In 1999, Mark Levinson founded Red Rose Music and opened a music and home theater boutique store on Madison Avenue in New York City. Glass walls and doors kept out traffic noise so it was possible to record there at night. Mark moved his personal 2.8m August Forster concert grand into the small space. Sony delivered a prototype DSD recording system for Mark to use and musicians came to record solo and duo performances. "Live Recordings at Red Rose Music,” including tracks made during these sessions, preserves "this moment in audio history.” This SACD was used to introduce the new format to the world and became on of the 10 best selling SACD’s of all time.
No pure DSD mastering equipment was ever made. Refusing to compromise by using PCM processing or convertion from analog for mastering, Levnson recorded direct to DSD with no mastering. “Live Recordings at RRM” is one of the very few recordings ever made with pure DSD and no PCM processing or conversion to analog.
The dozen tracks encompass a wide range of music. Saxist Chico Freeman starts it off with a simple and touching treatment of Ellington's In a Sentimental Moon, with George Cables at the piano. Vocalist-guitarist Kenny Rankin sings the Beatle's Blackbird, and pianist Simon Mulligan is heard in Errol Garner's Misty. There are several solo guitar and guitar and vocal tracks, a couple more piano solos - one a rollicking rag to close out the recordings - and two spoken word tracks. Each has accompaniment: Levinson himself playing temple bells behind a reading of the 23rd Psalm, and then playing his 17th century Italian double bass behind Kim Cattrall (his ex-wife) reading a poem by Rupert Brooke.