David Grusin gets discovered more often than any musician I know. People have the feeling he gets left out, "the least appreciated film score composer,' and so forth. He has been struggling along at the very top of the music business for years.
Lincoln Mayorga, co-founder of Sheffield Records, has wanted to make a direct-to-disc album with Grusin for many years, and Grusin became intrigued with the challenge. Finally the idea and the occasion met. Direct-to-disc recording implies spontaneity. One performs live. The stylus hits the lacquer, cuts a continuous groove starting at Note 1, Side 1. It will not terminate until the last note of Side 1, and then 2. In this sense it is a live performance. Yet, the music must be painstakingly rehearsed so that the engineer can cope with the heroic task of mixing as he records. For it is an engineers medium. This puts aching pressure on the musicians trying to stay in touch with their own impulses. What the engineer must program, the musicians must de-program as they go. Somewhere in this minefield an unusual quality of music emerges. It is never childs play. For this extraordinary task, Grusin hired a special group of musicians. They are also the same guys Grusin hires for most of his work. Theyre up to it and they suit him. One, bassist Ron Carter, was an import.
Anyone who knows jazz knows Ron Carter. The sound he can get from an acoustic bass (full sized, not three-quarter) is like nobody elses sound. It is particularly satisfying to hear the depth with which that sound is caught within the direct-to-disc recording medium.
The guitar player is Lee Ritenour, who is too young to play as well as he does, but Grusin lets him get away with it. Indeed, it would be hard to stop him. It is difficult to pin down the reasons for rapport between musicians at their work. Grusin and Ritenour generate a similar momentum; theyre both fast, disreputable, and great little dancers.
Drummer Harvey Mason is a staple of your basic Dave Grusin rhythm section. His agility is seemingly effortless. Ive seen him sight-read complicated time signatures while I was still trying to hear them in my head. He also has a silly streak thats hard to resist. Most important in this case, he keeps the time where Grusin likes to hear it, while painting on colors of his own. And if this were not enough, he often brings a shopping bag full of homemade popcorn to the dates.
Larry Bunker is the formidable vibraharpist and percussionist on the album. You should be so lucky as to be in any kind of trouble on a record session and have Larry Bunker there, imperturbably drinking his black coffee, waiting, ready to bail you out. Rarely have I known a more contained musician, nor a more various and capable one. Bunker is what the word veteran is for.
Instead of improving the software technology like other formats do, JVC has chosen to do some serious homework on the hardware side. Developed from its well-known K2 20-bit proprietary digital processor, engineers at JVC Mastering Center spared no effort in refining and extending the K2 system into a K2 24-bit configuration. The most remarkable breakthrough is the application of a unique timing system called "Rubidium RF Distribution" technology. Instead of using crystal as the medium for laser clocking, they implemented a timing system based on rubidium, a rare material that is used for space applications. This device is 10,000 times more accurate than conventional crystal clocks. (Detailed information of this system will be found elsewhere in the liner notes.) In a nutshell, XRCD24 produces the finest analog sound: warm, musical and dynamic, but in a normal 16-bit PCM digital format, meaning the disc is playable by any CD player without any additional equipment or different player!
Musicians: Dave Grusin, vocals & piano; Ron Carter, bass; Lee Ritenour, guitar; Harvey Mason, drums; Larry Bunker, percussion.