Black Violin sells out and then rocks Stanford's Bing Concert Hall - The Huffington Post


For many, it was a refreshing surprise and to others they just could not wait to hear live and in living color the musical geniuses who were the talk of the town in anticipation of their performance in Palo Alto, CA. That would be Kevin Sylvester and Wil Baptiste, nationally and internationally known as Black Violin. Black Violin rocked the roof at Stanford Bing Concert Hall on January 28, 2017 giving life in the Bay Area as part of their UNITY tour. This concert bridged so many gaps including those that stemmed from generation to economic class. The crowd of attendees ranged in age from 10 to 80 and the body movement of everyone in the house was a true sentiment of Stevie Wonder's phrase that music speaks to every culture, gender, ethnicity, class and beyond. While I did my research about Black Violin, still when reading the performance program I was in amazement and reeminded of their many high profile performances from collaborating with super star Jay Z to performing at the White House for President Barak Obama's Inauguration, it goes without saying that the Violin and Viola will quickly become the most sought after instrument of choice to learn among children, youth and young adults. Why? Because these gentlemen have mastered the art of blending their trained classical music skills with their love of hip hop music to break society's stereotypes, and it's only the beginning. READ THE FULL Huffington Post REVIEW
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Maxim Vengerov & SSO brilliantly interpret Brahms Violin Concerto / The Australian review


Maxim Vengerov is one of the greatest violin virtuosos of our time. Having missed the Russian musician's Australian tour with Musica Viva in 2015, I was keen to hear him on this return visit. His performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra exceeded all expectations. As with Anne-Sophie Mutter, his artistry was so complete that one was left awestruck. Unlike his compatriot Viktoria Mullova's aggressive, one-dimensional account of this concerto with the SSO in 2008, Vengerov's more sophisticated approach captured its winning combination of forceful drama and cantabile lyricism. Tempos were pleasingly brisk but with enough contrasting spaciousness, which allowed the music to breathe naturally. With his formidably commanding technique, it was little wonder that Vengerov fearlessly and effortlessly executed the myriad bravura passages. His capacity to sustain exceptional clarity of articulation and a focused, cleanly produced tone was equally impressive. READ THE FULL Australian REVIEW
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Ennio Morricone has scored the most iconic films of our time / The Big Smoke


Music – it's an integral part of moviemaking. What would the shower scene from Psycho be without Bernard Herrmann's terrifyingly insistent violins? Would Chariots of Fire have won Best Picture in 1981 without Vangelis's gorgeous score? Would Darth Vader be as menacing without the power of John Williams' Imperial March? Would The Grand Budapest Hotel be as charming without its delightful score by Alexandre Desplat? Star Wars, Gone with the Wind, Superman, The Third Man, the Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies, Back to the Future – classic movie music is instantly recognisable. One of the most enduring and brilliant composers is Ennio Morricone. A prolific and always resourceful musician, his compositions are often as much a part of the movie as the action. You may know more of Morricone's music than you realise. Even if you've never seen Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, you're sure to recognise the main musical theme. READ THE FULL Big Smoke ARTICLE p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica; min-height: 12.0px}
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Rare New York show and a killer new album from Paris Combo / Lucid Culture


Long before the Squirrel Nut Zippers were a gleam in anybody's eye, or there was such a band as the Flying Neutrinos – remember them? – Paris Combo were swinging the hell out of a sound that was part 20s, part 30s and part 80s, at least when they started. Since then, they've maintained a devoted fan base on their side of the pond, but they make it over here too infrequently. Their French lyrics are sardonic, playful and funny; likewise, their music has a lot more edge and bite than your typical goodtimey swing band, which makes sense considering that they got their start when punk rock was still current. These irrepressible, ever-more-eclectic Parisians are making a rare New York stop at City Winery on Feb 21 at 8 PM; $22 admission is available, meaning that you can stand somewhere within shouting distance of the bar and not feel stressed about buying expensive drinks. Paris Combo's latest album Tako Tsubo – a Japanese term for the very real cardiological effects of heartbreak – is streaming at youtube. The opening number, Bonne Nouvelle (Good News) is a real stunner, part tarantella rock, part Romany swing. Frontwoman/accordionist Belle du Berry understates the narrative's ominous undercurrent: it's about playing with fire, more or less.       READ THE FULL Lucid Culture ARTICLE p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica; min-height: 12.0px}
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Regina Carter's 'Simply Ella' at The Kennedy Center is not to be missed / DC Metro Theater Arts review


If you get a chance to experience Regina Carter: Simply Ella, the jazz quintet composed of Regina Carter (violin), Marvin Sewell (guitar), Brandon McCune (piano), Chris Lightcap (bass), and Alvester Garnett (drums), then buy your tickets now. It is an experience not to be missed. Not only will memories be summoned of the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald–the First Lady of Song, the Queen of Jazz, or simply Lady Ella–but visions of musical conversations about love and harmony and a world of wonder will stimulate and flood your mind. 2017 celebrates the 100th birthday of Ella Fitzgerald, and Simply Ella is Ms. Carter's contribution to that joy. Taken from her upcoming album, Ella: Accentuate the Positive, the set highlights not Ella's most famous numbers but many of her B-side hits. READ THE FULL DC Metro Theater Arts REVIEW p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica; min-height: 12.0px}
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John Scofield plays Theatre Raymond Kabbaz / Daily Bruin review


Jazz music has fallen by the wayside in modern times, relegated from the quintessential American genre to elevator music. But musicians like John Scofield are stubborn, and they refuse to let the genre die. On Thursday, jazz guitarist Scofield performed music from his Grammy-winning album "Country for Old Men" at the Theatre Raymond Kabbaz. Scofield, who won his second and third Grammy awards this year for best jazz instrumental album and best improvised jazz solo, opened his show with renditions of George Jones' "Mr. Fool" and Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler." Using popular songs was a smart way to ease the audience into his set. He combined familiar country themes with each band members' individual improvisational style, introducing the audience to the blend of musical styles to come. "We're playing all country music tonight," Scofield said after "The Gambler" ended with a solo that was more abstract jazz than country. "There's nothing funny about country," he joked. READ THE FULL Daily Bruin REVIEW
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Hans Zimmer - billboard feature


"I never thought I would be scoring a nature program," confesses celebrated composer Hans Zimmer. "Except look, it's really simple. When somebody starts the sentence with BBC, Sir David Attenborough, Planet Earth… they don't even have to finish the sentence before you go, ‘I'm in.' " What's more, scoring Planet Earth II -- which premieres in the U.S. on Saturday (Feb. 18) simulcasting across BBC America, AMC and SundanceTV -- enabled Zimmer to evoke his favorite creative process when embracing a new project. READ THE FULL billboard FEATURE READ Yahoo Music p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica; min-height: 12.0px}
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BSO and Beethoven / Boston Globe review


On Tuesday night, world-renowned pianist and perennial Boston Symphony Orchestra guest star Emanuel Ax performed Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the orchestra led by music director Andris Nelsons, inhabiting the music with the wisdom and comfort that comes with years of experience. Playing from memory, he dialed up the intensity in the martial first movement's cadenza from a gentle sparkle to a dazzling gleam, attacking the keys with percussive vigor. Ax's confident pianissimos in the twilight-hued Adagio astounded in their serene power. Conductor and soloist took breathing room between figures as the movement wound down, a keen flute solo floating overhead. That deep peace launched into a strongly accented Rondo, with Ax unfurling zippy runs, easy trills, and mischievous grace notes. The second program repeats Feb. 18, 21 At Symphony Hall on Feb. 14 and 16.  READ THE FULL Boston Globe ARTICLE p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica; min-height: 12.0px}
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Theo Bleckmann interview with 88.9 KUCI: Irvine


Beyond being a vocalist of rare purity and daring, Theo Bleckmann is a sound painter who creates what JazzTimes has described aptly as "luminous webs" in music. The German-born New Yorker – after appearing on two ECM albums by Meredith Monk and on another by pianist Julia Hülsmann of Kurt Weill songs – makes his striking label debut as a leader with Elegy. This album showcases Bleckmann as a composer as much as a singer, with several instrumental pieces voiced by what he calls his "ambient" band of kindred-spirit guitarist Ben Monder, keyboardist Shai Maestro and the subtle rhythm team of Chris Tordini and John Hollenbeck. Highlights include Bleckmann's sublime rendition of Stephen Sondheim's "Comedy Tonight" ("tragedy tomorrow… comedy tonight"), as well as the mellifluous vocalise of "Little Elegy" and achingly poetic song "To Be Shown to Monks at a Certain Temple." 88.9 KUCI: Irvine CA's - Hobart Taylor interviewed Theo for his Crystal Egg segment. Listen to the attached segment.
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  Crystal Egg interview with Hobart Taylor

Chopin by Seong-Jin Cho / The Vanderbilt Hustler review


Seong -Jin Cho's new studio album shows how much his style has matured since the competition. While his previous renditions dwelt on exalting the lyricism and beauty of a piece, they now focus on a broader range of emotions. In the first Ballade, for instance, the pianist shatters the composition's pensive depth by concluding in an almost hysterical cackle of notes. And throughout the ballade, he imbues the fast lower notes with a kind of dark charisma, only to quickly transition to an agitated striking of high keys that almost sounds like a cry for help. But this doesn't mean that the first ballade is not without its lyricism; the first variation of the second theme is particularly lovely, and its subsequent variations feel grandly romantic. READ THE FULL Vanderbilt Hustler
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Hans Zimmer, rock star / The Atlantic


Like many other late-night hosts, Stephen Colbert introduces the musical acts that close out his show while holding their CD in his hands. His recent guests have included Japandroids, A$AP Mob, and Billy Joel, but Tuesday's episode was a bit different: The album Colbert was promoting was the soundtrack to Planet Earth II (the much-anticipated BBC America nature documentary series), and the act was the composer Hans Zimmer, jamming on the synthesizer as the orchestra behind him played the program's theme music. For a film composer to appear on a talk show is practically unheard of. But this is Zimmer, who's about to embark on a national tour that will include performances at Coachella, the California music festival being headlined this year by Radiohead, Beyoncé, and Kendrick Lamar. Sony Classical recently released a brand-new album that showcases some of Hollywood's greatest ever movie themes, written by Zimmer. This vivid collection of back-to-back blockbuster hits brings together for the first time the composer's unmistakeable movie themes, re-imagined and in arrangements especially written for some of our top musicians including superstar pianist, Lang Lang; cello wizards, 2CELLOS and Tina Guo; outstanding violinists, Maxim Vengerov and Lindsey Stirling; Classic BRIT Award-winning saxophonist, Amy Dickson; internet sensations, The Piano Guys and with stupendous vocals by Leona Lewis. READ THE FULL Atlantic ARTICLE p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica; min-height: 12.0px}
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Lee Konitz - Frescalalto / JazzTrail review


Prolific alto saxophonist and composer Lee Konitz has always fought to sound distinct from everyone else. Carefully dodging Parker's bop clichés, he was at Miles Davis' side for The Birth Of The Cool and recorded with the pianist Lennie Tristano, a big influence in his approach to improvisation. Throughout his nearly 70-year career, Konitz himself has been highly influential in the way of playing of several musicians.  Frescalalto marks his debut on Impulse Records and features the acclaimed pianist Kenny Barron, and a tight bass-drums engine composed of Peter Washington and Kenny Washington (no family ties, but natural musical rapport). For this session, Konitz selected three originals and five standards, which were dressed with inventive new outfits.  READ THE FULL JazzTrail REVIEW
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Top 10 Albums for February

Theo Bleckmann :

Elegy

Beyond being a vocalist of rare purity and daring, Theo Bleckmann is a sound painter who creates what JazzTimes has described aptly as "luminous webs" in music. The German-born New Yorker – after appearing on two ECM albums by Meredith Monk and on another by pianist Julia Hülsmann of Kurt Weill songs – makes his striking label debut as a leader with Elegy. This album showcases Bleckmann as a composer as much as a singer, with several instrumental pieces voiced by what he calls his "ambient" band of kindred-spirit guitarist Ben Monder, keyboardist Shai Maestro and the subtle rhythm team of Chris Tordini and John Hollenbeck. Highlights include Bleckmann's sublime rendition of Stephen Sondheim's "Comedy Tonight" ("tragedy tomorrow… comedy tonight"), as well as the mellifluous vocalise of "Little Elegy" and achingly poetic song "To Be Shown to Monks at a Certain Temple." 22 NEW  79 TOTAL SYND: PRI/Jazz After Hours, CBC Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, St. Louis, New Orleans, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Denver, Austin, Berkeley CA, Hartford CT, Knoxville, Honolulu, Toronto, Vancouver INTER: Canada, Germany, Mexico, UK, France Online: all about jazz, wsj, Mozart and me, Straightnochaser, KUHS, SoulandJazz, JazzTrail, allmusic, Jazz from Gallery 41, Radio Valencia, theguardian, OBSERVER, stereotag, writteninmusic.com, mdr, Europe Jazz Network, Radio France, Radio Univeridad 13 JazzWeek ADD's All Press Secured by Tina Pelikan- ECM p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica} p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica}
Tina Guo :

Game On!

Internationally acclaimed cellist, Tina Guo, thrills in her debut album Game On! (Sony Masterworks) available February 10, 2017.  The vibrant and dramatic album showcases some of the most popular and well-known video game music around with epic orchestral arrangements led by Tina Guo's high-octane solos on electric and acoustic cello. The blockbuster line-up of video game music includes covers from top-selling games Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Halo, together with songs from all-time classics Mario, Zelda and Final Fantasy plus Journey, Chrono Trigger and Metal Gear Solid.   11 NEW  27 total SYND: PRI/Echoes Direct: MOOD, Stingray Markets include: Detroit, Albuquerque, Madison WI, Joliet IL, New London CT, Claremont, Rohnert Park CA, Springfield, Stroudsberg PA INTER: Canada, Malaysia Online: euronews, Green Arrow Radio, MSN.com, Phase Radio, REUTERS, The Malay Mail
Renee Fleming :

Distant Light

Internationally renowned soprano Renée Fleming begins the New Year with a refreshing new album entitled ‘Distant Light' – her first orchestral album in three years. It features an adventurous mix of music by Samuel Barber, Anders Hillborg and Björk and will be released on Decca Classics on January 6, 2017. For this album, Fleming has chosen works in which music and poetry merge to create soundscapes, each piece evoking emotional states - nostalgia, unease, desire, joy - with cinematic clarity. The pieces are also united by the idea of a singer as a generative force, involved not only in the performance of music, but at the outset, in its creation.  11 NEW  58 TOTAL SYND: Classical 24, CBC Direct: MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Atlanta, Seattle, Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Portland, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Albuquerque, Hartford CT, Ft. Wayne IN, NJ(Network), WV (Network), Canada Online: AccuRadio 
Max Richter :

Three Worlds - Music from Woolf Works

Following the success of SLEEP, Max Richter reveals his latest recording project – a new album entitled - Three Worlds: Music from Woolf Works. It's drawn from his music to Wayne McGregor's award-winning Royal Ballet production Woolf Works – inspired by the works of Virginia Woolf – and will be released on Deutsche Grammophon on January 27, 2017. Woolf Works returns to the Royal Opera House in London, with performances beginning on January 21 and continuing on February 2,4,8,11,13 & 14. There will also be a worldwide cinema broadcast on February 8 with subsequent screenings.  26 NEW  28 TOTAL SYND: PRI/Classical 24 Direct: MOOD, AccuRadio Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Albuquerque INTER: UK Online: Musicas Imaginadas, popmatters, Second Inversion, soundblab p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica}
Paris Combo :

Tako Tsubo

"Tako Tsubo", the lounge-tinged title track of Paris Combo's new album, is inspired by a rare condition known also as the "broken-heart syndrome" - thank goodness Paris Combo have the cure! On their new record, the chanteuse Belle du Berry leads us through a deliciously varied collection of musical atmospheres, ranging from the intimacy of the live combo to more lush orchestral settings and beautiful 60's retro à la Bacharach with near-psychedelic overtones.
Vikingur Olafsson :

Philip Glass - Piano Works

For Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson's debut album on Deutsche Grammophon, he is performing selections of Philip Glass's Piano Etudes to be released on January 27, in time for the composer's 80th birthday. Ólafsson's fascination with reinterpreting the Piano Etudesgrew as he toured and performed the works with Glass himself. "On the surface, they seem to be filled with repetitions. But the more one plays and thinks about them, the more their narratives seem to travel along in a spiral," he explains. "My approach to each of the etudes is to enable the listener to create his or her own personal space of reflection." 16 NEW  28 TOTAL SYND: Classical 24, CBC, CLASSIC fM Direct: SiriusXM, MOOD  Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Cleveland, Houston, Minneapolis, Portland, Austin, Albuquerque, SC (Network) INTER: Canada, UK Online: AccuRadio, Sequenza 21, Second Inversion
Soundtracks :

The Bye Bye Man

What if the cause of all evil is not a matter of what ... but who' – that is the question that haunts The Bye Bye Man, a chilling new horror thriller that is galvanized by an equally chilling musical score by The Newton Brothers. The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack recording of the score, released by Sony Classical, is available now. From the producer of Oculus and The Strangers, The Bye Bye Man exposes the evil behind the most unspeakable acts committed by man. When three college friends stumble upon the horrific origins of the Bye Bye Man, they discover that there is only one way to avoid his curse: don't think it, don't say it. But once the Bye Bye Man gets inside your head, he takes control. Is there a way to survive his possession' Composers Andy Grush & Taylor Stewart, working together as The Newton Brothers, bring a distinctive, atmospheric approach to their musical score for The Bye Bye Man. 14 TOTAL SYND: The Score CBC Markets Include: New York, Portland, Santa Barbara, Point Reyes Station, Claremont CA, Madison WI, Gainesville FL, Joliet IL, Shippenburg PA INTER: Canada, Italy Online: Green Arrow Radio
Soundtracks :

The Space Between Us

Sony Music Masterworks has released THE SPACE BETWEEN US (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) digitally and physically on CD.  The album will also release on vinyl at a later date.  The album features original songs by Ingrid Michaelson and the movie's original score by Andrew Lockington (SAN ANDREAS, PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS).  The score was comprised of orchestral elements and salvaged items from junk yards to create unique sounds catered to the film's story.  This process of "upcycling" was in line with the film's message about celebrating the beauty of our planet. 21 TOTAL SYND: The Score, Sixty Second CD Markets Include: Los Angeles, Detroit, Portland, Hartford CT, Knoxville TN, Canada Online: GURU, Jazz From Gallery 41
George Winston :

Spring Carousel

Celebrated American pianist George Winston will release a cancer research benefit album, Spring Carousel, on RCA Records on March 31, 2017. Spring Carousel features a collection of 15 solo piano compositions written by Winston while in recovery from a bone marrow transplant for Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) at City of Hope, in Duarte, California, near Los Angeles. Proceeds from sales of Spring Carousel will directly benefit City of Hope. George Winston is available for interviews upon request.
Lee Konitz :

Frescalalto

Alto saxophone jazz master Lee Konitz teams up with pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington for his first-ever release on Impulse!, Frescalalto. The quartet covers jazz standards and breathes new life into works such as "Stella By Starlight," "Body and Soul," and more. The album will be released digitally on February 10. This quartet contains a fascinating intersecting history: Forty years ago, Kenny Washington made his recording debut playing with Konitz on his 1977 LP, Lee Konitz Nonet. The two performed together again on 1992's Jazz Nocturne, which also featured Impulse! recording artist and pianist Kenny Barron. Furthermore, over the decades, Kenny Washington and Peter Washington (no relation) made up one of New York City's distinguished jazz rhythm sections, performing frequently with Barron and other jazz greats. 
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