Album of the Year 2020

Embrace Me

Denise Jannah, Gidon Nunes Vaz Quartet

Original Recording Format: DXD
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2020 NativeDSD Album of the Year – Vocals

Sound Liaison returns to NativeDSD with Embrace Me, their 15th release featuring Blue Note recording star Denise Jannah with the Gidon Nunes Vaz Quartet.  Gary Giddins from the Village Voice says “Quite simply, Denise Jannah is one of the best jazz singers to come along in the 25 years I’ve been writing about music.”

Embrace Me was recorded in DXD on a Pyramix Workstation, transferred to a Studer A80 Analog Tape Recorder (for what Sound Liaison tells us is “a bit of what they call Mojo”) and then transferred to DXD.

The DSD editions of the album at NativeDSD, including the DSD Stereo 512 downloads, were created by Tom Caulfield at the NativeDSD Mastering Studio from the DXD edition of the album.

Sound Liaison says “Jazz is a living tradition. This recording shows yet again how the younger generation gets inspired by what came before them and the older generation gets revitalized by the energy and fire of the younger generation. Gidon has handpicked a band of seasoned young musicians. These young men are among the top talents of the European scene. In Spite of their relatively young age they already have an impressive track record: Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw, Phillip Harper, Frank McComb, Cory Henry, Ignacio Berroa, Jesse van Ruller, Ellis Marsalis, Herlin Riley, Ack van Rooyen, Randy Brecker, Steve Masakowski, Wess ‘Warmdaddy’ Anderson, Gregory Porter, Johnny Vidacovich, Nicholas Payton, Peter Bernstein …… are a few of the masters where they have done their apprenticeship.

Talking about masters, Gidon hit the jackpot when he found Blue Note recording star Denise Jannah willing to add her magic to the date. Denise is in top form here, clearly inspired by her young colleagues; she delivers a pointed yet relaxed rendition of these classic songs. This recording of Don Sebesky’s ‘Yesterday’s Dreams’ is in a sense a premiere. It is the first time the composition is being heard with lyrics. Joan Gannij wrote the lyrics and Mr. Sebesky gave her his blessing for telling a good story.”

Don Sebesky says “There’s a lot of quality musicianship on this recording; it’s very clear. So very rare to hear a group of young people pick up on the vibes (of these standards) and be true to the music. God bless you…… Keep doing what you’re doing.”

Gidon Nunes Vaz adds “There is no playing it safe in jazz. You could say that the safety in jazz is that there is no safety. I prefer a recording session to be as live as possible; everybody in the same room, catching the moment where creativity happens, old school, no overdubs….no safety. But…. OK…to be honest for this recording I did have a number of safety factors; Studio 2 in the MCO building is a fantastic hall to play in. With Frans de Rond engineering you know that the sound is going to be right. With Timothy, Thomas, and Yoran as the rhythm section, I know that the music will be free to flow wherever it wants to go. And Denise is such an enormous source of inspiration. Her mastery inspires you to give it all you got. It is impossible not to play well with her present.”

“I believe me and my band members all have our own voice within the tradition. We have learned to ‘speak’ by the musicians who came before us and we are very proud to be a part of that tradition, however, I do strive to crystallize my own voice and thereby contribute. I play the music I like to play. I don’t sit trying to work out some scheme that I think promoters or critics might like. I play this music because I have to…I can’t play it any other way.”

This album is dedicated to Gidon’s mentor Peter Guidi, who passed away in 2018.


Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Yesterday's Dreams
Embraceable You
Street of Dreams
We'll Be Together Again
On A Misty Night
Lazy Afternoon

Total time: 00:36:25

Additional information





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Analog Recording Equipment

Studer A80 Reel to Reel Analog Tape Machine (at 15 ips).


Microphone cables by AudioQuest/Mogami, All power cables and power conditioners by AudioQuest

Digital Converters

Horus, Merging Technologies

Editing Software

Pyramix, Merging Technologies

Mastering Engineer

Frans de Rond – Pyramix DXD to Analog to DXD Transfer; Tom Caulfield – DXD to DSD Transfers

Mastering Room

Speakers: TAD Compact Evolution One, Poweramp: Moon 760A, Mixing headphones: Sennheiser HD800S and AKG 702

Microphone Preamps

Horus, Merging Technologies


Gidon – AEA R92, Denise – Rens Heijnis MPM-91 Tube Mic, Timothy – Josephson C617 (pair), Thomas – Josephson C700A, Yoran – Rens Heijnis RCM402 (pair) and Audix D6


Despite the recording being done on a Pyramix Digital Audio Workstation, we chose to create the DXD-Master by transferring the recording direct to a Studer A80 Reel to Reel Analog Tape Machine (at 15 ips). This conversion gives us a bit of what they call 'Mojo'.

Original Recording Format


Gidon Nunes Vaz

Recording Engineer

Frans de Rond

Recording location

MCO, Studio 2, Hilversum, The Netherlands, on May 25, 2018

Recording Software

Pyramix, Merging Technologies

Recording Type & Bit Rate



TAD Compact Evolution One

Release DateMay 29, 2020

Press reviews

HiFi News and Record Review

This is a typical Sound Liaison release, here captured live in studio 2 at Hilversum’s MCO, with recording, mixing, and mastering by Frans de Rond.

However en route to becoming a DXD (or DSD) master via a Digital Audio Workstation, the initial recording was transferred to a Studer A80 tape machine at 15ips. Why? The answer is that ‘it gives us a bit of what they call ‘Mojo’.

Definitely an audiophile recording, then, but with a sense of humor, and the result is spectacular, with a warm, generous ambience you can almost reach out and touch each instrument. Gidon Nunez Vaz’ trumpet, Timothy Banchet’s piano, Thomas Pol’s bass and the drums of the splendidly named Yoran Vroom lovingly captured. Denise Jannah’s vocals on four of the tracks are simply gorgeous.

The result is a gentle, measured and totally appealing set.


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