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Recent Avatar Action

From time to time we get the word on what’s going on at New York City’s Avatar Studios, a place where bunches of great records, jazz and non-jazz, are produced. Yesterday we received news about current jazz works in progress at Avatar, including word that Norah Jones came in recently to record the follow-up to her big hit Come Away With Me. As we reported here, producer Arif Mardin is still a part of team Norah and was overseeing her singing at Avatar, perhaps together they can get lightning to strike twice in the same place (record shop cash registers).

Chilean vocalist Claudia Acuna (pictured), who signed to Maxjazz after recently being dropped from Verve, has been spending time in Avatar’s Studio A to release her debut for Maxjazz. Joe Ferla, the engineer who recorded and mixed both of Acuna’s Verve albums, Wind From the South and Rhythm of Life, is working with her on the next album.

Luciana Souza, a singer in the Brazilian-jazz tradition, has been at Avatar recording her third album for Sunnyside, a follow-up to the excellent North and South. Francois Zalacain, the engineer who made North and South sound so nice, is back for this one, but this time he’s producing. James Farber takes Zalacain’s place as the album’s engineer.

Finally, Telarc pianists Benny Green and McCoy Tyner will have new SACDs out soon. We haven’t been told what these SACDs are, however. They could be older albums done up in the hi-fi format or entirely new works. This suggests a cheap way to raise office morale: Begin an office pool with you and your coworkers betting on what these Tyner and Green SACDs will contain. That’s the definition of a good time. Label engineer Jack Renner, known for his work with Ray Brown, Oscar Peterson, Jim Hall and other Telarc artists, has been in Studio A tweaking the Green and Tyner discs.

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