The Bob Ravenscroft Trio is dedicated to capturing uncompromising jazz with the purest resolution that technology will allow. The group's prior release on DVD and CD, The Bob Ravenscroft Trio at Taliesin West, was called "...the Courvoisier of jazz DVDs" by Ken Hughes of Keyboard Magazine.
Bob Ravenscroft - Piano
The Bob Ravenscroft Trio is all about a lifelong fascination with making great jazz music and exploring new ground. Leader and pianist Bob Ravenscroft hails from a family tradition that literally has music in its blood, traceable all the way back to Thomas Ravenscroft, composer of the Whole Booke of Psalms in 1621. Four centuries later, Bob continues to bring a spiritual element and meditative reverence to his music, but he also draws upon an extensive jazz writing, arranging and performing background to create his own impressionistic compositions. Ravenscroft's style is sensitive and seasoned, but also far-ranging and free. He currently performs in concert throughout the U.S. and regularly performs his popular "Jazz Vespers" concerts as part of his "Jazz in Sacred Spaces" project.
Rob Schuh - Drums
Drummer Rob Schuh has played in a wide variety of styles over his 20-year career, all of which add to his free-spirited approach. A virtual child prodigy on the skins, Schuh has played with a number of progressive musicians from all over the world, including Jaco Pastorius, Ernie Watts, Joe Henderson, John Medeski, Frank Vignola, Tony Malaby, Joey Sellers and Ira Sullivan. A master craftsman, Rob also collects and refurbishes classic drum kits ... then brings them alive in concert!
Steve Millhouse - Bass
Acoustic bassist Steve Millhouse is a veteran jazzman who enjoys "first call" status on his instrument of choice ... a massive bass once owned by the great Rufus Reid. Millhouse has performed with a fleet of great jazz artists, including James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Lewis Nash, Mike Wofford, and others. He can also be heard on a diverse array of recordings and commercials, and has been in the orchestra pit backing everything from singers and comedians to touring Broadway musicals. Steve also teaches double bass and electric bass at the college level...
Three Alone's mandate for the piano was to procure an instrument that could match the quality of cutting-edge recording equipment and earn the esteem of world-class artists. Precision recording equipment magnifies imperfections of the piano's sound and performance. Our quest for an instrument with a clear, uniform sound minus distortion was fulfilled in the Italian-made Fazioli piano.
Paolo Fazioli has distinguished himself with his passionate pursuit of, and uncompromised attention to, detail, material, design and execution. Precious red spruce from the Val di Fiemme forest in the western Alps is meticulously hand-selected for the soundboards of these instruments. Each piano is three years and 1000 hours in the making.
We selected a model 278 (9'2") Fazioli which features a tunable duplex scale. When finely tuned, this system creates an additional aesthetic layer of harmonics that the listener can detect on many of the tracks of this recording. These harmonic resonances are rarely heard in recordings due to design limitations of instruments and technical limitations of recording equipment.
Equally impressive, this piano features a wide dynamic range of expression available to the artist. Bob Ravenscroft displays virtuoso technique in his ability to explore the seemingly endless range of dynamics and color available in this instrument. We are confident that the listener will be delighted with the decision to introduce the Fazioli piano as a vital component for the team assembled to produce this unique project.
From inception, the recording techniques employed for Three Alone were designed specifically for the SACD medium. Indeed, the process was intended to emulate the early direct-to-disc recording chain that resulted in some of the most dynamic and musically unique recordings of our time. This approach, while challenging to both the artists and engineering staff, tends to create a special musical synergy that also translates to the listener at home.
After months of listening tests and evaluation of current recording technologies, Ravenswave's decision was to simultaneously record and mix the performance "live-in-the-studio" for SACD at ultra high sample and bit rates, utilizing a full surround control room and direct-to-DSD mastering lab.
The microphones and preamplifiers used for this project represent a selection of some of the finest and most respected solid state and tube technology available today ... and yesterday. The recording chain was kept pure and simple, although some artistic liberties were taken to utilize some of the finest "Class A" tube equalizers and leveling devices obtainable to help complement the timbre of the extraordinary instruments played by the artists during the performance.
Most of the current SACD "Multi-format" or "Multi-layer" Surround recordings being released today are mixed in a Surround monitoring environment, thus the subsequent Stereo mixes or "layers" are derived from a "downmix" that occurs inside the decoder circuitry of the consumer's SACD player. In most cases, the standard CD Audio "layer" is also derived from a "downmix" in the SACD mastering facility. In order to maintain ultimate integrity and translation for the listener, regardless of playback format, the three layers of the Three Alone discs were each mixed and mastered separately for SACD Multi-channel Surround, SACD Stereo, and CD Audio (16 bit). The resulting "triple hybrid" capability of Three Alone, serves to make this recording not only accessible to all of these playback formats, but also an uncompromising listening experience for each.
Additional technical documentation is provided as part of the liner notes, including lists of the various microphones and processors utilized for the Three Alone recording project. This is provided to help establish a reference that recording industry personnel, manufacturers of professional audio hardware, and audiophile listeners may find valuable.
Of course, the ultimate purpose of all this is to bring the listening experience closer to the spontaneity and intimacy of the profound musical performances that occurred during these inspired sessions.