Robin Spielberg discusses timeless masterpieces 'reimagined' with the Rio Grande Guardian


Rio Grande Guardian's Mario Munoz writes.....Composer and pianist Robin Spielberg believes in "old school" technology. Yes, she is in the top one percent of artists featured on Pandora Internet Radio, has over 200,000 listeners monthly on Spotify and has sold over a million CDs.  However, Robin told me that one of her top-selling platforms is still the old-fashioned vinyl record. I recently had an enjoyable conversation with Robin Speilberg about her recording work and the continued viability of old school technology.  As a special treat for you, I directly transferred one of the cuts from her vinyl album, "Re-Inventions – Timeless Masterpieces Re-Imagined." Wear headphones. This was NOT a digital download, this was direct, real-time transfer from the physical vinyl album, just like it sounds on my sound system.  LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT
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  Interview with Rio Grande Guardian, Mario Munoz

Yannick Nezet-Seguin, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Rachmaninoff make the 90.1WRTI: Classical Album of the Week


90.1WRTI: Philadelphia's DEBRA LEW HARDER writes.....Sergei Rachmaninoff considered The Philadelphia Orchestra his favorite American ensemble, and our Classical Album of the Week reveals why. Under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, our fabulous Philadelphians offer the first and the final symphonic works of the Russian master (his First Symphony and his Symphonic Dances) with the flair, finesse, and fire that Rachmaninoff came to appreciate in his own frequent performances with the Orchestra, under its earlier music directors Leopold Stokowski and Eugene Ormandy. Under Yannick's baton, and with its signature lush sound, The Philadelphia Orchestra powerfully defines a sense of drama, drive, suspense, and the sweeping lyrical lines that are Rachmaninoff's forte, in both works. And in both works, Rachmaninoff's distinct voice, and his unique sense of instrumental color is clearly heard-which is perhaps the hallmark of a great creative artist. This is the first of three Rachmaninoff orchestral albums to be recorded by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra, and released by Deutsche Grammophon. We savor this first one, and eagerly await the next installment. SEE THE FULL WRTI: Philadelphia PAGE
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James Brandon Lewis pays homage to George Washington Carver's pioneering legacy on Jesup Wagon / 88.3WBGO - Take Five


88.3WBGO's Nate Chinen writes......Chemurgy, an early-20th century innovation, was the concept of repurposing raw agricultural materials in industrial products - perhaps best exemplified by the Ford Motor Company's use of soybeans and hemp in its automotive line. Henry Ford developed this initiative in close consultation with the Father of Chemurgy: George Washington Carver, an agricultural inventor at the Tuskegee Institute, and the most prominent African American scientist of the age. Tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis pays homage to Carver's pioneering legacy on Jesup Wagon, an album due out on TAO Forms on May 7. "Chemurgy," one of two tracks released in advance, captures the organic quality of the album and its resident all-star band: the Red Lily Quintet, featuring Lewis alongside cornetist Kirk Knuffke, with cellist Christopher Hoffman, bassist William Parker and drummer Chad Taylor. Note how the song's plaintive folk melody, an Ornette Coleman-esque theme played in unison by the horns, yields to calmly exploratory improvisations, solo and in tandem. SEE THE 88.3WBGO - Newark NJ - Take Five PAGE
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Bettye LaVette snags a Detroit Music Award for 'outstanding national indie recording on 'Blackbirds' / Detroit Free Press


The Detroit Free Press - Brian McCollum writes.....What a difference a year can make. For its second streaming edition, the Detroit Music Awards served up a crisp, lively, tightly produced affair Sunday night - a bright and optimistic contrast to the homespun virtual event scrambled together during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. If nothing else, it's clear that everyone has gotten better at the self-video routine after 12 months of practice. The DMAs were marking the 30th year of a show that began as the Motor City Music Awards and which traditionally has been held at the Fillmore Detroit. Sunday's presentation was more cohesive and compelling than some of the in-person Fillmore shows of recent years. And the technical leap from the 2020 stream was clear from the get-go. While the bulk of the DMAs' 70-plus categories are reserved for artists working largely on the local scene, there are a handful set aside for national-level acts. There, Eminem took outstanding major label recording for his album "Music to Be Murdered By," while Cooper won outstanding national single and major-budget video with "Our Love Will Change the World." Bettye LaVette snagged outstanding national indie recording for "Blackbirds." SEE THE FULL Detroit Free Press ARTICLE
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Lise Davidsen's Beethoven, Verdi, Wagner is bold, encapsulating and full of drama / The Classic Review


The Classic Review's Leighton Jones writes......Soprano Lise Davidsen's second solo album follows on from her first highly successful release. There is nothing understated from her performances. Bold, encapsulating and full of drama, Davidsen has a distinguished voice, highly expressive and brimming with color. Turning to Beethoven, Verdi and Wagner, Davidsen chose a repertoire that suits the character and nature of her voice. These are not performances for the faint-hearted; Davidsen's Beethoven lacks the subtleties or refinement of period performances, and she treats this in the same way as she does the Wagner or Verdi. READ THE FULL Classic Review
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Andris Nelsons - Gewandhausorchester is one of the best Bruckner Eights I've heard in a long time / LIMELIGHT


LIMELIGHT's Greg Keane writes......Sometimes you experience a hitherto completely unfamiliar piece of music, which not only opens up another universe, both musical and spiritual, but also leaves an imprint that becomes a template for all subsequent accounts.  Nelson's Leipzig Bruckner has been rightly lauded (except perhaps the Seventh) and this Eighth and the unjustly neglected Second are no exception. The Second is often nick-named the "Symphony of Pauses" for self-evident reasons but Nelsons somehow manages to makes these silences "sing" – especially at the end of the first movement. I raved about Thomes Dausgaard's version (performed by a "chamber" orchestra of 38 musicians without any hint of Bruckner Lite!) but, on hearing the Leipzig Gewandthaus' heft, I think this approach is more appropriate. I particularly loved the suave almost seductive (not words one readily associates with Bruckner) schwung which alternates between an inner radiance and coolness. The slow movement, altered from adagio to andante by the composer, is poignant (unlike Karajan's later reading, which over dramatises it) and the trio of the scherzo is celestially beautiful. Even in Nelson's hands, the finale is a little discursive, but this doesn't detract from the structure. This is one of the best Bruckner Eights I've heard in a long time. READ THE FULL LIMELIGHT REVIEW
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'Chasing Magic' promises a jolt of joy reuniting; Ayodele Casel & Arturo O'Farrill. Makes The New York Times - 5 Things to Do This Weekend


NYTimes critics and writers have selected noteworthy cultural events to experience virtually and in person in New York City. The New York Times - SIOBHAN BURKE writes.....A Jolt of Joy.

With the change of seasons, the growing availability of vaccines and the cautious return of live performance, New Yorkers may be feeling more hopeful than they have in a while. But whatever stage of the pandemic we're in, it can still be exhausting, as the effects of a depleting year settle in. A new digital production from the tap dancer and choreographer Ayodele Casel promises a jolt of joy to help carry us through this second pandemic spring. Presented by the Joyce Theater, the evening-length "Chasing Magic" reunites Casel with the jazz composer and musician Arturo O'Farrill, a follow-up to their celebrated 2019 Joyce engagement. In addition to a collaboration with the choreographer Ronald K. Brown, the show includes contributions from the tap artists Anthony Morigerato, Naomi Funaki, Amanda Castro and John Manzari, among many others, emphasizing creative chemistry as an antidote to isolation. The presentation starts streaming on the Joyce Theater's website Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern time and will run until April 21; tickets are $25 and available at joyce.org. PHOTO: Credit...Patrick Randak
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John Scofield stripping down for socially distanced solo sets at the Ridgefield Playhouse / The Newtown Bee


The Newtown Bee - John Voket writes.....Multiple Grammy-winning jazz guitar icon John Scofield describes his upcoming socially distanced shows at the Ridgefield Playhouse like the musical equivalent of a tightrope walk. But instead of balancing himself with a bar - he is doing it with a single guitar. While over the past few years, and for the first few times since he took up guitar and began seriously studying the instrument at Berklee in his late teens, Scofield told The Newtown Bee he has been doing a few solo shows and digging it. Having grown up in neighboring Wilton, Scofield added that he is looking at his two shows on Saturday, April 24, as a homecoming of sorts. And much like showing up to play in a pal's living room, he even pointed out he will be showing up with just one guitar, his trusty 1981 Ibanez AS-200 - his go-to axe for more than two decades. He will also be employing a rack of effects to weave a jazzy tapestry of sound for lucky fans and proteges who score any remaining tickets to see true artistry in the making. A three-time Grammy award-winner with another half dozen nominations and more than 40 recordings to his credit, Scofield stands as a principal innovator of modern jazz guitar. He played alongside Miles Davis for more than three years, and 15 years later was recognized with The Miles Davis Award at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. He has also shared the stage and session spaces with - get ready for it - Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, Eddie Harris, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Bill Frisell, Brad Mehldau, Mavis Staples, Gov't Mule, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, and Phil Lesh. He has also played and recorded with Tony Williams, Jim Hall, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Dave Holland, Terumasa Hino, the Billy Cobham/George Duke Band, and the legendary Charles Mingus, to name just a few. Sometimes referred to as "Sco," composer, mentor, and jazz trendsetter Scofield's work has influenced guitar greats since the late ‘70s. Described as a stylistic chameleon, the active adjunct professor of jazz in the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University has long forged a consistent, rock-solid aesthetic identity, demonstrating fluency in bebop, blues, jazz-funk, jam band, orchestral ensembles, and various others with ease and enthusiasm. He hinted at aiming to play a smattering of all that and more for his Ridgefield audiences during our interview, which kicked off with Scofield identifying another influential guitar great who also grew up in and has now retired to neighboring Waterbury. READ The Newtown Bee Q&A
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Vijay Iyer teams with new trio for a new record that came together during a period of tragedy and unrest / The New York Times


The New York Times - Giovanni Russonello writes...The pianist Vijay Iyer composed the title track to his new trio album, "Uneasy," back in 2011 for a collaboration with the dancer and choreographer Karole Armitage. It was still a few years before the 2016 presidential campaign, when so many of the country's old wounds and resentments would burst onto public display, but he already felt some undercurrents stirring. "It was 10 years after 9/11, and having been in New York for all that time, any kind of moment of relative peace felt precarious," he said recently by phone from his home in Harlem. "I'm speaking not just about the attack itself, but all of the aftermath: the blowback, the backlash against communities of color, the atmosphere of surveillance and fear." "It was the Obama years, so there was a certain kind of exuberance about possibility, and there was also a kind of unease," he added. "It was a time of the Affordable Care Act and of drone warfare, gay marriage and mass deportations." With digital surveillance becoming a fact of life, he was struck, as an American-born artist of South Asian descent, by the feeling "that this thing Americans love to call freedom is not what it appears to be," he said. Another decade has now passed, and the version of "Uneasy" that appears on the album, out Friday, seems to be carrying a mix of heavy thought and rich optimism - a typical blend in Iyer's work. He's joined by two slightly younger musicians with sizable followings of their own, Linda May Han Oh on bass and Tyshawn Sorey on drums. As improvisers, they've got a few things in common: the ability to play with a lithe range of motion and resplendent clarity, in the style of well-schooled jazz musicians, while stoking a kind of writhing internal tension. Crucial to that balance is their ability to connect with each other in real time, almost telepathically. The title track unfolds ominously over more than nine minutes, starting off in a dark cloud of doubt, with Iyer's low piano repetitions hovering around a slow, odd-metered pattern. Later, the group upshifts - abruptly, but without totally losing its cohesion - into a quicker, charging section with a wholly different rhythm, Iyer's right hand darting in evasive gestures while Oh holds down the scaffolding and Sorey adds action and sizzle. The trio first came together in 2014 at the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, where Iyer, now 49, and Sorey, now 40, serve as artistic directors. The two have been collaborating since 2001, when Sorey wowed Iyer at a rehearsal. During a break, Sorey started casually noodling on the piano, and Iyer soon realized he was playing an excerpt from Iyer's most recent album. It wasn't even from the song's melody; it was part of Iyer's improvised solo on the recording. "He was just this 20-year-old," Iyer said. "So I already knew, like, oh, this is a bona fide genius right here." (Indeed, in the years since, both Iyer and Sorey - who is now as well known for his long-form compositions as he is for his drumming - have been awarded MacArthur "genius" grants. They have also both become professors of music at Ivy League institutions.) Sorey joined the collective trio Fieldwork, with Iyer and the saxophonist Steve Lehman, and their partnership blossomed. In 2013, Iyer took over as artistic director at Banff - a creative enclave in Alberta, Canada, where students gather every year for a three-week improvisation workshop - and he found himself inviting Sorey to teach alongside him each year. Eventually, he formalized their relationship as a partnership, welcoming Sorey as his co-director. Oh, 36, had collaborated here and there with both Iyer and Sorey before also becoming a regular instructor at Banff. She said she appreciated the fluidity of the divide between instructors and students that the workshop fostered. Speaking by phone from her home in Australia, Oh recalled the poetry of how Iyer encouraged students to think about the notes they played on their instrument in relationship to the range of their own speaking voice. Playing Iyer's compositions, she said, can be like working out "beautiful little puzzles," and she called Sorey an ideal teammate. "It's a lot of fun to tread that line between what is inbuilt in that structure and what we can sort of dialogue on, and have a conversation over that," she said. Sorey is "so thorough with the inbuilt things in the composition, but he'll create these sparks that you really don't expect," she continued. "It's just constant energetic dialogue." Oh also has a knack for establishing sturdy foundations without sinking into a pattern. Playing together, she said, "We can be reactive and proactive at the same time." The group started recording in 2019, but Iyer didn't cull the tracks they'd recorded into an album until the following year, when the name "Uneasy" felt even more painfully apt.  The group started recording in 2019, but Iyer didn't cull the tracks they'd recorded into an album until the following year, when the name "Uneasy" felt even more painfully apt. Credit...Elianel Clinton for The New York Times Iyer was quick to emphasize the importance of Sorey's supportive style, calling it remarkable for an artist who has so much to say on his own terms. He described starting to nod toward one song in the middle of playing another, maybe just flicking at a phrase, and then feeling Sorey immediately dive into it, anticipating his next move, as if to catch him. "Because he hears everything, it means we can just do anything," Iyer said. In an interview, Sorey said he always felt "most at home in situations where it's only three players," describing this particular trio as "basically one organism." "That feeling of intimacy leads to a certain type of trust where there can be no wrong done," he said. The group entered the studio in 2019, but Iyer didn't cull the tracks they'd recorded into an album until the following year, when the name "Uneasy" felt even more painfully apt. "It was under the conditions of the hell that was 2020: tragedy and loss and the political battle of the century," he said. "Then, on the other hand, an incredible uprising of, particularly, young people fighting for justice for Black people, and for everybody. That is imagining a future." Some of the song titles speak to this theme: "Children of Flint" refers to the water crisis in Michigan; "Combat Breathing" was composed in 2014 in solidarity with Black Lives Matter activists, and presented as part of a "die-in" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. But so do the sounds themselves - tetchy and bristling, while evincing an inspiring level of unity and compassion. When it came time to choose the cover art for the album, Iyer rejected nearly a dozen suggestions from Manfred Eicher, the head of ECM Records, before settling on a black-and-white double-exposure by the Korean photographer Woong Chul An. It shows the Statue of Liberty, blurry and gray, seemingly caught between the clouds in the sky and another puff of clouds hanging just above the sea. "When I saw it, I didn't know how to feel about it," Iyer said. "For one thing, what does it mean for me to have this on my album cover? What does this even represent?" Ultimately, he was attracted to the hazy ambivalence that the image conveys. "This one is a distant image of the Statue of Liberty, not as this looming prideful symbol but as almost what looks like this rejected figure," he said, pointing to the fact that France had offered the statue to the United States in celebration of the end of chattel slavery here. "As this symbol tends to represent freedom in America, it is also tied to abolition," he said. "So the fact that those concepts are bound is, I felt, important to highlight. They seemed to sit in an uneasy relation to one another, freedom and its opposite."        PHOTO: Elianel Clinton for The New York Times
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Tanglewood is back this summer, with Beethoven and Yo-Yo Ma / The New York Times


The New York Times Zachary Woolfe writes.....Closed last year, the Boston Symphony's warm-weather home in the Berkshires will host an abbreviated six-week season. There won't be the traditional, grand closing-night performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, with its stage full of singers. In fact, to reduce the risk of aerosol transmission of the coronavirus, there will be no vocal music at all at Tanglewood this summer. But there will still be a lot of Beethoven, along with crowd-pleasing tributes to the composer John Williams and familiar guests like Emanuel Ax, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Joshua Bell and Yo-Yo Ma. Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's warm-weather home in the Berkshires, announced in March that after remaining closed last year because of the pandemic, it would open this summer for a six-week season - about half the usual length - with limited crowds and distancing requirements. On Thursday, the orchestra filled in the programming: heavy on appearances by its music director, Andris Nelsons, and with a focus on Beethoven, whose 250th birthday last year was muted because of widespread concert cancellations. Nelsons will lead eight orchestral programs, including a Beethoven opener on July 10 featuring the "Emperor" Piano Concerto, with Ax as soloist, and the Fifth Symphony. On July 23, the Boston Pops will honor Williams, who turns 90 next year and is the Pops' laureate conductor; the following evening, Mutter gives the premiere of his Violin Concerto No. 2, and on Aug. 13 Williams shares the podium for a night of film music. On July 30, the violinist Leonidas Kavakos does Beethoven trios with Ax and Ma, who also plays with the Boston Symphony under Karina Canellakis on Aug. 8. (Details are available at bso.org.) Throughout the summer, performances will last no longer than 80 minutes, without intermissions, and all concerts will take place in the Koussevitzky Music Shed, which is open on the sides. The space, which usually holds thousands, will have a reduced capacity, as will the lawn that surrounds it - a favorite spot for picnicking. Tanglewood is waiting to announce what might go forward in late summer of its well-loved series of pop performers like James Taylor. Students at the Tanglewood Music Center, the orchestra's prestigious summer academy, will play chamber concerts on Sunday mornings and Monday afternoons, and programs are planned for the Tanglewood Learning Institute, a series of lectures, talks and master classes that began with great fanfare in 2019. The orchestra will host a two-day version of its annual Festival of Contemporary Music, July 25-26. The Knights, a chamber orchestra, will be joined on July 9 by the jazz and classical pianist Aaron Diehl for Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" and selections from Mary Lou Williams's "Zodiac Suite." Among the Boston Symphony's guest conductors will be Thomas Adès (the orchestra's artistic partner), Alan Gilbert, Anna Rakitina and Herbert Blomstedt; soloists include the pianists Daniil Trifonov, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Kirill Gerstein, and the violinists Baiba Skride and Lisa Batiashvili. The Tanglewood season is part of the nationwide thawing planned for this summer of a performing arts scene that has been largely frozen for over a year. The Public Theater has announced that its venerable Shakespeare in the Park will go forward, as will Santa Fe Opera and the Glimmerglass Festival in upstate New York. On Thursday, the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado said it would move forward with a nearly two-month season. But as they reopen, institutions are reckoning with sharp losses. As it celebrated the return of Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony said its current operating budget was $57.7 million, down from its prepandemic budget of over $100 million. The orchestra estimated that it has lost over $50 million in revenue in the last year.  PHOTO: Lauren Lancaster for The New York Times
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Joy Harjo talks with 91.9WUOT about her brilliant new recording; 'I Pray For My Enemies'


In her first new recording in a decade, Joy Harjo – the first Native American named Poet Laureate of the United States – digs deep into the indigenous red earth and the shared languages of music to sing, speak and play a stunningly original musical meditation that seeks healing for a troubled world – I Pray for My Enemies, to be released from Sunyata Records/Sony Orchard Distribution. Collaborating with producer/engineer Barrett Martin on this unique new album, Harjo brings a fresh identity to the poetry and songs that have made her a renowned poet of the Muscogee Creek Nation and one of the most authentic and compelling voices of these times.  "The concept for I Pray for My Enemies began" says Harjo, "with an urgent need to deal with discord, opposition. It could have been on a tribal, national or a personal level. I no longer remember. The urgency had a heartbeat and in any gathering of two or more, perhaps the whole planet, our hearts lean to entrainment – that is, to beat together."  Joy Harjo talks with 91.9WUOT - Knoxville TN - Todd Steed about her brilliant new recording, I Pray For My Enemies. LISTEN
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  Interview with WUOT's Todd Steed

Harmonious World Podcast chats with Michael Shapiro about 'Peace Variations for solo violin'


Hilary Robertson of Harmonious World Podcast was delighted to be joined for a second conversation with composer Michael Shapiro. The two discuss Michael's 'Peace Variations for solo violin', performed by Tim Fain. Our conversation expanded to include several other works from this prolific and extraordinary composer. I am still waiting for the chance to see Frankenstein  accompanied by Michael's orchestral score, and the next couple of years will bring his new opera, based on Isaac Bashevis Singer's The Slave. Click here to Support Harmonious World Podcast 
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  Interview with Harmonious World Podcast
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Top 10 Albums for April

Vijay Iyer :

Uneasy

Uneasy, with Tyshawn Sorey and Linda May Han Oh, is Vijay Iyer's second trio album on ECM and his seventh appearance as a leader on the label. Navigating from one shape-shifting idea to another, he continues to push boundaries from one album to the next. His unique musical approach has gained him many accolades and much praise from the international press, The New York Times summarizing his persona as a "social conscience, multimedia collaborator, system builder, rhapsodist, historical thinker and multicultural gateway". On Uneasy, he draws on the history of the music while continuing to push it forward. In the course of this endeavour, the political and social turbulences dominating today's American landscape are reflected in musical contemplation and tense space. In his liner notes, Vijay elaborates on how today "the word ‘uneasy' feels like a brutal understatement, too mild for cataclysmic times. But maybe, since the word contains its own opposite, it reminds us that the most soothing, healing music is often born of and situated within profound unrest; and conversely, the most turbulent music may contain stillness, coolness, even wisdom."
Sons of Kemet :

'Hustle' from Black To The Future

Saxophonist, composer, philosopher and writer Shabaka Hutchings returns with a brand-new album from his Mercury Prize nominated outfit Sons of Kemet. Black To The Future, the band's fourth LP and second on Impulse! Records, is due out May 14. This is the band's most dynamic project yet, featuring prominent vocalists including Angel Bat Dawid, poets Moor Mother and Joshua Idehen, and grime artist D Double E. The first single "Hustle" features Kojey Radical with backing vocals from singer Lianne La Havas and is out today with a dance-inspired metaphorical video directed by Ashleigh Jadee. The last time Shabaka Hutchings released a record, it was March 13, 2020 – on the eve of the pandemic – with Shabaka & The Ancestors' We Are Sent Here By History. The "momentous" (NPR Music) album centered around themes of confronting the destruction of humanity as we know it. The prescient theme of this record was not lost on those who heard it.
Dustin O'Halloran :

Silfur

Dustin O'Halloran's debut Deutsche Grammophon album, Silfur, explores the shifting perspective of music through time and place in new pieces and reimagined earlier works. The album includes collaborations with American composer and multi-instrumentalist Bryan Senti, Icelandic cellist Gyða Valtýsdóttir and the Siggi String Quartet. "Silfur is an exploration of the music of my past and how it reflects back to me now in the present. Evoking images of different moments, places and periods of my life, and rediscovering the pieces that have stayed with me. Sometimes we can only understand ourselves by looking back, and hopefully, finding the thread of who we are and who we have always been." Dustin O'Halloran
Eydís Evensen :

Bylur

Icelandic pianist and post-classical composer Eydís Evensen has confirmed details of her debut album, BYLUR, which will be released on 23rd April, 2021 by XXIM Records, Sony's new imprint for innovative, post-genre instrumental music. The collection follows the 27-year-old's debut single, ‘Brotin' – the label's first official release, which appeared at the end of January – and features thirteen pieces written throughout her life so far for piano, with additional strings, brass and electronics on a number of tracks. 
Moby :

'Porcelain' from Reprise feat. Jim James

Musical pioneer Moby announces his new album Reprise, out May 28th on Deutsche Grammophon. Reprise sees Moby revisiting and reimagining musical highlights from his past. Together with the Budapest Art Orchestra, he has re-envisioned some of his most recognizable rave classics and anthems with new arrangements for orchestra and acoustic instruments. He's also joined by a stellar line-up of guest artists from across the musical spectrum, including Alice Skye, Amythyst Kiah, Apollo Jane, Darlingside, Gregory Porter, Jim James, Kris Kristofferson, Luna Li, Mark Lanegan, Mindy Jones, Nataly Dawn, Skylar Grey and Víkingur Ólafsson. Reprise includes Moby's biggest tracks, among them his breakthrough dance track "Go", "Extreme Ways" (famous from the Bourne movie franchise), "Natural Blues" and "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad'". Some of the new versions are sparser and slower, while others exploit the bombastic potential an orchestra can offer. Three decades into Moby's career, Reprise is less of a greatest hits record and more of a chance to reflect on the way in which art can adapt over time to different settings and contexts.
Jacob Muhlrad :

Time w/Swedish Radio Choir

Those who peep through the window of Jacob Mühlrad's studio in Stockholm will see the composer busy behind his computer screen, perhaps blasting some Drake or FKA Twigs as he works on his own music. Judging from the outside, one might think that the fashionably dressed and energetic 29year-old is producing a hip-hop or pop album, when in fact, behind those doors Jacob's on a very different and profound kind of journey; composing choir music that deals with themes of mortality, of the human condition, of tradition and of the holy. In part, it is the very dichotomy between the it-man frequently appearing on ‘Sweden's best-dressed' lists and the introspective composer, that makes Jacob's work so unique and fascinating – he is known for infusing archaic and pious music with a brilliant modernity and sense of youthfulness. His debut album Time marries rhythm and words to the existential questions of humanity, and in that fusion Jacob attempts to understand the incomprehensible and express the infinite through new sounds.
Anoushka Shankar :

'Sister Susannah' from Love Letters P.S.

Seven-time Grammy® Award-nominated sitarist, composer and producer Anoushka Shankar announces a stunning new digital release Love Letters P.S., out on 4th June 2021 on Decca Records Group imprint Mercury KX. The new digital release follows on from the original Love Letters EP released in February 2020 and includes four new tracks: two remixes from composer-producers Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Sandunes and two brand new songs. For Love Letters P.S., Anoushka is joined by a stellar line-up of female collaborators including singer, songwriter and pianist Norah Jones, singer, co-producer and co-writer Alev Lenz, singer and cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson and mastering engineer Heba Kadry (Björk, Slowdive) alongside Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Sandunes. Celebrated, best-selling poet Nikita Gill contributes the spoken word poem to ‘Sister Susannah' - her first foray into music.
Jon Batiste :

We Are

WE ARE represents a completely new sonic chapter for Jon Batiste. Inviting some of the most esteemed creative minds to assist in birthing the album, he reached the finish line smack in the middle of the first wave of the worldwide pandemic and volatile social unrest. The result is a body of work characterized by the consciousness of Marvin Gaye, the grounded optimism of Stevie Wonder, the iconoclasm of Thelonious Monk and the swagger of Mannie Fresh. Alongside songwriter Autumn Rowe and producer Kizzo, Batiste wrote and planned much of the project in about a week from his dressing room at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he's the musical director and bandleader. WE ARE was recorded in New York, Los Angeles and in his native New Orleans, melding inspiration from his new home and new collaborators with that of the Batiste musical dynasty. The album was also recorded in between sessions for Disney/Pixar's 2020 hit film Soul­, which saw Batiste's music - and hands - incorporated into the animation about a teacher who dreams of being a jazz pianist.
Clark :

Playground in a Lake

On 26 March 2021 the ambitiously multifaceted musician/composer Clark presents his chillingly affecting ninth studio album Playground In A Lake, on which he broadens horizons and tries new things, with profound results. An intriguingly suggestive title, esoteric concept(s) and disparately unusual but cohesively fused components are chiselled into an effective, concise and painstakingly curated whole. Released as a single on 26 January, "Small" will offer a first glimpse into Clark's playground. Soloist Nathaniel Timoney delivers a grim message with an angelic ring and a haunting hook on one of the few vocal tracks of the upcoming album. With its orchestral tropes and release on Deutsche Grammophon, Playground In A Lake may seem a departure to the casual observer, but is in fact a more illuminated development of clues from past releases. Seeds planted in Kiri Variations' bucolic noir, the piano vignettes from Clarence Park, the folky wonder of Iradelphic, the strings on Body Riddle and Clark's skewed symphonic rework of Max Richter's Path 5 have all grown in prominence and vivid detail
Joey Alexander :

SALT

Three-time GRAMMY Award-nominated pianist Joey Alexander follows his major-label debut album, WARNA (Verve Records), with three new singles "SALT" (March 19: LINK), "Under the Sun" (April 23), and "Summer Rising" (May 28) set for global release on Verve. In just seven years subsequent to the release of five critically-acclaimed studio albums (My Favorite Things, Countdown, Joey.Monk.Live!, Eclipse, WARNA), Alexander leads a career rarely witnessed in the jazz genre. He's garnered international acclaim from mainstream media, three nominations from The Recording Academy, and high praise from legendary jazz icons while evolving into one of today's most distinguished composers and bandleaders. All before his 18th birthday (summer 2021), Alexander has accrued a lifetime of accolades and experiences a jazz pianist could only dream of. For Alexander, though, he's met each career highlight with great humility and lets his music speak for itself. He's appeared on primetime TV at the 58th GRAMMY Awards (2016); performed with Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding for the Obamas at the White House (International Jazz Day, 2016); sold-out his debut at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall (2019); sold-out the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center; and was profiled by 60 Minutes. A through-line consistent across his career remains a steadfast dedication to his craft as a melodic composer captivating the hearts of music fans across the globe.
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