TRIPLE HYBRID SACD * DOUBLE DISC SET* SINGULAR PERFORMANCE - uncompromising, unbridled, intelligent and uniquely engaging improvisational jazz - 6 highly charged trio collaborations & 17 imaginative solo piano forays.
Bob Ravenscroft, piano
Steve Milhouse, bass
Rob Schuh, drums
2004 Album Notes:
Three Alone's mandate for the piano was to procure an instrument that could match the quality of cutting-edge recording equipment and earn the esteem of world-class artists. Precision recording equipment magnifies imperfections of the piano's sound and performance. Our quest for an instrument with a clear, uniform sound minus distortion was fulfilled in the Italian-made Fazioli piano.
Paolo Fazioli has distinguished himself with his passionate pursuit of, and uncompromised attention to, detail, material, design and execution. Precious red spruce from the Val di Fiemme forest in the western Alps is meticulously hand-selected for the soundboards of these instruments. Each piano is three years and 1000 hours in the making.
We selected a model 278 (9'2") Fazioli which features a tunable duplex scale. When finely tuned, this system creates an additional aesthetic layer of harmonics that the listener can detect on many of the tracks of this recording. These harmonic resonances are rarely heard in recordings due to design limitations of instruments and technical limitations of recording equipment.
Equally impressive, this piano features a wide dynamic range of expression available to the artist. Bob Ravenscroft displays virtuoso technique in his ability to explore the seemingly endless range of dynamics and color available in this instrument. We are confident that the listener will be delighted with the decision to introduce the Fazioli piano as a vital component for the team assembled to produce this unique project.
From inception, the recording techniques employed for Three Alone were designed specifically for the SACD medium. Indeed, the process was intended to emulate the early direct-to-disc recording chain that resulted in some of the most dynamic and musically unique recordings of our time. This approach, while challenging to both the artists and engineering staff, tends to create a special musical synergy that also translates to the listener at home.
After months of listening tests and evaluation of current recording technologies, Ravenswave's decision was to simultaneously record and mix the performance "live-in-the-studio" for SACD at ultra high sample and bit rates, utilizing a full surround control room and direct-to-DSD mastering lab.
The microphones and preamplifiers used for this project represent a selection of some of the finest and most respected solid state and tube technology available today ... and yesterday. The recording chain was kept pure and simple, although some artistic liberties were taken to utilize some of the finest "Class A" tube equalizers and leveling devices obtainable to help complement the timbre of the extraordinary instruments played by the artists during the performance.
Most of the current SACD "Multi-format" or "Multi-layer" Surround recordings being released today are mixed in a Surround monitoring environment, thus the subsequent Stereo mixes or "layers" are derived from a "downmix" that occurs inside the decoder circuitry of the consumer's SACD player. In most cases, the standard CD Audio "layer" is also derived from a "downmix" in the SACD mastering facility. In order to maintain ultimate integrity and translation for the listener, regardless of playback format, the three layers of the Three Alone discs were each mixed and mastered separately for SACD Multi-channel Surround, SACD Stereo, and CD Audio (16 bit). The resulting "triple hybrid" capability of Three Alone, serves to make this recording not only accessible to all of these playback formats, but also an uncompromising listening experience for each.
Additional technical documentation is provided as part of the liner notes, including lists of the various microphones and processors utilized for the Three Alone recording project. This is provided to help establish a reference that recording industry personnel, manufacturers of professional audio hardware, and audiophile listeners may find valuable.
Of course, the ultimate purpose of all this is to bring the listening experience closer to the spontaneity and intimacy of the profound musical performances that occurred during these inspired sessions.
"... I suggest you try this. Very rewarding with repeated listenings, like all good music, and there will be many."
By Kenneth Egbert -
Improvised Music Editor, Jazz Now Magazine
"There's some wonderful playing on the set. We'll be giving it some good play...."
By Jon Kauffmann-Kennel
WEMC Radio General Manager, Harrisonburg, VA
"... wow, what a huge project. Sounds like several selections will work for our new radio show..."
By Rich Germaine
Jazz Radio Network Jazz Host
"I thoroughly enjoyed the trio disc..."
By Lenny Mazel
KCME-FM Jazz Director, Colorado Springs, CO
"I regard the Alone CD as a significant achievement in the tradition of great piano artistry. My sincerest congratulations!"
By Vince Maggio
Professor Emeritus of Jazz Piano, University of Miami, FL
"The trio produces long-flowing, tempo-changing free jazz that is highly involving for a two-minute stretch... A solo Ravenscroft shines on the Alone disc with dynamic rhythms and creative melodic phrasing."
By Erik Cho
Car Audio and Electronics Magazine, Primedia