Review by seriousfun February 27, 2007 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
|A review of this I wrote for Surround Professional magazine:
This is a reissue of the 1974 original recording of Weather Report’s Mysterious Traveler. Weather Report was formed from some of the best players from Miles Davis’s groundbreaking, sometimes derided, and still debated post-jazz bands. Davis, taking off from his modal soundscapes in “Sketches of Spain,” made choices to take far left turns to “Bitches Brew” and “In a Silent Way.” This music sounds tame today, but it does not sound like what evolved into Fuzak over the next decade.
This surround mix as delivered on the SACD is strictly 4.0, with no center channel or LFE content ever. Seated precisely, with tape measure and laser level in hand, this 4.0 mix is one of the most sumptuous I’ve heard. Percussion instruments, such as in the opening of “American Tango.” are heard from the rear and sides with a presence that just isn’t there in the 2-channel mix (although I’m comparing this to a well-worn LP). Ambience that leaves you cold in the 2-channel mix places you in a wonderful space in the 4.0 mix. The ‘verbs sound like EMT plates in all their glory.
Joe Zawinal’s Moogs and Fender Rhodes weren’t the vintage Holy Grail sounds that we try to duplicate virtually on computers these days; they were just the tools at hand then, and are well served by this SACD presentation. Solo synthesizers carry just as much weight as Wayne Shorter’s majestic sax. The rhythm section of Ishmael Wilburn on drums and Alphonso Johnson on bass float, groove, and swing, but serve as machines. This disc shows this group delivering living, breathing music, not jazz as it was or rock as it was, but certainly its own animal.
The liner notes call this a compact disc…can Sony sue itself? Certainly an SACD disc does not conform to any color-book standards, and this SACD can only be played on an SACD player. This is touted as “24-bit digitally remastered,” so I’m not convinced this was DSD until mastering onto the SACD. The sound is undeniably clean, quiet, warm, and three-dimensional. —Doug Osborne
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