Jheena Lodwick • Best Collection

Master Music Gold XRCD24 NT011



by John Crossett | December 15, 2013

’ll not equivocate: This is the best-sounding CD I’ve ever heard. However, that a CD, or any disc or file, sounds amazing is not a reason to buy it. First and foremost, the music needs to be worth listening to. Jheena Lodwick was born in the Philippines -- a fact that caught the attention of my Filipino-born and -raised wife, who listened to the disc and realized that Ms. Lodwick is not a star in her home country. No, she made her name playing some of the finer establishments in Hong Kong and now in her new home in the UK.

As might be expected, any new songstress, especially of Asian descent, recorded with purist techniques is going to be immediately compared to Jacintha, but there is one major difference here: Jacintha was simply a well-recorded voice, while Jheena Lodwick not only has a beautiful voice but she's also an accomplished pianist, which allows her to more closely tailor her music to her voice. Singing and playing a collection of contemporary pop favorites, like Morris Albert’s "Feelings," The Carpenter’s "Superstar," The Beatles "All My Loving," Cat Stevens' "Morning Has Broken," and Eric Clapton’s "Tears In Heaven," she eases into each well-known tune while making these popular songs her own. The way she manipulates and modulates her voice helps create the feeling that these songs belong to her, even if temporarily. While Lodwick is classified as a jazz singer, nowhere on this collection did I hear improvisation. I would call her a chanteuse instead. This is lounge music at its best. But whatever you choose to call her, Jheena Lodwick certainly can sing and play.

I’ve already mentioned how great this disc is sonically. I chalk much of the sonic splendor up to the XRCD24 mastering process, which uses a full suite of JVC digital products to create a 24-bit digital master and convert it to 16 bits, a high-precision laser creating the Red Book-format glass master. JVC eliminates two traditional production steps by using its Master Stamper Process to create the XRCD24 stamper directly from the glass master, allowing only a limited number of XRCD24s to be produced from each stamper. We’ve all heard discs that we describe as having "a black background," but until you’ve heard this one, you don’t really understand the meaning of the phrase. There truly is nothing except the music here. Jheena Lodwick’s voice is so present and palpable it’s scary, and her piano sounds as close to real as a recording can make it. The other instruments pop out while at the same time holding their places in the soundstage. If your system is up to it, it really does sound as though the recording studio has been transported into your listening room -- and Jheena Lodwick has been transported through time and space to perform just for you.

If you like this kind of popular music, or you want the ultimate demo disc to show your friends and family why high-end audio commands your attention, with music that won’t have them running for the exits, then this is the disc to get.

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