Albums

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Pop - Released September 23, 2013 | Beating Drum

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Sélection FIP - Hi-Res Audio
If it weren't for the high fidelity, Between Dogs and Wolves, the fifth long-player from British-born singer/songwriter Piers Faccini, could easily be mistaken for a late-'60s/early-'70s Harvest Records release, appearing in a display case next to Shirley & Dolly Collins' Anthems in Eden or Roy Harper's Stormcock. Richly detailed yet tastefully delivered ballads like "Black Rose," "Like Water Like Stone," and "Broken Mirror" resonate in a similar way to classic folk offerings from Nick Drake, Martin Carthy, and John Renbourn. Like his closest contemporary, survival skills-instructor-turned modern British folk emancipator Sam Lee, Faccini uses the genre as a foundation to explore other styles, most notably on songs like the jazz-tinged "Pieces of Ourselves" and the breezy "Il Cammino," the latter of which pays homage to his Italian heritage. Elsewhere, he mines familiar themes like love and loss through an enigmatic musical prism that runs the gamut from deeply melancholic ("Feather Light" and "Girl in the Corner") to hesitantly hopeful ("Wide Shut Eyes" and "Missing Words"), all the while maintaining a stately singer/songwriter vibe that feels both authentic and refined. Between Dogs and Wolves is a quiet record filled with big emotions, but it requires the listener's complete attention, and even then it can be elusive. That said, it all goes down like the smoothest of drams, and between Faccini's smoky, Leonard Cohen-meets-Steve Kilbey (the Church) cadence, his finger-picking acumen, and deeply felt, yet measured and simplistic lyrics, it's hard to resist the urge to go back for seconds. ~ James Christopher Monger
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Pop - Released January 1, 1999 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard - Stereophile: Record To Die For
Once Nat King Cole gave up playing piano on a regular basis and instead focused on a series of easy listening vocal albums, jazz fans longed for him to return to his first love. These 1956 studio sessions made up Cole's last jazz-oriented disc, where he played piano and sang on every number, joined by several guest soloists. Cole's vocals are impeccable and swinging, while his piano alternates between providing subdued backgrounds and light solos that don't reveal his true potential on the instrument. Willie Smith's smooth alto sax buoys the singer in the brisk take of "Just You, Just Me." Harry "Sweets" Edison's muted trumpet complements the leader in his interpretation of "Sweet Lorraine." Composer Juan Tizol's valve trombone and former Cole sideman Jack Costanzo's bongos add just the right touch to the brisk take of "Caravan." Stuff Smith's humorous, unusually understated violin is a nice touch in "When I Grow Too Old to Dream." It's hard for any Nat King Cole fan to ignore these important sessions. [The original version of this release featured a dozen tracks, later expanded to 17 in the '80s with the discovery of some unreleased material. Yet another track, the alternate take of "You're Looking at Me," was also found and added to reissues beginning in the late '90s.] ~ Ken Dryden

Pop - Released May 30, 2011 | Parlophone France

Distinctions 3F de Télérama - Coup de coeur de l'Académie Charles Cros - Sélection Les Inrocks
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Pop - Released June 10, 2015 | INA Mémoire vive

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles du Monde de la Musique - 3F de Télérama
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Pop - Released October 15, 2000 | Parlophone France

Distinctions Victoire de la musique - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Henri Salvador was born in 1917 in Cayenne, French Guiana. He studied music in Paris and played with Django Reinhardt on one occasion. He started playing guitar seriously in Paris in 1935. His stay in the interior of Brazil is evident in much of his music. His sound is a combination of Parisian cabaret, Brazilian bossa nova, and French Antillean influences. This particular album shows his range of influences very well. His unguent vocals infuse an ambience of sensuous silk and soft tropical breezes. He also displays his great sense of humor in his lyrics, for which he is renowned in France and his homeland. "Jardin d'Hiver" tells of all the images he would like to have inhabit his winter garden. It is a touching portrait and sung very soulfully. The instrumental accompaniment throughout the album is very much muted but exceptional in its evocation of the ambience that his voice creates. The duet with Françoise Hardy on "Le Fou de la Reine" is a fine example of the finesse of both artists. The album won the Victoire de la Musique award in France for the year 2000. A highly recommended introduction to this prolific artist. [This album was re-released under the title Room with a View in early 2002 on the Blue Note label, including a bonus track.] ~ Mark Romano
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Pop - Released April 3, 2006 | Rhino - Elektra

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio

Pop - Released October 24, 2003 | Parlophone France

Distinctions Victoire de la musique - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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The third studio album from French pop superstar -M- (aka Mathieu Chédid) features 15 cuts, all of which help to reinforce the idiosyncratic, award-winning artist’s reputation for crafting truly adventurous rock/jazz/pop songs with an international flair. ~ James Christopher Monger
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Pop - Released May 14, 2013 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Pop - Released July 16, 1980 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
This is the peak of George Benson's courtship of the mass market -- a superbly crafted and performed pop album with a large supporting cast -- and wouldn't you know that Quincy Jones, the master catalyst, is the producer. Q's regular team, including the prolific songwriter Rod Temperton and the brilliant engineer Bruce Swedien, is in control, and Benson's voice, caught beautifully in the rich, floating sound, had never before been put to such versatile use. On "Moody's Mood," Benson really exercises his vocalese chops and proves that he is technically as fluid as just about any jazz vocalist, and he become a credible rival to Al Jarreau on the joyous title track. Benson's guitar now plays a subsidiary role -- only two of the ten tracks are instrumentals -- but Q has him play terrific fills behind the vocals and in the gaps, and the engineering gives his tone a variety of striking, new, full-sounding timbres. The instrumentals themselves are marvelous: "Off Broadway" is driving and danceable, and Ivan Lins' "Dinorah, Dinorah" grows increasingly seductive with each play. Benson should have worked with Jones from this point on, but this would be their only album together. ~ Richard S. Ginell
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Pop - Released October 8, 1980 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Pop - Released February 24, 2006 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Exceptional sound
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Pop - Released January 1, 2011 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Distinctions 3F de Télérama - Sélection Les Inrocks
The qualities of a vocal genius don't always become clear when she's singing classic material. Often as not, her abilities to both personalize and transcend a lifeless song with a stellar performance reveal the character behind the singer. Both Billie Holiday and Otis Redding excelled no matter what they were recording, whether it was a timeless standard or a studio throwaway. This collection of Amy Winehouse material, released to coincide with the first Christmas season after her death in July 2011, does not contain a strong set of material. Besides the covers, which are well chosen, originals "Between the Cheats" and "Best Friends, Right?" and "Half Time" should not have survived the cut if Winehouse had been around to wield her veto power. But if the songwriting isn’t strong enough to make listeners confuse this with a Back to Black follow-up, the productions and performances are up to her high caliber. Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson handled virtually all of the production work, while these performances by Winehouse are just as strong as she showed on Frank and Back to Black. Thanks to the work of Remi and Ronson, the album is also strikingly uniform; only the songwriting and prevalence of covers or "original versions" reveal that this is a posthumous collection. Ronson's production on "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" is towering, although he injects a little more drama into his chart than the song can support, while a skittering version of "The Girl from Ipanema" (nearly drum’n’bass at points) nearly reinvents a tired classic. The recordings stretch from the beginning of her professional career to close to the end, but Winehouse is virtually always in strong voice; only on her Tony Bennett duet, “Body and Soul,” does she veer into self-parody. ~ John Bush
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Pop - Released January 1, 1970 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Unusual Suspects
It's little wonder why Drake felt frustrated at the lack of commercial success his music initially gathered, considering the help he had on his debut record. Besides fine production from Joe Boyd and assistance from folks like Fairport Convention's Richard Thompson and his unrelated bass counterpart from Pentangle, Danny Thompson, Drake also recruited school friend Robert Kirby to create most of the just-right string and wind arrangements. His own performance itself steered a careful balance between too-easy accessibility and maudlin self-reflection, combining the best of both worlds while avoiding the pitfalls on either side. The result was a fantastic debut appearance, and if the cult of Drake consistently reads more into his work than is perhaps deserved, Five Leaves Left is still a most successful effort. Having grown out of the amiable but derivative styles captured on the long-circulating series of bootleg home recordings, Drake imbues his tunes with just enough drama -- world-weariness in the vocals, carefully paced playing, and more -- to make it all work. His lyrics capture a subtle poetry of emotion, as on the pastoral semi-fantasia of "The Thoughts of Mary Jane," which his soft, articulate singing brings even more to the full. Sometimes he projects a little more clearly, as on the astonishing voice-and-strings combination "Way to Blue," while elsewhere he's not so clear, suggesting rather than outlining the mood. Understatement is the key to his songs and performances' general success, which makes the combination of his vocals and Rocky Dzidzornu's congas on "Three Hours" and the lovely "'Cello Song," to name two instances, so effective. Danny Thompson is the most regular side performer on the album, his bass work providing subtle heft while never standing in the way of the song -- kudos well deserved for Boyd's production as well. ~ Ned Raggett
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Pop - Released January 1, 1963 | Capitol Records

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Exceptional sound
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Pop - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Pop - Released November 6, 2012 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Pop - Released December 5, 2011 | Because Music

Hi-Res Distinctions Sélection Les Inrocks - Hi-Res Audio
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Pop - Released January 1, 1978 | 143 - Warner Bros.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
Recording live at Los Angeles' Roxy club -- then a showcase for many of the hottest acts in pop -- was just the tonic that George Benson and his Breezin' band needed on this often jumping album. With unusually lively crowds (for a record-industry watering hole) shouting encouragement, the band gets deep into the four-on-the-floor funk and Benson digs in hard, his rhythmic instincts on guitar sharp as ever. The balance between vocals and instrumentals is about even -- George's voice sounds more throaty and soul-oriented than before -- and amid the new material, there is a revisit to a favored CTI-era instrumental, the lovely "Ode to a Kudu." This album also introduced "On Broadway," an extended stomping version of the Drifters' hit that would become Benson's climactic showstopper for years. The only superfluous element is the after-the-fact addition of Nick DeCaro's string synthesizer backdrop; the real Claus Ogerman-arranged thing would have been preferable if strings are a must. ~ Richard S. Ginell
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Pop - Released March 15, 2013 | RCA Records Label

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music - Hi-Res Audio
Once Justin Timberlake finished touring in support of FutureSex/LoveSounds, music making slid to the side as acting, endorsing, investing, and talent grooming took precedence. The few appearances from 2007 through 2012 -- through collaborations with Madonna, Duran Duran, 50 Cent, Ciara, and new jack ballad mode Lonely Island, often in partnership with Timbaland -- confirmed that the cutting edge was not his concern. Aligning with the Neptunes in 2002 and with Timbaland in 2006 were not bold creative risks either, but working with Timbaland once more makes it plain that Timberlake wanted to remain within his comfort zone. Along with co-producer Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon and fellow songwriter James Fauntleroy, the Tims have made a refined and distended follow-up to FutureSex/LoveSounds. Seventy minutes in duration, it's only four minutes longer but contains two fewer songs and maybe half as many ideas. Opener "Pusher Love Girl" sets the tone for the program; the first three of its eight minutes would make for an elegant sweet-soul introduction, but Timberlake's extended drug-metaphor testimonial over a flat, faintly shifting beat dulls the mind rather than hypnotizes it. "Strawberry Bubblegum" recalls a time when groups like the S.O.S. Band and 52nd Street released extended mixes of club ballads, though the bottom isn't as thick, and it comes with three bonus minutes of Sly Stone-style rhythm box puttering that facilitates more metaphorical macking. Around its 5:20 mark, "Mirrors" switches from an ideally shaped heartfelt ballad of devotion into a slog. By the seventh drifting minute, it prompts questions like "Is this where the stage hands will change sets?" and "Is this actually about himself?" Few songs are dynamic enough to justify their length. "Let the Groove Get In," something like a modernized hybrid of Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Starting Something" and Lionel Richie's "All Night Long," is undeniably festive. The relatively raw soul throwback "That Girl" adds a slight Southern touch and does not wander. "Suit & Tie," a lighthearted and goofily dashing throwback, serves the same flirty dancefloor purpose as "Rock Your Body," drawing from early- to mid-'70s soul instead of late-'70s disco-funk. Timberlake referred to the song, the lead single, as "just the wink." It's far from the only one here -- a pleasant and grown but tedious release from a charismatic entertainer and exceptional vocal arranger who is not a great recording artist. ~ Andy Kellman
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Pop - Released January 1, 1969 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio

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