After a couple of years, Djabe has returned with a new studio album titled “Before,” which was followed up with various audiophile releases in January 2023. The CD + region free DVD-A is just one of several high-quality formats that also include analog master tape, double vinyl, and a lossless stereo download. Fans will now hear the band’s latest line-up including a new keyboard player, Zoltán Bubenyák; along with ongoing members Tamás Barabás on bass, guitar, synth programs, and vocals; Attila Égerházi playing the guitar and adding in percussion; Áron Koós-Hutás on trumpet and flugelhorn; plus Péter Kaszás hitting the drums and adding in vocals. Also, several musicians who are regular guests are spread across the various tracks on the album including: Steve Hackett on guitar and harmonica; Rob Townsend blowing the saxophone; Tibor Karvaly playing the electric violin; Éva Kozma playing the koboz, plus György Mesics adding violin.
These smooth jazz and fusion styled pieces are available on the DVD-A disc as high-resolution 96kHz / 24-bit stereo and 5.1 surround mixes of the full album. Additionally for audiophiles like me, the DVD-Audio showcases lossless MLP 2.0 and MLP 5.1 audio tracks, plus for backward compatibility and for listeners with players that don’t support the MLP lossless layer, the DVD-Video portion contains LPCM 2.0 48kHz / 16-bit and Dolby Digital 5.1 448 kb/s surround audio tracks. For those who follow the details, the authoring was made by Neil Wilkes who apparently resurrected an older PC to complete this disc. By design the disc should be compatible with all Blu-ray, DVD-Audio, and of course DVD-Video players.
Similar to their previous album “The Magic Stag,” Péter Kaszás once again offers exemplary vocal performances, with absolute reason and measure, adapted to the needs of the given composition. For long time fans, some of Tamás’ composition may seem like a new tone, which exudes an atmosphere of unusual gravity, leaning into dark music. Another unusual aspect is heard on “Mist”, on which Steve Hackett plays the accordion.
Over the years Djabe has consistently released excellent sounding immersive mixes that enhance the groups evolving sound. Simply put, this album and their earlier works are all well worth adding to one’s collection. Don’t miss the opportunity to get this before it goes out of print.
Released January 27, 2023.
CD + DVD-A containing 96kHz / 24-bit MLP 5.1 surround and stereo mixes. Also available on double vinyl, master 4-track 19 cm/sec tape, plus 96kHz / 24-bit stereo download.