It’s been another busy month of partner launches at Roon! We’ve welcomed new brands Argon Audio, Silent Angel and Zidoo, as well as new devices from Astell&Kern, Matrix Audio and Soundaware.
You can read all about them in our latest partner update below. For a full list of our partner brands and every Roon Ready and Roon Tested device, visit our Partners page on the Roon website.
Argon Audio SOLO Roon Ready
Joining the Roon family in August, Argon Audio are a Danish hi-fi specialist with almost 20 years of heritage. Their mission is to bring their customers affordable high-quality audio solutions, which is something they achieved extremely well with the SOLO. The SOLO is an easy-to-use network streamer, boasting an array of features including Roon Ready. It has a built-in DAC with an impressive signal-to-noise ratio of over 120 dBA and 64-bit volume for ultimate audiophile sound quality as well as optical and coaxial S/PDIF outputs.
Astell&Kern SE180 Roon Ready
The latest Astell&Kern DAP to become Roon Ready is the SE180. Featuring an interchangeable all-in-one module from the A&futura series, the SE180 offers a fun new experience while on the move. Astell&Kern now have six Roon-compatible devices.
Matrix X-Sabre 3 Roon Ready
Matrix added the X-Sabre 3 to their line-up of Roon Ready devices this month. The X-Sabre 3 is housed in a brand-new chassis and features a refreshed user interface and vastly improved sonic capabilities.
Soundaware A1, A1Pro and A300 Roon Ready
We welcomed three new Roon Ready devices from Soundaware this month. The A300, A1, and A1Pro are all powered by SOUNDAWARE’s FPGA processing and capable of streaming up to 384kHz PCM and DSD256. Upgrade to the A1Pro for SOUNDAWARE’s state of the art power supply and DC filtering technology.
Silent Angel M1 Roon Ready
Joining our family of audio partners this month is Silent Angel. Founded in 2014, Silent Angel develops high-end audio products including streamers, network switches, and more. The Munich M1 is a flexible Roon Ready device featuring a built-in DAC, a high-quality headphone output, and coaxial S/PDIF and I2S connections.
Zidoo Z9X Roon Ready
Zidoo was founded in 2014, developing high-end media players, network streamers, and DACs. Joining our list of compatible partners this month, the Zidoo Z9X is now Roon Ready.
The Z9X is a swiss army knife 4K UHD media player that can satisfy audiophiles and videophiles alike. It can Roon Ready streaming your existing DAC or receiver via its HDMI, Optical, or USB outputs or one can take advantage of its built-in 3.5mm AUX output to easily add a zone to your Roon setup.
We had the pleasure of speaking with jazz pianist and singer Patricia Barber about her new album Clique out today. In our last post, we sat down with the production and engineering team behind the album, and here, we had the opportunity to ask Patricia Barber questions about her creative process.
Clique features Barber’s trio members Patrick Mulcahy on bass and Jon Deitemyer on drums, with the addition of Neal Alger on acoustic guitar, and Jim Gailloreto on tenor saxophone. This album features covers frequently performed by this group at the Green Mill, Chicago, including works by Stevie Wonder, Alec Wilder and Thelonious Monk.
[Editor] Higher finishes with three covers and now we have the follow-up, Clique. What does the title mean? Is there a relationship between the songs on each album?
Clique would be a great name for a nightclub. Perhaps it is another term for the “In-Crowd.”
Higher is most definitely a song cycle. The harmony is more expansive than the prescribed harmony of jazz and/or the American Songbook. They are art songs and can be performed by classical singers as well as jazz singers. On Clique the songs are what my trio uses on tour between the original material to inject some rhythm and fun into the sets.
What can you tell us about your songwriting process?
My songwriting process is like reinventing the wheel every time. I wish I had a tried and true method, but it isn’t quite so easy.
Sometimes a hook draws me into a lyric idea. Sometimes I scratch out a harmonic framework first and decide how the lyrics rhythmically will fall into the measures, I put dots on the staff. Then I start a poem/lyric with approximately that many syllables, then the melody carries the lyric.
If the song is narrative driven, funny, witty, full of information, the lyrics come first, and I keep the music simple enough that the audience can understand the lyrics. It’s all different.
How do you challenge yourself?
I write the music I’d like to hear.
Are there any tips you can share for other songwriters?
Up your game. The world has enough treacle. Study the great songwriters, poets. Never underestimate your audience. Don’t expect to be paid until the streaming companies start paying composers/artists per play.
You have a wide range of albums, from your own compositions of song cycles based on Greek mythologies to well-known covers. Is it a different experience recording an album of covers compared to your own compositions?
With Higher the music is difficult, so we had to concentrate. But my trio is a very professional group of musicians and they bring a high level of concentration and artistry to everything we record.
Do you have a muse?
I have many muses, but I keep them private. They function as inspiration.
Which artists/composers have influenced you the most?
Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Shirley Horn, Elis Regina, Jobim, Fauré, Schumann, Chausson.
We are big fans of Patricia Barber at Roon and so are many of our community members. We had the privilege of going behind the scenes of the making of Patricia’s latest album, Clique, with the album’s husband-and-wife engineering team, Jim Anderson and Ulrike Schwarz, who enjoy decades of combined recording and technical experience as well as many well-deserved Grammys, awards, and wonderful accolades.
Clique was recorded at Chicago Recording Company (CRC) and mixed at Skywalker Sound in January 2019 by Jim Anderson, and mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering in 2020. Patricia Barber’s previous album Higher was recorded in the same sessions, and mixed at Skywalker in 2019.
[Editor]: During the recording process, were all the musicians in the same room, or in separate booths with individual microphones?
The studios at CRC are built for recording and allow for flexibility in recording and mixing.
All of the musicians are in the studio at the same time, but in their own separate areas: Patricia is in the main room with her piano, a Fazioli, and vocal microphone. She can see directly through the glass doors to the band, all in their own areas. It’s one giant visual circle.
I’ve found that if the musicians can see each other well, that can make up for any deficiencies they might have hearing each other in their headphones. Good visuals in the studio can allow for snap decisions to be made while recording, allowing musicians to have spontaneity in their performances.
These separate recordings allow me to have the maximum amount of flexibility when it comes to mixing either in stereo or in surround, and I can optimise the sound of each instrument without worrying about acoustic interference from other instruments’ leakage.
Patricia’s experience with accompanying herself, live, and working with her band comes into play in the studio. She innately knows how to balance her voice with the piano and doesn’t overplay. This makes recording possible without having to blanket off the piano and disturb her performance.
Can you tell us more about the Horus/Pyramix digital recording system that you used?
For every album of Patricia’s that I’ve recorded, I’ve always looked to see what is the ‘state-of-the-art’ (SOTA) available at the time. For Cafe Blue SOTA was using a full 16bit analogue to digital converter. Modern Cool SOTA was using a Sony 3348 open reel digital recording system. Now with Higher and Clique we’re recording at 352.8 kHz and 32 bit.
Over the years, we’ve managed to increase the transparency and texture of our recording through increasing the sampling and bit rate of the digital systems that we use.
The Horus/Pyramix system is used, for the most part, in classical recording, where one wants the most compelling and revealing sound possible. This also allows us to release in high resolution.
For Higher and Clique we recorded ‘double system,’ using the studio’s ProTools system, which is what the musicians heard in the studio and in the control room. While the recording was taking place, Pyramix and ProTools were synced, allowing us to use the studio system as a back-up, in case anything happened to the high resolution recording.
All of this detail should be transparent to the performers and to the listeners. They should just think: “This sounds really good!”
For our readers, can you explain why you decided to mix the album in analog and why you chose the Neve 88 Legacy board?
I am an “old school” mixer, I’m most comfortable sitting at a large format recording console. At the Neve, I have access to everything that I need right in front of me and I don’t have to look at a computer screen or anything that can slow me down.
We use computers when we mix primarily as a playback device. I like the sound of how analogue signals sum, over how sounds can sum when combined in the computer.
All the words associated with analogue sound, warmth, depth, transparency, etc., come into play. I don’t have to ‘emulate analogue’ in my recordings and mixes.
Roon supports MQA decoding. It’s interesting you also did an MQA CD as one of the formats for the album. Can you tell us more about this?
I’ve not worked with MQA in the past. Knowing about MQA, I thought that we were missing a large part of Patricia’s audience and they would enjoy having her music available in as high a quality as possible.
MQA allows listeners to hear in their homes the music in the quality as it was recorded, mixed, and mastered.
I love Roon! Listening to Roon has drastically upgraded my opinion of listening to music streaming in the home and on the computer, as well. Thanks, Roon!
Clique is being released on vinyl. Were the vinyl masters cut from the digital or analog master?
Bob Ludwig presented the DXD (352.8kHz/32bit float) mixes and the mixes on ½” tape (15 IPS, Dolby SR, +0/185nWb) at the start of the mastering session in A/B comparison to me. It was immediately apparent that the DXD mixes were far superior in frequency range, localization and overall stability of the image.
They sounded so much better and transmitted the bounce of the bass and the music that is happening on this album.
It was clear that the DXD files were the source for mastering. The DXD master Bob made from this source is the basis for the vinyl cut.
Can you tell our readers more about the MERGING+CLOCK-U technology which was used in the engineering process?
We were very excited to get our hands on such an exquisite piece of gear. The more precise and low noise the clock, the less jitter and more stability your recording/mix/mastering will have. The Merging+Clock-U is the Ultra Low Noise version of their digital clock spectrum. It is precise to 20 parts per billion (per second).
We had the Merging+Clock-U shipped to Skywalker for the mix of Clique 2.0, 5.1 and Higher 5.1 Surround. Higher was recorded in the same sessions and mixed in 2019 at Skywalker Sounds. Clique was mixed in 2020.
If you compare the 2.0 versions of Higher and Clique you will hear the difference of the Merging+Clock-U versus the regular Merging Clocks. Patricia’s voice sounded freer, the bass had more bounce, there was more spaciousness in the overall sound.
We also didn’t have any fatigue listening and working for long hours. Another advantage we want to keep.
The album was mixed at Skywalker Sound, a legendary studio. Are there any unique tools available in that studio and/or did you bring anything with you to the sessions?
Skywalker is in many ways a legendary place. The staff’s attention to detail and willingness to let us bring in any sort of extravagant gear is unique.
For this project we brought in our Pyramix/Horus system as a playback and recording system, with the added perk of the Merging+Clock-U.
The base frequency of this ultra high clock needs to work with the automation of the analog mixing board. Since the Merging+Clock-U is designed as a standalone consumer piece, it needed a bit of convincing to work in a studio environment. This is where the excellent technical staff of Skywalker shines.
Skywalker also have access to the analog reverb chamber that we like to use in our mixes.
Mixes we do at Skywalker hold up in any other environment. What we hear at Skywalker is what we get. If it is great there, it will be great anywhere. There is no higher praise than that for a mixing location.
Are there any unique technical approaches that were used in the mix to prepare the album for mastering?
For this recording session we exchanged every power cable in the recording chain at CRC with custom made power cables and/or power accelerators of Essential Sound Products to lower the noise floor to infinity.
We also used custom made IX-3 AccuSound cables for all interconnections in the recording chain. We took them to Skywalker for the mixing process.
The laptop that was used for the recording was custom built and was the first of its kind in the world, allowing 64 channels of DXD recording.
Those are technical details that support the magic of the sound. The real brilliance is in the recording and the mixing.
Other than that, Bob Ludwig worked according to his principle of “Do no harm” to the mixes and carefully mastered Clique to its brilliance. Bob presents every master he does for us also in MQA and we decide if we want to embrace the MQA version for the download or CD version. Clique was a prime example to do so. I am very happy that we decided to have this as our streaming and CD version.
Follow Jim Anderson on Instagram. Follow Ulrike Schwarz on Instagram. Stay tuned for our next post where we speak to Patricia Barber.
We kicked off summer with an impressive array of 17 new Roon Ready and Roon Tested devices from audio heavyweights Arcam, Astell&Kern, Bluesound, JBL, Rotel and more… read all about them in our latest partner update below. For a full list of our partner brands and every Roon Ready and Roon Tested device, visit our Partners page on the Roon website.
Aavik Roon Ready
Joining the Roon family in June,Aavik are a Danish high-end audio brand who develop and manufacture amplifiers, digital-to-analogue converters, streamers and phono stages. You can now enjoy Roon Ready built-in on the S-180, S-280 and S-580 audio streamers.
Arcam ST60 Roon Ready
The ST60 is Arcam’s first ever dedicated hi-resolution audio streamer. Loaded with an abundance of features such as MQA, analog and digital outputs, and now Roon Ready, it is hugely versatile whilst being simple and straightforward to operate.
Astell&Kern KANN ALPHA Roon Ready
Joining our family of Roon Ready audio partners in March of this year, Astell&Kern is a global leader in portable digital audio players. The KANN ALPHA is the fourth device to become Roon Ready, providing an ultra high power output to drive any headphone so you can enjoy a near-perfect sound experience wherever you are.
AVM Roon Ready
AVM have been developing and manufacturing audio devices since 1986, making every device by hand in their factory in Southern Germany and is a new addition to the Roon Ready program.
The OVATION CS 6.3 and OVATION CS 8.3 integrated amplifiers and OVATION MP 6.3 and OVATION MP 8.3 Media Players have all been certified as Roon Ready.
Bluesound Soundbar+ Roon Ready
The Bluesound Soundbar+ was designed specifically to deliver the highest quality sound through its quad-core processor and 120 watts of powerful sound with deep bass and rich detail. Designed to seamlessly integrate with your existing TV set-up, this audiophile-grade soundbar fulfills all of your home entertainment needs with added Roon Ready functionality.
ELAC Discovery Connect Pro Roon Ready
The Discovery Connect Pro is a Roon Ready multi-room streamer featuring a total of 8 playback zones. It has built-in 192kHz 24-Bit audio DACs for each of its six analogue outputs to pair with its two digital outputs.
JBL SA750 Roon Ready
In honor of JBL’s 75th anniversary, the JBL SA750 is a modern-retro Class G amplifier with streaming capabilities. Inspired by the classic JBL SA600 amplifier from the 1960’s, the SA750 combines mid-century styling with 21st century high-resolution streaming including Roon Ready built-in.
Rotel RC-1590 MKII and RC-1572 MKII Roon Tested
The RC-1590 MKII and RC-1572 MKII stereo preamplifiers are now Roon Tested. Both devices feature MQA support and multiple acoustic upgrades and refinements bringing an even higher level of performance and stunning clarity with a natural, enveloping sound stage.
T+A Elektroakustik HA-200 Roon Tested
The HA 200 is T+A’s first dedicated headphone amplifier and features high-performance output stages that can drive even the most difficult of headphones.
Waversa WBridge and WNode S1 Roon Ready
The Waversa WBridge is a flexible digital bridge featuring WAP (Waversa Audio Processor) DSP and high-resolution playback. Connections include LAN, USB, Optical, Coaxial, AES/EBU and HDMI.
The WNode S1 is an all-in-one speaker system made out of a totally unique all aluminum chassis, that boasts a range of features including Roon Ready.
From our humble beginnings – the debut of the first Roon Ready network streamer (Auralic Aries) at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2016 – the ecosystem of products compatible with Roon is now the largest collection of high-resolution audio devices in the world.
Roon is compatible with over a thousand individual products from nearly 200 brands, including premium audio heavyweights like Bowers & Wilkins, Bluesound, Denon, Devialet, Harman, KEF, McIntosh, and Naim Audio, and also a wide range of manufacturers of smart devices and DIY products. Thanks in part to that focus on interoperability, Roon has become an essential component in the listening rooms of recording artists, producers, record labels, music collectors, and audiophiles.
The cadence of new Roon Ready certifications has increased tenfold since 2019. Back then, just a handful of new products were certified each month, but in the first half of this year we’ve already announced over 100 new Roon Ready and Roon Tested devices. Forty new brands have submitted products for certification in that time, including key product ranges and new launches from notable audio manufacturers like Arcam, Astell & Kern, Cambridge Audio, and JBL.
We set out to create an ecosystem with something for every use case covering a wide range of prices, form factors, functions, and features. Now, Roon really does play with everything – audio products as varied as network streamers, soundbars, DACs, wireless speakers, all-in-one systems, and A/V receivers – at prices ranging from $100 to $100,000. With support for high-resolution PCM, DSD, MQA, and extensive DSP, Roon offers the highest possible audio performance at any price.
Recent announcements about lossless and high-resolution streaming from Apple Music and others have kindled new interest in high-quality audio. For listeners who want to go beyond their mobile phone with Bluetooth headphones, Roon provides the largest and highest-performance ecosystem for listening to high-resolution music on the widest range of audio equipment.
In addition to Roon Ready products, there are hundreds of Roon Tested products that bring the Roon experience to the rest of your home. Support for Sonos, AirPlay, and Google Cast streaming devices – as well as USB and HDMI receivers and DACs – means that Roon helps you get the best performance out of virtually any audio device.
Our aim has always been to make it as simple as possible for you to find the music you love and play it on all of your audio gear. That’s why in our summer release, we’ve pushed the boundaries of Valence even further to improve how you search and discover music in Roon. Valence combines the expertise of our community with modern data science and machine learning to deliver a music player that understands your listening preferences like no other.
In the latest update to Roon 1.8, we’ve implemented some exciting new features, including personalized daily mixes, intelligent search, and a totally new TIDAL interface to improve the way you discover and listen to music in Roon.
Your Daily Mixes
Some days you want a little extra inspiration in the morning. For TIDAL and Qobuz users, every day Roon will deliver you six new Daily Mixes designed to give you something new to explore. Each playlist is themed on an artist from your listening history and includes 25 picks from artists you love and some you have yet to discover.
Created using a completely new Valence algorithm, the genres and artists in your playlists will change daily but you can expect a wide variety of music that reflects your library, listening habits, and what you’ve been playing lately.
To make it easy to find music to suit your mood, we’ve named each mix after a “headliner” artist featuring music from them and similar artists and genres we think you’ll find interesting.
Find a playlist you enjoy? Save it so you can listen to it later.
Over the last year, we’ve doubled the Roon team to over 50 people across five continents, which allows us to be more ambitious in the scope and number of engineering projects running in parallel. One great example is search, which is now being improved on an ongoing basis by our data team. This release features the first of many planned search developments: an improved user interface with predictive auto-complete.
Previously, when typing a search, Roon would auto-complete using only words from your library, but now it matches people and music across all known artists, albums, tracks, genres, composers, and compositions.
Valence plays a big part in helping Roon make the right suggestions to you – predicting what you’re looking for as it’s being typed – whether the music is in your library or not. By clicking on any of the recommendations, you’ll get taken directly to what you are looking for, making it easier and faster to get to the music you want to play.
Your core now preserves your search history with your profile, so it’s easy to get back to the music you were looking for, even if it’s on a different day or device.
All-new TIDAL experience
We’ve worked closely with our friends at TIDAL to design a completely new TIDAL experience in Roon. The page has been redesigned to include many of TIDAL’s latest features and content, including top charts, TIDAL staff picks and latest MQA playlists and more. As well as all of this, TIDAL’s popular “Mixes for you” feature is now available for you to enjoy in Roon!
We hope you enjoy the new update and look forward to hearing what you think. For more information on the new release, head over to our Community.
Our team is obsessive about creating the best experiences for people who love music and sound, and our goal has always been to bring more music into peoples’ lives. Over the last year, most of us will have spent more time than ever at home, using music to manage everything from mood to childcare. As self-proclaimed music fanatics with a broad range of musical interests, we wanted to start sharing some of our favorite music with our community of music lovers, in partnership with our streaming partners TIDAL and Qobuz.
We started with our mixed-genre playlist Roon Recent for Qobuz, featuring recent contemporary favorites. The playlist begins with genre-bending jazz from multi-Grammy Award-winning Robert Glasper ft. H.E.R., London-based musical collective Nubyian-Twist, and musical marvel Terrace Martin. We move onto the soulful voices of Kandace Springs, Lianne La Havas, Celeste, and Baby Rose. The tone changes with the iconic Norah Jones and Melody Gardot, Norwegian singers Ane Brun and Astrid S, and singer-songwriters St. Vincent and Brandy Clark. The mood takes another turn ending with Australian blues rock band The Teskey Brothers, Bon Iver, Mumford & Sons, and The War on Drugs.
Our next mixed-genre playlist Roon Repeat on TIDAL features tracks our team had on repeat. We begin with acclaimed jazz pianist Brad Mehldau’s expansive Born to Trouble from Grammy Award-winning album Finding Gabriel. Jazz-crossover features heavily with Thundercat, Terrace Martin ft. Ric Wilson, Steam Down ft. Afronaut Zu, Kassa Overall and Jazzmeia Horn. We feature classical-crossover from string trio Time for Three, and Daniel Hope ft. soul singer Joy Denalane on This Bitter Earth / On the Nature of Daylight – a Clyde Otis / Max Richter mash-up. Vocal highlights include singer-songwriters Sarah Jarousz, AURORA, Tunisian singer Emel, and Finish singer Joose Keskitalo.
Next is a classical playlist Roon Relax for Qobuz. We begin with Mozart from renowned pianist Fazil Say, moving onto Igor Levit’s Busoni: Chorale Preludes (10) after JS Bach – No. 5, Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639, a rarely played arrangement of a Bach Chorale. More beautiful Bach appears from Christian Tetzlaff and Fretwork. Tetzlaff’s articulate performance of Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001: I. Adagio comes from J.S. Bach Sonatas & Partitas,his third recording of these solo violin works. Viol-consort Fretwork’s Contrapunctus 1 follows from their faithful arrangement of J.S. Bach’s The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080. After instrumental works from Chopin, Beethoven and Scarlatti, we move from a contemporary lute and violin duet from Thomas Dunford (lute) and Theotime Langlois de Swarte (violin) onto Jonas Nordberg performing Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger on the theorbo, a baroque lute. We then move from Lieder with Matthias Goerne’s hauntingly beautiful Litanei from Schubert: Wanderer’s Nachtlied and Schumann: Dichterliebe from Mark Padmore onto Dowland from Anthony Rooley, and Emma Kirkby’s O Let Me Weep, from Purcell:The Fairy Queen. We continue in the Baroque era with excerpts from J.S. Bach: Magnificat in D Major, BWV 243 (Emmanuelle Haïm) and Bach: St Matthew Passion, BWV 244 (Suzuki). We end with sacred works from Thomas Tallis (Stile Antico), and Renaissance composers Alonso Lobo (Tenebrae) and Josquin Des Prez (Gabrieli Consort).
Next in our Qobuz series is Roon Rhythm, a playlist of contemporary jazz favourites. We open with Our Spanish Love Song, a duet from bassist Charlie Haden and guitarist Pat Metheny, from their magnificent album Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories). We move onto another duet, Save Your Love for Me, from trumpeter Till Brönner and pianist Bob James. Vocal highlights include Veronica Swift, René Marie and Diana Krall. London-based semi-free duo Binker & Moses, made up of saxophonist Binker Golding and drummer Moses Boyd, feature with their energetic Fete by the River. Moses Boyd features again with Stranger than Fiction. Also from London’s brimming jazz scene are jazz-fusion keyboardist Kamaal Williams and vocalist Zara McFarlane. Los Angeles-based saxophonist Kamasi Washington’s Change of the Guard is another genre-defying highlight. We end the playlist with the multiple Grammy Award-winning American quasi-collective Snarky Puppy, with Whitecap from their iconic album Tell Your Friends.
Next is Relaxing Classics – TIDAL Mastersfor TIDAL, a classical playlist in Master Quality – MQA. We open with Schuman, J.S. Bach and Chopin from pianists Mitsuko Uchida, Víkingur Ólafsson, and Josep Colom. Violin highlights come from Ana María Valderrama (Brahms), Hilary Hahn (Bach), and Daniel Hope (Kreisler). Two duos stand out with Avi Avital and Alon Sariel’s Vivaldi: Double Mandolin Concerto, for 2 mandolins, RV 532, and Duo Animacorde’s Paganini: Sonata Concertata, MS 2 for violin and guitar. We include beautiful chamber music from Quatuor Ébène (Beethoven) and Emery String Quartet (Fauré), and lute and guitar concertos from Christopher Parkening (Vivaldi) and Thibaut Garcia (Aranjuez). Tenor Christoph Prégardien performs the ruminative Der Lindenbaum from Schubert: Winterreise, followed by Beethoven from baritone Matthias Goerne and Dowland from countertenor Phillipe Jaroussky. We end with two choral works, Palestrina from The Hilliard Ensemble and Ólafur Arnalds from Voces8.
Sarah works on music editorial and research as part of Roon’s Music Team.
People often ask us if Roon is like a streaming service. Or a download library. Or even a new type of audio editing software. But our technology is something entirely different. Roon is the ultimate music player, designed for people who live and breathe music and sound. Roon gets you listening to the songs you love, helps you find new music that’s tailored to your ear, and gives you the best sound quality from your audio equipment.
We’d love to share some recent articles we’ve enjoyed from our friends and partners at TIDAL. Discover a rich catalogue of essays, features and in-depth interviews on TIDAL Magazine, which features original articles from a wide variety of music journalists, perfect for the curious music lover. Here are some of our recent favorites.
In a long and wide-ranging interview, the jazz giant thinks about his rapid ascent in the avant-garde, his shift toward the tradition, his new duo set with Jason Moran, his unearthed contributions to A Love Supreme and much more.
A celebration for International Jazz Day with interviews and criticism, including Roon’s two-part interview with Cuban artist Daymé Arocena. Head over to TIDAL Magazine to discover an abundance of original content.
We continue our conversation with Cuban artist Daymé Arocena in celebration of International Jazz Day. In Part 1, Daymé discussed Cuban music movements and teaching at Berklee. Here Daymé chats with us about her musical upbringing, creative process, and her song Homenaje from our Cuban Jazz playlist.
[Editor]: Talk to us about your relationship with jazz, as we’d love to know how you got into jazz. Was your musical upbringing learning traditional rhythms such as batá, or was it more of a classical training?
I can say that I didn’t get into jazz, jazz got into me. I never thought I was going to be a jazz singer, I thought jazz was weird music for weird people. When I was a teenager I wanted to sing music like Whitney Houston and Christina Aguilera.
When I was in the conservatory, they had a big band that needed a singer, and I said ok. They gave me My Funny Valentine, Bye Bye Blackbird, a few standards to learn. I was just so into the great energy of the big band, and thriving with it, that at a certain point I was joining them in the jazz festivals of Cuba and Havana.
I started getting invited to join other bands, where I was asked to improvise by imitating the musicians. That is how I started to scat. Eventually I couldn’t listen to pop music anymore. All I wanted to do was sing and hear jazz.
At the same time it was amazing to have this classical training. I was at the conservatory, studying choir conducting, and it was all about Montiverdi and Beethoven. When I was born there were fourteen people living in my house. We had a tiny two-bedroom apartment to share with all of those people. I was born in 1992, when there was a special period of Cuba. There was no electricity, no radio, no tv, but the entire house played rumba!
I grew up that way, listening to rumba in the house, singing jazz in the big band, and studying classical music.
Daymé talks to us about her creative process.
I have been writing music my whole life, I always follow the way the music comes to me. I never push things. I don’t sit in front of the piano and say, “I’m going to write a song”, because I get inspiration in any kind of situation and I just follow that. The way it came is the way it is. I feel I am just a bridge. I get the message and I deliver the message. I am kind of like a “musical Uber”.
For almost 7 years I’ve been getting songs through my dreams. It started happening after I received my religious ceremony, kind of a manifestation or appearance that I get in my dreams. Sometimes I see another artist singing a song in my dreams, and I realize that it’s a new song, and my new song.
For our playlist we’ve chosen Homenaje. Can you tell us what inspired this song?
‘Homenaje’ means ‘homage’. I wanted to have a connection with my previous album, Cubafonía, the pretty Cuban sound. Sonocardiogram is pretty jazzy, let’s say experimental, so I had a few different ideas, each inspired by a Cuban artist I admire.
The beginning was inspired by a song of Emiliano Salvador. Another part was from Arsenio Rodriguez. People believe Rodriguez was the creator of salsa music because he improved the son, which is what Buena Vista Social Club plays. That kind of group used to be seven artists, septedo, clean, and simple. He added piano, a horn section, and he was the first guy that brought the idea of a bigger group in the 50s. It’s what we have today as salsa!
In the very middle there is Cuban pianism, inspired by Lilí Martínez – one of the top guys in the history of Latin pianism in Cuba. At the very end, I was inspired by a woman called Merceditas Valdés, who was the first person to incorporate the chants and sounds of Afro-Cuban religion, which were only known in secret ceremonies. She combined them with jazz and made it popular. It’s my tribute to the big artists and pioneers in Cuban music history.