Various Artists: Celebrating the Music of Weather Report (DVDA)

Telarc is a label long associated with good sound, so you would expect them to wholeheartedly embrace one or the other of the new formats in order to stay up with, if not ahead of, the pack. Well, they have done that in spades, releasing a number of titles in both DVD-audio and SACD surround versions. One such disc is the Jason Miles-led tribute, Celebrating the Music of Weather Report. Both versions are equally “present” with impressive dynamics not found on standard CDs, and certainly more openness. This music is made for surround mixes, effects and percussion floating 360 degrees around the listener’s ears. However, I noticed that sometimes the surround mix tended to dilute the impact of a soloist’s instrument; case in point, John Scofield’s growling guitar on “Cucumber Slumber.” On the stereo mix, he is focused in the center of the soundstage and effectively prominent, but on the surround version, Scofield’s strong attack gets uncharacteristically lost, his guitar being assigned as much to the surrounds as to front and center.