Chesky Records is launching a new series of Super Audio CD releases that will begin appearing in music stores in August. Titled the “New York Sessions”, the releases will be taken from recording sessions at the St. Peter’s Church in Chelsea, New York and will be released as Surround Sound SACDs that Chesky says “feature a host of well-known jazz artists recorded with the finest custom-built audiophile equipment in multichannel SACD format. No overdubs, no compressors, no multitracking and no large mixing consoles—so there’s nothing between you and the music.”
Chesky Records also says that “The New York Sessions will feature today’s greatest jazz musicians recorded with Chesky Records’ state of the art recording technology. The New York Sessions will preserve the sound of the greatest practitioners of American jazz while spotlighting new artists and opening new opportunities for this music. All New York Sessions titles will be released as aggressively priced hybrid SACDs. Each SACD title will have a compatible CD layer, as well as high definition stereo and multi channel versions for SACD players. The artwork for the series will feature New York’s remarkable architecture and a new logo “Hi Def Jazz” will appear on the cover serving to identify these as Super Audio Compact Discs. Seven New York Sessions titles will be released this year with a significantly larger release schedule anticipated for 2007.”
One wonders what Chesky has in mind when they talk about “custom built audiophile equipment” and “aggressively priced hybrid SACDs”. We’ll certainly dig deeper to find out when these SACDs start appearing on the market.
The Initial Set of New York Sessions SACDs
The first two New York Sessions Surround Sound SACDs from Chesky Records – Manhattan by David Hazeltine, George Mraz and Billy Drummond and Structures by John Abercrombie, Eddie Gomez and Gene Jackson – will be released on August 15th. Additional titles in the New York Sessions SACD series will appear later this year as well as in 2007. The initial titles in the series are as follows:
Chesky New York Sessions – Surround Sound SACD Releases – August 15, 2006
Chesky New York Sessions – Surround Sound SACD Releases – September 2006
Chesky New York Sessions – Surround Sound SACD Releases – October 2006
Chesky New York Sessions – Surround Sound SACD Releases – November 2006
Chesky Super Audio CDs from Last Spring
The New York Sessions SACDs mark a return to the Surround Sound SACD format by Chesky. Prior to the launch of this new jazz SACD series, the last Super Audio CDs on the market from Chesky arrived last Spring. That batch of Surround Sound SACDs included releases by Larry Coryell, Badi Assad and John Ambercrombie (3 Guitars) and Bob Seeley, Eric Reed, Johnny O’ Neal, Mark Braun and Monty Alexander (Rockin’ The Sprit: Piano Blues, Boogie & Spirituals) in April 2005 and Babatunde Olatunji (Circle of Drums) in May 2005.
It will be interesting to see if there are more Chesky Super Audio CDs in the wings. The recent releases by Livingston Taylor and The Persuasions, among others, would appear to be likely candidates for release in the Surround Sound SACD format. And I’d certainly be looking for a reprise of the label’s excellent “Swing Live” Surround Sound SACD by guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli using the Ambisonics Soundfield microphone (Chesky SACD 223) – a real standout live recording.
Pre-Orders Now Being Taken
While the first two SACDs in the upcoming New York Sessions Series are still a few weeks away, several web sites are already accepting pre-orders for the discs. They include Acoustic Sounds, Amazon.Com and JandR.Com. I suspect we will see more web sites and music stores offering the New York Sessions SACDs from Chesky given that they are also part of the new program where Universal Music Group’s Fontana operation is distributing the discs as part of Chesky’s long-standing distribution agreement with the Telarc International folks.