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Another treat from Angelo Verploegen and Just Listen Records in DSD256

03-28-2022 | By Rushton Paul | Issue 120

Each album Angelo Verploegen makes with Just Listen Records and Jared Sacks is an eagerly awaited pleasure in our household. Beautifully played jazz in some of the best small ensemble recorded sound we get to hear. Verploegen and his partners take us to a soft, warm musical place, and Jared Sacks brings the performances right into our listening space. Just a terrific album from Just Listens Records.

When Night Falls, Angelo Verploegen, flugelhorn, Ed Verhoeff, guitar, Eric van der Westen, bass. Just Listen Records 2022 (DSD256) HERE

In this album, Angelo Verploegen returns to his "first love" and principal instrument: the flugelhorn. Its warmer, darker tone suits the music on this album perfectly with its overall them of music for when night falls. The combination is just the right touch. While I certainly enjoy Verploegen on trumpet, he is simply marvelous to hear when he is able to pull out this wonderfully expressive instrument for a recording session.

Guitarist Ed Verhoeff provides excellent accompaniment on his 1951 Gibson electric guitar, with an excellent choice on "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars" to pull out his acoustic guitar, a 1971 Manuel de la Chica flamenco guitar. Eric van der Westen's bass playing is subtle and flexible here. He does not overpower but delivers a strong supportive role with a deep woody resonant sound that carries a the rest of the group.

As Verploegen and Verhoeff trade leads, an intriguing complexity plays out in their collaborative renditions of these songs, many of which are well known standards given a distinctive new voice. Whether Carmichael's "Stardust," Donaldson's "Makin' Whoopee," Young's "Stella by Starlight," these tunes receive fresh, original and engaging interpretations.

The recorded sound reflects my ideal for a studio recording of a small ensemble. The musicians are naturally arranged in front of us, imaging is completely solid, and there is air surrounding and supporting each of the instruments (including the speaker for the electric guitar which is allowed to reverberate naturally into the environment). Nothing is spotlighted but everything is clear and detailed. The musicians sound as if they have been brought directly into my listening space.

What adds so immensely to this recording is its capture of a live performance. These performances truly are live one-take performances. This is the standard that Just Listen Records and Jared Sacks have set: record in a supportive natural acoustic setting, record as if performing live, capture it in one-take without overdubs later in post-production. And by recording his tracks to DSD256, using very carefully selected low noise cabling and electronics, Jared delivers sound quality that is transparent, open, and true to the instruments—just beautiful.

Recording Session, Bethlehemkerk, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

As Just Listen Records label manager, Jara Holdert, writes in the liner notes:

"That experience of playing live, paying attention and getting into a flow, could only be captured by playing the takes in the most true-to-life conditions. And that is exactly the way the audiophile label Just Listen Records works—they record their own productions in the highest possible audio definition, while keeping the setting as natural as possible. The musicians, standing together in the same room, can hear and see each other without the mediation of headphones or booths, just as they would on a stage. Instead of dampening all the echoes and reverberations, the acoustics of the room actually become an integral element in the recordings, and give a more realistic representation of how we have always heard music; in a room or hall, resonating and adding character."

This is yet another outstanding recording by Jared Sacks. He founded Just Listen Records with his son Jonas Sacks for just this goal—and they are succeeding brilliantly.

Highest recommendations all around.

For more about Just Listen Records and several other recordings by Angelo Verploegen, see:

Just Listen: There’s Something Special Going On

More Gems from Just Listen Records

Recordings by Angelo Verploegen at NativeDSD

Images by Jonas Sacks, courtesy of Jonas Sacks and Just Listen Records