HE 2002: SACD Releases Continue Apace

HE 2002: The SACD software announcements continue apace, with Sony predicting that the market is going to increase at an even greater speed over the next twelve months.

This is not only because Sony is planning to release James Taylor’s ‘JT’ album, Joe Satriani’s ‘Strange Beautiful Music’, Greatful Dead’s bassist Phil Lesh (and friends) ‘There and Back Again’ and Ozzy Ozbourne’s ‘Live From Budokan’, but also because Sony announced that Universal Music Group, Harmonia Mundi and Welk Music Group’s Vangaurd and Sugar Hill labels will also be releasing SACD titles in the upcoming months.

Although Universal Music, one of the largest record labels, and also the company responsible for worldwide distribution of the upcoming ABKCO’s Rolling Stone re-mastered SACDs, did not announce that they are going to begin producing their titles only on SACD, as some commentators thought they might, they did however provide journalists with a list of upcoming albums on the format.

That list includes Diana Krall, ‘The Book of Love’, Andrea Bocelli, ‘Cieli de Toscana’, John Coltrane ‘A Love Supreme’, John Williams, ‘E.T. The 20th Anniversary Soundtrack’, Muddy Waters ‘Folksinger’, James Horner ‘A Beautiful Mind’ (soundtrack), Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto ‘Getz & Gilberto’, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong ‘Ella & Louis’, Bryn Terfel and Claudio Abbado ‘Bryn Terfel Sings Wagner Arias’, Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Seiji Ozawa ‘New Year’s Day Concert 2002’, Budapest Festival Orchestra conducted by Ivan Fischer ‘Dvorak: Slavic Dances’, Herbert Von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic ‘Beethoven Symphony No.9’, and Quincy Jones ‘Ultimate Collection’. If these aren’t enough titles to whet your whistle, Sony also stated that the SACD version of ‘ASK a Woman Who Knows’ by Verve’s Natalie Cole has just been completed and will be issued in conjunction with the album’s September CD release.

The titles from Harmonia Mundi are not yet determined, however the label intends to go through their extensive catalog and begin choosing the most appropriate titles. Unlike Harmonia, the independent labels from Welk, Vanguard and Sugar Hill, have already decided that their upcoming titles will become available this fall. From Sugar Hill will come two multi-channel offerings from the bluegrass group Nickel Creek, ‘Nickel Creek’ and ‘This Side’. Also available later in the year, Dolly Parton is expected to release two titles, ‘Little Sparrow’ and ‘Halos and Horns’, also on the Sugar Hill label. Finally from the Vanguard label comes ‘Concrete Love’ by Julia Fordham.

Outside the doors of the Sony booth at the Home Entertainment 2002 expo, the walls were filled with available SACD albums, the same display we’ve seen at countless other audio/video shows but steadily increasing in size. At their press conference, Sony were quick to boast that there are now 650 SACD releases worldwide (450 in the United States).

The upcoming fall season (if the releases mentioned above are any indication) will bring about a huge swelling in the number of available SACD titles, not only in sheer numbers, but also the choice of musical genre. It is anybody’s guess if there will be enough wall space to hold all the new, pending or announced SACDs by the time we see this display again.