HE: Fantasy Joins SACD Roster & SACD Industry Update

One of this morning’s press events at HE was an SACD Industry Update provided by David Kawakami, Sony’s Director of the SACD Project for North America. In it we received an update on the overall progress of SACD as well as record label release plans for the SACD format.

Audiophile Firms Release SACD Players
Kawakami cited the increasing number of SACD player manufacturers, now over two dozen, as evidence of increasing industry interest in the SACD format. Of particular significance here according to Kawakami are the new audiophile quality players coming on the market this summer from firms like Bel Canto, Krell, Linn and MSB Technology.

An Update on the Dark Side of the Moon SACD
This SACD Industry Update started with a clip from the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon Electronic Press Kit (EPK) which we told you about recently. The clip featured the comments of band member David Gilmore on how the new SACD version of the album featured the use of 1st Generation Analog Master Tapes and a new 5.1 mix.

In terms of the SACD edition of Dark Side of the Moon, it has been very well received in the market. The SACD debuted at the # 1 position on the Billboard Catalog Albums Chart in its first week and remains on that chart to this day. Sales to date of the SACD are now approaching 100,000 copies.

More SACD Releases From Key Labels This Summer
Of particular interest to people with SACD players is the news that the number of new SACD titles continue to ramp up.

According to David Kawakami, SACDs are now being added at the rate of 150 new SACD titles every quarter. In terms of involved labels, Kawakami noted that in the U.S. and European markets, all of the majors except Warner Music are now releasing product in the SACD format.

In addition, SACD titles are also coming from over 60 independent labels. In the U.S., the number of SACDs available by the Fall will reach 800. Of that number, over 50% will be Multichannel SACD titles reflecting both retailer requests for more Multichannel SACD titles and a desire to beef up that aspect of the SACD catalog.

Sony Music To Add Over 30 Titles This Summer
Sony Music remains the record label with over 210 SACD titles available. Sony Music announced at HE 2003 that they plan to “release its single largest slate of Super Audio CD releases ever between June and September. In total, more than 30 titles ranging from Classical and Pop to R&B and Rock.”

This group of over 30 SACDs includes the previously announced 15 Bob Dylan Remastered Series Hybrid SACDs, next week’s Heart Alive in Seattle and several newly announced SACD titles including Sly & The Family Stone’s “Live at the Fillmore ’68” which is slated for release this Fall. With the exception of the 9 Bob Dylan Stereo SACDs, all of the newly announced titles will be Multichannel SACDs which will also include Stereo mixes. The upcoming Sony SACDs will include:

June 2003

  • Heart – Alive in Seattle
  • Murray Perahia – Schubert Sonatas
  • Kelly Rowland – Simply Deep
  • Beyonce – Dangerously In Love
  • James Taylor – Flag
  • James Taylor – Dad Loves His Work

July 2003

  • Train – My Private Nation
  • John Williams – Spanish Guitar Concertos
  • Macy Gray – The Trouble With Being Myself
  • Yo Yo Ma – Obrigado Brazil

August 2003

  • Bob Dylan – 9 Stereo and 6 Multichannel SACDs
  • Stevie Ray Vaughn – Couldn’t Stand The Weather
  • Byrds – Fifth Dimension

Fall 2003

  • Aerosmith – Toys In The Attic
  • Sly & the Family Stone – Live at Fillmore ’68
  • Herbie Hancock – Future Shock
  • George Benson – White Rabbit
  • Al Kooper & Mike Bloomfield – Super Session

Universal Music’s Aggressive SACD Release Program
Universal Music continues to be a key player in the SACD market. To date, they have released almost 60 SACDs in the U.S. market with several more now available in the European, Japanese and Hong Kong markets.

This summer, Universal expects to have a total of 80 SACD titles available in the U.S. market. Included in the upcoming Universal Music Group SACD releases this summer and fall are key titles including “Gaucho” by Steely Dan, “Up!” by Shania Twain, “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye and “Nature Boy: The Standards Album” by Aaron Neville.

Fantasy Records Joins The SACD Roster
In a long expected move, Fantasy Records announced that they will be releasing their first group of SACDs in August. SACD fans know that some of the most interesting jazz SACDs have come from classic masters in the Fantasy vaults. Until now, these SACD releases appeared on the Analogue Productions and Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs labels. Now Fantasy has decided to release SACDs under their own label.

According to Fantasy President Ralph Kaffel

“Before we made the decision to manufacture and market SACDs ourselves, we had licensed certain titles from our catalog for a limited time. But the increasing popularity of the SACD format encouraged us to get involved directly.”


Fantasy will release its first group of 10 SACD titles on August 26th. These SACD titles are:

  • Dave Brubeck Quartet – Jazz at Oberlin (Fantasy)
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival – The Concert (Fantasy)
  • Vince Guaraldi – A Charlie Brown Christmas (Fantasy)
  • Thelonious Monk & John Coltrane (Jazzland)
  • Zoot Sims & the Gershwin Brothers (Pablo)
  • Gil Evans and Ten (Prestige)
  • John Coltrane – Lush Life (Prestige)
  • Bill Evans – Portrait in Jazz (Riverside)
  • Wes Montgomery – The Incredible Jazz Guitar (Riverside)
  • Albert King & Stevie Ray Vaughan – In Session (Stax)

All 10 of the Fantasy SACDs will be Hybrid SACD discs. We also learned that the Brubeck and Coltrane titles would be Mono SACDs while the other 8 would be Stereo SACDs.

In addition to these August releases, Fantasy also announced that they are working on additional SACD titles. They anticipate these added titles will be available in 2004.

Blue Note Records SACD Releases
Blue Note Records has announced that it will release its first five SACDs next Tuesday, June 10th. These SACDs were remixed by the original producers and/or engineers involved with the albums. The line up for next week includes:

  • John Coltrane – Blue Trane – Stereo SACD – Remixed by Rudy Van Gelder
  • Norah Jones – Come Away With Me – Multichannel SACD – 5.1 Remix by Producer Arif Mardin & Engineer Jay Newland
  • Dianne Reeves – The Calling – Multichannel SACD – 5.1 Remix by Erik Zobler
  • Bill Charlap – Stardust – Multichannel SACD – 5.1 Remix by Producer Joel Moss
  • Bob Belden – Black Dahlia – Multichannel SACD – 5.1 Mix by Bob Belden

In addition to these Blue Note SACD releases, a sixth SACD “New Moon Daughter” by Cassandra Wilson will be released as a Multichannel SACD in the Fall.

Concord Jazz Announces Additional SACD Release Dates
Concord Jazz has released 6 Multichannel SACDs to date. Five of the SACDs came out in late May from their rich jazz and latin music catalog as part of a committment to release 30 catalog albums as Multichannel SACDs during 2003, their 30th Anniversary. The sixth was a 16 track, live direct to DSD recording of Chick Corea’s “Rendezvous In New York” concert.

When the May SACD releases were issued, the next group of 5 SACDs due out on June 24th were announced. The additional SACDs slated for release through October 2003 are as follows:
July 22:

  • Michael Feinstein – With The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra (SCD-1014-6)
  • Nneena Freelon – Shaking Free (SCD-1012-6)
  • Poncho Sanchez – Conga Blue with Guest Mongo Santamaria (SCD-1013-6)
  • Mel Torme, Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass – Velvet & Brass (SCD-1011-6)
  • Rosemary Clooney – White Christmas – (SCD-1018-6)

August 26:

  • Herb Ellis & Joe Pass – Seven, Come Eleven (SCD-1015-6)
  • Mongo Santamaria – Live At Jazz Alley (SCD-1016-6)
  • Susannah McCorkle – From Bessie to Brazil (SCD-1017-6)
  • Karrin Allyson – Sweet Home Cookin’ (SCD-1010-6)
  • Cal Tjader – La Onda Va Bien (SCD-1020-6)

September 23:

  • Pete Escovedo – Flying South (SCD-1019-6)
  • Maynard Ferguson & Big Bop Nouveau – These Cats Can Swing (SCD-1021-6)
  • Jack McDuff & Joey DeFrancesco – It’s About Time (SCD-1022-6)
  • Marian McPartland – Silent Pool (SCD-1023-6)
  • Ay Alexander’s Ivory & Steel – Jamboree (SCD-1024-6)

October 21:

  • Dave Brubeck – Blue Rondo (SCD-1025-6)
  • Mel Torme & George Shearing – A Vintage Year (SCD-1026-6)
  • Ray Brown Trio – Bam Bam Bam (SCD-1027-6)
  • Scott Hamilton – Scott Hamilton with Strings (SCD-1028-6)
  • Gary Burton (with Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Roy Haynes and Dave Holland) – Like Minds (SD-1029-6)

Domo Music Group Plans Kitaro SACDs
Domo Music Group has announced that it will release two SACDs by Kitaro on July 22nd. The first entitled “Kojiki” (Domo 73019) is a remastered Stereo Mix of a “classic Kitaro album” that was released in 1990. The second album “Daylight, Moonlight” (Domo 73016) is a 2 disc Multichannel SACD set that was recorded live in DSD.

FIM Sets 3 New Releases
First Impression Music (FIM) is planning to release two SACDs this summer and one in the fall. Arabesque: The Essence of Harp Artistry (FIM SACDM 046) is a new live DSD Multichannel Recording featuring harpist Isabelle Perrin with the Northwest Sinfonietta. The Five Songbirds (FIM SACD 048) features Patricia Barber, Jacintha, Ayako Hosokawa, Esther Ofarim and Mari Nakamoto performing some classic songs on this upcoming SACD. Both of these FIM releases are expected in July/August 2003.

A third SACD entitled The Chicago Session: The New Take Five (FIM SACD058) features Jeremy Monteiro and his friends performing some classic jazz favorites. This album was recorded live at CRC in Chicago by recording engineer Jim Anderson, the engineer on the popular Patricia Barber albums. It is slated for release in September/October 2003.

In summary, there are a number of interesting SACDs on the horizon. That is very good news for those of you who own SACD players.