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Verve Supreme Sound Edition Hybrid SACDs from Japan!

by Hajime 16. March 2007 17:34

I have just put up nine new arrivals: Verve 60th Anniversary Special Limited Edition Hybrid SACDs, all issued in Japan in 2004. These Supreme Sound Edition SACDs were remastered from the original master tapes by renowned Japanese engineer Seigen Ono using the latest 1-bit DSD technology. Together with Ella and Louis that was already in our catalog, we now have all of the ten albums.

They are all “classic” albums that have been adored by generations of music fans. Now you can have them in the best possible digital format availablle today in terms of technology and sound quality! If you are an audiophile venturing into the wide world of jazz, these 10 SACDs are a great place to start because they are all “essential” albums you should have in your collection.

These hybrid discs play on SACD players AND any regular CD players. Click the links below for more info and sample audio files.

Stan Getz Joao Gilberto / Getz/Gilberto
An immortal album that brought the "bossa nova boom" to the United States and beyond. Winner of 1964 Grammy for the Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Engineered Album, and Best Jazz Solo Performance.

Oscar Peterson Trio / We Get Requests
One of the most popular, and perhaps the best sounding album of the great Oscar Peterson Trio with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen. Listen to the powerful and delicate sound of Brown’s bass!

Bill Evans / At the Montreux Jazz Festival
One of the most notable albums Bill Evans made with bassist Eddie Gomez, and the only album he recorded with drummer Jack DeJohnette. Critically acclaimed and adored by the fans, this album won the 1969 Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group.

Charlie Parker / Now’s the Time
This album contains two Charlie Parker quartet sessions that are among the most brilliant of all his Verve recordings. An essential album for anyone who wants to understand modern jazz.

Ella Fitzgerald / Mack the Knife - Ella in Berlin
This album is arguably one of the most exciting jazz vocal albums ever recorded. Winner of 1961 Grammy Awards for the Best Female Vocal Performance (Single) and Best Female Vocal Performance (Album).

Stan Getz / Stan Getz Plays
Stan Getz recorded many great albums during his long career, but this early one (recorded in 1952) is one of the very best. Not a single note is wasted and every moment is filled with beautiful, spontaneous improvisation. This is what jazz is all about!

Wes Montgomery / California Dreaming
Under the direction of Creed Taylor, the phenomenal guitarist Wes Montgomery was paired with a gorgeous orchestra, arranged and conducted by Don Sebesky for this memorable album.

Antonio Carlos Jobim / The Composer of Desafinado Plays
The king of bossa nova Antonio Carlos Jobim plays his own compositions on piano and guitar, with a beautiful orchestra, including strings, arranged and conducted by Claus Ogerman. The sound quality is exceptional.

Lester Young Teddy Wilson Quartet / Pres and Teddy
A relaxed, warm reunion session between the influential tenor stylist Lester Young and the elegant pianist Teddy Wilson recorded in 1956.

Ella Fitzgerald Louis Armstrong / Ella and Louis
One of the greatest jazz vocal albums ever recorded, this masterpiece shines with ageless charms of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Amrstrong. Recorded in 1956 with the Oscar Peterson Quartet, this is a quintessential jazz recording that should be part of every music lover's collection.

Happy listening to you all!

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New arrivals at Eastwind Import

by Hajime 12. March 2007 22:36

I can barely keep up with the new CDs coming from Japan, and I’m not kidding! Here are the latest six additions to our catalog: a varied collection including an XRCD, Japanese vocal reissues and great new recordings. Remember, you can always click the links below for more information and listen to sample audio files.

 

Sonny Rollins / The Contemporary Leaders [XRCD2]

Tenor sax giant Sonny Rollins recorded two albums for Contemporary Records, the bastion of West Coast jazz. One is the legendary Way Out West and the other is this one, another classic. Great sound captured in 1958 by the legendary engineer Roy DuNann is transferred with amazing clarity and presence using the XRCD technology.

 

Beverly Kenney / Born To Be Blue

This is one of the three albums Beverly Kenney left for Decca, and probably the most romantic of her work. Here, she sings 12 ballads accompanied by orchestras conducted and arranged for by Hal Mooney and Charlie Albertine. Recorded in 1958; Japanese reissue from Universal Japan.

 

Beverly Kenney / Like Yesterday

The last of the three albums Beverly Kenney left for Decca. A collection of songs popularized by big bands and their singers during the 1930s and 1940s, sung against wonderful small combos led by Stan Free and Jerome Richardson. Recorded in 1959; Japanese reissue from Universal Japan.

 

Annie Ross / Sings a Song with Mulligan

Annie Ross may be most well known as the original member of the amazing vocalese group Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, but she also made some solo albums, and this is considered by many to be her best. Ross is supported by Gerry Mulligan's superb "pianoless" quartets featuring Art Farmer or Chet Baker on trumpet!

 

Alan Pasqua / Body & Soul

Contemporary pianist Alan Pasqua's trio album featuring Peter Erskine (drums) and Darek Oles (bass) is a gentle and beautiful masterpiece. His own Yamaha S6 piano sounds crystal clear and warm at the same time. Recorded in 2003 and released in Japan in 2004 by Videoarts Music.

 

Harvey Mason Trios 2 / Changing Partners

Super drummer Harvey Mason pleasantly surprised jazz fans in 2004 by releasing With All My Heart, a gorgeous piano trio album employing a different top-tier pianist for each song. He continued the project with this wonderful second album, featuring Chick Corea, Joey Calderazzo, Dave Grusin, Makoto Ozone, Eric Reed, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Jacky Terrasson. Released in 2006 in Japan by Videoarts Music.

 

Happy listening to you all!

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New Arrivals: Ten CDs from Venus Records

by Hajime 9. March 2007 00:34

As the latest news at Eastwind Import, I’d like to let you know that 10 CDs have arrived from the Japanese independent jazz label Venus Records, and they are now available for you to purchase. All new recordings, superbly engineered and mastered in 24 bit. If you like good, straight-ahead jazz and good sound, click the links below and check them out!

 

Eric Alexander Quartet / Gentle Ballads II

A strong follow-up to the 2004 smash hit Gentle Ballads. One of the best tenor saxophonists operating today, Eric Alexander’s brawny, poweful tone is very attractive in this collection of ballads.

 

Francesco Cafiso Quartet / Seven Steps to Heaven

Do you know a 17-year-old alto saxophone “phenom” from Italy called Francesco Cafiso? If you don’t you owe it to youself to check this album out. And prepare to be blown away!

 

Russell Malone Quaratet / Wholly Cats

One of the best straight-ahead guitarists today, Russell Malone recorded this superb album in 1995 before he joined Diana Krall’s band. If you are a fan of good guitar jazz, this relatively unknown gem will delight you.

 

Eddie Higgins Trio / Dear Old Stockholm

Veteran pianist Eddie Higgins played 10 songs that were requested by Japanese fans, plus two of his own choosing. Beautiful songs, including the title track, beautifully played.

 

One For All / Killer Joe

Sometimes called the “Jazz Messengers of the 21st century,” One For All is an all-star New York group including Eric Alexander (ts), Jim rotondi (tp), Steve Davis (tb), David Hazeltime (p) and Joe Farnsworth (ds). Enjoy the thick, fat sound of three-horn ensemble and great solos in this hard bop session!

 

Bill Charlap’s New York Trio

Talented pianist and superb interpreter of the great American songbook, Bill Charlap has recorded many albums for the Japanese Venus Records. His combo with Jay Leonhart (bass) and Bill Stewart (drums) is one of my most favorite piano trios working today. This time I imported five of their CDs at once, recorded between 2001 and 2006.

 

Blues in the Night (2001)

The Things We Did Last Summer (2002)

Love You Madly (2003: Duke Ellington songbook)

Begin the Beguine (2005: Cole Porter songbook)

Thou Swell (2006: Richard Rodgers songbook)

 

 

Happy listening to you all!

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New Arrivals: 5 CDs from Atlier Sawano

by Hajime 25. February 2007 01:51

As I promised, the catalog of Eastwind Import is growing everyday! Today I'd like to tell you about the five new CDs from Atelier Sawano I just put up for sale.


Kiyoshi Kitagawa Trio / Ancestry
Japanese bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa's first leader album from Atelier Sawano, recorded in 2003 in New York, is a smashingly attractive, straight-ahead trio date. His frequent employer and one of the greatest pianists operating today, Kenny Barron lends more than just a helping hand. Combine this powerhouse with Brian Blade, one of the most talented, sharp drummers of our time, and you get an explosive trio for whom ANYTHING is possible.


Kiyoshi Kitagawa Trio / Prayer
An even stronger follow-up to the strong previous effort Ancestry, Kiyoshi Kitagawa and his trio hit a home run with this superb album. You can't expect anything less than spectacular when you have Kenny Barron and Brian Blade watching your back, but this trio has apparently matured in the intervening two years. The sound quality is amazing, so crank up the volume and enjoy the sonics as well.


Giovanni Mirabassi & Andrzej Jagodzinski Trio
How many times have you heard a jazz quartet consisitng of accordion, piano, bass and drums? Andrzej Jagodzinski is a prominent Polish pianist, but for this 2002 recording, he decided to pick up the accordion and leave the piano chair for the young and talented Italian, Giovanni Mirabassi. If you want something different for a romantic night,something beautiful and full of European aesthetics, you'll enjoy this CD.


Giovanni Mirabassi & Andrzej Jagodzinski Trio / C minor
We witnessed the collaboration between Polish pianist Andrzej Jagodzinski and Italian pianist Giovanni Mirabassi with the first recording they made in 2003. The same team--Jagodzinski's Polish trio and Mirabassi--follows up with this beautiful 2005 recording. The mood is more festive and optimistic, which is reflected in the choise of faster tempos in some songs.


Vladimir Shafranov Trio / Russian Lullaby
Russian-born pianist Vladimir Shafranov has made many strong albums, but this one is particularly satisfying for those who cherish good songs and a strong, driving kind of swing. The entire album was recorded in just four hours, and you can tell his trio was on fire! If you are a fan of good piano jazz, you will cherish this album for a long, long time.

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Holly Cole & Beverly Kenney CDs back in stock!

by Hajime 13. February 2007 14:10

Holly Cole's new CD and Beverly Kenney's Sings for Johnny Smith are back in stock!


New Arrivals


Beverly Kenney / Sings for Playboys
One of the female jazz singers most adored in Japan, Beverly Kenney left only six commercial albums in her life. This is one of the three albums she recorded for Decca. Tasteful accompaniment by pianist Ellis Larkins (who made beautiful duet albums with Ella Fitzgerald) and bassist Joe Benjamin brings out the best of Kenney's intimate singing. If you are a fan of hers, you've got to own this CD!


Beverly Kenney / Snuggled on Your Shoulder
Great news for Beverly Kenney fans! She left only six albums in her all-too-brief lifetime, but the devoted fans in Japan made it possible to issue, for the first time, her unreleased demo recordings circa 1954. Simply accompanied by Tony Tamburello's piano, the young Kenney sings well-known jazz standards with unique charm and optimism.

We have only ONE copy of this CD in stock right now. More are on the way, but if you want to get the CD now, don't wait around!

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55 Records: New label joins Eastwind Import!

by Hajime 8. February 2007 23:41

Eastwind Import is proud to announce that 55 Records, another Japanese independent jazz label, has joined us!

55 Records was established in 2004 in Tokyo by Mr. Hiroshi Itsuno. He had worked as a jazz A&R for 15 years for major labels such as Polydor, Polygram and Universal, but he decided to become his own boss as he turned 55.

True to the tradition of independent jazz labels which have always propelled this music forward, Mr. Itsuno believes in finding high quality jazz from all over the world and bringing it to Japanese fans. He has made a great contribution in that country by introducing Dutch pianist Michiel Borstlap, guitarist Jesse van Ruller and Kengo Nakamura, a Japanese bassist working in New York, among others.

Well, I don't think there is any reason to let only the Japanese jazz fans enjoy these wonderful new recordings. Check out the four great selections that are now available at Eastwind Import!


Jesse van Ruller / Live at Murphy's Law

This is one of the most exciting jazz guitar albums in my recent memory. Dutch guitar genius Jesse van Ruller shows his stunning technique and clear musical ideas in a minimal trio setting with just drums and bass. The album was recorded in July 2004 at a very small music club called "Murphy's Law" in The Hague.


Michiel Borstlap Trio / Coffee & Jazz

Dutch pianist Michiel Borstlap and his powerful rhythm section tackles well-known jazz standards with respect and infuse them with lyricism and fresh ideas. They may sound familiar at first but they will take you to unexpected places. Borstlap's playing reminds me of Oscar Peterson and Keith Jarrett--at the same time!


Kengo Nakamura / Roots

One of the most in-demand bassists in New York whose employers include Wynton Marsalis and Benny Golson, my fellow countryman Kengo Nakamura assembled a team of young and talented musicians around him and recorded a program that consists mostly of his own compositions. This is exciting jazz deeply rooted in the hard-bop tradtion!


Kengo Nakamura / Re: Standards

For his latest album, Nakamura and his young cohorts tackle well-known standards and hit a home-run! Filled with fresh energy and crisp sense of swing, Marcus Printup, Ted Nash, Dan Nimmer and Clarence Penn combine their forces to propel the music forward. This is an album you shouldn't miss!

As always, if you're interested in these CDs, just click the title or go to www.eastwindimport.com and listen to some sample sound files!

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Marshmallow CDs reviewed by JazzTimes!

by Hajime 7. February 2007 18:24
If you are a serious jazz fan, you might be subscribing to one of the premier jazz magazines in the US called JazzTimes. If you do, and have the latest March 2007 issue, go to page 75 and 76. If not, go to a book store right now, because you will find not one, but TWO great reviews of CDs from Marshmallow Records, our favorite Japanese independent jazz label.

As the distributor of Marshmallow CDs in North America, I am so glad to see these reviews.


Carsten Dahl Trio featuring Bob Rockwell / God Bless the Child

"It's a kick to discover that there are balls-to-the-wall tenor saxophone players like Bob Rockwell raising hell in places like Copenhagen, Denmark. ... Rockwell is simply one of the heaviest current players in his genre anywhere." - Thomas Conrad, JazzTimes

Read the full review here.


Jan Lundgren / In New York

"In sports, coaches like to talk about 'putting yourself in position to win.' Jan Lundgren has done exactly that with In New York. ... Win he does. ... His versions of the three songbook pieces are rich, comprehensive and elegantly detailed. The positive energy is powerful and exhilarating." - Thomas Conrad, JazzTimes

Thank you, Mr. Conrad!

If you are interested in these albums, please go to www.eastwindimport.com. Right now only one copy of Jan Jundgren in New York left, but more is on the way!

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Beverly Kenney, Sue Raney and Monica Lewis!

by Hajime 2. February 2007 18:57

New arrivals at Eastwind Import!

We have just received three Japanese reissues of nostalgic albums by female singers that take you back to the golden age of the 1950s. What is common between Beverly Kenney, Sue Raney and Monica Lewis? They may not be extremely popular here in the US, but there is a strong following for them among Japanese jazz fans. Indeed, many of their recordings are out of print here, but contitue to be available in that small country in the Far East.

All three CDs were recently reissued by Toshiba EMI in 2006; digitally remastered with latest, 24-bit technology.


Beverly Kenney / Sings for Johnny Smith
Beverly Kenney recorded this debut album with guitarist Johnny Smith in 1955 when she was just 23 years old. Her buoyant, slightly huskey voice is very charming, and she shows good voice control and clear enunciation. Tastefully arranged and backed by the great Johnny Smith Quartet, Kenney sings the program composed of mostly standards in a fairly straight-forward yet effective manner. If you don't know her already, rediscover this talented singer with this album!


Sue Raney / Songs for a Raney Day
This is jazz and pop vocalist Sue Raney's second album for Capitol, recorded in 1959 with the venerable Billy May Orchestra. A concept album inspired by her name, it begins and ends with a thunderclap and the sound of rain, and all songs are related to precipitation in some form or another.

Only 19 years old at the time of recording, Raney exhibits surprising maturity and musicality. Her voice is rich and beautiful, and her singing natural and confident. The intimate mood is well-represented by the cover photo: You would feel like spending a lazy but comfortable afternoon with someone you love.


Monica Lewis / Fools Rush In
Issued originally by Jubilee Records in the 1950s, this Japanese reissue brings what might be the best vocal presentation of singer and actress Monica Lewis. Backed by pianist Jack Kelly and his ensemble, the "petite, blonde and lovely favorite of the G.I's in Korea" shows her tender, moody, provocative and intimate singing that is heavily influenced by Billie Holiday.

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Holly Cole's latest CD!

by Hajime 31. January 2007 23:30


Holly Cole / Holly Cole now available at Eastwind Import!!

Canadian singer and darling of vocal music lovers and audiophiles, Holly Cole just released her first original album in three and a half years. Simply named Holly Cole (also known as Charade or The House Is Haunted in Japan), this latest album came out in Japan first and now available at Eastwind Import. It is not on sale yet even in Canada, and as far as I can tell, there is no upcoming US release.

Cole's eagerly-awaited new album takes the talented singer back to her jazz roots, backed by a colorful semi-big band and an intelligent arrangement by Gil Goldstein. Old friends Aaron Davis on piano and David Pilch on bass contribute on a few songs in a more intimate, smaller settings.

Cole's wry, clear-eyed and modern sensibilities are reflected in the selection of songs and her unique interpretations: the theme of the album is "self-deception." The talented Gil Goldstein achieves maximum, varied effects with a minimum number of horn players, and instrumental solos are very impressive.

If you are a Holly Cole fan like me, you must have been waiting for this new album. Get this Japanese pressing before everyone else!

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Venus Records: New Japanese Label at Eastwind Import!

by Hajime 27. January 2007 11:18
I am very happy to announce that the Japanese independent jazz label Venus Records has joined the growing catalog of Eastwind Import!

Venus Records was established by Mr. Tetsuo Hara in 1992. Having worked as a record producer for RCA and Alpha Records, Mr. Hara fulfilled his long-time dream of establishing his own label by releasing a new recording of Pharoah Sanders, one of the musicians he respects most.

Since then, Venus Records has released numerous piano trio albums led by Eddie Higgins, Steve Kuhn, Denny Zeitlin, Richie Beirach, Bill CHarlap and others, as well as new recordings by horn players such as Barney Wilen, Phil Woods and Enrico Rava. The creative output of these artists was highly appreciated by the Japanese audience and the label's recognition grew.

Mr. Hara cares about sound quality. Although there is some controversy surrounding the "loudness" of the CDs, his signature 24-bit mastering process, dubbed Hyper Magnum Sound, produces very powerful sound with strong "you are there" presence, which is adored by many audiophiles. Under the vision of the strong-willed producer, Venus Records has, after 15 years, become one of the most popular and respected jazz labels in Japan.

As the first selection, I have chosen the following classic Venus CDs--my personal favorites:


Eddie Higgins Trio / Haunted Heart
Veteran American jazz pianist Eddie Higgins was "rediscovered" by the Japanese audience with this debut album for Venus Records. Elegant and swinging, accessible yet artistic, this CD became an instant classic and made Higgins one of the most popular pianists in Japan.


Bill Charlap Trio / 'S Wonderful
Before he joined the American Blue Note label, Bill Charlap recorded this very strong album for Venus Records with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington. Lucky for us, Charlap would go on to record many more albums for the Japanese label. This is clearly one of the best recorded output of this superb trio!


Stefano Bollani Trio / Falando De Amor
What happens when a Japanese producer asks an Italian piano trio to play the songs composed by a Brazillian composer named Antonio Carlos Jobim? You get an unlikely masterpiece! This is one of my personal all-time favorite piano trio albums!


Eric Alexander / Gentle Ballads
One of the best American tenor saxophonists working today, Eric Alexander has a long-standing partnership with Venus Records, and this collection of ballads is one of his definitive works. Listen to his warm, magnificent tenor sound which is superbly recorded! Winner of 2005 Swing Journal Best Jazz Disc Silver Award.

Go to Eastwind Import for more information and sample audio files!

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