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Reviews: Shaft - Isaac Hayes

Reviews: 7

Review by muzikman March 11, 2004 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Next to Hot Buttered Soul the SHAFT- Music from the Soundtrack album has stood the test of time as an utter jazz-blues-soul-pop classic. This was an excellent choice to reformat in the SACD configuration. Issac Hayes and his band were at the peak of their creative powers during this time and I think someone in Hollywood was very aware of that and understood that signing on Hayes to record the soundtrack to help launch their movie would be a key factor to its success, and it was.

I have been trying to get my hands on this album for two years now for review! Finally, my long time friends at Fantasy Jazz came through for me.

This is one incredible album. The sound and production are superior for 1971, and now it is just beyond words how fine this album sounds. Every detail comes to the forefront in this format, you can tell that the original production was solid and very precise and full in sound, and obviously, if this was not so, the existing version would not sound so sparkling and crisp. You need something good to work with to be able to improve upon it. Hayes did not miss a step when he put his band together and went into the studio for this project.

The “Theme From Shaft” is one of the most recognizable songs in the history of recorded music and I could not stop playing it, it sounds so new and fresh now. What really blew me away was “Do Your Thing,” which is equal to one side on an LP, 19 minutes and 30 seconds (in old-timer’s terms). The guitar, bass, drums, well, everything is so outstanding, it makes for a classic combination of jazz, blues and rock. This unbelievable track will have your eyes bugging out of your head, guaranteed.

To make a potentially very long story short, this is an indispensable piece of music that is an absolute necessity for any serious music fan, do not pass on this release, it is truly a phenomenal listening experience that you will not forget.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck-

Rating-5 / 5

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Review by DACooper July 24, 2004 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
It's not often that a movie soundtrack surpasses the film for which it is created. Too often today, soundtracks are simply slapped-together compilations of songs by various artists that don't flow well as albums. However, this soundtrack from the early '70s is an exception to that rule.

Those who only know Isaac Hayes as the voice of Chef on "South Park" are missing out on one of the true giants of early 70s soul/jazz/pop/rock music. His recordings for Stax are legendary, but perhaps nothing he did is more well known than "The Theme From Shaft." With the Bar-Kays and The Movement laying killer grooves, the music here breaks all the rules and can't be pigeonholed - tough, gritty street music that is as smooth as satin at the same time.

A lot of care was taken in the original recording, and that shines through on this SACD. From the high-hat and wah-wah guitar riff that opens the CD, you know that you are in for a sonic treat. The whole CD is full of surprises, both musically & sonically. George Horn did a terrific mastering job on this and the warmth and detail of all the instruments here is breathtaking.

This is an incredible version of a classic recording!!

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Review by JW May 3, 2005 (1 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Can't agree more with previous reviews. And I have one discord: don't think that this is a disc full of great Isaac Hayes tunes. Lots of instrumentals. 'Bumpy' is featured twice :-) - albeit differently (Bumpy's Lament and Bumpy's Blues)- but it's hardly a highlight of musical inventiveness. And there are a few lightweight moments like that in my view. Overall though this is a classy, groovy disc for those of you that like funk and soul and the famous horns of Stax. The surprise to me - I knew about the Shaft theme song, but that was it - was how not outdated the 70's music sounded. Very enjoyable disc. Very good sound. Wide and deep soundstage with everything neatly organized and seperated. At the same time you get a full sound.


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Review by FullRangeMan December 26, 2008 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Iam surpresed how good is the sound in this SACD ( better than TimeOut/D.Brubeck and Kind OF Blue/Davis ) there is no a small bit of tape hiss, even close to the speakers.
For me it is the best album of the late Isaac Hayes and an of the best of the Soul Music. I note various SACDs of this Riverside/Fantasy series have always very good sound.
One of the best 20 century film soundtracks, this music shine on alone without the movie ( common and nostalgic ). Deserse all the huge success this album have in the 70's.
A obligatory SACD, save the low price of this item.

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Review by analogue March 6, 2009 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is one of three Isaac Hayes sacd's on the market. I believe it also has the best sound quality of the three. This recording is actually a re-recording. The music heard in the film was of a sketchy quality and does not have the completeness of sound found here. So this sacd is the original soundtrack album released in the early 70's following the success of the film. Isaac Hayes also received a grammy and an oscar for this masterpiece.

Essentially it's almost entirely an instrumental album where Hayes tells Shafts story with music. And what great music it is. A little jazzy, bluesy and funky. Its also romantic with lots of soul with a taste of rock. The musicianship is fantastic and the entire album has a serious groove to it that makes you want to listen and tap your toes. This sacd is rather long...over 70 minutes.

The sound quality is truly exceptional on this sacd. It's warm, very dynamic with nice instrumental layering. It has a thick bottom end with decent bass and drums. Hayes baritone voice is nicely represented on the three or four tracks he sings in. The title track, very famous and well known to all sounds's a classic and sounds alive and real. There is also the complete version of a song that is usually shortened on regular cd releases as its 20 minutes long. The entire album has a slight three dimensional quality to it where one can tell where the musicians are in the studio. Certain instruments come out in relief from the speakers such as two drum sticks being hit together and other sounds as well. The horns are powerful when they need to be and hit some high notes indeed.

This is a truly classic album that sounds terrific on sacd and the transfer is fabulous. The music is simply genius and it;s influence is still felt today.

Whenever you want to get "funked out or souled down" give it a listen.

Highly recommended. A Hayes classic forever.

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Review by lampertb January 28, 2011
Performance:   Sonics:
Headphones, baby, headphones....

The coolest thing about this soundtrack is that it's 90% instrumental. Fantasy/Jazz has done another terrific job on this one, which has superb (I mean SUPERB) texture.

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Review by vonwegen January 14, 2012
Performance:   Sonics:
I have to disagree with the other reviews, for only one reason: digital compression. I did a back-to-back comparison with the MoFi SACD of Hot Buttered Soul, and the difference was so obvious--I could crank up the volume on "Soul" no problem at all, smooth as silk. But as soon as I tried it on "Shaft", the treble and upper mids got screechy and harsh. A damned shame, as I love the music. So, despite being a more modern recording than HBS, this release gets only 3 stars because of the harsh mastering job. If you cannot crank it up without hurting your ears, you are not getting the full benefits that a Super Audio CD can give.

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