Larry Chernicoffs October Is Latest Independent Surround Sound SACD

Windy Planet Music, an independent record label owned by composer and jazz musician Larry Chernicoff, has released his latest album entitled October as a new Single Inventory Surround Sound Super Audio CD. As with similar independent productions by artists like David Elias, Romero, the Suitcase Pimps and several titles on the Zoom Tone label, October is being released through the web on sites such as CD Baby.

In talking to Chernicoff, he tells me that October features music that is “somewhat unique: a fusion of jazz and classical elements played by my 10 piece group, Windhorse (plus guest musicians on harp and tablas). It’s essentially a large chamber ensemble (or minature orchestra, depending on your perspective), blended with the dynamic and improvisation of our jazz roots. All of the musicians in the group are bandleaders and international performers on their own.”

Checking the album credits, the performers have quite a collective resume. They’ve played on recordings by artists including Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, Sting, Don Cherry, Julie Andrews, The Temptations, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Davd Brubeck, Herbie Hancock and Dave Douglas to name just a few.

The CD Baby folks describe the album as being “Jazz/Classical Fusion SACD, reminiscent of Oregon, Paul Winter Consort, and the Kronos Quartet. October combines the warm sounds of orchestral instruments with a jazz dynamic, soulful improvisations, and passages of meditative calm.”

Album Musicians
Larry Chernicoff – Vibraphone, Piano & Percussion
Karl Berger – Piano
Carol Emanuel – Harp
Janet Grice – Bassoon
John Lindberg – Bass
Tim Moran – Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Soprano and Alto Saxophones
Esther Noh – Violin
Charles Pillow – Oboe, English Horn, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Tomas Ulrich – Cello
Tony Vacca – Percussion
Tom Varner – French Horn
Benjy Wertheimer – Tablas

Album Selections
1. Windhorse
2. Light Years
3. Talking Rain
4. Sailor and Siren
5. October
6. Timeless
7. East 13th Street
8. Call Down the Stars (13 Variations on a Lydian Theme)
9. Tango Noir
10. Last Dance

Album Credits and Surround Sound Mix
October was produced by Larry Chernicoff and Karl Berger. The 5.1 SACD Surround Sound mix was done by surround sound expert Rich Tozzoli (who also handled the surround mix on the aforementioned SACDs by Romero) and Paul Antonelli. It was mastered by Dave Glasser at Airshow Mastering in Boulder, Colorado.

According to Chernicoff “We went for a live, unplugged, organic sound, using real instruments, minimal percussion, and no electronics. We used 5.1 technology more fully on this album than many other Surround Sound SACDs (often re-mixes) which simply bleed a bit of ‘ambience’ into the rear speakers. We recorded October for the new medium right from the start. The Surround mix puts the listener right into the conductor’s chair, with the players spread out in a semi-circle, just as it was
in the studio.”

Listening to the 5.1 Surround Sound mix on the SACD, I think the recording succeeds quite well. It does have a nice, live feel to it. Instruments are placed around the listener and in some cases in specific channels to provide an appropriate degree of focus. The Surround sound field is used but not overpoweringly so, which is appropriate for the material. As for the music, it does cover several different styles and there are interesting accents and treatments in several of the selections. All in all, an interesting Surround Sound SACD release.

The new Surround Sound SACD of October by Larry Chernicoff is now available for purchase from the CD Baby web site for $15.97. It is also available from the Amazon.Com, Amazon.Fr (France) and Amazon.De (Germany) web sites. CD Baby also has sound clips of the album if you want to preview some of the music on the disc before ordering.