HE 2006: Telarc Releases Round Up and Brecker Brothers in SACD Surround and Presents LAGQ Live

HE 2006: Telarc used this weekend’s HE 2006 show to launch their two newest SACDs: a newly created Surround Sound edition of the classic Round Up album featuring Frankie Laine and Erich Kunzel conducting the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and a Surround Sound SACD entitled Some Skunk Funk by the Brecker Brothers with several jazz all stars and the WDR Big Band recorded live at Leverkusener Jazztage. The SACDs are slated to be available on music store shelves at the end of June. But for show attendees, one could listen to and pick up the SACD this weekend.

Other show highlights from Telarc included the release of a new Concord Music Group Super Audio CD catalog, the announcement of additional Super Audio CD releases for the balance of the year and a live performance of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ).

Telarc’s Classic “Round Up” Album Comes to SACD Surround
Telarc has used the Super Audio CD to bring a number of newly recorded Direct Stream Digital (DSD) albums to market since the format’s inception. More recently, they have also used SACD to bring to life higher fidelity editions of their Soundstream Series of 2-Channel Digital Classical Recordings to classical music fans as well. Not surprisingly this has led to requests for the reissue of some of the label’s earlier popular recordings as SACD Surround Sound releases.

Last year, Telarc granted such a request by remastering their tribute to the Music of Ivan Lins entitled “A Love Affair” and issuing it as a Surround Sound SACD (Telarc SACD-63496). This month, an even more involved project has transformed their classic 1987 hit album “Round Up” into a Surround Sound Super Audio CD. Telarc notes that “More requests for Round Up on Surround Sound SACD have come in than for any of our other past releases.”

Round Up features legendary singer Frankie Laine performing memorable western tunes such as The Theme From Rawhide, High Noon and an 8:36 minute long rendition of Gunfight at the OK Corral. The album also features a host of Western TV and Movie Themes, sound effects created by Telarc Chief Engineer Michael Bishop as well as the William Tell Overture Finale which finds itself on the album as the Lone Ranger Theme.

To convert Round Up from a 2-Channel release to a 5.1 Channel SACD involved returning to the Cincinnati Music Hall to make new DSD recordings of the hall’s sonics and ambience to bring to the album using the Sonoma DSD Workstation equipped with the EMM Labs Meitner DSD converters. Telarc’s Michael Bishop went to great length’s to re-create the album’s effects including finding the same horse named “Ricky” and recording his whinny in a new DSD Surround Sound recording, no less! The result is newly remixed and remastered versions of the Stereo CD tracks as well as new Stereo SACD and Surround Sound SACD editions of the album on this release.

Telarc’s Michael Bishop describes the project by noting that “That you are now holding Round Up on SACD shows a Surround mix from the stereo sources was produced to our satisfaction. Going back to the various source masters, I found a recorded quality that didn’t quite make it to the original CD release due to the limitations of editing and mastering equipment of that time. I split the source stereo recordings to a left/center/right, 3-channel, 32-bit master. In addition, the source recoding ambience was combined with newly recorded Surround ambience in Cincinnati Music Hall’s famed acoustics. This, along with meticulous re-editing and re-mixing of the vocal takes and sound effects, made possible a Surround mix that I’m really happy with.”

The resulting Surround Sound SACD of Round Up will bring a smile to those of you who have owned this album over the years. All of the vocal and orchestral performances are there along with the newly recorded hall ambience, sound effects and the horse’s whinny. I listened to tracks from the SACD in Surround Sound at the Lipinski Sound room at HE 2006 and later at home. In both cases, the new SACD edition was a real treat.

  • Round Up: Telarc’s Western Classic Now in Multi-Channel SACD Surround (Telarc SACD-60141)Some Skunk Funk in SACD Surround Sound by the Brecker Brothers
    Some Shunk Funk captures jazz stars Randy and Michael Brecker in a live performance with the WDR Big Band and several jazz greats. It will be a “day and date” release on both Stereo CD and Surround Sound SACD that arrives in music stores at month’s end. But for attendees of HE 2006 this weekend, you’ll be able to hear it and buy it a few weeks early, courtesy of the folks at Telarc.

    The album was recorded live at Leverkusener Jazztage in November 2003 and was released earlier this year by the German label BHM in both CD and Surroud Sound SACD formats. (BHM has since released several more Stereo Super Audio CD releases that are available in Europe. SACD Jazz fans will want to look for those albums as well).

    Telarc says that “With the release of Some Skunk Funk, the brothers are back together again, this time performing expanded big band arrangements of familiar Brecker Brothers tunes from the past as well as a few newer originals from Randy’s last two recordings as a leader. This dynamic live outing (recorded in Kцln, Germany, in November 2003) captures Randy and Michael in rare concert form with Germany’s WDR Big Band, conducted by Vince Mendoza, who also came up with stellar new arrangements for Brecker Brothers classics like “Sponge,” “Straphangin’” and the explosive title track.”

    Telarc licensed the album for U.S. release after it was auditioned by both Heads Up label chief Dave Love and Telarc Chief Engineer Michael Bishop. Love told me that both he and Bishop were impressed with the sonics of the CD and Surround Sound SACD and decided to recommend licensing and releasing the album this month in both formats, rather than as a CD only album.

    Listening to the new SACD at HE 2006, I think they made the right call here. The disc captures the excitement of the live performance in an excellent and very immersive 5.0 SACD Surround Sound mix.

  • Some Skunk Funk – Randy Brecker & Michael Brecker with the WDR Big Band Koln conducted by Vince Mendoza (Telarc Jazz SACD-63647)Recent Telarc SACDs Featured at HE 2006
    During the HE 2006 show, a number of the sound rooms were playing recent Telarc Surround Sound Super Audio CDs to show off their equipment. In addition to Round-Up and Some Skunk Funk, vendor favorites included Long Walk to Freedom by Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Heads Up HUSA-9109) and Wrapped In A Dream by Spyro Gyra (Heads Up HUSA-9107). Both SACDs feature excellent 5.1 Surround Sound SACD mixes by Martin Walters and can really show off the virtues of an immersive Surround Sound mix. Here’s a quick run down of Telarc’s Surround Sound SACD releases since we last chatted with them at CES in January:

    February 28, 2006 – Telarc and Heads Up SACD Releases(not released at the CES 2006 Show)

  • Telarc SACD-63611 – Rhapsody in Blue – Michel Camilo
  • Telarc SACD-60654 – Praise & Jubilation – Norman MacKenzie, Atlanta Chamber Chorus

    March 28, 2006 – Telarc and Heads Up SACD Releases

  • Heads Up HUSA-9110 – The Word is Out – Jaco Pastorius Big Band
  • Telarc SACD-60664 – Great Film Fantasies: Music from Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings – Erich Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Telarc SACD-60647 – LAGQ: SPIN – Los Angeles Guitar Quartet

    April 25, 2006 – Telarc SACD Releases

  • Telarc SACD-60618 – Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra/Lutoslawski: Concerto for Orchestra & Fanfare for Louisville – Paavo Jarvi, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

    A Special Treat: LAGQ Live
    While it’s always a treat to hear the sort of well-recorded Super Audio CDs that Telarc and Heads Up issue, Telarc provided HE 2006 show goers a special bonus on Friday morning – a live performance by the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ). LAGQ guitarist Bill Kanengiser acted as host of the 1 hour concert which featured a generous helping of material from the group’s first three Telarc recordings which are available on both Stereo CD and Surround Sound SACD.

    The four guitarists met while students at the UCLA Music Program and have been performing together ever since. They have been influenced by a wide variety of musical styles including classical, rock, pop, latin, brazilian and jazz guitar playing and this is reflected in their music. Kanengiser said that the group is now planning their fourth Telarc album – this time featuring Brazilian music and melodies with the unique LAGQ twist. I’m sure many music fans will be anxious for that release. The group gave a memorable performance at HE 2006 and had audience members cheering as the set drew to a close.

    A New Telarc/Concord SACD Catalog and More SACDs from Telarc
    Telarc also took advantage of the HE 2006 show to introduce a new Concord Music Group/Telarc Super Audio CD Catalog. The catalog has been printed with two covers and arranged so that the orange cover shows you a list of the Telarc and Heads Up Super Audio CD releases. If you flip it over and upside down, the blue cover leads you to a list of the Concord Jazz and Fantasy/Prestige/Stax catalog of Super Audio CD releases to date. A very handy reference guide for audiophiles interested in building up their collection of Super Audio CD discs.

    In talking to the Telarc and Concord Jazz staff at the show (Amanda Sweet and Rob Saslow from Telarc and Nick Phillips from Concord Jazz A&R), there are some additional Telarc SACDs coming between now and the balance of the year. They include:

    July 18, 2006 – Telarc SACD Release

  • Telarc SACD-63638 – Dear Mr. Sinatra – John Pizzarelli with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra

    August 22, 2006 – Telarc SACD Releases

  • Telarc SACD-60661 – Strauss Four Last Songs and Death & Transfiguration – Donald Runnicles, Christine Brewer, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
  • Telarc SACD-60668 – Erich Kunzel, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra – The Never-Ending Waltz

    September 26, 2006 – Telarc SACD Release

  • Telarc SACD-60660 – Elgar: Enigma Variations / Britten: Four Interludes from Peter Grimes and Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra – Jarvi, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

    October 24, 2006 – Telarc SACD Release

  • Telarc SACD-60657 – Russian Nights – Erich Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra

    November 28 , 2006 – Telarc SACD Release

  • Telarc SACD-60665 – Sibelius: Kullervo – Robert Spano, Atlanta Symphony Men’s Chorus & Symphony Orchestra

    As always, it looks like Super Audio CD fans have even more to look forward to in the months ahead from the folks at Telarc. We’ll keep an eye out for these upcoming Surround Sound Super Audio CDs as they reach their release dates.