Holly (2018)

Moross, De Paul, Brown, Gershwin, van Heusen, Rodgers, Ellington

Holly Cole

Internationally acclaimed Canadian Jazz songstress Holly Cole debuts at NativeDSD with the DSD Album "Holly". One of the defining recordings of her long and celebrated career, this album includes 3 tracks with her original trio members David Piltch and Aaron Davis who collaborated with her on her very successful ‘Don’t Smoke in Bed’ and ‘Girl Talk’ and recordings made in New York with a whole new band produced by Russ Titelman. Her versatile and distinctive voice, along with her adventurous repertoire is a true delight. 

Holly Cole writes:

When I made this record I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that I was excited; excited to work with producer Russ Titelman, excited to work at Sear Sound Studio in New York, a wonderful studio I had recorded songs from my “Temptation” recording in and excited to record with a whole new band that Russ Titelman had assembled. It was an interesting experience for me to walk in the studio on day one of recording and meet most of these people for the first time. And then play songs that I basically did not participate in arranging. That’s pretty different for me. I consider arranging to be a substantial part of my identity as a musician. Having less control was challenging. And what I found was that it took me to new places as a singer.

Russ and I both wanted Larry Goldings as the piano player and arranger for the New York sessions. Apart from being an astounding musician he shares my musical aesthetic and is a kindred spirit.

Russ suggested that I do a couple of vocal duets with trombone player/singer Wycliffe Gordon. I haven’t done that many vocal duets before. It can be hard to find the right chemistry musically and personally with another singer. Wycliffe and I fell in from the get go. He’s such a fascinating man and a great singer and trombone player. Singing with him was pure joy.

The sessions in New York were very intensive. That was a great way to work because we all got to know each other personally and musically very quickly. We did few takes and were able to record those precious moments of discovery. That is so important to me. Capturing the spark of musicians connecting with one another and discovering the essence of the song while recording is rare and fantastic.

To me this is the greatest joy in improvised music.

When I got home to Toronto I was brimming with ideas and enthusiasm and excited to share these ideas and determined to record several more songs for the record. I love playing with my original Trio members Aaron Davis and David Piltch, piano and bass and along with drummer Davide DiRenzo and John Johnson on horns we recorded three more tracks that made the record. And then we were done, it’s my hope you come to enjoy the fruits of our collective labours as much as we all do, happy listening! - Holly

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Holly Cole

Born into a musical family in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Holly Cole from birth was inundated with a wide range of musical styles. Both her parents were classical musicians, pop and rock were the music of choice for her peer group at school, and Celtic and country were omnipresent within her immediate community. In this environment singing was as natural as riding a bike. While most families spend their after dinner time engaged in discussions as to what television shows to watch, Cole’s family debated over what to sing. Everyone in her family played piano and, upon graduating from high school, her older brother headed off to study jazz at the prestigious Berkelee College of Music in Boston.

Cole was sixteen when she decided to take a couple of months off, head down to Boston and spend some quality time with her elder sibling. For the next eight weeks, she hung out with her brother and his friends listening to the seminal recordings of every important post-war jazz artist. The experience changed her life.

"When I first heard jazz," recalls Cole, "the music had all the harmonic complexity, richness and level of musicianship that classical music had but it also had a few elements that classical music did not have, for instance improvisation, and most importantly, it sounded bad, like it was on the dark side! As a sixteen year old, that was entirely compelling. It had all the right ingredients! Hearing singers such as Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Anita O’Day and Betty Carter, I was shocked by how personal and intimate their statements were. They seemed so completely in control of their art form. I dove into the music." 

Moving to Toronto a couple of years later, the budding chanteuse established the Holly Cole Trio, featuring bassist David Piltch and pianist extraordinaire Aaron Davis. Between 1990 and 1993, the Trio recorded three superb albums, 1990’s Girl Talk, 1992’s Blame It On My Youth and 1993’s Don’t Smoke In Bed. While all three discs were largely steeped in the jazz tradition,Don’t Smoke in Bed included a soaring version of Johnny Nash’s "I Can See Clearly Now," suggesting that the group’s sonic palette was beginning to widen. This was more than confirmed with 1995’s stunning Temptation album, which consisted entirely of material by song writing iconoclast Tom Waits. Cole’s most recent album, Dark Dear Heart released in the winter of 1997/98, brought everything together. Utilizing the possibilities of an expanded ensemble, the blossoming singer turned pop classics such as Joni Mitchell’s "River" and the Beatles’ "I’ve Just Seen a Face" inside out, finding new meanings in both, ultimately making them undeniably her own. "I’ve Just Seen a Face" went on to become her first bona fide radio hit.

Such a shift in repertoire and style has occurred organically. "As I grew and changed," explains Cole. "I decided to explore other avenues of my musicality, the music I had grown up with." Coming into full maturity as a vocalist, Cole began to inject pop material with a jazz sensibility and, conversely, jazz material with a pop sensibility. The results were inspiring.

"That’s the only honest thing I can do," she concludes. "I know and love jazz music. I know and love pop music. They’re both important and part of my musicality!"

photo: from cover 'HOLLY' (2018)

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Holly (2018)

Moross, De Paul, Brown, Gershwin, van Heusen, Rodgers, Ellington

Holly Cole

Analog Tape Player: Nagra-T modified with high end tube playback electronics
Digital Converters: Merging Technologies Horus
Editing Software: Pyramix
Mastering Engineer: René Laflamme - Transfer from Analog Master Tape to DSD 256
Microphones: Sennheiser and Neumann

For the 2xHD transfer of this recording, the original 1/4", 15 IPS NAB Master Tape was played on a Nagra-T modified tape machine with high-end tube playback electronics, wired with OCC Silver Cable from the playback head direct to a Telefunken EF806 Tube. The Nagra-T has one of the best transports ever made, having four direct drive motors, two pinch rollers and a tape tension head. We did an Analog Transfer to DSD256 (11.2mHz) using Merging Horus and HAPI A/D converters and a dCS Vivaldi Clock. Each format (DSD 2.8mHz, DSD 5.6 mHz and DSD 11.2 mHz) was created from that transfer.

2xHD Executive Producer: André Perry

Producer: Russ Titelman and Holly Cole
Recording Engineer: Chris Allen, George Seara, Jimmy Bralower
Recording location: Sear Sound, NYC, March 12-16, 2016 (Except Tracks 2, 5, 9: Produced by Holly Cole, Recorded at Noble Street Studios, Toronto, May 23-24, 2017)
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: Analog Tape to DSD 256

This album was recorded to Analog tape. It was then transferred to the DSD bit rate indicated above.

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2XHDRR1101: Holly
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I'm Beginning to See the Light
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Your Mind Is on Vacation
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The Goldwyn Follies - I Was Doing All Right
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And the Angels Sing - It Could Happen to You
van Heusen
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Ain't That a Kick in the Head?
van Heusen
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Teach Me Tonight
De Paul
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We've Got a World That Swings
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Shall we Dance - They can't take that away from me
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Everybody Loves Somebody
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Pal Joey - I Could Write a Book
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Golden Apple: Lazy Afternoon
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