Jazz Delights (2005) – Opus 3 multichannel SACD Sampler with 14 selections CD22001, 75:50 ****:
Jazz Delights Vol. II (2011) – Opus 3 stereo-only SACD Sampler with 13 selections CD22110 ****:
If you’re an audiophile and don’t know about the small Swedish label Opus 3, you’re missing out. They have been devoted to recording acoustic jazz, blues, folk and classic for many years now, first on vinyl and now on both CD and SACD as well as vinyl on some releases. All of their recordings are made with the Blumlein single-point source stereo microphone setup. This enables them to extract the difference information preserved by this mike setup and feed it to the surround channels for multichannel SACDs. Opus 3 steadfastly avoids all forms of electronic artifice and manipulation that could change the natural sounds of their musicians performing in a hall with good natural ambience (rather than a studio).
The first SACD jazz sampler has a variety of performers from the Opus 3 catalog, in complete selections. The genre range is from traditional, thru blues and world music, to modern modern straight-ahead jazz. Some of these Swedish players are quite exceptional, such as vibist Lars Erstrand. Nothing here gets into the loft jazz atonal area, but it is all of a high quality of performance, in the very best sonics. You may want to raise the level of your surround channels a smidgen to get more of a surround field with this SACD.
Volume II of Jazz Delights is only stereo. Perhaps there wasn’t enough interest in the multichannel releases because Opus 3 hasn’t been doing that lately. And there are quite a number of two-channel-only hi-end SACD decks being offered today. If you’re a music-in-surround aficianado (as I am), you can also run two-channel material such as this thru Dolby ProLogic IIx or z (or competing technologies) and get just as good a surround field as from the pseudo-multichannel versions.
Vol. II opens with a vocal on the Michel Legrand song “You Must Believe in Spring,” and continues with some of the Opus 3 house favorites such as Lars Erstrand, Bob Bernard, Benny Waters, Kjell Ohman (on B-3 Hammond), Knud Jorgensen, and The Swedish Jazz Kings. The original recordings come from the period 1976 to 2006.
Jazz Delights (Vol. 1) = 1. Teach Me Tonight 2. Stockholm Sweetin’ 3. East of the Sun 4. Treecircle 5. New Orleans 6. The Christmas Song 7. Leaves 8. ‘Round Midnight 9. Red River Blues 10. When I Feel the Sea Beneath My Soul 11. My Funny Valentine 12. Too Good to Be True 13. Bluer Than Blue 14. Blues Amore
Jazz Delights Vol. II = 1. You Must Believe in Spring – Maria Winther 2. Sweet Talkin’ – East 3. Swing House – Kjell Öhman 4. Stealin’ House – Kenneth Arnström 5. Song of Songs – Lars Erstrand quartet with Antii Sarpila 6. Falling Grace – Gösta Rudqvist 7. West End Blues – Bob Barnard 8. I Found a New Baby – Eva Taylor 9. Like Someone in Love – Johan Dielemans Trio 10. Sophisticated Lady – Benny Waters, feat. Björn Milder 11. Here’s That Rainy Day – Joakim Milder 12. Satin Doll – Knud Jorgensen 13. Moody Melody – The Swedish Jazz Kings
A 10-year anniversary of Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society gets a welcome vinyl upgrade.