New Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and McCoy Tyner Surround SACDs

Telarc continued their practice of releasing new albums at the same time on both Surround Sound SACD and Stereo CD this week. The two new “day and date” releases from the label are from the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and jazz pianist McCoy Tyner.

These SACDs mark the second Super Audio CD for the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and the third one for Tyner on the Telarc label. Also new this week is an SACD release from Babatunde Olatunji on the Chesky label which is distributed by Telarc.

Guitar Heros
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ)
SACD Surround Sound/SACD Stereo/CD Stereo

(Telarc SACD-60598)

Guitar Heros is the second album release and the second Surround Sound SACD that the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ) has made for Telarc. Their initial album on Telarc, LAGQ: Latin (Telarc SACD-60593) was widely applauded for its adventurous Surround Sound mix that won the “Best Made for Surround” Award at the 1st Annual Surround Music Awards event. In their follow up album, the quartet brings their unique playing to salute 14 famed guitarists that the group regards as “Guitar Heros”.

Telarc notes that “The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet’s latest release finds them returning to their roots, paying tribute to a range of artists representing styles as diverse as jazz, bluegrass, rock and flamenco. Guitar Heroes, the quartet’s new album on Telarc, is a collective thank-you to those artists who inspired them to pick up the guitar including Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix and Michael Hedges, Pat Metheny, Django Reinhart and John McLaughlin, Steve Howe and Ralph Towner, Chet Atkins, Norman Blake and David Bromberg.”

Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
Andrew York (Left Front)
William Kanengiser (Right Front)
John Dearman (Left Surround)
Scott Tennant (Right Surround)

Album Selections
1. Icarus (Tribute to Ralph Towner)
2. B & B (Tribute to Norman Blake & David Bromberg)
3. We Know You Know: Reverie for Mahavishnu (Tribute to John McLaughlin)
4. Pluck, Strum, and Hammer (Tribute to Jimi Hendrix)
5. Letter from Home (Tribute to Pat Metheny)
6. Uarekena (Tribute to Assad Duo)
7. Aire para un Dia (Mood for a Day) (Tribute to Steve Howe)
8. Gypsy Flower (Tribute to Django Reinhardt)
9. Pop (Tribute to Duane York)
10. El Baile de Luis Alonso (Tribute to Los Romeros)
11. Lament and Wake (Tribute to Michael Hedges)
12. Let’s Be Frank (Tribute to Frank Zappa)
13. Blue Echo / Country Gentleman (Tribute to Chet Atkins)

Guitar Heros was produced by Robert Woods and was recorded, mixed and mastered by Robert Friedrich. As with their prior album, each of the guitarists is positioned in one of the 4 corner speakers and the album features some wonderful interplay between the guitarists (and the channels) as the album progresses. There are some very creative moments here including the final cut where the Quartet trades notes during a Chet Atkins medley around the sound field in what the group calls “a giant Echo-plex”.

McCoy Tyner
SACD Surround Sound/SACD Stereo/CD Stereo

(Telarc SACD-63599)

On Illuminations, McCoy Tyner is joined by four of the top jazz players in the business. Telarc says that “McCoy Tyner, one of the most revered jazz pianists of the past half-century, is joined by a group of equally formidable players on Illuminations. Saxophonist Gary Bartz, trumpeter Terence Blanchard, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash join Tyner in a diverse collection of ten tracks that mix some of Tyner’s original compositions with contributions from three of his four bandmates.”

Album Musicians
McCoy Tyner – Piano
Gary Bartz – Saxophone
Terence Blanchard – Trumpet
Christian McBride – Bass
Lewis Nash – Drums

Album Selections
1. Illuminations
2. Angelina
3. New Orleans Stomp
4. Come Rain or Come Shine
5. Soulstice
6. Blessings
7. If I Should Lose You
8. The Chase
9. West Philly Tone Poem
10. Alone Together

Illuminations was produced by Elaine Martone with the recording engineering handled by Jack Renner. The SACD was edited, mixed and mastered by Paul Blakemore. The Surround Sound mix of Illuminations places the piano, drums and bass in the front channels with the sax in the Left Surround speaker and the trumpet in the Right Surround speaker. It’s an effective layout, especially when songs such as the third track “New Orleans Stomp” feature alternating sax and trumpet solos.

Chesky Releases SACD from Babatunde Olatunji
Chesky is expanding its SACD catalog this week with the release of Love Drum Talk by Babatunde Olatunji. This new Surround Sound SACD features the African and World Music pioneer performing eight selections. Chesky says that “On April 6, 2003, the music world lost a remarkable individual, a legendary musician, teacher and humanitarian. Babatunde Olatunji led a rich life of creativity and passion and Chesky is honored to have produced Olatunji’s last commercial release, love drum talk, nominated for the 1998 Grammy award of Best World Music Album.”

  • Love Drum Talk – Babatunde Olatunji (Chesky CHSA 275)Availability
    The three new Surround Sound Super Audio CD releases from Telarc International and Chesky are now available for purchase at the Telarc and Chesky web sites as well as record stores such as Tower Records. They are also available from the Acoustic Sounds, CD Universe, Elusive Disc and Music Direct web sites.

    Telarc Sampler Deals on the Web
    For SACD fans on the web, Telarc is also offering two “sampler deals”. You can get Telarc SACD Sampler 1, the 2004 PentaTone SACD sampler and the 2004 PentaTone RQR SACD sampler for only $35 in the “2004 SACD Pentatone and Telarc Sampler Bundle” or you can choose 6 SACD sampler discs – the 2004 Telarc Classical SACD sampler, the 2004 Telarc Jazz SACD sampler, the Telarc SACD Sampler 1, the Heads Up Jazzin’ Surround SACD sampler, the 2004 PentaTone SACD sampler and the 2004 PentaTone RQR SACD sampler for $65 with the “All Six SACD Sampler Bundle Deal”. Both deals are limited time offers, available only on the Telarc web site (see link below).

  • Various Artists – 2004 SACD Pentatone and Telarc Sampler Bundle – $35 (Telarc SACD-69998)
  • Various Artists – All Six SACD Sampler Bundle Deal – $65 (Telarc SACD-69997)More SACDs Coming from Telarc and Heads Up
    Telarc also took time this week to announce plans for five more SACD releases from their Telarc and Heads Up jazz label. The new Telarc SACDs will include three more Classical Music Stereo SACDs that are being transferred from their Soundstream Digital Recordings to SACD that are due out in stores on July 27th. Also coming are new Surround Sound SACD releases from Junior Brown on Telarc (due out on August 24th) and Doc Powell on the Heads Up jazz label (due out in July 27th).

    Upcoming Surround Sound SACDs

  • Doc Powell – Cool Like That (Heads Up HUSA-9091)
  • Junior Brown – Down Home Chrome (Telarc SACD-63612)

    Upcoming Stereo SACDs

  • Michael Murray – Saint Saens: Symphony No. 3 and Encores a la francaise (Telarc SACD-60634)
  • Frederick Fennell, Cleveland Symphonic Winds – Holst: Suite Nos. 1 and 2, Handel: Music for Royal Fireworks, Sousa: Stars, Marches, Fanfares and Others (Telarc SACD-60639)
  • Leonard Slatkin, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra – Barber: Adagio for Strings, Vaughan Williams: Fantasian on a Theme, Pachelbel: Kanon (Telarc SACD-60641)