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Listen to Cassandra Wilson's New Moon Daughter in 24-bit / 192 kHz: exquisite balance, stereo scope and audio quality!

Door Barry Moore |

Are you familiar with Cassandra Wilson? If yes, then your ears must already be satisfied. If not, then they soon will be! Wilson is a great jazz singer, she has behind her an entire career’s worth of glittering collaborations, solo projects, and high quality albums. We have decided to showcase New Moon Daughter (1995), recently reissued in HD-audio, and here’s why!

Qobuz continues to plunder the catalogue of editions and reissues of albums available in Audio-HD / studio Master 24 bit quality, and highly rates Cassandra Wilson?s album New Moon Daughter, released on the prestigious Blue Note label. First issued in 1995, this little gem managed to climb to the very top, reaching the much-coveted No. 1 spot as the Billboard Top Jazz Album in 1996.

The album is a clear original, in the sense that it consists of Cassandra Wilson?s own reinterpretations of songs made famous by great artists such as Billie Holiday, Neil Young, and Bono/U2, to name but a few. Musically speaking, it is an up-tempo work, mixing Jazz and ballads, which are all arranged to perfectly accommodate her luxurious talent. Her magical voice interprets every song differently, yet always with the warmth and nuance that has come to characterize Wilson?s oeuvre.

To begin with, note that the quality of this recording lends itself particularly well to a transcription in divine high fidelity. With lesser recordings, it can be technically difficult to achieve perfect quality when the source material is, shall we say, a little troubled by poor instrumentation and vocals. None of this applies in the present case, because when played in basic CD quality, the sound of the album already impresses our ears!

Once the amazing audio speed of HD / 24 bit is engaged, the musical acceleration is dramatic. The album begins with Wilson?s amazing take of Strange Fruit, and the listener is thereby rewarded with some outstanding sounds. This stereo-sound feels widescreen and incredibly inventive as it lets loose Wilson?s arsenal of instruments one by one; there is a sense of open space which, when placed alongside the transparency of the vocal, leaves the listener speechless at the record?s textural nature. The sheer sonorous nature of Cassandra Wilson?s voice is commendable, her technique is rendered in all of its glory in 24-bit / 192kHz. If the majority of the songs on the album are relatively quiet, Last Train to Clarksville allows Wilson to show off her impetuous virtuosity, leaving the listener impressed by her dynamic control. This track is accompanied by a wide stereo sound that allows all of the instruments to be expressed.

In terms of sonorous texture in general, in our view, the song that sounds the best in HD audio is Death Letter. The quality of the sound and the mixing, alongside the warmth that Wilson?s voice radiates, explodes across many vocal registers. We could summarise our experience of listening to the album thus: it is like honey for the ears. Subtleties abound, yet the sound never feels saturated or distorted, and we are always allowed to appreciate the space between notation and instrumentation.
The rendering of tonal variation is one of the greatest highlights of the recording. In order to convince you of this, it suffices to take a ride into the intro of Find Him, where a low bass attack sends a shock of electric joy down your spinal cord. Do not miss out on experiencing the stunning fullness of this masterful recording. We also encourage you to share our feeling of technical and artistic ecstasy by listening to Wilson?s rendition of I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry, which is characterized by the precision of the battery attack (the wonderful drums, snare, and cymbal).

In summation, Qobuz has selected this Studio Master / 24-bit version of Cassandra Wilson?s album New Moon Daughter due to its combined technical and artistic prowess. The subtleties in the recording of this album are the perfect stimulus for repeated listening; they are myriad, and a delight for the ears. A beautiful Studio Master recording.

Cassandra Wilson's album was listened to through different headphones (notably the iFidélio X2 and the Denon 7100...) and through a running PC built around the Asus Xonar Essence STX, an Astell & Kern AK120 player, and a Marantz NA-11 network drive.

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PP Garcia for Qobuz
Twitter @ppgarcia75