Surround Henry Mancini - Six Hours Past Sunset & A Warm Shade of Ivory (1969/2016) SACD-R multichannel music

Categories: Jazz Surround Music
Henry Mancini - Six Hours Past Sunset & A Warm Shade of Ivory (1969/2016) SACD-R
Artist: Henry Mancini | Album: Six Hours Past Sunset & A Warm Shade of Ivory | Released: 1969/2016 | Quality: SACD-R ( DST64 64(2,8 MHz/1 Bit) 4.0/2.0 ) | Label: Vocalion | Genre: Jazz, Easy Listening

The opportunity to hear Henry Mancini original recordings in high resolution multi-channel audio is most welcome. Vocalion combines two albums “Six Hours Past Midnight” and “A Warm Shade of Ivory” on a SACD release that were originally recorded for both Stereo 2.0 and Quadraphonic 8-track tape (Q8). This SACD turns out to be more than just a pleasant surprise.

Both albums were released in 1969 and they share a common theme of Henry Mancini as a piano soloist. And he happens to be a wonderful pianist adding to his reputation as an excellent arranger. Although a highly accomplished composer, Mancini chooses to use mainly compositions from others for these recordings that still cast some first-rate melodies and add up to 22 tracks with over 64 minutes of music.

One common aspect is all recordings took place in the studio at RCA’s Music Center of the Worlds with quality production under Joe Reisman. Still another common factor is the recording /mixing engineer Mickey Crofford who, from my perspective, plays a crucial role in the SACD multi-channel release with a superlative 4-channel discreet mix (Q8). In addition to it's discreetness, the 4.0 mix maintains exceptional balance between all channels in the surround field and it is sublimely immersive.

As an additional feature, these are not straight transfers from the original master tapes as Michael J. Dutton has superbly remastered from the original analogue tapes resulting in some wonderful music rendered with superior dynamics and warm sound.

“The Love Theme From Romeo and Juliet” (a surprise no. 1 pop single in 1969 when music charts were dominated by rock artists such as The Beatles) exhibits the exquisite quality of Mancini’s orchestral arrangements that are predicated on the use of lush strings. Long a trait of Mancini recordings, the vocal chorus elegantly emanates from the rear channels as strings move gently from the front to blend effectively with the ever-present beautiful balance between orchestral instruments. Mancini's piano solos are splendid and sparkle in the multi-channel set up. The result is a highly impressive quadraphonic sound for the rendering of this song.

Henry Mancini often incorporated jazz elements in his orchestral arrangements. On “Girl Talk”, in addition to Mancini’s piano stylings, Ray Brown plays engaging string bass and shines in a masterful solo offering some jazz notes that play with transparency in wonderful deep tones and reproduce with a strong sense of realism.

Of the two albums, the material is stronger on "A Warm Shade of Ivory" than “Six Hours Past Sunset” but all these Henry Mancini recordings remain special for me as a long time fan of this highly successful and award winning artist (4 Academy Awards, 20 Grammys). I may be biased toward the music but I can state unabashedly the 4.0 Quad audio quality is outstanding.
Six Hours Past Sunset

01. Softly, as I Leave You (De Vita; Calabrese; Shaper)*
02. Midnight Cowboy (Barry)
03. Traces (Buie; Cobb; Gordy)*
04. Natalie (Mancini; McKuen)*
05. Didn’t We (Webb)*
06. Two for the Road (Mancini; Bricusse)
07. Six Hours Past Sunset (Mancini)
08. Theme from The Fox (Schifrin)*
09. Quentin’s Theme (Cobert)*
10. Girl Talk (Hefti; Troup)*
11. Moonlight Sonata (Beethoven adapt Mancini)*
*with chorus


12. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning (Mann; Hilliard)*
13. Cycles (Caldwell)*
14. Moment to Moment (Mancini; Mercer)
15. A Day in the Life of a Fool Manhã de Carnaval (Bonfá; Sigman)*
16. Watch What Happens (Legrand; Demy; Gimbel)*
17. By the Time I Get to Phoenix (Webb)
18. Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet (Rota; Kusik; Snyder)*
19. The Windmills of Your Mind (Legrand; A & M Bergman)
20. When I Look in Your Eyes (Bricusse)
21. Meditation (Jobim; Mendonça; Gimbel)*
22. Dream a Little Dream of Me (Andre; Schwandt; Kahn)
*with chorus

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