MQA and Jazz re:freshed to boost SXSW artists

British Music Embassy (BME) Sessions Now Available in HD Video with MQA

During the current quarantine, I find myself listening more in my home office using an AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt plus headphones. In addition to music streaming, I’ve been hunting for content with video to keep me entertained. This week, we received new content with high quality audio provided from our friends at MQA.

Jazz re:freshed is working with MQA to provide a livestream of the British Music Embassy (BME) sessions. This effort will provide a weekly release of new artists, starting with Noya Rao.

The BME Sessions will also be available as audio-only tracks on TIDAL for subscribers. Check it out. I enjoyed the first session from Noya Rao.



 The BME Sessions Now Available in HD Video with MQA Audio

 London, 7 April 2020 – Jazz re:freshed is working with MQA to amplify the reach of its artists’ stunning live performances at the recent successful livestream of The British Music Embassy (BME) Sessions.  Beginning with Noya Rao – other acts to follow as part of a weekly release schedule – you can now enjoy HD video with MQA audio of the live sets here.  MQA is an award-winning British technology that cleverly ‘folds’ the full sound of the live studio performance into a stream that fits perfectly alongside HD video.  Before MQA, only compressed low-quality sound has been streamed with video.  Here, for the first time you can enjoy video with original, superior sound.

The BME Sessions will also be available as audio-only tracks on TIDAL.  All you need is a TIDAL HiFi subscription, as the TIDAL app will unfold the MQA master file to reveal the full sound captured in the studio.

The livestream on 18 March was organised to provide some of the official showcasing artists a platform to remotely connect with fans and the international music industry, who would otherwise have converged at the now cancelled South by South West (SXSW) festival.  Despite playing behind closed doors, without an audience of fans and only limited crew in attendance, the musicians put on a very special show.  The positivity was perhaps best summed up on the day by Noya Rao’s frontwoman Olivia Bhattacharjee, “It’s so great that we’re not just playing in Austin, but to the whole world!

Acts who were due to perform as part of Jazz re:freshed’s Outernational line-up at SXSW this year included: Daniel Casimir & Tess Hirst, Noya Rao and Theon Cross.  They each performed a 30-minute set from the Mill Studios in London, which was captured in  HD video and 24 bit/96kHz audio.  Jazz re:freshed Outernational is an Arts Council funded initiative in partnership with British Underground, and exists to create a springboard to international career opportunities for world-class UK jazz artists.  Moses Boyd, Nubya Garcia and Shabaka Hutchings – now established names – are just a few of the many artists who have participated and benefited incredibly from this support in previous years.

Mike Jbara, MQA CEO said, “The artists delivered some extraordinary live performances, and it’s a privilege to work with our partners to make these available in their original quality.  This was an unmissable opportunity to support some of the UK’s most exciting young talent and push the boundaries of what’s possible when you pair HD video with MQA audio.”

Yvette Griffith, Jazz re:freshed Executive Director added, “Having the opportunity to showcase some of our Outernational bands for SXSW on a global livestream, despite the devastating cancellation of SXSW, was a fantastic outcome for us all.  It was just brilliant when MQA extended the offer to create a livestream and help us achieve our aims.  Being able to present high quality videos with MQA’s audio and continue the life of these phenomenal performances, potentially generating further opportunities for the bands, is a great result while the world is dealing with the ramifications of COVID-19 and how it is affecting our lives personally and professionally.