REVIEW CARMEN GOMES - UP JUMPED THE DEVIL
BY JOE WHIP FOR AUDIOPHILE STYLE
....."This is some of the best sounding drum sound I have ever heard on a recording. Very dynamic and not reserved. The sound of the double bass is full, rich and powerful where needed but with no hint of bloat. And the guitar.....It is clear and reverberant. Naturally, not with added reverb. Of course, the vocals are captured beautifully. Carmen is right there in front of you. This recording doesn’t take you to the recording studio. Even better, it brings the recording studio to your listening room. Very few studio recordings do this. The drums to the left, Carmen in the middle in front of the instruments and the bass just to the right of her and the guitar to the right side of the soundstage. The sound is totally three dimensional. You almost feel like you can reach out and touch everyone. The sound is totally open with natural decay and depth. It is stunning. It really is. No hyperbole."....
Read the whole review at the website of Audiophile Style:
HIFI NEWS AND RECORD REVIEW
Gidon Nunes Vas - EMBRACE ME
This is a typical Sound Liaison release, here captured live in studio 2 at Hilversum's MCO, with recording, mixing and mastering by Frans de Rond.However en route to becoming a DXD (or DSD) master via a Digital Audio Workstation, the initial recording was transferred to a Studer A80 tape machine at 15ips. Why? The answer is that ‘it gives us a bit of what they call 'Mojo'.
Definitely an audiophile recording, then, but with a sense of humour, and the result is spectacular, with a warm, generous ambience you can almost reach out and touch each instrument; Gidon Nunez Vaz' trumpet, Timothy Banchet's piano, Thomas Pol's bass and the drums of the splendidly named Yoran Vroom- lovingly captured. And Denise Jannah's vocals on four of the tracks are simply gorgeous. The end result is a gentle, measured and totally appealing set.
Recording Review: Taking a Listen to Sound Liaison’s DXD Music Sampler
There are some audio enthusiasts who claim that high-resolution digital recordings offer no audible improvement over conventional Red Book CDs. I could not disagree more, but what about 96 kHz vs. DXD at 352.8 kHz? I found the 96 kHz files to be excellent, but by comparison the 352.8 kHz originals have a bit more air and space in the sound, even with my OPPO player down-sampling them to 176.4 kHz. The DSD comparisons are interesting. I found the DSD files to be a bit “warmer” but I could not help wondering if there’s some sort of euphonic coloration going in the conversion process. At times, I felt that the DSD files had a slightly larger and more precise stereo image. That may seem strange, but I can only report what I heard. It’s possible that my reactions to the warmth and the imaging are due to the simpler analog filtering in DSD playback.Sound Liason’s DXD sampler, The Visual Sound, offers some of the most realistic sounding recordings I’ve heard, in enjoyable selections performed by excellent musicians. Most of the music on this sampler is decidedly laid-back, and audiophiles looking for an in-your-face sonic spectacular will likely miss the point. For engineer Frans de Rond and the excellent musicians heard on these recordings, it’s all about subtlety and refinement. Musically perceptive listeners will appreciate the efforts of all involved in making these fine recordings.
Gary Galo - AudioXpress
Carmen Gomes: Don't You Cry
Many musicians can play jazz and blues, but few can sing the blues with total conviction and emotional authenticity. Dutch singer-songwriter Carmen Gomes is one of those few. A father from the Mediterranean region endowed Carmen Gomes not only with a Spanish-sounding name, but by her own description, with a Mediterranean temperament. At the margins of the culture, the world's differences meet; for Carmen Gomes, the language that gave her freedom of expression was not her native Dutch, but English; and the mode that encouraged her creativity was American jazz and blues. With a dozen previous albums in her catalogue, this accomplished singer, songwriter, teacher and vocal coach distills more than two decades of live performance and recording experience into "Don't You Cry", an hour of compelling jazz vocal music.
The selection and sequencing of the songs tells the story of a woman’s growing recognition that she must throw off the chains of love—false illusions, fears and insecurities—before she can find a more honest way of loving. From the opening "Unchain My Heart", a 1963 hit for Ray Charles, through two songs associated with the great Nina Simone, "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and Simone's own assertion of female sensuality "Do I Move You", with stops along the way in the Deep South of the songwriter's imagination (Ira and George Gershwin's "Summertime") and the historical reality ("How Long", credited to Leroy Carr, originally written by blueswoman Ida Cox), the listener finally arrives at Gomes' original "As I Do." It's a one-hour trip from the depths of love's oppression to the renewed hope for a relationship between equal partners, cast in the languorous mode of sultry jazz singing and subtle instrumental accompaniment.
Gomes’ stylistic technique extends past the conventions of behind-the-beat phrasing. Listen to how she teases out the syllables, as if the lyrics themselves were musical notes, not just words on a page. On "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", she prolongs the vowel sounds through several shades of inflection. With her flawless pitch, the effect is entrancing. You might hear echoes of Billie Holliday, but her vocal sound has developed well beyond imitation to distinctive individuality.
The ensemble Carmen Gomes, Inc. is more than a singer and a backing group. Bassist Peter Bjørnild, whose session notes are posted on the Sound Liaison website, produced the record and arranged the songs in collaboration with Gomes, guitarist Folker Tettero and drummer Bert Kamsteeg. Tettero plays an archtop semi-hollow body guitar that has a warm timbre; his stylistic ears are well-tuned to blues idiom, especially the minor-key blues of the mid-1960s. Kamsteeg uses brushes throughout, and keeps superb time without ever overpowering the singer or other players. In bassist Peter Bjørnild, Gomes has found the deep instrumental 'voice' that complements her vocals, the glove that perfectly fits the hand. Their musical partnership is longstanding, and the trust that only years can bring is clearly in evidence.
The decision to record with a single-point stereo microphone came about after the group had already finished a recording session done with conventional multi-mic technique. The late delivery of a Josephson C700S stereo microphone prompted a test recording of a single tune; an afterwards, engineer and label co-owner Frans Rond was so convinced that the sound qualities of that track should be heard on a full recording, he reconvened two more sessions that consisted of the group's working repertoire, done almost entirely in single takes. Those sessions were recorded at MCO Studio 2, Hilversum, The Netherlands, on 26 October and 15 December 2018, in DXD 352.8 kHz. As Bjørnild explains: "With only one mic… mixing was no longer possible. We would have to make the complete sound stage right there by carefully moving each instrument closer or further away, as well as left and right, in relationship to the microphone."
With an engineer of the capabilities of Frans Rond, mixing is no longer needed. The careful placement of the musicians and the control of group balance makes "Don't You Cry" one of the best-sounding "live in the room" audiophile recordings I've heard.
Not surprisingly, site listeners awarded "Don't You Cry" NativeDSD Vocal Album of the Year for 2019. I eagerly await the next release from Carmen Gomes Inc.
Sound Liaison - One Mic Recording
Review about One Mic Recording by Joe Whip at Audiophile Style.
.....These guys and this recording just rocks. Pace, rhythm, tone and soundstage are just off the charts.
The precise placement of all four of the musicians perfectly matches the photos of the sessions.
The balance of all four instruments is darn near perfect. As you can no doubt tell, I am a huge fan of this recording.
It is one of the best in terms of recording quality I have ever heard. Of course, and as always,
your view of the actual music content may vary quite considerably from mine.
Nonetheless, I think we would all agree that this recording sounds sensational....
Read the whole review at the website of Audiophile Style:
Anything from Sound Liaison
Sound Liaison is a small audiophile type record company from the Netherlands.
They differ from many audiophile labels as they produce music that you will want to listen to over and over again for the quality
of the music and the performances rather than just for the sound quality. Don't get me wrong, the entire Sound Liaison catalogue,
which is very small as they are a new label, features excellent sound. My favorites are Andre Heuvelman's After Silence featuring
classical music, Carmen Gomes Inc.'s A Thousand Shades of Blue and Little Blue both of which feature music more in the pop and
standards vein and two jazz recordings, Impromptu featuring Tony Overwater and Bert van den Brink on piano and bass and
The Witner's Trio's En Azul which features some very creative arrangements of some jazz standards.
Tony Overwater and Bert van den Brink: Impromptu
Review by Mark Werlin of HRAudio.net for NativeDSD
“Impromptu” vividly captures the sound of an intimate venue at a very special one-time performance.
Cue the 4th track on “Impromptu” on your music server, turn up the volume, and step for a moment outside
your listening room… you’ll feel as if you’re walking away from the musicians, not from your loudspeakers.
How was this illusion created? Here’s the recipe: take one adventurous audio engineer, add five strategically-placed
microphones, sift it all through DSD recording technology, and stir in a large portion of musical magic.
Describing the spontaneity of live recordings, album engineer Frans de Rond writes:
“The audience becomes part of the music making and help spur the musicians on to great heights.
The musicians feeling the empathy from the audience dare to take chances that one rarely hears in a studio recording.“
When bassist Tony Overwater and pianist Bert Van Den Brink were invited to perform an impromptu set of tunes on the
occasion of the 25th anniversary of the high-end audio shop “Rhapsody”, in Hilversum, the Netherlands, they were definitely
taking chances. The two musicians had never performed together before, and there was no prior rehearsal. An enthusiastic
invited audience packed Rhapsody’s listening room — one wonders how there was enough space to fit in a grand piano.
The stage was set for whatever might happen.
Prior to hearing this album, I was familiar with bassist Tony Overwater through his SACD recordings “O.P.”, a tribute to
the American bass player and composer Oscar Pettiford, and “Jungle Boldie”, an eclectic modern trio project with reeds
player Maarten Ornstein and drummer Wim Kegel. Overwater’s ability to adapt and communicate effectively with pianist
Bert van den Brink, in spite of never having performed together, is a measure of his experience and creative resources.
Half the tunes in this set are well-known standards: “If I Should Lose You”, “I Fall in Love Too Easily”, “Nardis” and
“My Foolish Heart”; the latter two songs are closely associated with pianist Bill Evans. Three improvisations and
Tony Overwater’s composition “De Boot” fill out the set. Van den Brink generally opens with an unaccompanied introduction,
then states the melody of the song, which sets a tone for Overwater’s accompaniment. Each player solos in turn,
having established the tempo and overall mood in which the piece will be presented.
Appropriately enough, considering the name of the audio shop, Bert van den Brink plays in a rhapsodic style, freely
embellishing and orchestrating the songs with decorative arpeggios and dense chords. The familiarity of the standards
provides a framework for reframing the melodies in fresh and unexpected turns of phrase. Overwater accompanies with
restraint and good musical judgment, making for a unified sound that belies the absence of a performing history with
van den Brink. It all works, which might have surprised the musicians and much as it pleased the audience.
Many of the other releases from Sound Liaisons are studio sessions recorded with a single-point stereo microphone,
a rigorous and painstaking approach to production. The label has a goal of establishing a distinctive house sound while
documenting new jazz music from the Netherlands. It’s an exciting venture that has earned critical praise from audio
and jazz enthusiasts, and a place in this listener’s music library.
5 STAR REVIEW IN DUTCH JAZZ MAGAZINE: JAZZISM
Carmen Gomes: Carmen Gomes Sings the Blues
Another gem from Sound Liaison, this recording is Carmen Gomes' take on Harry Belafonte's Belafonte Sings the Blues.
Recorded in DXD, this recording is available in any high Rez flavor you prefer. The sound is killer.
Another Wonderful Jazz Recording from Sound Liaison
September 10, 2015 Sound Liaison is a Netherlands based partnership two bass players, Frans de Rond and Peter Bjørnild. They’ve assembled some terrific artists who play great jazz and given them high definition sound. I raved about their initial recordings on the Sound Stage! Network, and have enjoyed watching their progress in listening to their appealing new albums.
Their newest program is titled En Azul and features the Witmer Trio, Cajan Witmer – piano,
Han Slinger – double bass, and Maarten Kruijswijk – drums. The trio has been together for 20 years and all the players sound very comfortable in their skins. Their emphasis is on melody with ornamentation and variation that heightens a sense of melody rather than distracting from it. And they’ve picked some terrific tunes to work with – Carioca, TheGentle Rain, Moon River, Moonglow, Rhapsody in Blue, Recado, and St. Louis Blues, to mention a few. The playing is delightfully impeccable and the recorded sound nearly so. The trio sounds like it’s playing in a real space and is nicely spread between speakers with no exaggeration. The piano sound is perfect as is the sound of the many percussion instruments that are so imaginatively employed. The bass is solid; I could use just a tiny bit more focus on the attacks. Sound Liaison recordings are only available as high quality downloads. Many download formats are available including DSD and PCM 24bit/96kHz stereo. If you’re searching for real sounding intimate jazz, give the work of these folks a try. You’ll not be disappointed and it’s so good-natured, I’ll bet it will put a smile on your face.
American Blues from the Netherlands
Carmen Gomes Inc. - Thousand Shades of Blue
Format: 24-bit/96kHz FLAC (download)
I've been among the prophets saying that high-resolution downloads are the future of audiophile music sales. Surely it will benefit the majors to make high-quality downloads a first choice rather than an MP3 extra, but I believe that individual artists can benefit as well. Most new-to-the-scene performers have little money for middlemen and disc manufacture, yet can get things together for the Internet.
Frans de Rond and Peter Bjørnild have taken this approach with Sound Liaison, producing recordings available only in 24-bit/96kHz downloads that mirror the master recording. And man, are they ever sweet. I've seldom heard recordings that were so successful in both performance and sound aspects.
De Rond hails from the Netherlands, where he studied double bass at The Royal Conservatory in The Hague while concurrently studying recording techniques. Bjørnild also studied double bass, moving to the Netherlands to continue studies at The Hague. Since graduating, he has played almost every type of music, from classical to jazz. Together de Rond and Bjørnild bring two pairs of golden ears to their label. Bjørnild claims that, "a recording should be as realistic and beautiful sounding as possible. As if, when closing your eyes, you find yourself in the best seat in the hall."
The partners discovered a fine recording hall (Studio-Eleven, Hilversum) and set out to record amazing musicians in this great acoustic place in front of live audiences. It's a daring feat; one take and no place to hide, but the abilities of the musicians involved make it seem easy. I chose to talk about the first album by Carmen Gomes Inc. It was a tough choice because all of the three current albums were worthy of review.
Carmen Gomes has won many awards in the Netherlands and surrounding areas. Like so many new European singers, she sings in English -- excellent English, I might add. She's formed a group called Carmen Gomes Inc., with Folker Tettero on guitar, Peter Bjørnild on double bass, and Marcel van Engelen on drums. Her style is bluesy and intimate with a sexy voice that's sweet as dark tupelo honey, and her interpretations are unerring. The musicians play to her and to each other, and the ensemble is so tight that the four musicians breathe and move as one.
There are some standards on the set that knocked me over with their fresh approach. Any singer can misplace a few accents and rhythms and come up with something that's original, but perhaps also uneasy and a little strange. Not Gomes, who has taken the songs to their bones and then restructured them to suit her style. Thus "Fever" doesn't sound like a cover of Peggy Lee; it sounds like a brand new take on a familiar song. You emerge from hearing it not thinking it's better or lesser than Lee's version, but that it's a valid new interpretation that could have come first.
The same approach works on "Angel Eyes," "You Don't Know What Love Is," and "I'm on Fire." Most of the rest, including the title song, "Oblivion," "Time Will Tell," "Gasoa Blue," and "The Sea," are Gomes originals that fit right in with the standards. The recording achieves exactly what Bjørnild set out as his goal. It can provide the best seat in your listening room. Go to the Sound Liaison site, listen to a few samples, download an album, and see if you don't agree that this intimate effort is one of the best and best-sounding jazz vocal albums to come along in many a day. By the way, the small audience applauds enthusiastically enough after the last chords of a song die away, but the attendees never interrupt or make themselves known while a song is going on. No doubt they were completely mesmerized into silence, as was I.
Be sure to listen to: On "Dock of the Bay," Gomes creates a languid, bluesy version that is a little bit reminiscent of Bobbie Gentry while still coming across as quite original. It'll cast a spell over you.
. . . Rad Bennett
CARMEN GOMES INC. – TORN (WAV 96/24)
ERIC DE BOER | 06 APRIL 2013
Nederland is een nieuw platenlabel rijker. Het album Torn van Carmen Gomes Inc. is één van de eerste albums van het label Sound Liaison dat als High Definition download te verkrijgen is. Maar een rijke bandbreedte en een puristisch ingesteld team van musici en technische meesters moet ook muziektechnisch interessant zijn. Carmen Gomes Inc. beantwoordt daar ruimschoots aan.
Het idee om een in de Hilversumse Studio Eleven gehuisveste basis een High Definition muzieklabel op te zetten sprak Peter Bjørnild en Frans de Rond zeker aan. Hun missie werd het slaan van een brug tussen de studio (technici en musici) en de muziekliefhebbers die willen genieten van een hoogwaardige weergave. Dat vertaalde zich uiteindelijk in het beheren, produceren en tevens als HD Wav-file uitbrengen van eigen opnames, die zonder gebruik van hoofdtelefoons en met alle artiesten tegelijk spelend in dezelfde ruimte voor nogal voor de hand liggende uitdagingen zorgen. Maar de synergie van meerdere musici en vocalist(en) tegelijk is tijdens die opnames even sterk als tijdens een optreden, en de muziek klinkt coherenter en minder gecomprimeerd dan wanneer er diverse opnames in verschillende situaties worden gemaakt.
Het album Torn van Carmen Gomes Inc. is daar in ieder geval een goed voorbeeld van. Dit gezelschap bestaat al een tijdje uit de muzikaal geschoolde stem van Carmen Gomes, Folker Tettero met zijn bluesy-klinkende gitaargeluid, Peter Bjørnild op bas en Marcel van Engelen op drums. Torn is het negende studioalbum van Carmen Gomes Inc. en vermengt blues met vocale jazz. Dit album werd in november 2012 in slechts twee dagen opgenomen in Studio Eleven en door het duo van Peter en Frans van mixage en productie voorzien. De twaalf tracks bestaan deels uit eigen werk en deels uit bekende bluestracks die door Gomes en haar begeleiding bevlogen en wordt gebracht. Het album straalt door de enorm ontspannen sfeer die zowel door de band als de verfijnde opnametechnieken worden gereproduceerd in mijn luisterruimte. De instrumenten werken lichtelijk, maar prettig op elkaar in en hebben dezelfde akoestische eigenschappen, dankzij het gezamenlijk spelen en opnemen. De behuizingen van de drums worden dus bijna zichtbaar, terwijl Gomes vrijwel tastbaar is, getuige tracks als You Gotta Move, I’m Torn of The Thrill Is Gone. Haar wat zwoele, enorm getalenteerde en gecontroleerde stemgeluid is vrij uniek en de zangeres weet emotie over te brengen zonder een platte imitatie ergens van te willen zijn. Torn luistert daarom ontzettend makkelijk weg, de dynamiek is van verslavend hoge kwaliteit en de muziek zelf is ook gemaakt om echt te musiceren, niet voor een puike opname. Prima combi, gezien het uitgangspunt van Sound Liaison. De uitgestraalde rust en de hoge mate van controle van alle vier de leden van Carmen Gomes Inc. over hun instrumenten getuigt van een niveau dat vaker in landen als Duitsland of Amerika wordt aangetroffen, wat als groot compliment mag worden gezien. Geen audiofiel gepingel, maar gewoon muziek, weliswaar met een voorbeeldige productie.Verplichte kost voor iedereen die bluesy jazz, goede opnames en dito weergave een warm hart toedraagt! Voor de technisch geïnteresseerde lezer: op de site van het label staan ook de gebruikte apparatuur voor de opname.
Der´ ingen grænser…
Musik fra hollandske Sound Liaison.
Junu 2015: Af Kurt Lassen
Musik har ingen grænser, ligesom kærlighed heller ikke har. Kærligheden til musikken er da også det første som man får øje på, når man klikker sig ind på hollandske Sound Liaisons hjemmeside. Vi finder indtil videre ialt 11 albums, hvoraf nogle er test skiver, så du kan prøve at se (og høre) hvad hollænderne har gang i. Du kan også prøve forskellige filformater af, måske kan din DAC slet ikke gengive forskellen på hhv. en 24/96 WAV eller FLAC fil?
Ud over god lyd og skøn musik, har Sound Liaison også en masse facts om optagelserne, de benyttede konvertere og mikrofonerne.
Du kan starte med deres Music Sampler med ialt forskellige 11 numre, som er en dejlig appetitvækker af de helt store. Der er en bred vifte af selskabets udvalgte sange. Og på deres website kan du smuglytte til sangene, og blive forført af både musik og lydkvalitet før du køber. Music Sampler koster fra 10 til 15 Euro, afhængig af opløsningen som du kan vælge imellem:
“Time Will Tell” fra Carmen Gomes Inc er gudesmuk at lytte til, med en lyd som nærmest er til at gribe ud efter og tage fat i. Og det er først når sangen slutter, og publikum begynder at klappe, at du finder ud af at det er en live indspilning! Man har benyttet de fremragende Schoeps MK5 kuglemikrofoner i en AB opstilling, suppleret med diverse støttemikrofoner.
Carmen Gomes - vokal, Folker Tettero på guitar, Peter Bjornild trakterer bassen og Marcel van Engelen tryller på trommerne.
Pizzicanto - Bach Reflections er ligeledes optaget Live, det er dog ikke det som er det specielle, det særlige er derimod, at der en jazzet version af Bach! De fem dygtige musikere tager bidder af Bach og rearrangerer og improviserer - frækt og nyskabende. Og lydkvaliteten? Igen langt over hvad man er vant til. Det er yderligere vigtig at pointere, at det er en 1:1 kopi af optagelsen, som er foregået i 24 bit/96 Khz.
Et andet godt eksempel er Impromptu med Tony Overwater på bas og Bert van den Brink på piano. Det er faktisk første gang de to ekvilibrister optræder sammen, og så i en HiFi butik! Det var i High End audio shoppen ''Rhapsody" i Hilversum som havde 25 års jubilæum, og i deres bedste lytterum blev de to musikere optaget vha. 2 styk Neumann TLM 170 mikrofoner (piano) og bassen med en JZ V67. Ambient mikrofonerne var et stereo-sæt Sonodore RCM-402. Betingelserne var langt fra optimale, døren blev åbnet flere gange af nye tilskuere som ville nyde musikken, en espresso maskine gik igang, og pga varmen måtte man åbne vinduet, bare for at kunne høre en DJ som spillede sit sæt i det fjerne. Da han stoppede, kunne man til gengæld høre fuglene synge udenfor!
De to herrer Frans de Rond og Peter Bjørnild er begge uddannede bassister. Sidstnævnte er forøvrigt fra Danmark, og har sideløbende med studierne på det Kongelige Musikkonservatorium fået bas undervisning af ingen ringere end Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen! Senere pakkede Bjørnild bassen ned og flyttede til Holland.
Det er nemt at høre at det er to bassister som står bag Sound Liaison; bassen er der nemlig kælet rigtig meget for på alle deres indspilninger. Den akustiske bas kan være svært at “tæmme” på en live optagelse, forstået på den måde, at der næsten altid vil være nogle toner som vil stritte ud og være mere præsente end andre. Det er også grunden til at de fleste lydteknikere straks griber ud efter en kompressor når de hører ordet bas.
Vi har tidligere haft fornøjelsen at lytte til de samme højttalere som Sound Liaison bruger til mixning, nemlig Grimm Audio LS1. De har en fantastisk klarhed og opløsning over hele frekvens spektret. Yderligere benytter hollænderne bl.a. følgende udstyr:
Mikrofon kabler: Grimm Audio TPR
Hovedtelefonerne er Sennheiser HD800
Højttalere: Grimm Audio LS1 og TAD CR1
Master clock: Grimm Audio CC1
Alt sammen udstyr i den særdeles gode klasse, men ikke helt uopnåeligt for Hifi elskerne imellem jer og med pengepungen i orden. Så det ER faktisk muligt at få nøjagtig samme vellyd derhjemme ved at investere i højttalere og kabler fra Grimm.
Vi har downloaded flere af Sound Liaisons albums, fx Carmen Gomes Inc.´s Thousand Shades Of Blue(igen med Peter Bjørnild på bas), og Road To Memphis med Paul Berner Band, som er endnu en bassist på det hollandske label (amerikanske Paul Berner har spillet med bl.a. Shirley Bassey, Monty Alexander og Peter Erskine, for bare at nævne nogle få). Bassen er også her suverænt optaget med en JZ V67 mikrofon. Prøv at lægge øre til bandets version af Elvis´første single fra 1954 “That´s All Right”. Her er vellyd, dynamik og et swingende band så det er en fryd! Og igen er det en live optagelse!
Sound Liaison´s motto er: High Realistic Audio Recording. Og dét er da vidst lige hvad det er ;=)