Anne Bisson and Simaudio join forces with legendary producer, conductor, and arranger Guy St-Onge, along with René Laflamme of Fidelio Audio, bassist Normand Guilbault, and drummer Paul Brochu, to deliver a masterpiece of exceptional music that is sure to take your breath away.
This fantastic audiophile recording features a rich and warm midrange, with sultry tones that envelop and embrace. The first time you hear Bisson’s crystal clear voice, you’ll likely get shivers, while subsequent listens will reveal a depth and emotional core that resonate long after the final chord has sounded. Melodies soar with a delicate confidence through changes that are a unique blend of jazz and vocal pop.
“For anyone that believes great vinyl can’t be pressed from a digital master, look no further than Anne Bisson’s Blue Mind, recorded live with minimal overdubs (only one track, “Dragonfly” features overdubbing) at Reference Studio in Saint-Calixte, Quebec. Vacuum-tube Neumann microphones contribute greatly to the pressing’s enormous, breathy sound.” – TONEAudio, No. 46, May 2012
“Bisson breaks no new stylistic or artistic ground, but she keeps the tunes upbeat. Drummer Paul Brochu and bassist Normand Guilbeault helm sparse arrangements that aid in accentuating her fluid voice. Fidelio brilliantly captures this essence, with Kevin Gray extracting every last ounce of dynamic range on LP. The result? It sounds like a master tape. Count on hearing this gem in many rooms at upcoming hi-fi shows.” – TONEAudio, No. 52, January 2013
“The album itself has a beautifully quiet backdrop, while Bisson’s considered and emotional delivery will have fans of Diana Krall rushing to their wallets.” -Hi-Fi World
We couldn’t be more excited to present such an exquisitely recorded album from a truly gifted performer.
“From the minute I first heard Anne Bisson’s Blue Mind, I immediately knew that we would have to bring this album to the world. I sat in my seat, transfixed and in awe, for the whole thing. And then I listened to it again!” – Bob Bantz, President, Elusive Disc, Inc.
“I hope you feel the immense pleasure I had singing and playing these songs with the two extraordinary musicians that accompanied me through this journey. Last but not least, a special thanks to a very caring man who guided and inspired me, Guy St-Onge. Something really magical happened, and now it’s yours to discover!” – Anne Bisson
Blue Mind was recorded July 21-22, 2008, at Reference Studio in St-Calixte, Québec. It was mastered by Marc-Olivier Bouchard, assisted by René Laflamme, at Pure Mastering in St-Calixte. There are no overdubs on any song except “Dragonfly”. With the exception of “Hoping Love Will Last” (Steve Hackett), all songs were written by Anne Bisson.
• Neumann U-67 & U-89, B&K 4003
• Sennheiser MKH40 microphones
• Raindirk mixer
• Pro Tools HD 24-bit/96kHz & XTRAKTHD 24 bit/96kHz software
• Mastering System: Moon power amplifiers, DCS Digital and WEISS EQ
Anne Bisson, piano, vocals
Paul Brochu, drums
Normand Guilbault, double bass
THE VINYL ANACHRONIST
Marc Phillips, Monday, March 25, 2013
Anne Bisson’s Blue Mind on LP
Imagine if Diana Krall started attending high-end audio trade shows. It would be pandemonium. The hallways of the venue would fill up with Mrs. Costello’s fans, asking for autographs, snapping copious photos with their iPhones and sending them to their audiophile buddies saying, “See? She’s really here! Too bad you’re not, Hank…neener neener neener!”
Now imagine another female singer, a potential darling of hi-fi nuts as well, arguably even more expressive and talented, her releases even more astonishing in terms of sound quality, walking up and down those same halls without the same fanfare. Well, it’s been happening. Colleen and I have seen a lot of Canadian singer Anne Bisson at these trade shows over the last few months, and I think audiophiles are missing out on a real treat. Ms. Bisson is one of those rare performers who seems to be absolutely thrilled that people are listening to her albums, and she’s more than happy to spend a few moments to talk about her music. While I can’t speak for Diana Krall’s demeanor in the same situation, I do have to say that Anne Bisson is remarkably gracious and grateful. Her enthusiasm and infectious smile are worth the price of admission.
Okay, I know what you’re saying. I’m Krallbashing again. As I’ve said before, I have nothing against her personally; my beef is with her rather snobby audiophile fans who think she’s the lone gold standard for female vocalists. Today’s audiophiles seem to be obsessed with female vocals as the supreme criterion for judging the fidelity of an audio system, while I tend to agree with Profundo distributor Bob Clarke who feels that a grand piano is a more useful tool. (I also find myself gravitating more toward percussion while evaluating gear, but that’s just a personal preference based on my love for great rock drummers.) When it comes to female vocalists, however, I crave someone who veers dangerously away from the norm, someone with an edge that makes them original. I’m talking Halie Loren, whose imaginative cover choices always challenge the more conventional beauty of her singing voice. I’m talking about Holly Cole, who is even more daring in her set lists and knows how to inject a playful attitude into her performances. I’m talking about Madeliene Peyroux, who is funny and self-deprecating and knows how to stand aside and let her band take over the musical adventure for a spell. Anne Bisson belongs in that group.
When we spoke to Anne at the AXPONA show in Chicago earlier this month, she hooked me up with two of her LPs: Blue Mind and Portraits and Perfumes. She asked me to focus on the latter because it consisted of her own songs and was therefore closer to her heart. I haven’t even listened to Portraits yet, so I don’t know if one towers over the other as she seemed to imply. All I know at this point is that Blue Mind is an exceptional pressing of an exceptional performance. It’s important that the sound quality of this LP is so exemplary and so quiet because Anne’s performances are equally quiet and epitomize the idea of a singer being intimate with her audience. This stunning pressing allows her emotional commitment to these songs really shine through; these are her songs in every sense and you can alternately hear the joy, pain and vulnerability in her voice as she sings. It’s one thing for a singer to “make a song their own,” but I’ll always give the edge to the singer-songwriter that has created something this personal.
While these are certainly original pieces (except for Steve Hackett’s “Hoping Love Will Last”), Anne isn’t shy about her inspirations. She started off using sources as diverse as Ned Rorem, Stefano Donaudy, Mozart and Brahms as building blocks for her song structures, but wound up scratching this approach after she delivered the simple and delicate opening track, “Little Black Lake.” These songs are straightforward in their themes of romance, love lost and “what could have been,” but I like the way some of these themes, such as the lake itself, keep re-emerging in subsequent songs. This clearly evokes a specific period of her life and makes the album all the more cohesive and meaningful.
As for her piano playing, she reminds me so much of Kate Bush–not in voice, obviously, but the way her melodies are strong yet sparingly presented in an almost impressionistic manner. Accompanied by Paul Brochu on drums and Normand Guilbeault on double bass, her trio can hide in the shadows and yet leap out and sound full and reassured when it needs to. Again, this is a dynamic, well-recorded album that should impress audiophiles in many ways. Should.
I’m not saying that those audiophiles who perplex me so at audio shows should abandon Diana Krall entirely; those expensive ORG reissues of Krall sound absolutely great and I enjoyed them a lot before I sold them on eBay a few years ago. There are just so many options. I feel like I’m doing a disservice to Anne Bisson by even mentioning any other singers–it reminds me of the hazards of comparing two pieces of audio gear, and how someone has to lose. It’s just that there is so much music out there to enjoy, and it makes no sense to limit yourself. I just witnessed an audiophile saying the following on a music forum: “I’m sixty years old, and if I haven’t discovered a band or a singer already, I probably don’t need to.” My God, I thought. How does someone go through life like that? Discovering new music is one of the rare joys in life, and I’m happy to have discovered Anne Bisson.
ANNE BISSON – 2012’S BEST AUDIOPHILE PRESSINGS
Jeff Dorgay, Tone Audio Magazine, January 2013
2012 proved bountiful for remarkable audiophile-grade releases. SACDs, CDs, LPs, and high-resolution downloads were all represented by titles worthy of repeat listens on the best stereo systems money can buy.
In particular, Mobile Fidelity, Speakers Corners, and Analogue Productions stepped up their respective games in terms of quality and quantity. And while Music Matters halved its Blue Note series to two pressings per month (compared to the four titles its released over the past few years), the selections stayed strong. How much more gold is available to mine in the Blue Note catalog? Only Joe Harley and Ron Rambach know for sure.
And digital? While Neil Young’s hints a ta a new format via Pono, it remains in the distance, and a few boutique labels have started to release DSD downloads (which few listeners have the hardware to decode at this point), 24/96 and 24/192 files grew closer to the mainstream – at least to the audiophile crowd.
The best news of the year? HD Tracks and other high-res download services gained access to a broader spectrum of titles. Classic rock albums, ECM catalog fare, and even a few current releases are now pouring from the imprint’s tap.
Below, you’ll find my favourite audiophile pressings of 2012, in no particular order of significance other than alphabetical. With rare exception, all are chosen for their combination of fun and sound quality.
Anne Bisson Blue Mind, Fidelio, 180g LP
Elvis Costello Imperial Bedroom, Mobile Fidelity, 180 LP
The Doors L.A. Woman, Analogue Productions, 200g 45RPM 2LP
Bob Dylan The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, Mobile Fidelity, 180g 45RPM 2LP
Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, HD Tracks, 24/96 download (not the LP)
Lynyrd Skynyrd Street Survivors, Mobile Fidelity, LP
Jaco Pastorius Jaco Pastorius, ORG, 180g 45RPM 2LP
The Rolling Stones 12×5, HD Tracks
Horace Silver Finger Poppin’ With the Horace Silver Quintet, Music Matters, 180g 45RPM 2LP
Weather Report Heavy Weather, ORG, 180g 45RPM 2LP
Tone Audio, May 2012
For anyone that believes great vinyl can’t be pressed from a digital master, look no further than Anne Bisson’s Blue Mind, recorded live with minimal overdubs (only one track, “Dragonfly” features overdubbing) at Reference Studio in Saint-Calixte, Quebec. Vacuum-tube Neumann microphones contribute greatly to the pressing’s enormous, breathy sound.
Bisson breaks no new stylistic or artistic ground, but she keeps the tunes upbeat. Drummer Paul Brochu and bassist Normand Guilbeault helm sparse arrangements that aid in accentuating her fluid voice. Fidelio brilliantly captures this essence, with Kevin Gray extracting every last ounce of dynamic range on LP. The result? It sounds like a master tape. Count on hearing this gem in many rooms at upcoming hi-fi shows.
WHAT A SURPRISE
Michel Truchon, Journal le Soleil, Québec 9 Avril 2009
SURPRISE! If singers who dream of becoming jazz divas seem to be all over the place these days, the same cannot be said for those writing and composing songs. Anne Bisson, a classical trained pianist and singer from Montreal has been moving in musical circles for ages (Although not being appreciated for her true talent) and she has just taken the plunge. After years of performing in various jazz bars, playing Cristal in Starmania and hosting television shows, she has finally achieved what she is best suited for: presenting us with a collection of intimate songs in English, awash in melodious tones. With her romantic playing at the keyboard, ably supported by Normand Guilbault at the bass and Paul Brochu on drums, “Blue Mind” not only gives us exceptional composition after the other, but a disc that is itself a masterpiece of musical production. Released on Québec’s Fidelio label and recorded at Guy St-Onge’s Référence Studios in St-Calixte, this recording of exceptional warmth has aspirations of winning over the serious audiophile. Therfore, it isn’t surprising to find that this album is also availaible as a vinyl LP.
Jerry D’Souza, All About Jazz
When singer-pianist Anne Bisson decided to record her first album, she had planned on giving classical music a jazz approach. However, one day as she was sitting by her piano, the muse descended and inspired her to write “Little Black Lake.” She discovered aninner trove of songs that emerged from her heart to fill this CD, with one exception–Steve Hackett’s “Hoping Love Will Last.”
Bisson, who lives in Montreal, began classical piano lessons when she was six. Five years later she was composing songs on the guitar. It was only when she sat in with the rhythm section of the University of Montreal Big Band that she was touched by jazz. Over the next two years she continued practicing classical music by day while listening to Louis Armstrong and George Gershwin by night and also playing in Montreal jazz bars.
The songs on the album show that Bisson has an innate sense of composition. The songs are warm and intimate and speak directly to the heart. She makes them all the more evocative with a voice that can be fragile and haunting, gently alluring and inviting, as it wraps itself around the underlying emotion of the lyrics.
Bisson’s jazz side comes up strong on “Do What You Please.” Her vocal is made distinct by her phrasing and timing, but she goes beyond that with her inflections and sense of space that capture the implicit feel of the words. Even when she is in pop mode, she is a stunning communicator. Any of the selections testify to that but “Blue Mind” condenses the core of emotion into stellar story telling.
Listening to “Hoping Love Will Last” makes apparent why she chose to sing it. The supple grace of her voice is seen to advantage, as she soars in hope, ponders on the edge of uncertainty and reminisces introspectively to invest the song with her indelible presence.
Bisson has a lot going for herself–her writing is resolute in its view of human passions and her singing gives voice to those passions with tasteful delicacy. And finally, she has two fine accompanists in Paul Brochu and Normand Guilbeault, who understand, and help enhance the nature of her songs.
Christopher Rodriguez, Journal de Montréal, March 3rd, 2009
Those of you who have been paying particular attention to the goings on in the world of television for the past several years will certainly remember television showhost Anne Bisson.
Not only was she a personality of the small screen all the way back to “Coup de Foudre à Vazimolo”, but she has also been an active figure in the world of song.
In 1987, for example, she sang and performed in “Starmania: The Rock Opera”.
She also launched a few forays into the world of Jazz, all of wich have now led to this latest release. Trained singer and pianist, Anne Bisson has brought us a discerning blend of Folk and Jazz, with such diverse influences as Karen Young and Joan Baez thrown into the mix.
Without resorting to covering old standards, a tricky yet courageous undertaking, these eleven cuts tell the story of one life in a way that is very touching. Just listening to “Blue Mind”, “Camilio”, “Why is it so” and “Secret Survivor” is to come away convinced. Also on hand are two Montreal Jazz veterans, Paul Brochu on drums and Normand Guilbault at the double bass. Poetry and Jazz, beautifully woven together.
THE PAUL ARCAND RADIO SHOW, MONTREAL 98.5 FM
Sylvain Ménard, Music Critic, March 13, 2009
This has been my big surprise of the past few weeks… It got me where I live, it went straight to my heart, I really liked it..
Christopher Rodriguez, Journal de Montreal, 2013
‘… A record as smooth as silk… reminding us of the Bill Evans school of playing… For those with tenderness in their heart…’