High Note Releases 2 SACD Jazz Collections for $9.98 Each [HFR]

New York based High Note Records is the latest record label to issue Super Audio CDs. The first release from High Note features a pair of jazz collections entitled Kinda Jazzy Kinda Funky and Jazz In An R&B Groove. Both discs are now available as Single Inventory, Hybrid Stereo SACDs.

The new High Note discs feature SACD Stereo and CD Stereo versions of the music on each album and the Hybrid Stereo SACD serves as both the audiophile and regular CD edition of the albums. No separate Stereo CD version is planned.

Unique Packaging and A Bargain Price
Rather than coming in the usual Super Jewel Box with rounded corners, a standard CD jewel box or even a DigiPak, the High Note SACDs are sold in a plastic album case with a ribbed spine. Each disc features the Grey & White “Plays on SACD & CD Players” sticker often found on Hybrid Super Audio CDs released by the Universal Music Group, among others.

Also worth noting is the $9.98 list price of each disc. This is the lowest list price I’ve seen to date for new Super Audio CD releases. According to High Note, the pricing is consistent with the other discs in their “Midline Series”. While the discs omit the standard booklet usually found inside a CD or SACD release, at this price point, I think most jazz and SACD fans will find that an acceptable trade-off.

Kinda Jazzy Kinda Funky
Various Artists
Stereo SACD/Stereo CD

(High Note HCD 6011)

Kinda Jazzy Kinda Funky is a collection of 9 jazz selections by several jazz notables including David “Fathead” Newman, Joey De Francesco and “Papa” John De Francesco. The album also features a number of well known jazz players including Will Boulware on Organ, Lonnie Plaxico on Bass and Grady Tate and Bernard Purdie on Drums.

High Note says that the SACD is “A collection of great soul jazz that puts you in a pleasure zone. It never goes out of style”. The collection was produced by Michael Hurzon with mastering and authoring of the album by Allan Tucker at Foothill Digital in New York.

The selections on the album are some tasty jazz instrumentals. In particular, check out track 7 entitled “Peach Cobbler”. It features some great sonics and a fine performance.

Album Tracks
1. The Governor – Melvin Sparks
2. GF’s Attitude – ‘Papa’ John DeFrancesco
3. Live Bait – Rodney Jones
4. Off the Hook – David ‘Fathead’ Newman
5. The Cat – Joey DeFrancesco
6. The Hat Man – Randy Johnston
7. Peach Cobbler – Bill Heid
8. Sweet Sucker – Houston Person
9. Another Joe – Melvin Sparks

Jazz In An R&B Groove
Various Artists
Stereo SACD/Stereo CD

(High Note HCD 6012)

Jazz In An R&B Groove features 11 selections from the Savant Records and High Note Records jazz catalogs. It features a mixture of jazz instrumentals and jazz vocals. The total running time of the album is over 64 minutes which is very generous given the bargain pricing of the SACD.

High Note describes the collection by saying that “This is a criss-crossing of Jazz with R&B grooves that keeps the pulse going, not too fast, but enough to lift the spirits – and the feet! The songs evoke memories of the groove so familiar, like an old friend.”

The collection was produced by Brad Wrolstad who was also responsible for the album’s art direction and design. Mastering and authoring of the album was done by Allan Tucker at Foothill Digital in New York. The selections on the album are upbeat and very enjoyable with fine sonics. A very nice package at a very attractive price.

Album Tracks
1. What a Difference a Day Makes – Irene Reid
2. What’s Going On – Houston Person
3. Night Life – Dakota Staton
4. Let’s Stay Together – Houston Person
5. Watermelon Man – Red Holloway
6. This Bitter Earth – Della Griffin
7. At Last – Houston Person
8. The Closer I Get To You – Charles Earland Tribute Band
9. Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool – Ernie Andrews
10. I Believe I Can Fly – Irene Reid
11. Our Day Will Come – Bruce Williams

The new High Note Hybrid Stereo SACDs are now available for purchase in record stores that carry jazz recordings as well as several audiophile web sites including Acoustic Sounds, CD Universe and Elusive Disc.

I should also mention that CD Universe currently has both of the SACDs on sale at a price of $8.59 each – $1.39 off the list price. Even at their “full price” of $9.98, both discs are a good bargain – on sale, what can I say? They’re definitely worth a listen!