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Reviews: Ray Conniff and Orchestra: April In Paris

Reviews: 3

Review by breydon_music December 3, 2009 (9 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is an astonishing achievement . . . with caveats!

What may at first sight look like a random compilation of Conniff material is in fact a straight re-issue of 2 of the classic 50's albums that made his name, the original sides 1 and 2 of 1957's "S Marvellous" framing all the tracks from 1958's "S Awful Nice" - though oddly two tracks from the former - "Moonlight Serenade" and "As Time Goes By" are missing, leaving 22 remastered tracks for us to savour.

Conniff was an excellent arranger and bandleader, but then so were many others at the time. Conniff's trade mark which stood him apart from the crowd was his writing for voices. Good then, though he made plenty of purely orchestral albums and though this SACD is credited to "Ray Conniff and his Orchestra" that it's all "Orchestra and Chorus".

There is no mention on the disc or booklet as to where this material was remastered from; no credits to Sony who own the tapes, and of course in many parts of the world this material is now out of copyright. Listening, it's hard to believe that anything other than the master tapes could have been the source.

I was too young (!) to ever own the vinyl of these titles but have had UK Sony RBCD reissues in my collection for around 13 years. I'm used to them and have used them for direct comparison.

The transformation that remastering engineer Povee Chan (the man richly deserves a name check!) has wrought is simply astonishing. Elements of the originals that I had hardly noticed before are now crystal clear, there's space and depth that seem to have just come out of nowhere. Going back to the originals is a painful experience - like trying to read without glasses after you've had them on for a while! I never realised how muddy this stuff was but not any more.

So - what's the caveat? Quite simply, 50's Columbia pop engineering revealed in all its brash, shrill glory! Oh, for a Lee Gillette or Norman Granz to have been in front of the desk! Comparing the sound quality here to Top Music's similarly miraculous Ella & Louis disc makes you want to cry if you're a Conniff fan. But never mind, we are where we are, and I for one can't thank Top Music enough for reviving these 2 key 50's artefacts in all their sonic glory and limitations.

My star rating for sonics of course reflects what TMI have done with what must now be considered historic material - please take it that way!

If this SACD is your kind of music then snap it up.

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Review by South Bend Toad December 22, 2009 (7 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Elevator music on SACD? Try it. You may like it. Twenty-two floors with perfectly blended choruses hopping on and off accompany the listener on this magical musical journey. Super instrument separation with wonderful arrangements of classic tunes may have any rider humming, singing, tapping toes, and dancing throughout the trip. The only place that this elevator goes is straight up to the stars for a heavenly meeting with Ray Conniff and his fabulous musicians. All aboard.

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Review by FullRangeMan February 11, 2012 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I buy this sacd just to hear the great sound from Povee Chan 24/192 remastering job, the RC Orchestra are really here, I unaware this Orchestra played so many in the hi frequencies, a good test for tweeters.
The near lasts tracks play more on the mid range, and bass are really non existent or played by the RC Orchestra, just a double bass doing 1-2 walking, which are unusual today, but out of the Me.Ray Conniff style.
The choir voices and the winds really do a impressive duet, I could listen only now in this SACD, by the radio,TV or CDs forget, it is impossible, even on the vinyl the sound are not this good.
These songs are old stuff from the 50 years, I look forward to more recent albums from Ray, from the 70 years, which are more relaxing and enjoyable.

Time is 59:57 BarCode 4893280893624 released in 2009, Stereo only, 22 tracks.

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