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Reviews » Audio Reviews » Les Brown: Session #55
Les Brown: Session #55
DTS // DVD Audio // October 30, 2001
List Price: $23.97 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted October 12, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Music:

1. Floatin'
2. Secret Love
3. I'm Forever Blowin' Bubbles
4. Drop Me off in Harlem
5. Ain't She Sweet
6. They Can't Take That Away from Me
7. If Dreams Come True
8. Mood Indigo
9. It Could Happen to You
10. I Only Have Eyes for You
11. Bizet Has His Day
12. String of Pearls
13. Sentimental Journey
14. Undecided
15. That Old Black Magic
16. Satin Doll
17. Dansero
18. Yo Henry
19. Tenderly
20. Old Man River
21. Leap Frog


The DVD

SOUND: "Session #55" is presented by DTS in 48khz DVD-Audio 5.1 audio, as well as DTS 5.1 and Dolby 2.0. I didn't know entirely what to expect, not being entirely familiar with Brown's music. As I sat down to listen though, I found myself utterly enjoying the terrific tunes that populate this wonderful album. Furthermore, those who are already fans of Brown's music will be thrilled with the highly enjoyable sound mix and general sound quality that DTS's new release offers.

The sound mix by Al Schmitt is simply marvelous. Going in, I thought the "big band" sound that the album offers might be weakly placed around the room or sound gimmicky, but the results of Schmitt's work not only aren't gimmicky or uninspired, his work is highly appropriate and tasteful. It shows that those who are currently re-positioning music for surround really don't have to "busy" things up with sounds moving around the room, but that surround sound music can do something wonderful - drop us directly into the middle of the musicians playing. This has been done before wonderfully on Bela Fleck's DVD-Audio and this method comes through with great success again here.

The instruments are wonderfully spread out around the listening space. While the front speakers highlight main instruments, supporting players are highlighted nicely in the rear speakers and often get their chance to shine during many of the tracks. What I especially liked about the surround use is that the main vocals don't also come from the surrounds and remain rooted in the front two main speakers. The result was a natural and convincing feeling of being enveloped by the music and as if the listener was sitting in the middle of the band playing.

Audio quality also remained stellar throughout the album. Instruments sounded warm, natural and rich; they also remained distinct and clear rather than getting overpowered or drowned out by another element of the mix. Vocals also remained clear and easily understood. While not material that would call for strong bass, the music still provided a nice and entirely appropriate amount of low-end punch when it was called for. Although both the DVD-Audio and DTS 5.1 soundtracks sounded very enjoyable, comparisons revealed the DTS 5.1 presentation sounded slightly flat in comparison to the DVD-Audio.

The DVD includes a very informative booklet, complete with a note from Les Brown, Jr. about the sound mix and his father (who has unfortunately passed away and who this album is dedicated to)'s career.

Extras: An enjoyable photo gallery.

Final Thoughts: DTS has really continued to provide wonderful DTS CD and DVD-Audio product. "Sessions #55" though, is really a top-notch effort from all involved. I didn't know much about the music going in, but found the album to be a classy and beautifully played effort that was extremely enjoyable. Presented with a fantastic sound mix and wonderful audio quality, this is definitely recommended, especially for fans of the genre. Release Date: 10/30/01
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