Hugh Masakela, Flugelhorn – Almost Like Being in Jazz – Straight Ahead Records/Classic Records DualDisc

by | Jul 2, 2005 | CD+DVD | 0 comments

Hugh Masakela, Flugelhorn – Almost Like Being in Jazz – Straight Ahead Records/Classic Records DualDisc SA-101 ****:

This is the first release from a new audiophile record label founded by
mastering engineer Bernie Grundman and Stewart Levine. It was recorded
direct to two track and besides this DualDisc is also available as a
200g double-LP set.  The DVD-Audio side is 96K stereo and has no
additional visuals. The DVD video side (PCM stereo) displays no video
except for a listing of the 12 tracks. Selection of individual tracks
to listen to failed to work on two of my DVD players, necessitating
having to listen to all of them in order as the only option.  And
the labels for the DVD-A and V sides were reversed.

The quartet consists of Masakela and pianist Larry Willis with rhythm
section. Their bag is a relaxed and intimate late-night sort of sound
that explores the mostly standards with a sparse number of notes placed
just right to convey the mood. This is quite different from the noisy
South African-inspired big band approach we are used to from Masakela.
One might think of Miles when he was playing in a more melodic vein.
Willis matches perfectly the laid-back approach of Masakela, and takes
some great solos himself.  Sonics are super-clean and present.
Some of the standout tracks are: You Don’t Know What Love Is, It Never
Entered My Mind, and Billie Holiday’s classic Don’t Explain – which
really brings out the melancholic nature of that tune without any
lyrics at all.

– John Henry

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