96kHz/24-bit, FLAC; ECM Records 576 7265 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)

For Souvenance, Anouar Brahem’s last release and HFN album of the month [HFN May ’15] this master of the oud enlisted a string orchestra to join some of his regular accompanists, but this time he’s started afresh. Having recruited the great ex-Miles bassist Dave Holland (who played on Brahem’s album Thimar in 1997), the renowned fusion drummer Jack DeJohnette was a natural choice. British composer Django Bates was suggested by ECM co-founder Manfred Eicher, who’d just been recording the pianist’s Belovéd trio, and though absent from the contemplative ‘Bahia’, Bates brings a wealth of ideas elsewhere. In the final, aptly-titled ‘Unexpected Outcome’, what seems at first a simple, even jazz pulse from Holland soon develops into something far more subtle. And, from start to finish, the fascinating sound of Brahem’s oud, captured sublimely here, will have you hooked. SH

Sound Quality: 95%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

While the final mix is mastered with few peaks soaring beyond –5dBFs there are some occasional bursts of ultrasonic distortion detected at a very low level. Otherwise this is a clean 96kHz recording with no spurious signals. PM