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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

I Put A Spell On You - Nina Simone [Blu-ray Audio]  



Review by Gary Tooze


Producer: Universal Music Group



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Total Music time: 0:34:21.768

Disc Size: 3,762,231,720 bytes

Chapters: 12 (one per song)

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: October 30th, 2013



LPCM Audio Multiple languages 4608 kbps 2.0 / 96 kHz / 4608 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio Multiple languages 3568 kbps 2.0 / 96 kHz / 3568 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 3.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby TrueHD Audio Multiple languages 2920 kbps 2.0 / 96 kHz / 2920 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Embedded: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)



4-page liner notes leaflet - text notes by Roger Short

Photography [Cover] – Bernard Gotfryd

A paper with a code to access the Blu-ray disc digital downloads online


I Put A Spell on You - Nina Simone - Track Listing:
1.  "I Put a Spell on You" (Jalacy Hawkins) – 2:34
2.  "Tomorrow Is My Turn" (Charles Aznavour/Marcel Stellman/Yves Stéphane) – 2:48
3.  "Ne me quitte pas" (Jacques Brel) – 3:34
4.  "Marriage is for Old Folks" (Leon Carr/Earl Shuman) – 3:29
5.  "July Tree" (Irma Jurist/Eve Merriam) – 2:41
6.  "Gimme Some" (Andy Stroud) – 2:57
7.  "Feeling Good" (Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley) – 2:53
8.  "One September Day" (Rudy Stevenson) – 2:48
9.  "Blues on Purpose" (instrumental) (Rudy Stevenson) – 3:16
10. "Beautiful Land" (Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley) – 1:54
11. "You've Got to Learn" (Charles Aznavour/Marcel Stellman) – 2:41
12. "Take Care of Business" (Andy Stroud) – 2:03



Tracks 1, 3-5, 7, 8 and 10 - Nina Simone (piano, vocals) with orchestra chorus; Rudy Stevenson (guitar); Hal Mooney arranger/conductor - 1965

Tracks 2, 6, 11 and 12 - Nina Simone (piano, vocals) with orchestra chorus Rudy Stevenson (guitar), Horace Ott (arranger/conductor)  (January 1965)

Track 9 - Nina Simone (piano, vocals) Rudy Stevenson (guitar), others (unknown) 1964





Description: "I Put a Spell on You", a song originally by Screamin' Jay Hawkins. The original version gave the song an ironic theme, but Nina transformed it into a thrilling love song, complete with horns and strings. It had become one of her most well known songs. She used the title for her autobiography I Put A Spell On You (1992). The Beatles drew inspiration from the song for their song "Michelle".

"Tomorrow Is My Turn", an English translation of a French song by Charles Aznavour.
"Ne me quitte pas", a rendition of the song by Jacques Brel. It became one of her live repertoire standards.

"Feeling Good", Nina's version of this Broadway song has been covered by many artists including Muse and Michael Bublé. A sample of the song also featured on Mary J. Blige's song "About You" on the album The Breakthrough (2006). Katie Melua also sang the song on her tour for the album Call off the Search, which is to be found on a double disc live DVD. Juelz Santana (with Lil Wayne) sampled Feeling Good on their mixtape hit Birds Flyin High. Feeling Good is also in the soundtrack of The Saboteur.
This Blu-ray audio album.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE 


The Artist:

Nina Simone (born Eunice Kathleen Waymon; February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music. Simone aspired to become a classical pianist while working in a broad range of styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.

Born the sixth child of a preacher's family in North Carolina, Simone aspired to be a concert pianist. Her musical path changed direction after she was denied a scholarship to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, despite a well-received audition. Simone was later told by someone working at Curtis that she was rejected because she was black. When she began playing in a small club in Philadelphia to fund her continuing musical education and become a classical pianist she was required to sing as well. She was approached for a recording by Bethlehem Records, and her rendering of "I Loves You, Porgy" was a hit in the United States in 1958. Over the length of her career Simone recorded more than 40 albums, mostly between 1958—when she made her debut with Little Girl Blue—and 1974.

Her musical style arose from a fusion of gospel and pop songs with classical music, in particular with influences from her first inspiration, Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied with her expressive jazz-like singing in her characteristic contralto. She injected as much of her classical background into her music as possible to give it more depth and quality, as she felt that pop music was inferior to classical. Her intuitive grasp on the audience–performer relationship was gained from a unique background of playing piano accompaniment for church revivals and sermons regularly from the early age of six years old.

In the early 1960s, she became involved in the civil rights movement and the direction of her life shifted once again. Simone's music was highly influential in the fight for equal rights in the United States. In later years, she lived abroad, finally settling in France in 1992. She received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2000 and was a fifteen-time Grammy Award nominee over the course of her career.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

Blu-ray Audio General Comments :

Adopters of Blu-ray immediately notice that lossless audio transfer is one of the most valuable benefits of this new format. Not only surround separation but the depth, resonance and overall purity exporting capabilities of the lossless and uncompressed sound formats. DVDBeaver prefers technical comparison as analysis. Unfortunately, I don't know of a way of extracting the tech info from this CD of I Put a Spell on You to compare its merits to this Blu-ray audio. So my review will rely on my ears! I have a system with a Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player  and can toggle back and forth between my Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray/SACD Player trying to notice/listen to differences. In the case of this particular album - it's immense.


From Daniel Lalla (friend): "One warning: some of the Blu-ray Audio discs I've purchased from Europe include a download code that works, but it is only at CD resolution. So if you want the full audio (usually at 24/96 resolution which is silly since Blu-ray could easily accommodate any resolution like 24/192 or even newer higher resolution formats) you need a program like DVD Audio Extractor to get the music off the disc and onto a server or computer. But it's well worth the effort."


Audio :

UME are using the original master tapes transferred to uncompressed files, mastered at 24bit/96kHz. This elevates Blu-ray Audio discs to a new, more pure, level - hopefully the most accurate replication of the original studio sound - when recorded. These can be played with, or without, your video system being on (depending on your set-up!).


This Blu-ray audio is transferred at 2.0 channel. I appreciate the options. You can choose from 3 selections: Linear PCM at a whopping 4608 kbps, DTS-HD Master at 3568 kbps or Dolby TrueHD at 2920 kbps. There are differences - which I usually noted in the high-end. I've heard this album (the CD) over 30 times and now it's cool to be able to change the option and sample another format (which one can do on-the-fly from either the onscreen display - see image above - or without your video display on - directly from the Blu-ray audio remote button.) Each of these lossless choices sound strong. I stuck with the LPCM on this disc because I appreciated the depth of guitar and piano while Nina's compelling voice was exporting substantially elevated emotion. 'Wow' is right.


Does it sound superior to the CD? Definitely - Nina Simone's passionate vocals really benefit from the uncompressed transfer. I noticed the subtleties in more passive tracks (Tomorrow Is My Turn) and the bass response in her brilliantly expressive French vocals of Ne me quitte pas. The orchestral chorus blends so nicely in the background - you acknowledge its presence and it becomes another important layer in the music - simply floating throughout the room. I love so many tracks on this album and I felt it is really worth the upgrade after only the first spin.


NOTE: The file size (under 4 Gig) suggest that this format can offer multiple albums on one Blu-ray disc. Perhaps an entire artist's recorded work... and be able to play it for hours on end! I'd also like to see the price come down. Let's see how this Blu-ray audio format evolves.  


My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc (like CDs) playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

The only supplement is a 4-page liner notes leaflet with text notes by Roger Short and a paper with a code to access the Blu-ray disc digital downloads online.


Easy call for the owners of the CD as it sounds significantly richer via this uncompressed Blu-ray. Again, we should qualify that it is probably more dependant on your system how much you notice the improvement. It had to happen that music was coming to this format. At present we still have a, relatively, high price. But to those who are fans of Nina Simone - I'm sure they realize it is worth every penny. The first Nina Simone song I heard was Sinnerman in the 1999 film The Thomas Crown Affair. If you are unfamiliar with her - I would like to strongly encourage you to indulge. I'm very pleased with both Blu-ray audio discs I've reviewed so far and have, positively, sampled them to multiple friends. I hope this format for music/albums is in its infancy as there are many more titles and artists I would love to explore in the purity of uncompressed audio (how about a transfer of Nina Simone's 'Broadway-Blues-Ballads' album next ?). As for I Put a Spell on You - it's a no-brainer purchase. Perfect.    

Gary Tooze

November 23rd, 2013


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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