CES: Jazz Stream Releases 1st Surround SACD

Dave Keefer, the owner, producer and recording engineer behind Jazz Stream Records was at CES to unveil the label’s first single inventory, Surround Sound Super Audio CD release. (There is no separate CD Audio release of the album). The label plans to release a series of jazz and blues albums in the near future.

Greta Matassa: Live at Tula’s
Jazz Stream has a distribution deal with Bob Bantz at Elusive Disc. So it wasn’t surprising to find Dave Keefer and his first Surround Sound SACD – Greta Matassa’s “Live at Tula’s” album – at the Elusive Disc booth at CES. Bantz is a fan of the new album and summed up his feelings by saying “you gotta get the Gretta SACD”.

I talked to Keefer who told me that he recorded the new disc live at Tula’s Jazz Club in Downtown Seattle along with the former engineer at Fidelis Records, Paul Wietzel. He then worked with Pat Sample at Paradise Sound in Index, Washington and Dave Glasser at Airshow Mastering in Boulder, Colorado on the Stereo and Surround Sound mixes of the album and the SACD mastering and authoring.

Offering A Surround Sound Mix
Keefer tells me that while his previous recordings were in Stereo, he wanted to offer a Surround Sound version of the Matassa session on the new SACD. After switching between the Stereo and Surround mixes at Airshow, he says he “was sold on Surround”. In fact, the final disc actually has a bonus track (“For All We Know”) that is only available in SACD Surround Sound. (All of the other tracks are available in your choice of SACD Surround, SACD Stereo or CD Stereo).

I had a chance to listen to the new Super Audio CD and I like what Jazz Stream has done here. Matassa and her backing trio are in the front channels with the vocals mixed to the center channel. The rear channels are used for audience applause and sounds as well as ambience. It works well and Keefer’s skills as an engineer are apparent here as the disc offers some very clean vocals and accurate capture of the music. I think jazz fans will like this one.

What’s Next?
Keefer says his first priority is to get the word out about the new Greta Matassa Surround Sound SACD. Once that is rolling, he has a couple more projects planned for the label.

The first is a big band project featuring a group named the Northwest Big Band All-Stars. Keefer is very enthused about the project and says the album will be worth waiting for.

He also is working with a young blues singer named John Namath as well as projects including jazz cornet player Jonathan Pugh, jazz pianist and composer Barney McClure and some original symphonic works from Arthur Dunn.

It sounds like we will be hearing more from the label in the near future. And if these are as good as the new live SACD by Greta Matassa, they will be worth an audition.