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Blue Alterations

Al Stauffer/Tom Lawton Duo

Original Recording Format: Analog Tape
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Blue Alterations is the second DSD Jazz release at NativeDSD Music featuring Al Stauffer on String Bass and Tom Lawton on Piano.  The album was recorded to Analog Tape by Bob Sellman of Direct-to-Tape Recording (DTR).  It has been transferred to Stereo DSD by Bob Witak at High Definition Tape Transfers (HDTT) with the cooperation and permission of DTR.

A small but distinguished coterie of Philadelphia Jazz artists were drawn into the orbit of the later French expatriate pianist and composer Bernard Peier in the 1960s and 1970s. They included the two musicians on this recording. Al Stauer performed with Peier on a regular basis throughout this period, and Tom Lawton studied with the great but underappreciated Jazz Master until his death in 1976.

Indeed, those who followed Peier’s incommensurately chronicled transit throughout the Jazz movement can hear glinting echoes of his playing in Lawton’s brilliant keyboard style: Lawton piles his pianologue with heady runs, craggy conjurations and bluesy intimations of melancholy that are strongly reminiscent of the man from Espinal.

Peier was a charming man who experienced some difficulty in communicating via the English language, albeit no problem at all when the keyboard was his conduit. The one composition by which he is represented on this recording, Tired Blues, bears that title because of a semantic misunderstanding: Peier told a commentator some years after he had written it that the meaning, he’d really had in mind was “relaxed”.

Stauer was one of the Philadelphia area’s most esteemed jazz bassists. Self-taught on the instrument, at the time of this recording he had been a professional musician for more than three decades. Over the years he accompanied such prime jazzmen as Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Gerry Mulligan, Bill Evans and Sam Most, and his association with Peier lasted a dozen years. He lived in Sewell, New Jersey, and taught privately in Philadelphia and at Glassboro (New Jersey) State College, now renamed Rowan University. His duets with himself— singing the notes while he plucks them on the bass—are a trademark of some singularity.

Al Stauffer/Tom Lawton Duo
Al Stauffer – String Bass
Tom Lawton – Piano


Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Blue Alterations
In Time Past
Tired Blues

Total time: 00:38:03

Additional information





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Digital Converter

Horus, Merging Technologies (DSD 64 and DSD 128), Signalyst HQ Player 4 Pro Mastering Tools (DSD 256 and DSD 512)

Mastering Engineers

Transferred from Analog Master Tape to DSD 128 by Bob Witak at High Definition Tape Transfers; DSD 256 and DSD 512 editions created by Tom Caulfield at NativeDSD Mastering Lab





Original Recording Format


Bob Sellman

Recording Engineer

Bob Sellman at Direct-to-Tape Recording Company

Each piece on this recording was recorded as a complete performance and contains no splices or editing. The recording was made using two Schoeps mics placed at a distance from the performing group to capture the sound of the group as you would hear it in a true acoustic performance with no amplification.

Recording Location

Wilson Music Hall, Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) in Glassboro, New Jersey on May 31, 1981

Recording Type & Bit Rate


Release DateDecember 29, 2015

Press reviews

Positive Feedback

This is modern jazz with a blues flare and nice jazzy rhythms despite the lack of a drummer. The title piece, “Blue Alterations,” is swinging blues. “Yestermorrow” is slower and more flowing. “In Time Past” begins as a slow sad melancholy piece with the bass increasing in acceleration as the piece progresses making quite an interesting contrast between the piano, bass, and the bassist’s vocalizations. “Tired Blues” is misnamed, it should have been named something more like “Relaxed Blues” as composer Bernard Peiffer had some difficulty with communicating in English. The final piece is a jazzed up “Melody” of works by classical composer Aram Khachaturyan.

The sound is so real, it’s like having the piano, bass, and the bassist’s wordless vocalizing in my room making it a nice jazz experience.


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