96kHz/24-bit FLAC*, ECM 2397-470-9147 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)

Do you need to understand what’s being sung in order to enjoy a vocal performance? Clearly not, if the evidence of this set by German-Iranian vocalist Cymin Samawatie and her quartet is to be believed: listening to Phoenix I may have been missing some of the subtler nuances of the lyrics – well, all of them, actually – but treating the voice as an instrument proves quite rewarding when it’s as affecting as Samawatie’s. That’s particularly so in the first of two tracks from which the album takes its name, where she duets with Martin Stegner’s viola in especially striking manner. In fact, throughout this set the combination of Samawatie’s vocals and the mixture of jazz shapings and unfamiliar rhythms is highly involving, helped by the way this recording makes the slightest touch of stick on cymbal crystal clear and reveals instruments in sharp relief. AE

Sound Quality: 83%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

This 96kHz recording is accompanied by a significant level of spuriae (30-38kHz) also seen on ECM’s Jacob Young Forever Young [reviewed here]. Both releases were seemingly recorded at the same Oslo studio with the same engineer. PM