2-2-12 Cal Tjader “La Onda Va Bien” (5.1)
Jazzman Stan Getz born 1927, Singer / Songwriter Graham Nash born 1942; I own music by both, incl. Nash’s 1971 “Songs For Beginners” in 5.1!
I started down the SA-CD track in 2009, and finally got a 5.1 system in early 2011. There’s one multi-channel disc that really surprised the heck out of me: Cal Tjader “La Onda Va Bien” ( = The Good Life” ) (Concord Picante SACD 1020) from 1980, issued as a multi-channel SA-CD in 2003 that I found in a used bin for $3. Apparently, this is a Grammy winning album! (“Latin Jazz”)
It is, by far, the easiest to listen to multi-channel recording that I own (and listen to). No gimmicks in the mix, just music! I put this thing on to see how it sounded – once I got my 5.1 system – and I sat all the way through this one! I don’t have to tell you how rarely this happens.
All I knew about Cal Tjader was that he’d been on Fantasy Records for decades, had colored vinyl LP’s on Fantasy – and was a cronie of Dave Brubeck – and other San Francisco area jazz luminaries of the 1950’s.
A while back, I found a CD of Tjader’s 1956 opus “Latin Kick” (Fantasy Records) – and was rather amused with it, too. A mono latin jazz album at a time when it should’ve been be-bop or…I don’t know much about jazz – or what went on in the 50’s – I was only there a short time, and I had not yet reached the record store.
I use “La Onda Va Bien” to demonstrate my 5.1 system to friends. This disc just sounds so good! Real instruments: recorded well, played well. When you sit in the sweet spot with this album, you’re in the middle of some swank, seasoned players who really get to work. Their joy with this music is extremely evident. I’d say it “rocked”, but…it’s jazz! Latin jazz!
It also made me very curious about other SA-CD titles that the Concord label may have issued. There’s very little on the packaging to indicate that it’s an SA-CD – for starters, it’s not in a “Super Jewel Box”, just a regular jewel box. I found it looking at a wall of CD spines, so I think it did say “SA-CD” on the spine. Spotting that on a jazz title @ $3.- meant it was a ‘no brainer’ to try.
“La Onda Va Bien” sat in my collection for a year or so. Once the Sony 5.1 system came to live at my house, I separated out all the SA-CD’s that were designated as “multi channel”, and I arrived at “La Onda Va Bien” in due course. Yeah!
So, I bought this disc because it was an inexpensive SA-CD; but I listen to it because I like it and it sounds fabulous. Makes me want to check out more of Cal Tjader’s work.
This is one of the parts of record collecting that I really like!