Artistry of The Songs From The Silver Screen

4z3nC[1]Jackie Evancho fans have long been anticipating the release of Jackie’s next CD titled Songs From The Silver Screen (SFTSS).  On October 2nd, 2012, the CD was officially released.  Prior to the CD release date, many fans, including myself have had a chance to hear the songs performed on this CD by listening to  Jackie Evancho sing them on her second PBS Great Performances special titled Music Of The Movies (MOTM).  This performance is also made available to watch on DVD.  I received my copy of the DVD in mid-September through a pledge to PBS.  Although the DVD and CD have different titles, the musical selections are the same.  However, there are differences in these two similar, yet distinctively unique recordings.  First of all, let me say that MOTM is a splendid DVD.  When watching Jackie perform, it is apparent how much more advanced Jackie has become in her singing style and her stage presence.  She was already blowing away people (like me) with her vocal skills when she recorded her first full-length album titled Dream With Me.  But now, Jackie is another year older and another year advanced in singing artistry.  Her incredible vocal skills, stage presence, confidence, and love of performing are very apparent in the MOTM DVD.  Watching Jackie perform gives you a sense of how amazing someone so small and petite can sing with such grace and fullness to her voice.  She warms the hearts of her audience as they exuberantly respond to her charming demeanor and mastery of the music that she sings – a common occurrence at any Jackie Evancho concert.

I thought that I had settled in on my impressions of the MOTM DVD and was expecting about the same experience with the release of The Songs From The Silver Screen (SFTSS) CD.  When the release of the CD finally arrived, I was surprised at the various differences that I would experience.  First of all, let me say that the MOTM DVD is wonderful, but I must say that the SFTSS CD is much better and takes the quality level up even higher than the DVD.  The comparison may be a bit unfair in that the MOTM DVD was recorded live vs. the CD being a studio recording that has all the advantages of mixing, editing, and refining.  After seeing Jackie perform live, I can say that her voice doesn’t require editing or refining, but nonetheless the process does help to improve the audio quality of the recording itself.

This blog entry will primarily be focused on reviewing the SFTSS CD with some references to the MOTM DVD – pointing out the subtle differences that I  have  picked up between the two media as well as my overall opinion of each piece.  Let me start out by saying that the audio quality, mixing, balance, and overall production of SFTSS are tremendous!  It is quite apparent that a lot of hard work went into this CD and it definitely shows.  It is obvious that Jackie attracts quality producers because she is so good at what she does.  The emotion that Jackie draws out of the music is unbelievable for someone who is only 12 years-old.  She has a gentle and yet powerful vocal quality that is smooth, refined, and velvety.  Some of the songs recorded on this CD by title alone may seem lackluster, but you have to realize that they are being performed by no ordinary singer.  Jackie has this way of taking a mundane song and turning it into a work of art.  She does this with many of the songs on this CD – transforming them into artistic masterpieces.  The balance between orchestral accompaniment and Jackie’s voice combine to form a listening experience that is truly breathtaking.  Upon first hearing the SFTSS audio tracks, I felt goose bumps from the sheer emotional fluidity that comes from this music.

Keep in mind, this CD stays true to Jackie’s Classical Crossover music style incorporating elements of pop music with classical sounding stylistic texture.  This opens up the music to audiences who can appreciate light-sounding classical music as well as those who may be more attracted to pop music.  Listeners from different age-groups should find a song on this CD that they are familiar with from a wide range of movie periods ranging from early 20th century films all the way to movies released as late as 2010.

I will try to illustrate my impressions of each of the 12 songs by dividing up the music into my top five picks followed by my remaining top picks.  I cannot say that there are any bottom picks.  As far as I am concerned, all the songs are worthy of being on top, however I do have five favorites so I will start with them.

  1. Se – From the movie Cinema Paradiso.  For me, this song is classic Jackie and has a singing style that initially attracted me to become a fan last year.  Although this song is not a classical piece per se’, it is sung with a somewhat classical style in a foreign language, which showcases just how good Jackie is at her craft.  It is mind-boggling how she can sing in Italian (or any other language) just as effortlessly as she sings in English.  This is where Jackie’s singing skills truly shine.
  2. Come What May – In this song, Jackie sings in collaboration with The Tenors (formerly known as The Canadian Tenors) who sing in tandem with Jackie.  Jackie and The Tenors blend together beautifully in this piece, and the melodic harmonies of the music sends shivers all over when I hear it.   One distinction between the recording of this piece on MOTM vs. SFTSS is that on MOTM, only three of the four tenors were available for the performance.  The amazing part of this is that Jackie sang some of the missing fourth tenor part at times when she was not singing her own part.  It just goes to show how diverse Jackie can be.
  3. What A Wonderful World – When I first heard that Jackie would be doing this song, I thought that people would be too accustomed to Louis Armstrong’s version of this song.  However, now that I have heard Jackie sing it, I believe the torch has been passed and now Jackie owns it.  The smooth flowing style that she puts on this piece gives the music a marvelous tenderness that tugs at your heart and puts you into a complete state of tranquility.   
  4. Reflection – Jackie has dedicated this song to her mother – Lisa Evancho.  Lisa, and Jackie’s father Mike have devoted themselves to helping Jackie live out her dream of having a singing career.  This piece is a lovely rendition of the song from the movie Mulan.  Knowing that Jackie specifically dedicated this song to her mother makes it very meaningful and draws me in to listen intently to the lyrics and the beautiful melody that goes with them.  Truly a wonderful rendition of this song.
  5. Music Of The Night – Jackie has pointed out in her introduction of this piece on the MOTM DVD that this song is very special to her, because it is the first song that she started singing around the house after she saw the movie “Phantom Of The Opera.”  Her mother recognized something special in Jackie’s voice, which would lead to where Jackie is today.  Although this song is sung by the phantom in the movie, Jackie wanted to sing it because she likes it.  All I can say is I am glad she likes it and chose to sing it on this CD.  It is a wonderful rendition and Jackie does this song tremendous justice.  The last note that she holds on this piece seems impossible for someone her age to hold for so long, yet she does it brilliantly while putting in just the right amount of vibrato in perfect pitch as the song fades to end.

Moving forward from my top five picks, the remaining songs on my list are equally wonderful and are almost impossible to rank in any particular order, so I will just list them and post my impressions.

  • Some Enchanted Evening – I have always loved the music from South Pacific.  This piece in particular is one of my favorites from the movie / musical.  Jackie sings this song with a smoothness that just melts me into musical bliss. 
  • My Heart Will Go On – When I first heard that Jackie would be doing this song, I had some reservations because Celine Dion had established herself quite firmly with this song from the movie Titanic.  Then, along comes Jackie, and once again she puts her own personal touch on this song and gives it another life, not competing with Celine, but establishing it apart as its own unique style.  Whereas Celine sings the song with power and passion, Jackie sings it with tenderness and grace.  Some minor differences between the MOTM DVD and SFTSS CD include a different violin soloist (Caroline Campbell for MOTM, and Joshua Bell for SFTSS), and additional supporting background vocal effects for the SFTSS CD that are absent on the MOTM DVD.
  • I See The Light – This song offers a very unique experience.  It gives the listener a chance to hear Jackie sing a duet with her brother Jacob.  Turns out, that Jacob Evancho is a pretty good singer.  I will say that the charm of this duet comes from watching it while hearing it.  This is where I believe the MOTM DVD gives the best experience for this song.  You get to see Jackie and Jacob sing and interact with each other, showing that their sibling relationship is very special.  
  • When I Fall In Love – Can a 12 year-old girl sing about falling in love and the feelings one would experience when that moment occurs?  When it comes to Jackie…, absolutely!  The reason is because when Jackie sings she is no longer a 12 year-old girl, she is story-teller, singing as though she is part of the song for the listener to get in touch with feelings of love and romance in whatever manner they may choose to apply to their own lives.
  • The Summer Knows – There are very distinct differences between the MOTM recording of this song and the recording on SFTSS.   Two different trumpet players were featured in the accompaniment with Jackie – each with stylistically distinctive differences.  On MOTM, the trumpet soloist is Jumaane Smith who plays with a slightly sultry flair.  On SFTSS, the trumpet soloist is Chris Botti who plays with more of a smooth and mellow style.   Each trumpet soloist compliments Jackie very well, but I tend to lean towards the SFTSS recording because it just sounds so smooth and allows Jackie’s voice to stand out much better.  The studio mixing may have had a lot to do with this as well.
  • Can You Feel The Love Tonight – Originally sung by Sir Elton John, Jackie takes a leap of faith in singing this song in the shadow of another great performer.  But, as I have come to realize, Jackie has the distinct ability to give a song like this her own personal touch.  There is a subtle difference in the song performed on MOTM vs. SFTSS.  In SFTSS, Jackie takes the last note of the piece up a 5th, which adds a bit of a pleasant surprise to the ending, as opposed to staying on the tonic as was done for the MOTM recording.  I actually prefer the SFTSS version of this song because of better audio quality and the surprise ending.  One additional note…, because I am a clarinet player, I get an extra treat to hear a beautiful clarinet solo at the start of this piece.
  • Pure Imagination – This song is associated with the original Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie and was originally sung by Gene Wilder playing the part of Willie Wonka.  How do you take a ho-hum song and turn it into an artistic masterpiece?  You let Jackie Evancho sing it.  That is exactly what occurs when Jackie sings this song.   Amazing how such a simple song can suddenly transform into a work of art.

I hope that anyone who reads this review finds it helpful.  If you are a fan of Jackie Evancho, I am sure you know all-too-well the sentiments that I have conveyed in this post.  If you haven’t heard of Jackie Evancho before, I suggest you look her up on YouTube and get yourself a copy of any of her CDs, including Songs From The Silver Screen.  I know you won’t be disappointed, and if you become like most fans of Jackie you will soon find yourself wanting more.

You can purchase a copy of this CD online or at your local Target retail outlets:
If you would like to listen to the tracks on-line, check out the link below, but please purchase the CD if you like what you hear so that Jackie is supported and can continue her great work:
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22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Don Hose
    Oct 05, 2012 @ 15:17:44

    Well written article.. I enjoyed every syllable.. my two favs were Reflections and Summer Knows.. hard to pick but I know my heart.. And I think Smith out performed Botti by a mile.. he added the “torch” quality better, I think.. not too little not to much just perfect.. Jackie and the Tenors was special too.. and “SE” was outstanding.. Kojo no Tsuki ( Moonlight Castle Ruins ) absolutely beautiful.. done lately was very brave.. The girl is fearless.. One can only wait for her to produced an album in Spanish.. If so, the kid will own the Latin World.. A bit of Portuguese will bring Brazil to their knees.. With a few more years she can own the “Torch Song” world.. I would not put “Scat” singing beyond her.. she has that good of instincts/soul.. She is indeed a phenom..

    Reply

    • varnk
      Oct 05, 2012 @ 15:37:16

      Thanks for the comment Don. There are always going to be varying opinions about favorite songs with Jackie’s music because she appeals to such a wide range of music lovers.

      One of the reasons I like Botti’s trumpet solo better in “The Summer Knows” is because it stayed more in the background without trying to overshadow the spotlight from Jackie. Also, the mellower sound of Botti’s playing style appeals to me more and seems to match with Jackie’s voice better. Both renditions of the song are very good and each one has its own unique quality to it. I can listen to both of them and still find a lot of enjoyment from the listening experience.

      Reply

  2. Sam Ennis
    Oct 06, 2012 @ 16:56:02

    Thank you for sharing your opinion with us Ken. Much appreciated. My albums have not arrived as yet, but your opinion just makes my anticipation that much more appreciated. -simnesan- ((W)) ((W))

    Reply

    • varnk
      Oct 06, 2012 @ 22:37:00

      Thanks Sam. I couldn’t wait an longer for my CDs to come in the mail. I finally had to go to Target and buy a copy to hold me over. The anticipation of waiting for the order to arrive was just too much for me to take. LOL!

      Reply

  3. Felix
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 20:37:54

    I picked up both CDs – Silver Screen & Dream – the same time. After extensive listen to both in my expensive high-end stereo system, and compare them with a fresh mind, here’s my take. I am confining myself to the production side. So much has been said by others about Jackie the wonder girl, I can hardly find words to match. Like millions, Jackie adds great joy to my life.

    1) While arrangement by Bill Ross and his orchestra on both CDs are world class, I find the engineering on Dream is significantly better. The sound quality, balance, imaging are superior in Dream. Jackie’s voice was most wonderfully recorded, David Foster piano superbly mixed in, and the orchestra sound first class. My congratulations to all involved in making Dream.

    2) The biggest disappointment is finding Jackie’s amazing voice quality in Silver Screen degraded perhaps by bad choice of recoding microphone. Either an incorrect or a lower grade microphone must have been used. How could they let this happen? They should use the highest quality soprano optimized microphone. If the problem is not in the microphone, then it must be in the processing of her voice – which is an even bigger ‘crime’. As presented to me, I can clearly hear edginess (a from of high frequency distortion) that takes away a great deal of sweetness and harmonic warmth. This defect in not present in Dream. And not present in many a classical and opera voice CDs and HD audio downloads in my library.

    3) A second problem in Silver Screen is mixing. The mixer unwisely reduced some part of the orchestra, percussion and bass, into a shallow background. Most annoying is the lack of deep bass, which I know must be present in large measure because I have been to many life orchestra concerts. The result is not only severe out-of-balance to voice, but out-of-balance to the rest of the orchestra. This problem is not present in Dream. I shake my head at this unbelievable engineering deficiency applied to such a CD production as Jackie Evancho.

    4) Now that I’ve dumped on Silver Screen’s technical production, let me say that it is mastered beautifully, even better than Dream.

    5) The song ‘I See The Light’ is unfortunate on two fronts. First, it is not a great song from the movies. Surely they can find better ones. Second, singing in duet with Jacob is a mistake. Jacob’s voice is average at most, and the character does not blend well with Jackie’s. I hope they won’t try this again. If they must do duets, then do another one with the Tenors. Like magic, the Tenors powerful voices do not overwhelm Jackies, and indeed add beauty and richness.

    6) Finally, the PBS Great Performance version – Music of the Movies – is a masterpiece. Everything about it is the best. In particular, the audio quality and mixing is world class. Certainly better than the CD version. Jackie’s voice in that video, even as compressed audio, exceeds that from the CD! Don’t ask me to explain it Humberto. You’re in charge in both!

    Reply

    • varnk
      Nov 19, 2012 @ 21:41:04

      Felix.

      I certainly respect your honest opinion. I will not try to argue for or against your assessment of both Dream With Me (DWM) and Songs From The Silver Screen (SFTSS). I have seen arguments on various forums that both agree and disagree with what you have said. I have seen posts where some people were complaining about the production of DWM because they felt as though Jackie was overshadowed by the orchestra. Some have complained that SFTSS did not meet up with their expectations because they wanted another DWM-like CD. Others say they like SFTSS better than DWM because of the song choice. The opinions vary on many fronts.

      Personally, I think it is all a matter of personal preference. Jackie attracts a wide range of listeners with varying listening tastes. That amounts to a wide range of opinions of what people feel she should and shouldn’t sing or whether this production was better than that production. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but ultimately it is Jackie and her management team who call the shots. So far, I think they have done a pretty good job. Sure, not all decisions have been perfect, but Jackie is talented enough to be able to make up for any deficiencies in production, sound engineering, mixing, or song choice.

      Reply

  4. Felix
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 00:20:34

    Thanks Varnk.

    I am mostly bothered by SFTSS deficiencies in presenting Jackie’s sweet voice, albeit but one must have a high quality system to hear it. Looking at her voice waveforms in a pure singing passage, I am struck by the large amount of sharp little ‘sawtooth’ waves riding on her basic voice. This is technical confirmation of what I hear. No human voice can possibly create such sharp ‘sawtooth’ naturally.

    To those equally bothered, here’s what I did to fix this most annoying problem:
    1) Rip the CD to files using lowest possible CD speed. This alone removes half of the distortion because high-frequency sawtooths amplify the CD player inherent large jitter distortion.

    2) In the sound editor (I use Sony Sound Forge), I apply the Smooth x1 filer. If this is not available in your editor, use a 20-band equalizer and knock -2dB from 1kHz to 4kHz. This corrects a bit too much but is the next best thing. While I am at it, I also corrects for the weak orchestral bass extension.

    3) Resample the file to 24/96 (24 bit, 96 kHz) interpolative and save. These 3 steps significantly correct much of the voice deficiencies.

    4) Play SFTSS from the PC using bit-perfect player app (I use J River Media Center) feeding a high quality DAC.

    The result restores the Jackie Evnacho magic.

    Reply

    • varnk
      Nov 21, 2012 @ 11:18:04

      Felix. It sounds like you have quite a bit of knowledge of sound engineering. I have a pretty decent audio system at home and in my car. I have not really noticed much of the audio deficiencies that you describe, but I may not have as discriminating of an ear as you. I tend to focus more on musical technique such as phrasing and interpretation, which I believe Jackie has mastered very well.

      Lengthy discussions on Jackie’s waveform and audio production quality have been posted in the past on Jackie’s fan club site. You may want to check it out at http://forums.myjackieevanchofanclub.com/

      Reply

      • Felix
        Nov 21, 2012 @ 20:27:11

        Varnk, I found no sound quality issue with DWM. DWM is almost perfect. Only glitch is Susan Boyle voice in the duet has over-volume distortion in loud passages. I think it’s because Susan piece was recorded separately in UK and mixed in. The mixed was not ‘normalized’ properly.

        But there is no doubt Jackie’s voice SFTSS was not recorded properly. This is not opinion. This is technical fact. In short, SFTSS was not recorded and processed with the same standard as classical or orchestral CDs, which I have many to reference to. This is unfortunate, and my disappointment prompted to to go public.

        But of course we have nothing but the best to say about Jackie and supporting musicians’ performance.

  5. Albert
    Mar 30, 2013 @ 08:06:00

    Does anyone know if the recording of DWM has been recorded distorted at the multi -track stage or if it’s a mastering problem? I hate digital distortion and it has that distinctive defect on the loudest parts of each track. Although compression would not have been a solution, analog recorders should have been used, since they admit up to +4 dB headroom over the 0 dB of a digital recorder. Maybe there’s a better recording available that I don’t know about, but I own an original recording and it’s awfully distorted, it’s a real shame!

    Reply

    • varnk
      Mar 30, 2013 @ 13:14:22

      Although this tread is primarily about Songs From The Silver Screen, (SFTSS) I will try to answer your question about DWM based upon the limited knowledge I have on the production of DWM.

      There are 3 different versions of DWM CD that were released – There is the standard DWM CD, there is a DWM In Concert CD, and a DWM Deluxe Edition CD. The DWM In Concert CD is a live recording, but it also includes an extra song (Dark Waltz) that is not on the standard DWM CD. I personally prefer the Deluxe Edition CD over all of them, primarily because it includes it includes 4 additional songs (Mi Mancherai, Someday, Impossible Dream, and A Time for Us). All 4 additional songs are well worth the extra cost of the Deluxe Edition CD. Unfortunately, this CD is becoming harder and harder to find. It was an exclusive by Target, but now I rarely see it on the shelves. In my area Target mostly stocks the standard DWM CD and SFTSS CD. If you do searches online, there are some places where it can be purchased (sometimes at a much higher price than it was originally sold).

      As far as the mastering of the CD goes, I don’t know a lot of details. David Foster produced the CD and he is considered one of the best producers out there. I have seen someone else post about this distortion as well. I have never heard it, but then again I am not an audio-engineer. There is a discussion on Jackie’s fan club page where this topic was labored over quite a bit. You may want to check it out at this location: http://forums.myjackieevanchofanclub.com/index.php?/topic/473-dream-with-me-audio-quality/page__hl__distortion

      Reply

    • Felix
      Apr 08, 2013 @ 00:27:38

      I have commented on this before but it’s been a while. Since you brought up the subject let me have my two-cents again. [I have recording & mixing expertise, and I own a high-end sound system to enjoy music at home.]

      DWM In Concert is a live recording. While it is excellent it is recorded without the tight control of a studio. Therefore you may see some imperfections here and there but that’s the ‘beauty’ of a live recording.

      DWM CD is a studio production with sophisticated control and mix. It is of excellent quality and presents Jackie amazing voice with perfection and emotion. D Foster produced this CD but I doubt he did much of the technical work. No matter, he produced the music and signed off on the final quality. And the quality of top notch.

      But SFTSS has serious quality problems. The biggest problem is Jackie’s voice, the timbre, has been significantly altered. The timbre quality has been reduced and to add insult, there are audible bits of digital distortions. [Clearly audible on all tracks except Se.] So much so that I consider it not Jackie’s voice as compared to many other of her recordings available.

      I also dislike the way SFTSS was mixed. The orchestra was muffled out too much on many tracks, and the high frequencies chopped off. The mastering needs more work. The timbre, sweetness of Jackie’s voice and the orchestra much reduced. This CD is a big disservice to Jackie and it is sad. Would I fire the technical team? You bet.

      Reply

      • Albert
        Apr 08, 2013 @ 00:47:14

        Hi! Thank you for the feedback, just got SFTSS DVD and it’s quite a shame, the orchestra is far way at the background. As you said, there’s almost no highs left to hear, and distortion is present in almost all tracks; a real shame, I think that either the recording on mixing engineer had their ears chopped off. There should have been real competent staff doing this recording, Jackie’s voice and professional skills surely deserve so much more. My modest opinion towards DWN is that analog master should have been used (at least as back up) since it’s very difficult to set maximum volume at 0dB on any mixing board and like I said, analog tape allows for far more headroom. Cheers mate!

      • varnk
        Apr 08, 2013 @ 23:19:41

        I do not have a background in audio engineering. So I can’t really comment on SFTSS from a technical perspective. However, my blog entry is purely based on the artistry and musicality of how Jackie sings the music on SFTSS. Jackie has an uncanny ability to sing with musical aptitude that is way beyond her years. In my many years of being a musician myself, I know of many adults who haven’t mastered the phrasing and overall musical expression that Jackie naturally does when she sings.

      • Albert
        Apr 09, 2013 @ 07:36:17

        Completely agree of her talent, that is why she deserved better from the engineering staff, these two recordings are an insult to any audiophile, and most of all, to Jackie’s performance

  6. Edna Jose Estareja
    May 11, 2014 @ 22:42:11

    All your All your audio engineering knowledge and assessment are highly appreciated. She deserved the best in sound engineering and orchestra players. You can be a good adviser to Jackie’s parent for support that she deserve with her gifted voice. Everybody love her,never in my life heard such beauty in a small tiny girl,like Jackie and I am proud to be a fan. Like others, I go shop at music store,but find disappointing, when they are out of stock. Deluxe or regular CD’s,and DVDs. I have them all,sometimes I buy as a gift to a friend. Specially Target,who are giving the franchise to sell her records. I am not a person,like to order on line. Thanks for your wonderful observation that help for all producers to do their best for our Jackie. God bless you all. Waiting for her 5th DVD and CD to release.

    Reply

    • varnk
      May 12, 2014 @ 21:08:25

      Edna. Thanks for your comment. Just to clarify, I am not an expert in audio engineering. I am a software engineer in a non-music field. However, I also hold a degree in music education and I am still actively involved in music performance as a volunteer musician.

      You sound like a great Jackie fan! Just like you, I have also given out Jackie CDs to friends and family members. Jackie is just so talented that fans are compelled to share her music with others whenever possible.

      Jackie’s next CD is due to come out at the end of this September. The title of the CD is “Awakening.”I am very anxious to hear what Jackie has in store for us. I know it will be great! https://twitter.com/jackieevancho/status/464214475437273088

      Reply

  7. Gordon Hutchings
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 01:50:53

    It is with mixed feelings that I have found a sight that has a few blogs of technical explanation of what has been vexing me.
    For a whole year I have been listening to Jackie’s SFSS cd and couldn’t figure what was wrong. I tweaked and tweaked my high end system figuring some cable or connection was bad. I upgraded the tubes, still bad sound. I really didn’t want to admit that the cd was mixed so badly that it was almost painful to listen to.
    How could Columbia have screwed up so badly? The better the sound system, the worse it sounds. Nearly all of Jackie’s voice on every piece is distorted, jaggy and screechy. Her second octave in particular is a complete mess.
    To me this is a high crime against not only Jackie but the whole world. Here we have the purest voice on the planet and her recording is all screwed up! It makes me furious.
    Why hasn’t Columbia quietly thrown away all of the cds and remixed and reissued it from the original RAW recording? Then I read the post from Felix that maybe the original recording is bad, so nothing can be done. Horrible thought.
    And now I read with trepidation that Jackie will have a new album. Hopefully, the movement to the more classic recording unit within Columbia will assure a better recording. Does Columbia even care? Is it just a business and they would be just as happy selling truck tires, so long as the profit is there?
    If anybody out there knows how to get to Columbia and let them know that we know what they did, we should spread the word and badger Columbia not to screw up this time.

    Reply

    • varnk
      Jun 02, 2014 @ 08:30:40

      Gordon. You are entitled to your opinion concerning the technical aspects of the SFSS CD. It sounds as though you are someone with a lot of audio engineering background. I do not believe that most listeners of Jackie’s CD listen to it with the same level of technical scrutiny as you, but I could be wrong on that. I have a background in music so I listen to Jackie’s CDs with more of an artistic perspective. I pay attention to phrasing, interpretation, vocal tone, pitch, expressiveness, dynamic contrast, etc.. For me, these aspects of Jackie’s music are superb in many ways. Because she excels so much at her ability to artistically make the music come to life, I am probably guilty of being indifferent to technical mixing deficiencies that you may notice of the CD.

      Reply

  8. Gordon Hutchings
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 22:57:45

    Varnk
    I completely agree with you as to the wonderful, stunning, effects of Jackie’s voice. We are not in disagreement at all. I am 74 years old and have heard them all and none can move me like Jackie. She is a world treasure.

    This is the very reason she needs, deserves, demands the very best in recording. Nothing but the best will do. The most perfect voice is greatly diminished by a distorted improperly compressed and sampled recording system. I am amazed that you do not seem to hear this distortion. As I mentioned in my comment, her second octave is so distorted it seems like there are two voice tracts, both messed up.
    This is not opinion, such distortion can easily be traced on a oscilloscope and there are the jagged and distorted notes for all to see. Jackie’s voice has one of the most perfect sine curves of anybody in the world and it needs to be reproduced as close to this as possible. Once the voice is technically reproduced perfectly then all of the qualities you speak of bloom forth with breathtaking reality.

    Take a look at YouTube: “voice type 1” and “voice type 2” to get an idea of what I am trying to explain. And for a simple real life example, again YouTube: jackie NPR or “jackie NPR mini desk concert”. She was interviewed on NPR at age 10, shortly after her AGT stint. Here she is standing in an office at the end of a desk, a Yamaha keyboard, a modest console and a few stick mikes. This is the equipment you could easily see in a garage band setting. While the translation to youtube is not perfect, it is much better than the average recording on her Silver Screen album, supposedly prepared with all of the might of the Columbia recording studio! Something is VERY wrong. I have seen Jackie in person several times and she simply melts my heart. This is why I am so upset with the amateurish recording of this angels voice.

    Reply

  9. Gordon Hutchings
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 20:20:09

    Dear Varnk,
    I must apologize for my busting in on your wonderful web and shouting about the bad technical aspects of Jackie’s Silver Screen album. I am simply looking anywhere I can to find some way of getting to Columbia/Sony to let them know they did an awful job engineering the cd, and do it better next time.
    Your web is terrific and definitely illustrates your hard work and dedication to Jackie’s music. Your web is very informative and you can count on me as a follower.
    One last word from me about the point of it all from my perspective. The point to me is the highest most perfect reproduction of music. If you have never listened to a high-end system, with your love and deep understanding of music your pleasure in music would hugely expand.
    Here is how I like to set mine up. It is usually late at night, I turn off all of the lights, but have a candle burning off to the side. That plus the soft glow of the tubes of the amp is the only light in the room. A comfortable chair is located in the “sweet spot” in the middle of the room and I have a glass of something nice to sip, and the phone is “off”.
    Then the music. Oh, the music! In front of you is a stage, you can sense it, feel it and hear it. Lets see, the violins are on the left, oboe behind them, bass on the right and someone is shifting something around in the back. Yes, the stage is alive with tiny sounds, the touch of the bow to the strings, not yet playing. The tiny squeak of a hand lightly rubbing across the strings.
    Then the notes come in, so pure they penetrate your very soul, unstoppable. And now the voice, lets say it is Jackie’s. You sense the breath, it comes soft and sweet from deep in the throat, up into the mouth cavity and out through the lips. Each has its own sound and presence. And the breath carries the musical note. So complex, so nuanced with emotion, and it covers your body like angels breath.
    I am in a meditative state by now and drift along wherever the music takes me.
    When the music is over I just sit there for some time in a trance. Finally, I either change cd, or look outside and am surprised to see the world is still here and people are buzzing about.
    Music experience like this is life altering. After a few sessions, one never looks at music, or life, in quite the same way as before.
    I am in my September years now and take pleasure in the more quiet, dare I say spiritual or meditative pursuits.
    May you fare well.
    Gordon

    Reply

    • varnk
      Jun 06, 2014 @ 23:20:34

      Gordon. No need to apologize. You are entitled to your opinion. It sounds like you have a very discriminating ear when it comes to audio engineering. I am similar when it comes to musical expression and interpretation. My listening is not so much on the technical, but on the artistical.

      Reply

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