Lush Life (2001)

Chaplin, Hagen, Anderson, Bloch, Mandel, Bonfa, Strayhorn, Gershwin, Burke, Dubin

Jacintha

Might as well admit my bias: Jacintha has become one of my favorite living female vocalists. I initially came across her work when my friend Paul Seydor, a senior writer for The Absolute Sound, gave me a copy of her first Groove Note album Here’s to Ben, a tribute to legendary tenor saxophonist Ben Webster. I don’t know which impressed me more: the lushness of her voice or the vividness of her interpretations. My enthusiasm intensified with her second Groove Note album Autumn Leaves:The Songs of Johnny Mercer, which I reviewed. I likened my experience to being the last person in a small jazz club where she creates a direct link among her, the microphone, and the listener. The immediacy is uncommon.The sound of her breathing, which would be intrusive in other singers, is so sensuous that itadds to the beauty of her voice. The perfection of her diction is so palpable that you don’t just hear the words — you feel their significance.

Now, in her third Groove Note album Lush Life, she sounds even more sensuous while a new musical background “strings” has been added to what so far has been a compact jazz-group accompaniment. Although jazz and strings aren’t often paired, they can go together nicely. Clifford Brown worked with them. So have Charlie Parker, Ben Webster, Ella Fitzgerald, and Shirley Horn, to name a few great jazz interpreters of the American song book. But these are strings with a difference, thanks to Bill Cunliffe’s remarkable arrangements. A pianist and a composer, Cunliffe received a classical musical education at Duke University before switching to jazz.

* NativeDSD makes this recording available for the first time as a DSD Download to a wider audience, outside the US and Canada.

* NativeDSD exclusively offers this recording as DSD 128 and DSD 256 Downloads (see Tech Specs for more info).
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Jacintha

Jacintha is a popular vocalist, actress and journalist known for her performances and writing in both the United States and Singapore. She was born in 1957 to musician parents, the Sri Lankan classical guitarist Alex Abisheganaden, a recipient of the Cultural Medallion, and a Chinese mother who sang and played the piano. She studied piano and voice from her early teens and also sang in the Singapore Youth Choir, where she met her future collaborator Dick Lee.

Growing up, Jacintha listened to a wide variety of music – not only vocal jazz and traditional pop, but also artists who ranged from Stevie Wonder to Joni Mitchell to South African singer Miriam Makeba. Jacintha was a big fan of Brazilian bandleader Sergio Mendes during her upbringing. Jacintha was educated at Marymount Convent School, Raffles Institution and the National University of Singapore, where she graduated with an honors degree in English. She then went to America where she studied creative writing at Harvard University. Jacintha first came to prominence in 1976 when she won a local television talent contest, Talentime, singing jazz. She continued this winning streak in 1981, when she nabbed the Best Female Performer award for her role as Nurse Angamuthu in General Hospital at the Drama Festival.

In 1983, Jacintha released her debut album Silence. The new wave album, containing a cover of the Bee Gees' "Run to Me", was reviewed positively, with The Straits Times calling it "probably the most impressive debut album...from a local singer." In the mid-1990s, actor Lim Kay Tong introduced Jacintha to Ying Tan, who signed her to his Groove Note label. Her first jazz album was released in 1998: Here's To Ben – A Vocal Tribute To Ben Webster. Jacintha's second album for the Groove Note label, Autumn Leaves: The Songs of Johnny Mercer (1999) has seen the title track being used for TV series Alias, while the bonus track "Here's to Life" was used as the title track for the Hollywood movie Play It to the Bone.

In 2004, Jacintha performed her own cabaret jazz show, The Angina Monologues at the Old Parliament House, Singapore. In 2006, she served as a judge on the second season of Singapore Idol. In 2012, she returned to the stage after 13 years, playing herself in Ong Keng Sen's National Broadway Company, a musical commissioned for the Esplanade – Theatre on the Bay's 10th anniversary.

photo: from booklet 'The Girl from Bossa Nova'

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Lush Life (2001)

Chaplin, Hagen, Anderson, Bloch, Mandel, Bonfa, Strayhorn, Gershwin, Burke, Dubin

Jacintha

    Positive Feedback (10+10+10) -

Ying Tan has produced an instant classic with his third album by Jacintha. Seriously, Lush Life is one of the most outstanding female vocal jazz albums I’ve heard in many years. Jacintha’s vocals are silky, smooth, sensuous, and seductive. Her intonation, phrasing, breath control, and vocal modulation are quite phenomenal. The lush recording quality that Joe Harley has achieved lets anyone who has never understood the definition of palpable presence suddenly see the light. The instrumental timbres are captured with great clarity, nothing is buried in the mix, and there’s a lot of outstanding instrumental work. The flugelhorn is particularly mesmerizing, and Bill Cunliffe’s piano work is a joy. The orchestra, present on most of the cuts, is arranged with taste and restraint. It would have been easy to get carried away, but Bill Cunliffe did not. Although the album was multimiked due to the sheer number of instruments, I do not find this objectionable. Great care was obviously taken with the microphone setup, the mixing, and the mastering (by Bernie Grundman). The result is that the vocals and instrumentals sound like a coherent whole within a believable soundstage. This is an album of jazz standards, including Black Coffee, Summertime, Lush Life, and September Song, as well as one Latin piece. The interaction of piano, bass, drums, and flugelhorn creates a very atmospheric and introspective ambience. If you badly need to relax, toss this album on the turntable, and it should do the job. If it doesn’t transport you to a more mellow state of mind, you’re in bad shape indeed. It’s like I’d left the front door unlocked and she had somehow slipped into my listening room (in a singing mood, yet). Harlem Nocturne must be heard to be believed. The phrase "palpable presence" doesn’t do this justice. How about "phenomenally plausible palpable presence, plus?" And there’s more of that mellow, tasteful flugelhorn. If you own this album, keep it in a safe place, and if you need something to amaze your audiophile chums, pull it out and play it. They’ll be suitably impressed. My hat’s off to Ying Tan, Joe Harley, Bill Cunliffe, Bernie Grundman, and everyone else who made this recording a reality. It’s a knockout, and it deserves my highest recommendation. Please support Ying Tan and colleagues and buy it. Rating: Sound - 10 out of 10 Performance - 10 out of 10 Music - 10 out of 10

Dave Glackin[read full review]

Lush Life (2001)

Chaplin, Hagen, Anderson, Bloch, Mandel, Bonfa, Strayhorn, Gershwin, Burke, Dubin

Jacintha

Cables: Audio Quest
Digital Converters: Sony Sonoma
Editing Software: Sonoma
Mastering Engineer: David Glasser - Airshow Mastering
Mastering Room: DSD 128 and DSD 256 Download Files Created by Tom Caulfield at the NativeDSD Mastering Lab, Marshfield, MA
Microphones: AKG C-12, C-24, C-12A, Neumann M-249, M-50, M-49, U-67, U-47FET, Sony C-55P, Sennheiser 441, 421
Notes:

We are pleased to announce the availability of Groove Note releases in DSD 128 and DSD 256, in addition to the original DSD 64 releases. These higher bit rate DSD 128 and DSD 256 releases are all pure DSD created by NativeDSD Mastering Engineer Tom Caulfield. They are not up samplings, for there are no PCM or DXD conversions involved in their production. They are re-modulations of the original DSD 64 encoding modulation that produced the DSD 64 releases. The sonic advantage to these new Stereo and Multichannel DSD 128 and DSD 256 releases, as with all higher DSD bit rate releases, is the wider frequency passband prior to the onset of modulation noise.This results in the listener’s DAC using gentler and more phase linear filters for playback of the music.

Producer: Joe Harley
Recording Engineer: Michael Ross
Recording location: OceanWay Recordings, Hollywood CA.
Recording Software: Sony
Recording Type & Bit Rate: 64fs

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This album is available as ST+MCH download (Stereo + Multichannel)
For albums, lower DSD bit rates (128 and/or 64) are available at no surcharge. This does not apply for DXD selection.
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GRV1011: Lush Life
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Tracks.
1.
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
Dubin
00:04:55   Select quality & channels above
2.
Black Coffee
Burke
00:06:39   Select quality & channels above
3.
Summertime
Gershwin
00:06:13   Select quality & channels above
4.
Lush Life
Strayhorn
00:06:19   Select quality & channels above
5.
Manha De Carnival
Bonfa
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6.
Shadow Of Your Smile
Mandel
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7.
When The World Was Young
Bloch
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8.
September Song
Anderson
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9.
Harlem Nocturne
Hagen
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10.
Smile
Chaplin
00:02:27   Select quality & channels above

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