The Hoff Ensemble is a sextet of Norwegian jazz artists: Jan Gunnar Hoff (piano), Mathias Eick (trumpet), Borge Petersen-Overleir (guitar), Annbjorg Lien (nyckelharpa and hardanger fiddle), Arild Aridlsen (bass), and Rune Arnesen (percussion). Working through a number of these pieces are nine different vocalists, including string player Lien. The fourteen tracks are more contemplative than mainstream jazz with a strong folk overlay. For those among the listening audience you will be hearing Norwegian lyrics (and without subtitles or translations) but not too worry, the mood of each piece is pretty obvious.
The 2L (Lyndberg Lyd) label produces excellent recordings and this rendering of a small acoustic combo in Oslo’s Sofienberg Church is clean, clear and atmospheric. This disc was mastered at the highest current resolution, 352.8kHz/24-bit DXD and mixed down to 192kHz/24-bit in both two-channel and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Both versions are darn good with the biggest difference being the rear channel placement of the drums so listeners are enveloped in the music. Frankly, I like my music up front, but some will prefer the surround presentation. There are other options for listening on your computer, home stereo system or mobile device with download files in WAV, FLAC (192/24 or 96/24) or MP3 formats, provided the BD player is on a home network.
There is a booklet of brief liner notes and a two-minute video musical selection with still video shots showing the recording session.
The Definitive Word
This program falls between the worlds of modern folk, soft core jazz, and new age. While not particularly challenging to the ear, the tracks are all very pleasant listening and evocative. This is the kind of disc that I would pop in my BD player, mix a nice libation, lean back, sip and enjoy. There is not a bad cut in the lot and the musical performance values are top-notch.[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21"]B008P76XRE[/[/amazon-product]a[amazon-product region=”ca” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-20"]08P76XRE[/am[/amazon-product]a[amazon-product]P76XRE[/am[/amazon-product]style="text-align: center;">Purchase Quiet Winter Night on Blu-ray Audio at CD Universe