|This is a Hybrid-SACD which will play in any SACD or standard CD player.
When steel pan virtuoso Andy Narell arrived in Paris in 2001 the last thing he expected to find was a great steelband - or an opportunity to make the first steelband recording that fully captures the thrilling audio experience of standing smack dab in the middle of a huge, roaring steel orchestra.
Narell is probably best known to American audiences as a musician who pioneered the role of the pan in contemporary music. He's also a star performer with legions of fans scattered from New York City to Soweto and all points in between. Narell has made 14 albums. He's recorded and/or performed with Marcus Miller, Chucho Valdes, Bela Fleck, and many, many others. And in 1999, as the first non-Trinidadian ever to arrange for the legendary Panorama competition, he led Skiffle Bunch to the finals and rocked the steelband world with his original composition "Coffee Street." It became an instant classic.
Narell is also a studio ace, a brilliant audio technician who's intimately involved in recording, mixing and mastering his own CDs. It's no accident that many audiophiles use Narell's recordings to demonstrate how good their systems sound.
All of Narell's talents come together in The Passage, a recording featuring Narell, the steelband Calypsociation, and three of the greatest soloists in jazz - Michael Brecker, Paquito D'Rivera and Hugh Masekela. The Passage was recorded and mixed using cutting-edge technology to capture all the excitement of the steelband sound, and is being released in two formats: a great-sounding CD, and a 5.1 surround-sound SACD that will put listeners right in the middle of the band!
The story of The Passage starts in two places at the same time: Paris, France, and Port of Spain, Trinidad. The Parisian plot starts when Narell arrived in Paris to discover the existence of Calypsociation.
"I came over here to teach in the spring of 2001," Narell recalls. "I had sent over the chart of 'Coffee Street,' and they played part of it for me - and I could hear after two minutes that I wanted to work with this band."
The fit between Narell and Calypsociation was so tight that the band commissioned him to direct, compose and arrange two ten-minute pieces for the second European Steelband Festival in 2002. That music sounded so sweet, and the experience was so rewarding on all sides, that Narell continued working with Calypsociation - a collaboration that's documented on this CD.