10 New Concord SACDs and Plans for Mancini and Ray Charles SACDs

Earlier this year, Concord Records, the parent company of Concord Jazz announced they would celebrate their 30th Anniversary by releasing 30 Hybrid 5.1 Surround Sound SACDs from their rich catalog of jazz classics. In addition, they also announced plans to issue new albums by Chick Corea and Poncho Sanchez with Ray Charles and a sampler in Hybrid Surround Sound SACD format as well.

Recently, Concord released the final 10 5.1 Surround Sound SACDs in the catalog series. We also learned of their works on two more new Hybrid Surround Sound SACDs in the near future. Here’s a rundown of what’s been going on at Concord Records and their affiliated labels when it comes to SACD.

Wrapping Up The 30 Catalog 5.1 Surround Sound SACDs
Prior to October, Concord had been releasing their catalog Surround SACDs in groups of five. To wrap up the series in October, the month brought two rounds of catalog Surround Sound SACD releases.

On October 7th, the label released 5.1 Surround Sound SACDs that included a Dave Brubeck concert album recorded appropriately in Concord, a lively album by trumpeter Maynard Ferguson & Big Bop Nouveau, a live recording of the Ray Brown Trio featuring Gene Harris and Jeff Hamilton, a studio recording of Jack McDuff and Joey DeFrancesco on “head to head” Hammond B-3 organs and the second album in jazz pianist Monty Alexander’s “Ivory & Steel” series.

  • Maynard Ferguson & Big Bop Nouveau – One More Trip to Birdland (Concord Jazz SACD-1021-6)
  • Jack McDuff & Joey DeFrancesco – It’s About Time (Concord Jazz SACD-1022-6)
  • Monty Alexander’s Ivory & Steel – Jamboree (Concord Picante SACD-1024-6)
  • Dave Brubeck – Concord On A Summer Night (Concord Jazz SACD-1025-6)
  • Ray Brown Trio – Live at the LOA: Summer Wind (Concord Jazz SACD-1027-6)Following this batch of SACDs, Concord released five more 5.1 Surround Sound SACDs on October 21st. This group included albums by Karrin Allyson backed by “an all-star sextet” and arrangements by Alan Broadbent, Marian McPartland’s first recording with a string orchestra, Nnenna Freelon’s first recording for Concord Jazz, tenor sax player Scott Hamilton backed by “a strong rhythm section” and a 20 piece string orchestra and Pete Escovedo with a 12 piece latin band.
  • Karrin Allyson – Sweet Home Cookin’ (Concord Jazz SACD-1010-6)
  • Nnenna Freelon – Shaking Free (Concord Jazz SACD-1012-6)
  • Pete Escovedo – Mister E. (Concord Picante SACD-1019-6)
  • Marian Mc Partland – Silent Pool (Concord Jazz SACD-1023-6)
  • Scott Hamilton – With Strings (Concord Jazz SACD-1028-6)Availability
    The 10 new SACD releases from Concord Records are now available from Tower Records and Borders. They are also available from several web sites that carry SACDs including Acoustic Sounds, CD Universe, Elusive Disc and Music Direct.Interestingly, many of the record stores that are carrying the Concord Records SACDs have stocked them along with their regular CDs in the Jazz section rather than in the “Audiophile” or “SACD” section. Apparently they have felt there isn’t enough room in the specialized section for over 30 different Surround Sound SACD Jazz titles. That’s probably a wise approach on their part.

    Next Up on SACD Surround: Ultimate Mancini
    With their impressive collection of 30 catalog Surround Sound SACDs complete, Concord is now back in the studio working on more new albums. The first 5.1 Surround SACD planned for early 2004 from the label will be entitled “Ultimate Mancini”. It will feature a collection of classic songs composed by Henry Mancini. Starring on the Ultimate Mancini album will be the composer’s daughter (and Concord Jazz recording artist) Monica Mancini along with Joey DeFrancesco, Gary Burton, Take 6 and Plas Johnson. Sounds like an interesting SACD to watch for.

    News from Media Hyperium Studios: Site of the Concord Records SACDs
    Several interesting news items have come the folks at Media Hyperium Studios in Torrance, California. Media Hyperium has been the studio where all of the Concord Records Surround SACDs released to date have been remixed and mastered. It was also designated as a “reference facility for Super Audio CD releases in the United States” by Philips, Sony’s partner in the SACD format.

    According to Media Hyperium, they recently installed a new SSL XLogic 5.1 compressor which will be used on their future SACD projects. According to their Chief Engineer Ted White ““We were on the lookout for an integrated compressor that was built from the ground up to handle 5.1 situations. While other boutique-type manufacturers have tagged together 5.1 compressors from existing stereo and mono models, SSL has taken their 5.1 compressor from the XL 9000 K Series console that was specifically designed for surround mixing and HD audio, and put it in a rack package. This clearly makes the XLogic the compressor of choice.”

    White goes on to say that “We have a 56-channel console that drives a large multi-channel Pyramix DSD workstation. The SSL XLogic 5.1 compressor will add several benefits to our system. First, the degree of control over all six channels is superior. The metering can tell you where the energy is within the surround field so we can apply the right amount of compression in the right location to yield maximum levels for a mix before overload. Second, we will gain the sonic quality and character of the compressor that SSL is so famous for when we pass our program signals through the unit. And finally, the compressor has the necessary bandwidth and clarity to match the SACD specification.”

    Ray Charles Duets Coming to SACD
    While it’s interesting to hear about Media Hyperium’s sonic upgrade, the next part of the announcement will be of more interest to SACD fans. According to the studio, they will using the new equipment on upcoming SACD releases on the Sugar Hill and Vanguard labels by Sinead O’Connor, Rodney Crowell and Buddy Guy.

    While that is good news, the big news is that Media Hyperium will also be working with Concord Records on the first album on the label by Ray Charles. High Fidelity Review readers will recall that the label recently signed Charles to a recording contract and he appeared on two cuts on the recent single inventory, 5.1 Surround Sound SACD “Out of Sight” by Poncho Sanchez (Concord Picante SACD-1031).

    According to Media Hyperium, the upcoming Ray Charles album on Concord Records will also be a 5.1 Surround Sound SACD. It will feature Charles performing a series of duets with major recording artists. Some of the artists that plan to perform with Ray Charles on the album include B.B. King, Billy Joel, Natalie Cole, Diana Krall and Van Morrison. We’ll certainly keep an ear to the ground for more information on these upcoming SACDs as they near release.