96kHz/24-bit FLAC, Blue Note 00600406536204 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)
Like Cassandra Wilson’s Coming Forth By Day [reviewed here], this album marks the centenary of Billie Holiday’s birth – and while one might expect James’s voice to be less well suited to the music most associated with the singer than Wilson’s, in fact exactly the opposite is true. Whereas Wilson’s set sounds mannered and highly constructed, James’s has a more sincere feel to it, not least due to the relaxed interplay between his voice, Jason Moran’s piano, John Patitucci on bass and Eric Harland’s controlled, expressive drumming. The band sounds tight and intuitive – listen to the bluesy opening of ‘Fine And Mellow’ to appreciate that – and the perfect foil for James’s warm, rich voice. At the risk of labouring the point, this album’s gospelly, plaintive take on ‘Strange Fruit’ moves in a way Wilson’s widescreen epic reading entirely fails to. AE
Sound Quality: 90%
Hi-Fi News Lab Report
Recorded at 96kHz by Chris Allen at New York’s Sear Sound, using a range of vintage valve microphones, noise is only slightly high but the bandwidth is well used. The spurious 32kHz tone does not appear on trks 2, 4, 6 or 9. PM
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