Music Reviews

Can You Recommend Some DSD Jazz? (Brian’s Corner)

A NativeDSD Music customer from Italy recently asked NativeDSD’s Technical Advisor Brian Moura: “Can you recommend some Jazz in Direct Stream Digital (DSD)”? His reply to that question is hereby shared with all of you through this special DSD Jazz edition of Brian’s Corner. We hope that you will enjoy the read and the music!

It seems like an easy question to answer. After all, NativeDSD is known for its extensive catalog of Jazz albums with hundreds of titles available. But which ones to recommend? In answering the question, I selected 9 Jazz favorites of mine. Interestingly, all 9 of the Jazz favorites are DSD Exclusive, Not Available on SACD releases. Here’s what I recommended – along with a few comments on why.  I invite you to drop by NativeDSD and consider these albums the next time you go DSD Jazz shopping.

NOLA: Music from New Orleans (One Microphone Recording) by Red (Sound Liaison)

NOLA is an album that pays tribute to the Jazz music of New Orleans.  It is a live, DXD recording from Sound Liaison using their One Microphone Recording technique.  To ensure that the album was authentic, two members of the Red Jazz Quartet went to New Orleans to check out the Jazz scene there and perform a few tunes.  When you listen to NOLA you will see they nailed it.  This is fine New Orleans Jazz performed by a European Jazz Quartet playing at a very high level.

Love You Madly: Live at Bubba’s by Monty Alexander (2xHD Mastering – Resonance Records)

This is an easy choice.  I’ve long been a fan of Jazz pianist Monty Alexander.  His unique blend of Jamaican roots and Jazz piano is very tasty.  Love You Madly is a double album of Monty playing with a talented trio.  It is a Live Recording made by Mack Emerman, founder of Miami’s legendary Criteria Recording Studios.  The album features 90 minutes of Jazz that you will enjoy and savor.

Skylark by Mike del Ferro (2020 Solo Piano Album of the Year) (Sound Liaison)

Skylark by Mike del Ferro is another example of Jazz piano music.  I was not familiar with del Ferro until the release of this album last year by Sound Liaison.  Skylark features 15 tracks that include several standards.  His melodic and engaging style makes Skylark a fine addition to any Jazz collection.

Yuko Mabuchi Trio (Yarlung)

When the self-titled debut album by the Yuko Mabuchi Trio arrived at NativeDSD, many people discovered this amazing Jazz Trio.  Pianist Yuko Mabuchi brings an energetic and passionate feel to the selections on this album.  Matched by the playing of two Jazz veterans – Del Atkins on Bass and Bobby Breton on Drums.  It’s a musical tour de force that is not to be missed.

Yuko Mabuchi Trio with JJ Kirkpatrick Plays Miles Davis (Yarlung)

Once you hear the Yuko Mabuchi Trio debut album, the next stop will be to pick up the trio’s next recording.  Here the trio is joined by Trumpeter JJ Kirkpatrick for a stellar tribute to Jazz great Miles Davis.  It is a very engaging set of 5 Miles Davis originals and 3 new compositions.  Showing once again the serious Jazz chops of this talented trio with a guest trumpeter to place a cherry at the top of this musical delight.

Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest by Bill Evans (2xHD Mastering – Resonance Records)

Some Other Time is one of the Best Selling Jazz albums in the NativeDSD catalog.  And for good reason.  Here listeners can enjoy a double album featuring 93 minutes of previously unavailable performances of Jazz Legend Bill Evans on piano with Eddie Gomez on Bass and Jack De Johnette on Drums.  The Original Analog Tapes of these recordings were discovered by the team at Resonance Records and transferred to Stereo DSD 256 by 2xHD Mastering.  Jazz experts have referred to the album as an “extraordinary find”, “captivating”, and “remarkable”.  If you want to add an album of Bill Evans to your music library, this is the place to start.

The Sweetest Sound by Angelo Verploegen, Ed Verhoeff, Eric Van Der Westen (Just Listen)

NativeDSD’s in-house music label Just Listen has brought listeners a series of excellent Stereo and Multichannel DSD 256 recordings.  Near the top of anyone’s list of the Just Listen catalog would be the recordings featuring Flugelhorn player Angelo Verploegen.  On The Sweetest Sound, Angelo is joined by Ed Verhoeff on Guitar and Eric Van Der Westen on Double Bass as they perform 8 Jazz Standards. Verploegen’s Flugelhorn is warm and engaging with the Guitar and Double Bass enhancing the musical moments. If you want to get a taste of some of the fine Jazz albums from Just Listen, this is a great one to start with. Trust me, you will be back for more.

Feenbrothers Play Dave Brubeck by Feenbrothers (Sound Liaison)

Members of the Feenbrothers Jazz Quartet often appear as studio musicians and sidemen on the recordings of other musicians, including some in the NativeDSD catalog.  This time, the Feenbrothers – Paul van der Feen (Saxophone), Mark van der Feen (Piano). Clemens van der Feen (Double Bass) and Matthijs van der Feen (Drums) – have a family reunion and perform before a live audience. The album features favorites like Dave Brubeck’s “Take 5” plus some rousing numbers like “It’s A Raggy Waltz” and “Unsquare Dance” that has the audience clapping along with the quartet. This is an album with fine Jazz music, excellent performances and some just plain fun.

Cool Jazz (2020 Jazz Album of the Year) by Gabor Varga Jazz Trio (Hunnia Records)

Jazz Pianist Gabor Varga and his Jazz Trio released 3 DSD Stereo albums last year with Hunnia Records in Hungary. In one case, they even added a Vibes player to form a Jazz Quartet.  Varga and his Trio specialize in a type of Jazz that some call “Cool”.  It’s musical and fun to listen to.  So, a good place to start with your musical exploration of Jazz in DSD and the Gabor Varga Jazz Trio is, perhaps of course, their album simply titled “Cool Jazz”!

Written by

Brian Moura

Brian is Associate Editor at Positive Feedback, Senior Advisor – Finance & Executive Management at Regional Government Services Authority and Board Secretary & Commissioner at the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA). He graduated with a BA Degree in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and a Masters Degree in Public Administration (MPA) at California State University East Bay (CSUEB). For he is a Technical Advisor.


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