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Jazz - Released November 22, 2019 | Craft Recordings

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In 1954, Chet Baker was named trumpeter of the year by the American jazz press. Miles Davis wrote in his autobiography, “I think he knew he didn’t deserve it over Dizzy and a lot of other trumpet players. [...] Both him and me knew that he had copied a lot of sh*t from me”. Whatever Miles may have said or written, Chet Baker’s name was certainly on everyone’s lips in the 1950’s. Even when he played alongside some of the best musicians in the business like Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan and Russ Freeman, Baker still held his own. The angel-faced musician based in Los Angeles played a pivotal role in the development of cool/West Coast jazz and in 1958 he signed a four-album contract with Riverside Records, a New York label who was captivated by his music. The complete collection of The Legendary Riverside Albums, released in autumn 2019, is a compilation of essential tracks showcasing a musician far more versatile than he may at first appear, who glamorized California’s cool jazz but was also able to work alongside hard bop heavyweights from the East Coast. In addition to these four re-mastered albums in Hi-Res 24-Bit, he compiled a number of alternative takes from these sessions into a fifth album. The first of these four albums (Chet Baker Sings) It Could Happen to You, released in October 1958, shows his originality as he has a modern take on standards such as How Long Has This Been Going On? and Old Devil Moon. Unlike his business partner Bill Grauer, producer Orrin Keepnews was initially reluctant to welcome Chet Baker to his label and therefore didn’t produce this first album. But as it happens, after hearing Chet’s singing accompanied by Kenny Drew on piano, George Morrow and Sam Jones on double bass and Philly Joe Jones and Dannie Richmond on drums, Keepnews ended up being seriously impressed. Compared with the great singers of the time Chet Baker was just as innovative with his vocals as he was when playing his instrument. He stayed true to himself and his own style – which is a real testament to his character. One month later he was back in the studio working on Chet Baker in New York, which was released in 1959 featuring Johnny Griffin on saxophone, Al Haig on piano and Paul Chambers on double bass. This album really raised the bar as the musicians take on some exquisite solos in ballads such as Polka Dots and Moonbeams and much more up-tempo hits such as the lively Hotel 49. Perhaps the most impressive of the lot is the album Chet, recorded on December 30 th 1959 and 19 th January 1959, featuring pianist Bill Evans, guitarist Kenny Burrell, flutist Herbie Mann and saxophonist Pepper Adams. You can hear the languor of Chet’s playing more than ever as the music takes on an all-new impressionistic feel and Evans’ wonderful phrases on piano are completely in sync. From the first few seconds of the opening track of this masterpiece, Alone Together, with its stunning cover (Chet with model Rosemary “Wally” Coover, photographed by Melvin Sokolsky), the sensual and minimalist style give the album a more modern style. Later in July of that same year (1959), he recorded Chet Baker Plays the Best of Lerner & Loewe to round off his brief episode with Riverside Records. It covers Broadway hits from musicals such as My Fair Lady, Gigi, Brigadoon and Paint Your Wagon by lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe. Chet is once again joined by Bill Evans, Pepper Adams and Herbie Mann here, as well as saxophonist Zoot Sims. His repertoire is just as distinctive as ever as he makes an esthetic sleight of hand when covering these tracks by adding his melancholic phrasing. Great music. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released December 6, 2019 | Craft Recordings

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In just three sessions between November 1955 and October 1956, Miles Davis and his first quintet recorded enough material for the release of five albums under the label Prestige. With the great Rudy Van Gelder in his studio in Hackensack, New Jersey, this creative marathon produced some of the most iconic albums in the trumpeter’s discography, such as Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet (1956), Cookin’ (1957), Relaxin’ (1958), Workin (1959) and Steamin’ (1961). Joining him are pianist Red Garland, double bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Philly Joe Jonas and saxophonist John Coltrane (before he became famous as a musical God). Throughout these 32 tracks which are chronologically sequenced and remastered in Hi-Res 24-Bit, the quintet essentially writes the birth certificate for hard bop, defining the genre. Although it often seems to be Miles David’s second quintet (1965-1968 with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams and Wayne Shorter) which has pride of place in the jazz history hall of fame, it shouldn’t overshadow this earlier group from the mid-fifties which was equally as influential. Miles’ pared-down style, the originality of Coltrane and his intricate keys and the great precision of Garland’s playing make for some stunning versions of these compositions, which include both popular music and more unconventional and innovative pieces. A must-listen! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 10, 2017 | Craft Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
There’s a ‘before and after’ Out Of Time in the life of R.E.M. This ‘before’ for Michael Stipe’s band is mainly found on university campuses where the group gained a cult following in the ‘80s… How then did R.E.M. manage to sell 12 million copies of Out Of Time to the world? The answer is that this record was both sublime and austere. An uncompromising album, like the chamber rock such as Nirvana and the Pixies that you’d blast out without caring about pissing off the neighbours in that year of 1992… Always virtuosic, Peter Buck goes from the mandolin to the acoustic guitar with great ease, John Paul Johns from Led Zeppelin sublimely arranges refined chords and Michael Stipe shines with his melancholic and tortured prose with the candor of a man with self-assured belief. Cinemascope ballads prevail, peaking with Everybody Hurts. It must be said, Automatic For The People is not the most easy-flowing album by R.E.M. but it is one of the most beautiful. Released in 2017, this 25th anniversary edition also offers, alongside the remastered album, a live recording from the 40 Watt Club in Athens on the 19th November 1992 with some cover versions like Funtime by Iggy Pop and Love Is All Around by The Troggs. © MD/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 10, 2017 | Craft Recordings

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Jazz - Released March 29, 2019 | Craft Recordings

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In April 1957, John Coltrane signed a two-year contract with Prestige Records. The saxophone player recorded many sessions in the studio, both formal and informal, and often stood in as a sideman. Coltrane then released his first records as a band leader under Prestige and the label gave him a green light to record the mythical Blue Train with Blue Note. Coltrane ’58 – The Prestige Recordings box set gathers together, in chronological order, thirty-seven recordings made by Coltrane in 1958 with Kenny Burrell on guitar; Donald Byrd, Freddie Hubbard and Wilbur Harden on trumpet; Tommy Flanagan and Red Garland on piano; Paul Chambers on double bass; and Jimmy Cobb, Louis Hayes and Art Taylor on drums. At that time, Coltrane was hardly a novice. He was already past 30 and was fighting a drug addiction (the new contract encouraging him to double down on his efforts to quit his bad habits). Coltrane’s style was also going through heavy changes. While not quite reaching the formal revolution of the Atlantic or Impulse! recordings, Trane is nevertheless already deploying his distinct sound, recognizable from miles away, with a controlled and accessible virtuosity. Trane played with a frenetic energy and the music sounds like no other.In this 1958 session recorded in Rudy Van Gelder’s legendary studio in Hackensack, New Jersey, Trane fought his legendary shyness. He created new harmonic progressions while improving his solos. The boxed set features definite versions of Lush Life, Lover Come Back to Me, Stardust, Good Bait and Little Melonae, as well as the first recordings of Nakatani Serenade, The Believer, Black Pearls and Theme for Ernie. Russian Lullaby, Sweet Sapphire Blues and I Want to Talk About You are tenor sax masterpieces. An absolute essential, the recordings have been remastered from their original analogical tapes. John Coltrane’s love story with Prestige ended in April 1959, whereupon he was then ready to embark on a new revolution, the one that would lead him to Atlantic Records. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released February 28, 2020 | Craft Recordings

To celebrate the centenary of Charlie Parker’s birthday on August 29th 1920 in Kansas City, this impeccable compilation brings together sessions recorded by the saxophonist for the Savoy label between 1944 and 1948. 28 tracks have been restored and remastered by Paul Blakemore, with music by legends such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Bud Powell and John Lewis, a veritable soundtrack to the birth of bebop. Some of the tracks are taken from an almost mythical session from November 1945 which some baptised ‘The Greatest Jazz Session Ever’, with Miles, Max Roach and Curley Russell presented as Charlie Parker’s Reboppers. The virtuosity and acrobatic poetry displayed by Bird and his friends revolutionised jazz, which had until then never known such freedom and technical excellency. Of course, the themes themselves (Donna Lee, Chasin’ the Bird, Milestones, Now’s the Time, Parker’s Mood, Marmaduke...) are so gorgeous that they have all become standards in their own right. Charlie Parker not only rewrote the jazz rulebook but also invented a language and an aesthetic that would go on to influence countless musicians. An essential album. ©️ Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released August 2, 2019 | Craft Recordings

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Creedence were the first to sign up for Woodstock. In April 1969, the Fogerty brothers' band pocketed a cheque for $10,000. Now that they'd landed such a big fish, the organisers knew that other big names would start looking for their own spot on the bill of what was set to be THE festival of the year... But all the same, the group were disappointed to find themselves with a very late billing, between half past midnight and 1:20am, after the Grateful Dead. But that didn't do anything to dampen a perfect performance, presented here in full and remastered. In 1969, Creedence Clearwater Revival was already one of the most popular acts of the day, thanks to their three albums Creedence Clearwater Revival (May 1968), Bayou Country (January 1969) and Green River (August 1969, released two weeks before Woodstock). At the height of the reign of the Beatles and Stones, John Fogerty's Californian gang had something original up their sleeve: savage, raw rock'n'roll, built from rough-hewn, unadorned blues and country. Creedence marked themselves out with their marriage of redneck ways and a hippie style; of tradition and rock'n'roll modernity. Flanked by his big brother Tom, drummer Doug Clifford and bassist Stu Cook, John Fogerty would serve up Dantean hits like Born On The Bayou, Proud Mary and Green River: which are all given a lively, strong treatment here. As ever, Fogerty brays down the mic like a madman (his version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins's I Put a Spell on You is a show-stopper) while his brother provides pared-down, sharp and affecting guitar lines. With Creedence, you don't get any blowhard solos or incontinent psychedelics. Just a full-frontal blast. Bam! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 1, 2019 | Craft Recordings

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A brilliant distillation of '90s alt-rock. A crass and noisy attempt to cash in on grunge. A band in need of rock tunes for an upcoming tour after six years off the road. The fact that R.E.M.'s ninth album Monster can after still inspire such polarities is proof enough that it's worth a fresh listen. New mixes by Scott Litt, a trove of demos and a 1995 live show from Chicago featuring mostly a post-I.R.S. years setlist fills out the portrait of the 25th Anniversary reissue of one of R.E.M.'s most contentious albums. With liner notes in which Peter Buck admits, "We wanted to get away from who we were," Monster 25 is the sound not only of Buck, Michael Stipe, Mike Mills and Bill Berry pondering what it means to suddenly be rock stars, but also of a band deep in one of those periodic left turns that artists need to pass through or call it quits. And while the lyrics are typical Stipe-ian jabberwocky mangled further by vocals buried in the original mix, it's Peter Buck's ever-present guitar, bashing out crunchy power chords bathed in delay, reverb and buzzsaw distortion, that remains the album's most controversial aspect as he ditches his former loyalty to acoustic textures and intricate arrangements for an overdriven, rocked up Cobain-life heft and snarl that's fiercely front and center in the mix. The remixed album is a very different experience from the original: the instrumental parts are now clearly delineated, instead of a blurry, roaring mix. "Tongue" drops the four beat count off in favor of a simple piano and loud tambourine. The organ, which was prominent in the original, has been lowered in the remix. "Circus Envy's" sizzling guitar distortion has been dialed back and Berry's drums have been pulled forward. Most noticeable of all are Stipe's vocals, some of which are entirely different takes from the original album's. "Crush with Eyeliner" begins with Stipe voicing an unaccompanied "la, la, la" and continues with a more stylized T. Rex and Iggy Pop-influenced vocal take than the original. Some of the changes are outright deletions. Buck's organ in "Let Me In," and his choppy guitar part in "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?", and the percussion in "You" are completely gone. These changes are needed context, connecting the album to the band's musical progression and in the process making it seem less like an outlier. © Robert Baird / Qobuz
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Folk - Released October 1, 1960 | Craft Recordings

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Blues - Released January 1, 1967 | Craft Recordings

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Pop - Released August 2, 2019 | Craft Recordings

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Jazz - Released November 29, 2019 | Craft Recordings

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Metal - Released October 27, 2009 | Craft Recordings

After Between the Buried and Me pushed metalcore purists away with their most progressive release, Colors, they decided to push even harder for their fifth release. A diverse outing with an unruly amount of genres crammed into only six songs, The Great Misdirect is a highly adventurous, very convoluted, wildly dynamic, and extremely difficult listen. Briggs, Waring, Rogers, Waggoner, and Richardson are in top form, with their script-flipping abilities intact and their technical chops at their most extreme. This is a guitarist's album first and foremost (although bass players and drummers are in for a treat as well), and the playing, while showy, is incendiary. Like a cross between Dream Theater (with whom they toured in 2008) and Dillinger Escape Plan, Between the Buried and Me meld creative aptitude and roaring fury as they skate genres, stapling together speed metal, hardcore, carnival jazz, chamber pop, and a few indefinable Mike Patton-esque styles. "Fossil Genera -- A Feed from Cloud Mountain" fuses loungy Henry Mancini piano with metal guitar and guttural growls in a lighthearted way, but this only lasts for a few minutes; the song takes a dark turn into eight minutes of screaming speed metal before seguing into an epic orchestral outro with syrupy singing by vocalist Tommy Rogers. To fit the many moods, Rogers readily switches moods between painful howls and heartfelt singing (with lyrics mainly dealing with alien abductions, the inner workings of the human brain, and magic), but he passes the microphone to guitarist Paul Waggoner for "Desert of Song," a relatively straightforward acoustic Dirt-era Alice in Chains ballad, which builds to a thick finish. It's merely a breather, however, and after five and a half minutes to recoup, the band goes out with "Swim to the Moon": nearly 18 minutes of unflappable and razor-sharp prog metal -- whirlwind scales, snaking solos, and amazingly intricate rhythm twists -- with hair-raising howls, parted by radio rock harmonies. It's an experience, to say the least. At the same time, The Great Misdirect is the type of overblown record that asks the question, "Is there such thing as being too ambitious?" © Jason Lymangrover /TiVo
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Country - Released August 13, 2002 | Craft Recordings

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Blues - Released January 1, 1989 | Craft Recordings

The Healer was a major comeback for John Lee Hooker. Featuring a wide array of guest stars, including Bonnie Raitt, Johnnie Johnson, and Los Lobos, The Healer captured widespread media attention because of all the superstar musicians involved in its production. Unfortunately, that long guest list is what makes the album a fairly unengaging listen. Certainly there are moments were it clicks, but that's usually when the music doesn't greatly expand on his stripped-down boogie. The other moments are professional, but not exciting. It's a pleasant listen, but never quite an engaging one. © Thom Owens /TiVo
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Pop - Released March 21, 2000 | Craft Recordings

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Jazz - Released December 6, 2019 | Craft Recordings

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In just three sessions between November 1955 and October 1956, Miles Davis and his first quintet recorded enough material for the release of five albums under the label Prestige. With the great Rudy Van Gelder in his studio in Hackensack, New Jersey, this creative marathon produced some of the most iconic albums in the trumpeter’s discography, such as Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet (1956), Cookin’ (1957), Relaxin’ (1958), Workin (1959) and Steamin’ (1961). Joining him are pianist Red Garland, double bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Philly Joe Jonas and saxophonist John Coltrane (before he became famous as a musical God). Throughout these 32 tracks which are chronologically sequenced and remastered in Hi-Res 24-Bit, the quintet essentially writes the birth certificate for hard bop, defining the genre. Although it often seems to be Miles David’s second quintet (1965-1968 with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams and Wayne Shorter) which has pride of place in the jazz history hall of fame, it shouldn’t overshadow this earlier group from the mid-fifties which was equally as influential. Miles’ pared-down style, the originality of Coltrane and his intricate keys and the great precision of Garland’s playing make for some stunning versions of these compositions, which include both popular music and more unconventional and innovative pieces. A must-listen! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released November 22, 2019 | Craft Recordings

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Jazz - Released November 6, 2020 | Craft Recordings

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Soul - Released January 1, 1974 | Craft Recordings

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