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Reviews » Audio Reviews » James Taylor: JT
James Taylor: JT
Sony Music // SACD // February 1, 2002
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Dvdempire]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted June 14, 2003 | E-mail the Author
M U S I C
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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The Music:

1. Your Smiling Face
2. There We Are
3. Honey Don't Leave L.A.
4. Another Grey Morning
5. Bartender's Blues
6. Secret O' Life
7. Handy Man
8. Was Only Telling A Lie
9. Looking For Love On Broadway
10. Terra Nova
11. Traffic Jam
12. If I Keep My Heart Out Of Sight

* This can only be played on SACD players. There is no CD layer.


The DVD

SOUND: "J.T." is presented by Sony in DSD 5.1 and Stereo for this SACD release. There is no CD-compatible layer. Taylor's particular easy-going brand of rock translates quite wonderfully to multi-channel, thanks to a pleasant, subtle 5.1 mix by Nathaniel Kunkel. Upon listening to songs like "Another Grey Morning", it's easy to appreciate what an appropriate surround mix can do to immerse a listener in the emotion and sound of the music. Taylor's vocals are perfectly isolated in the center channel, allowing the front soundstage to be the focus, while the surrounds gently wrap the listener in the instrumentals. The instrumentals are clearly and distinctly spread out, allowing each element of the song to be more easily heard than ever before. There's nothing very head-turning here; guitars and percussion lightly drift from the rear speakers and occasionally make a more noticable appearance (the electric guitars of "Was Only Telling a Lie"). The latter half of the album has a couple of instances where the surrounds are used for vocals; "Terra Nova" spreads Carly Simon's vocals that end the song around the room. "Traffic Jam" has one of Taylor's lines thrown to a rear speaker.

Although most of Taylor's songs here are slow, mellow and folky, the SACD format still makes each of them sound impressively rich and clear. Each strum of the guitars resonated with a clarity that seemed not only "in-room" and open, but with a warmth that made for pleasant listening in both the slow and up-tempo songs. Taylor's vocals are brought forward quite well in the center channel, with each soulful vocal sounding natural and clear. Percussion and other elements also had a sparkling, clean sound that fans of this album should certainly appreciate.

Although I often find myself enjoying the more open sound of a tasteful multichannel mix, the stereo mix here was a fairly close second. An excellent recording, even in stereo the instrumentals remained satisfyingly crisp and distinct, while vocals also remained nicely balanced. Sound quality of the stereo presentation was very similar - if not equal - to the multi-channel presentation.

Final Thoughts: Some of James Taylor's most melodic and thoughtful slow/mid-tempo tunes, "J.T." is a pleasure to listen to in SACD, whether in multi-channel or stereo.
Order "James Taylor: JT" now!
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