Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

  • SoundStage! Shorts - Livio Cucuzza on Audio Research's Industrial Design (November 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Past, Present, and Future (October 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - KEF's New R Series for 2018 (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio Moon 390 Digital/Analog Preamplifier and Streamer (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - EISA 2018-2019 Awards Introduction (August 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio's $118,888 Moon 888 Mono Amplifiers (June 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Totem's Tribe Tower (May 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion's Three Newest Argon Loudspeakers (April 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Making the Hegel Mohican CD Player (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Estelon Lynx Wireless Intelligent Loudspeaker (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh's Five New Solid-State Integrated Amplifiers (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Amphion's Krypton Loudspeaker (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Anthem STR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier (December 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh Laboratory MA252 Integrated Amplifier (November 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Hegel H90 and H190 Integrated Amplifiers (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - How Hegel's SoundEngine Works (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight  - Estelon History and YB and Extreme Loudspeakers (September 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - What Makes Hegel Different? (August 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Estelon Extreme Legacy Edition Loudspeaker (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion Overview and Technologies (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! Insight - Totem Acoustic Signature One Loudspeaker (June 2017)
  • SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh History and Autoformer Technology (June 2016)

A Meeting of MindsCellar Live CL070113
Format: CD

Musical Performance ****1/2
Sound Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****1/2


I’ve been following jazz guitarist Sheryl Bailey since I reviewed her second album, Reunion of Souls, in 2001. I’ve since reviewed three other discs by her, and wrote a feature in 2005. Bailey’s newest, A Meeting of Minds, has been out a few months, and I’m ashamed to admit that its release snuck by me -- I try to keep an eye on what’s going on with her.

With A Meeting of Minds it’s possible to list Bailey, without reservation, among the very best jazz musicians who’ve picked up the guitar, from Wes Montgomery to Emily Remler to John Scofield. A Meeting of Minds brings together all her talents -- as bandleader, composer, and guitarist -- in greater force than even her earlier, impressive recordings, such as Bull’s Eye! and The Power of 3.

A Meeting of Minds features Bailey with Ron Oswanski on Hammond B-3 and Ian Froman on drums. As Jim Carlton points out in his perceptive liner notes, the organ trio was once considered a lesser form of jazz. However, time has been kind to the recordings organists Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff made with guitarists, and Bailey builds on their inspiration to write compositions that are fresh and never dated. It’s easy to hear Wes Montgomery in “Good News,” but Bailey respects tradition without going over old ground, and her own voice is unique and immediately recognizable.

“Unity” is a good example of how Bailey displays her many talents without showing off. The warm chord washes that open the tune give it harmonic backbone before Bailey introduces the striking melody, interspersed with splashes of chords that restate and build on the theme. To the memorable riff that kicks off “One for VJ” Bailey adds rich chords, and complex variations to the melody. Her accompaniment of Oswsanski is beautifully textured, and gives him great harmonic support that he builds on in his solo.

Bailey’s improvisations throughout the album are filled with long, flowing lines that are often blindingly fast but never lose sight of the tune. Oswanski’s B-3 playing is firmly grounded in the blues, and his solos are earthy and intelligently developed. Froman has accompanied Bailey on her other organ-trio discs, and his drumming is a constant delight -- he’s quick, musical, and utterly solid in his timekeeping duties. Having two musicians this good to work with gives Bailey the freedom to write great material. She knows they can handle it.

A Meeting of Minds was recorded at Tedesko Studios, and engineer Tom Tedesko and mastering engineer Paul Wickliffe have given it a warm, expansive sound reminiscent of Blue Note’s classic organ-trio sides. The recording serves the music well, giving Froman’s drums a full sound, and Oswanski’s Hammond a suitably grand feel. Bailey’s notes ring out clearly and sustain beautifully, and her rhythm-guitar sound is full and complex. With A Meeting of Minds, Sheryl Bailey establishes that she has few peers in jazz guitar. All she needs -- and deserves -- is a wider audience.

. . . Joseph Taylor