil McBee, bass; Jimmy Lovelace, drums)

Amina Claudine Myers is a jazz singer who plays piano and organ. She was born in 1942 in Blackwell, Arkansas. She graduated from Philander Smith College in Little Rock in the early 1960s, in music. She then moved to Chicago to teach music. In 1976 she moved to New York City. This album was recorded in June 1980 at Big Apple NYC.

Since this label is not well known, I feel the need to comment it. As an audiophile record company based in Hong Kong they search out high quality recordings from around the world and then remaster them. This album was pressed in Austria. It’s the second Top Music album that I have had the pleasure to listen to. The only downside to the label is they run between $30-50 here in the U.S. from specialty online music suppliers. This album was mastered on the SADIE Precision Digital mastering system. The preamp used was an Octave Jubilee preamp into Almarro M1A speakers. Isoclean Power Conditioning system was used, along with Black Rhodium cabling.

Top Music has found a real gem of a recording here. Myers has a bluesy gospel jazz style and sings songs done by Bessie Smith.  The first track starts off with her doing a three-minute piano solo. The jazz piano sound is some of the best I have heard. The album has nearly perfect balance and sound quality. Her voice has a very good sense of presence and bass is well rendered. There are also some nicely detailed highs from the percussion. I usually hate it when singers play with the words (a la Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey) to show off their voices. When Amina does it, it is to add feeling to the lyrics. This is a nearly perfect album. I’m surprised that she has not been better known. 

1. Wasted Life Blues
, 2. Dirty No-Gooder’s Blues, 
3. Jailhouse Blues, 
4. It Makes My Love Come Down
, 5. The Blues (Straight To You), 
6. African Blues

— Clay Swartz

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