Fourplay Meridian Lossless Packing

The words "smooth jazz" often brings to mind the music you hear in elevators and in the waiting room of the dentist. It is usually jazz fusion with R&B, pop, funk and some rock thrown in. However, when done well, I find it relaxing and tremendously enjoyable - far from the tasteless cotton candy smooth jazz can become. Well recorded, well performed smooth jazz is something with which I can sink into a comfortable sofa and relax into with a glass of wine and my baby.

Discovered by Quincy Jones at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival in 1963, Bob James is often recognized as the founder of "smooth jazz". He is a pianist, and is known for his complex arrangements and the quality of his compositions - winning a Grammy in 1980 with Earl Klugh and another 1986 with David Sanborn.

Lee Ritenour was known early as "Captain Fingers" because of his manual dexterity. He was a sought-after session guitarist in the 1970's and twice won Guitar Player's "Best Studio Guitarist". He was even brought in to "beef up" Pink Floyd's heaviest rock numbers on The Wall (uncredited on One of My Turns and Run Like Hell).

In 1991, these two superstars teamed up with two more super-stars, Nathan East on bass, and Harvey Mason on drums to form the supergroup Fourplay.

Their first album was the self-titled Fourplay and released as a CD in 1991. It was re-issued on DVD-Audio in 2001 during the early days of high-rez to showcase the technology. The music labels picked well - this is one of the albums I'll pull out when asked to show how good digital playback can be.

The CD doesn't sound particularly good - possibly because of the conversion from the native 24bit/96kHz format it was probably recorded and edited in to 16bit/44.1kHz for CD production using the algorithms available in the early '90s. However, the German-pressed and mastered DVD-Audio disc with 24-bit 96kHz files in MLP (Meridian Lossless Packing) is fabulous. One of the best examples of great high-rez digital music nearly 15 years ago!!

Mono & Stereo friend Gary Koh of Genesis Advanced Technologies, Inc.