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Tommy Turrentine & Lightnin' Hopkins SACDs

At the recent Home Entertainment 2003 show, Audio Fidelity released their two latest Hybrid Stereo SACDs by Tommy Turrentine and Lightnin' Hopkins. Audio Fidelity's owner, Marshall Blonstein, was at the Elusive Disc booth at the show on Friday and Saturday and I had a chance to chat with him and catch up on the latest goings on at the label.

SACD fans know Audio Fidelity from the 11 SACDs they have on the market. Starting with the initial release, The Zombies Greatest Hits (Audio Fidelity AFZ 001), these SACDs have been widely praised for their sonics. This is especially true of the Zombies SACD which has become a staple in the SACD collection of rock fans everywhere.

All of the Audio Fidelity SACDs are Hybrid discs. They have been remastered for SACD by well known audiophile mastering engineer Steve Hoffman with Sony DSD Project Engineer Lon Neumann handling the DSD Technician work on these releases.

Recent SACD Releases
In May, Audio Fidelity added to their release list with a Hybrid Stereo SACD collection of 11 favorites by jazz pianist Bob James entitled "Bob James In Hi Fi" (Audio Fidelity AFZ 009). This collection includes his composition "Angela" which is better known as the Theme from the TV Series "Taxi".

Also released in May was "Man of the World: Reflections on Peter Green" (Audio Fidelity AFZ 011). This Hybrid Stereo SACD features 15 tracks starting artists including Rory Gallagher, Arthur Brown, Harvey Mandel, Southside Johnny, Larry McCray, Savoy Brown and Ian Anderson performing Green's best known compositions.

June SACD Releases
At HE 2003, Audio Fidelity released their two newest SACDs. "Broken Hearted Blues" by Lightnin' Hopkins (Audio Fidelity AFZ 010) is a Hybrid Mono SACD. It features 21 blues classics recorded on the Sittin In and Jax labels during the period of 1950 - 1952.

The second release is entitled "Tommy Turrentine" (Audio Fidelity AFZ 007) and features Tommy Turrentine with the Max Roach Quintet and Tommy's brother Stanley Turrentine guest starring on Tenor Sax. This Hybrid Stereo SACD features 7 tracks that were recorded on January 19, 1960 at Capitol Studios in New York City.

According to Marshall Blonstein, the head man at Audio Fidelity, there has been a lot of interest in the Tommy Turrentine SACD and it was a good seller during the HE 2003 show. When I auditioned the album over the headphones in the Elusive Disc booth, and later when I brought it home, I found that the early interest in this album is very warranted. It has excellent sonics, detail, air and stereo separation. Jazz SACD fans will want to own this new release, no question about it.

What's Ahead
Marshall Blonstein told me Audio Fidelity has several interesting SACD projects coming up in the near future. They include some compilation albums with themes like reggae, space and sci-fi music. However, the SACD on the horizon from Audio Fidelity that is drawing the most interest is a planned compilation disc by Donovan.

Preliminarily entitled "Storyteller", this SACD will include material from both the singer's Epic and Pye master tapes. Blonstein says that Audio Fidelity has already received the Donovan master tapes from Sony Music's Epic Records label and is waiting for the masters from Pye in the U.K. Once these are in house (likely in the next week or so), work will begin on this upcoming SACD. It sounds like another one to watch for if Audio Fidelity's SACD releases to date are any indication.

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