Free: Soulful Piano Reflections (2019)

Stepheney, V. White, W. White, Lewis, Wright, Canning, Graidon, Jarreau, Cropper, Floyd, Mc Daniels, Cleveland, Gaye, Benson, Springsteen, Gershwin, DuBose, Withers, Green, Jackson, Mitchell, Manning, Redding

Witmer Trio

Sound Liaison has embarked upon a series of live Jazz recordings that are tributes to some of popular music’s greatest artists and songs. This has included albums highlighting the music of The Beatles, Harry Belafonte, Louis Armstrong, and Eddie Harris and Les McCann.

Their latest album in this series is Free: Soulful Piano Reflections by the Witmer Trio.  It’s a mellow, jazzy take on a full album worth of Soul classics from the ‘70s and ‘80s.  The tracks include Ain’t No Sunshine (Bill Withers), That’s The Way of the World (Earth, Wind & Fire), When A Man Loves A Woman (Percy Sledge), What’s Going On (Marvin Gaye), Feel Like Makin’ Love (Roberta Flack), The Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding), Roof Garden (Al Jarreau), Let’s Stay Together (Al Green), Knock On Wood (Eddie Floyd), and Fire (Pointer Sisters).

"The great conductor Sergiu Celibidache insisted that tempo and dynamic markings were relative, they depended on the sound of the hall.

Creating this recording was all about carefully adapting the equipment to the hall, the musicians and the compositions. The close collaboration between artists, sound engineer and producer has culminated in a download that pays homage to the artistry of high resolution recordings.

Cajan Witmer is a sublime arranger. His first album for Sound Liaison, the critically acclaimed 'En Azul', show his awareness of the particular strengths and characteristics of the musicians he works with. Cajan uses this knowledge to compose arrangements that capitalise on the qualities of his musicians to the maximum benefit of the music.

But this time around he goes even a step further. Cajan explains; "I love the sound of MCO’s Studio 2 and the sound that recording engineer Frans de Rond creates in that hall. So when arranging the songs for this album, I tried to hear in my mind not only the sound of the trio but also how that sound would interact with the hall. It was initially a new way of thinking, but actually surprisingly easy once I got used to the idea. After all, I know how Maarten will sound when playing a certain groove, and how that will blend with Han’s bass line. Now all I had to do was to envision that sound in the hall of Studio 2. Vera turned out to be a perfect choice. She understood the sound I was after and she knew the sound of Studio 2 having recorded and rehearsed there on numerous occasions. Her sound fitted perfectly with the trio, and her musical suggestions were incredibly helpful."

When creating the sound stage, Frans spent a great deal of time getting the balance of the Witmer Trio as optimal as possible using the ambient microphone stereo pair placed in the ''sweet spot'' in Studio 2, before adding the spot microphones.

We wanted to create a sound field that was intimate but also had enough depth to reflect a visual representation of the instruments.

In a sense we adopted the same philosophy as Cajan Witmer in his arrangements as we wanted the melodic part of each instrument to stand out without overshadowing the whole. Thus the piano and the drums have been given a position in the sound field, instead of the more common, radio friendly approach, with the instruments piled on top of each other with no placement. The benefit of this approach is that you can actually see the trio in front of you between the speakers.

In a sense we are old fashioned, maybe we listened to too many old jazz recordings, but on the other hand.......this is what we believe a high-resolution recording should be about."

-- Frans De Rond & Peter Bjørnild.

 

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Witmer Trio

Cajan Witmer's trio, with double bass player Han Slinger and drummer Maarten Kruijswijk.

This trio has been around for more than 20 years and plays a repertoire of latin, groovy jazz and pop songs. Swinging music with a great taste for style. The arrangements are authentic and surprising.

Pianist Cajan Witmer tells a clear story. Together with bassist Han Slinger and drummer Maarten Kruijswijk, a sophisticated whole is formed. Accessible and original.

The Witmer Trio gives concerts, plays at events and parties and in various catering establishments. The Witmer Trio is therefore experienced, flexible and feels the audience flawlessly. The music invites young and old to dance.

Witmer Trio recorded 4 albums: Doño, The Shampoo, Col Legno and Rapsodia and Azul.
Doño and The Shampoo under the old name El Trio. 

Photo: from booklet SL1031A

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Free: Soulful Piano Reflections (2019)

Stepheney, V. White, W. White, Lewis, Wright, Canning, Graidon, Jarreau, Cropper, Floyd, Mc Daniels, Cleveland, Gaye, Benson, Springsteen, Gershwin, DuBose, Withers, Green, Jackson, Mitchell, Manning, Redding

Witmer Trio

    Jazzenzo

The music of the trio of pianist Cajan Witmer with violinist Vera van der Bie features a slightly romantic touch. Under the title 'Free', Jazz improvisation is loosely performed on standards and pop songs on this album.

Cyriel Pluimakers[read full review]

Free: Soulful Piano Reflections (2019)

Stepheney, V. White, W. White, Lewis, Wright, Canning, Graidon, Jarreau, Cropper, Floyd, Mc Daniels, Cleveland, Gaye, Benson, Springsteen, Gershwin, DuBose, Withers, Green, Jackson, Mitchell, Manning, Redding

Witmer Trio

Cables: AudioQuest, Mogami
Digital Converters: Horus, Merging Technologies
Headphones: Sennheiser HD-800
Mastering Engineer: Frans de Rond
Microphone Preamps: Horus, Merging Technologies
Microphones:

Cajan (Pianist): Rens Heijnis RCM-402 (2x),
Han (Bass Player): Josephson C700
Maarten (Drummer): Josephson C617 (overhead) / Audix D6 (kick drum)
Main system: Schoeps MK5 (AB)

Power Amplifier: Moon 760A
Producer: Peter Bjørnild
Recording Engineer: Frans de Rond
Recording Location: MCO Studio 2, Hilversum, The Netherlands, on September 24, 2017
Recording Software: Pyramix, Merging Technologies
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DXD
Speakers: TAD Compact Evolution One

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Included in any DSD purchase is access to the base DSD64 resolution. All DSD capable units will be able to play DSD64.
Album Download duration price
SL1031A: Free: Soulful Piano Reflections
00:51:57   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Ain't No Sunshine
Withers
00:04:54   Select quality & channels above
2.
Free
Gershwin,DuBose
00:04:58   Select quality & channels above
3.
That's The Way Of The World
Stepheney,V. White,W. White
00:05:28   Select quality & channels above
4.
When A Man Loves A Woman
Lewis,Wright
00:05:22   Select quality & channels above
5.
What's Going On
Cleveland,Gaye,Benson
00:05:47   Select quality & channels above
6.
Feel Like Makin' Love
Mc Daniels
00:05:36   Select quality & channels above
7.
The Dock Of The Bay
Cropper,Redding
00:05:13   Select quality & channels above
8.
Roofgarden
Canning,Graidon,Jarreau
00:02:52   Select quality & channels above
9.
Let's Stay Together
Green,Jackson,Mitchell,Manning
00:03:36   Select quality & channels above
10.
Knock On Wood
Cropper,Floyd
00:03:49   Select quality & channels above
11.
Fire
Springsteen
00:04:22   Select quality & channels above

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