have you got the andreaus vollenweider stuff
Try some of the M*A recordings. They are a bit eclectic to say the least. Todd Garfinkel travels all over the world and records groups that play instruments that you may not even be familiar with. One thing is consistent--his recordings are outstanding. He knows his equipment, limitations, and most of all Mic placement. Some of the recordings I don't know the instruments, but I feel like I do after I listen to his recordings of them. Calamus is a good one to start with, but the best is going to a show (like HE 2003) and listening because they vary quite a bit.
I would suggest a few:1.John Mclaughlin with Shakti-A Handful Of Beauty-;2.John McLaughlin with Shakti-Natural Elements-( not as great as the previous,recording quality is excellent).You will want Japanese Mastersound version for both.This is Indo-Jazz fusion at its best.3.Al Di Meola-Cielo e Terra-.Unusual music,not minimalist recording technique but sounds great;out of print,hard to find;German sounds much better than American,Japanese-much better than German.4.Try to find Japanese Dead Can Dance CDs.I know where to get those two McLaughlin's albums,Cielo e Terra sometimes shows up on ebay.
Try Ralph Towner/Gary Peacock's "A Closer View" on ECM. Wonderful recording of a guitar and bass duo. From a review "Peacock's ability to combine the soulfulness of Charles Mingus with the virtuosity of Scott LaFaro makes him probably the world's most expressive double-bassist. His remarkable qualities reinvigorate the playing of Towner, whose mastery of the guitar is equally extraordinary.."
Another recommendation: Luciana Souza, "Brazilian Duos" From the review: On this CD, Souza's fluid and floral vocals, which swing on every Portuguese-language phrase, are backed by three alternating Brazil-born guitarists--Romero Lubambo, her father, and Marco Pereira on eight-string guitar--performing compositions by Luis Gonzaga, Edú Lobo, Jacó do Banbolim, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Souza's parents. The combination of the plaintive and percussive guitar playing and Souza's sinewy voice is hard to beat.
IMO Chris Thile's latest CD "All Who Wander Are Not Lost" has sensational sound, and man can that kid pick a mandolin. He plays on the CD with Bela Fleck, Stuart Duncan, & Jerry Douglas, among others. If Jazzgrass is your thing, this is an excellent recording. In the same genre, Bela Fleck has a CD called "Tales From An Acoustic Planet". He actually has two of these, and the first one is really good.
Fillip Johnston "Unknown" soundtrack available on Avan Japan. Rare CD but brass arrangements will certainly drive you nuts. That David Hofsta on acoustic bass is something!
Carla Bley big band "Goes to Church" on WATT 1995.
If you dig onto minimalizm you should check out Mark Nauseef "Wun Wun" on CMP label with Jack Bruce. A truely nice piece!
Another minimalistic proposition is to look-up solo albums of Lisa Gerrard(of Dead Can Dance) and Meridith Monk on ECM.
Another ECM proposition is for David Darling "October" he's only the one playing his cello. I realy was stunned with this album and listened to it from the very beginning to the end without stops. My dinner was becomming cold and I still didn't want to leave speaker focus.
From the rock musicians I'd recommend Peter Hammill(of Van Der Graaf Generator) "Black Box".
I second Rives' recommendations of M*A recordings.
Rives, if you like Calamus, then get Mujedar. I got it at the HE2003 show and like it a lot.
There are also some excellent recordings from Mapleshade (rather ecclectic repertoire though) and Turtle records (using tube recording gear). Turtlerecords.com is currently under construction.
Zakir Hussain - Making Music
This album is dating back to 1986 and features John McLaughlin (guitar), Jan Garberek (sax), Pandit Hariprasad Churasia (flute) and Hussain on Tabla. I have had it since 1989 and is still the most played CD in my collection and always lying next to my player. Amazing musicianship from all four veterans.
I also like following albums when it comes to natural sounding instruments.
McLaughlin, De Lucia, Dimeola - Friday Night in San Francisco
Strunz and Farah - Primal Magic
Ry Cooder/Ali Farke Toure Talking Timbuktu
Great suggestions-- Alot of discs that I had never heard of. I have been searching for imports by Dead Can Dance and having a hard time there. NPR local stations tend to be my source for discovering new music but I have not had much chance to do this and do not have a tuner in my system. Does anyone know if Brenden Perry has put out solo stuff or intends to? Imminent Holly Cole releases?
Does anyone have an opinion about Cafe Blue--particularly the HDCD version and if it is that much better than the original recording? I appreciate everyone's input! No offense on the Krall comment, by the way, I am just a little tired of the hype.