Wednesday Dec 17

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Tom Krehbiel 
This site is the result of Tom Krehbiel's switch from print media to on-line publishing under his own aegis. It started out as the exclusive location for Tom's articles, both those that first appeared on paper and newer ones created for the web.  He operates theSoundscapeBlog as another online outlet.

Noise // Notes

A is for Armstrong

In our formative years, ABC books helped us learn our letters and also introduced us to information about the world. A trip from A to Z remains fun for almost everybody, typically blending the familiar with the unexpected. Thus, the ABCs of Jazz which follows.  [Originally published as a "Jazz Tracks" column in CD Review, 10/1992.]

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I'm hearing this amazing piece over my Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart channel on Pandora. It's a small string group, kind of like a quartet, but not quite. The music is transporting, ethereal yet easy, relaxed yet gripping. I checked the screen and found that I was being transported by Mozart's String Quintet in g minor K. 516, a piece I don't recall ever having heard before. Since I didn't know when Pandora's rotation might bring it up again, I decided to find it on CD and make it my own permanently. I was smart enough to take note of the cover illustration showing a portrait of an 18th century lady.


Mozart Quintets


The first two sentences of the following (slightly edited) press release from B&W is a perfectly clear statement of the basic issue of abysmal sound quality from most flat panel televison sets.  Given how horrible out-of-the-box TV sound is, a soundbar solution doesn't have to hit a high audio standard to improve a viewer-listener's experience.  But that doesn't mean that you should settle for any old soundbar.  Bowers & Wilkins has out a new Panorama soundbar, appropriately dubbed the Panorama 2.  They say it is "a true one-box, surround sound home cinema solution."  I have no doubt that it is.  Here's what they have to say about it.

Let's have a permanent moratorium on the phrase "Limited Edition." After all, practically anything you buy--a CD, a pair of shoes, an amplifier, a bicycle--is a limited edition by the nature of commerce. Only so many of any non-commodity item will ever be made and offered for sale.

This is a very special Duke Ellington CD.

Ellington was a man of many parts. He regularly introduced himself as "the piano player" and he was pleased with his role as "the world's greatest listener." (I have no doubt that many of the "We've had a request to play" announcements were self-referential.) On this CD we get to hear Ellington in both those roles along with Ellington the composer. And it offers an extra treat in the form of Ellington the producer.

Personally, I like silver finishes but I know black is appealing to other eyes.  What's really nice is having a choice and that's what Parasound is offering buyers of its top end HALO line.

Tannoy's Precision group of speakers seems to be a solid anchor in the company's extensive lineup of residential hi-fi speaker offerings. Here's a slightly edited version of their press release (I omitted the matching center channel speaker) along with some photos. At this writing, I don't have pricing information. I'll add it as soon as it's available. You can find additional personal observations at theSoundscapeBlog.

SoulSonic, a high-end speaker manufacturer headquartered in Slovenia, bowled me over with amazingly musical sound from an impossible-looking speaker.  That was about two years ago during Las Vegas electronics show time. SoulSonic was holding forth at the audio-oriented T.H.E. Show.

I recently heard from Miro Krajnc, SoulSonic's top man, with news of changes in the speaker line, pricing, and sales policies.

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Music // Overviews

A few more CDs from 2006

Fantasy Records [now part of Concord Music Group] says that it holds "The World's Mightiest Jazz Catalog" and has been releasing a series of Original Jazz Classics samplers to support the claim. Three are based on '50s and '60s recordings that came out on smaller and subsidiary labels like Jazzland, New Jazz, Specialty, and HiFiJazz.  Those three are, to me, the most interesting so far. That's probably because most of the performances and even a number of the performers are less well known than the relatively big names and familiar performances that the earlier Fantasy, Prestige, Riverside, and Contemporary compilations quite naturally present.

OJC Jazzland

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The Soundscape Blog