Simpler Times is Yarlung’s first album to make its debut in DSD. Before the tape release, before the CD, before vinyl and before all other high resolution digital formats. Sophisticated Lady jazz quartet is also the first jazz group with whom Yarlung has collaborated on a recording, so this is a double debut.
Simpler Times follows Sophisticated Lady’s highly acclaimed self-titled debut album, from executive producer John Pruit:
Sophisticated Lady jazz quartet pays homage to the Great Tradition of American jazz but most of their repertoire is written by members of the quartet. Simpler Times celebrates these original tunes, especially those by the great Gary Wicks, our bass player. Unlike the majority of contemporary jazz recordings, which are carefully and surgically perfected in postproduction, this album remains raw and fresh. These tracks are complete takes, “live to tape,” without editing. The music on this recording is how Sophisticated Lady plays without the help of digital magic. The quartet rehearsed and performed some of these tracks before our recording but at least half are the first time through; the quartet discussed the tunes and who would take what solo in which order but without rehearsal. I wanted the intensity of raw improvisation. This is possible when superb musicians tackle new material together, listening carefully to each other and playing as a single organism. Some melodies, I played for them on the piano right before our take and the quartet improvised from there. Music cannot get fresher than this.
Yarlung makes recordings in concert halls, not studios. Our albums capture the sound of our musicians playing in real acoustic spaces. Yarlung recorded this album directly to two tracks of RMGI 468 analog tape running at 15 ips, with no mixer. We used the Hapi converter and Pyramix software from Merging Technologies in Switzerland to make these transfers to DSD. Our sincere thanks to The International Rectifier for making this project possible.