Originally Posted by citizen arcane
- agree with Steely Dan - especially Aja & add Donald Fagen - The Nightfly
- Pink Floyd - DSOTM, agree almost any Alan Parson's Project
- Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms , Love over Gold
- the Beatles - Abbey Road
- Blue Man Group
- of course Kind of Blue
Originally Posted by Paraneer
Agree that Steely Dan's Aja and Gaucho are definitely material to "show off" your system. Fagen's Nightfly is excellent too.
Just about every Alan Parsons record ever produced can be used as reference material also. Try and find one of his later albums though, Vulture Culture. Simply a spectacular recording. Finally no rock/pop library of reference quality recordings would be complete without Supertramps Crime of the Century and Breakfast in America.
For sheer dynamics,also include Mike Olfields Tubular Bells and Telarc's recordings of Holst the Planets (Andre Previn & Royal Philharmonic) and 1812 Overture (Erich Kunzel & Cincinnati Symphony). The latter is legendary for its digital recording of actual cannons used during the symphony. Respect the warning label on the jacket the first time you play it and turn your volume down until you are familar with the dynamics of the cannons. You don't want to damage any equipment during the cannonade.
Agree with all those (and I have all of those recordings, except for Vulture Culture). The Planets
, especially "Mars" is outstanding, as is Nightfly
One artist whom I love and might help expand your collection (and who seems to be unappreciated in the US) is Canadian jazz singer Holly Cole. She sings mostly jazz and standards, but she's diverse enough to do things like release a Tom Waits tribute album (Temptation
from 1995, which is a delight and my personal favorite). I'm also partial to her 2003 album Shade
(especially the cuts "Heatwave," "Something Cool," and Brian Wilson's "God Only Knows," one of the most beautiful songs ever written -- and she covers it beautifully). Her albums sound great, she has a gorgeous voice, and Temptation
especially captures that smoky jazz bar feel. I almost forgot to mention her wonderful live album from 1995, It Happened One Night
. It's spectacular.