The Bad Plus - It's Hard / Observer review

The latest album from The Bad Plus could double as an episode of Name That Tune! Play it for your friends, without revealing the song titles, and minutes could click by before anyone guesses the well-known melody being covered. "Traditionally, the idea of a cover version is that you emulate the original," said Bad Plus bassist Reid Anderson. "For us, it's more a process of deconstruction. We're thinking, ‘What else is there in this song? What can we find in here?' " On It's Hard, the 11th work by this avant-jazz trio, they discover melodic and rhythmic possibilities you'd never guess in well-known songs by artists like Prince (The Beautiful Ones"), Johnny Cash ("I Walk The Line") and-no lie!-Barry Manilow ("Mandy"). They also provide their own sonic comments on cultish pieces by Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV on The Radio. READ THE FULL Observer REVIEW 
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NPR: Songs We Love features David Crosby 'The City'

"If I had to live in L.A., I'd be building pipe bombs. It drives me bats," says David Crosby, who - between co-founding The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash - is more commonly associated with the place than 99.9 percent of the musicians on the planet. But he's not just railing arbitrarily against his hometown; he's wryly comparing it to New York City, the object of his affection in "The City," a sinuous song from his new solo album, Lighthouse. Lighthouse producer, guitarist and co-writer Michael League (Snarky Puppy) who had the germ of the idea for 'The City' said he wanted to write a song about 'New York as a woman,'" Crosby explains READ FULL ARTICLE & LISTEN TO   'THE CITY' SEE NPR Illinois POST
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Dom Flemonsis set to play Wichita's 'Cotillion Ballroom' / KMUW

Dom Flemons opens for Old Crow Medicine Show at The Cotillion Ballroom on Thursday, Aug. 25. Founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and American Songster, Flemons grew up in Arizona and almost from the start was fascinated by folk music. And, very often, the music he loved best wasn't widely available and so, in those pre-Internet days, Flemons would have to seek out the music armed only with a phone book and a library card. "You would hear about a recording and then you would have to try to find where someone had that recording, so you'd have to hit up all the record shops and ask if they had it," Flemons says. "The library was always important for me. In Phoenix, Arizona, where I'm originally from, the library happened to be a big library. They had just put some extra funding into it to make it a huge library. So they had a big amount of CDs when I was growing up." Flemons educated himself on the music of the past by watching documentaries on public television. Each documentary led to a search for more music. Flemons - released his third solo album 'Prospect Hill' on Music Maker Relief Foundation. An album that digs deeply into ragtime, Piedmont blues, spirituals, southern folk music, string band music, jug band music, fife and drum music, and ballads idioms with showmanship and humor, reintrepreting the music to suite 21st century audiences.
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George Brooks Trio pays homage to Terry Riley's - Indian music / KPFA Radio

Saxophonist George Brooks leads a trio that pays homage to composer Terry Riley (who turned 81 on June 24) by extrapolating on Riley's deep involvement with and expression of Indian music. Pianist Osam Ezzeldin and violinist/vocalist Ganesh Rajagopalan join Brooks tonight for a KPFA: Berkeley - live studio concert, previewing Friday night's performance at the Berkeley Arts Festival. The Berkeley Arts Festival Calendar is dedicated to the notion that in Berkeley every day is an arts festival. Derk Richardson hosts, Tony Ferro engineers.   SEE SHOW PAGE
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Jennifer Koh speaks with WCLV: Cleveland about new Tchaikovsky album

Jennifer Koh, Musical America's 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year, headlines an album of Tchaikovsky's complete works for violin and orchestra. It's the "remarkable . . . thoughtful and vibrant" (Strings Magazine) American violinist's first recording of music by Tchaikovsky, who has figured prominently in her rise to the top ranks of violinists worldwide. Tchaikovsky's Concerto in D Major is one of the most celebrated and daunting works in the violin repertoire. The subdued Sérénade mélancolique illustrates the composer's ear for orchestral color. The delicate Valse-Scherzo melds old-fashioned elegance with spirited playfulness. Souvenir d'un lieu cher's poignant, nostalgic mood gives way to a delightful finale. Koh shared the top prize in the 1994 Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow, where she played the Tchaikovsky (and Brahms) concerto and won three special prizes, including for the best performance of Tchaikovsky's work. WCLV: Cleveland - Angela Mitchell spoke with JK about the new album. Listen to the attached clip
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  Interview with WCLV: Cleveland - Angela Mitchell

KUAF features 'Ensemble Caprice - Baroque Salsa'

Salsa is the Spanish word for sauce. Ensemble Caprice - Salsa Baroque can be described as baroque music of Latin America. A fusion of harmonies and rhythms of Europe and Africa blended with Amerindian nuances and styles that dates back to the 16th century and gave rise to a complex and fascinating multitude of musical forms resulting in a great variety of instrumentations, structures, and rhythmic and melodic phrasing. designating at the same time a dance as well as a family of musical genres in Latin-American music. Hear highlights on tonight's KUAF: Fayetteville AR - 'Of Note' episode from 8 to 10 p.m. CT or stream. We'll also hear Bartok by heart and a suite from Handel's Water Music and much more. LISTEN TO THE KUAF SEGMENT
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David Crosby set to play - Palace Theatre / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

David Crosby just a hit milestone, turning 75, and he did it in the midst of one of his most productive years. The legendary founder of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills and Nash, practically left for dead in his drug-addled 40s, is about to release his fifth solo album, "Lighthouse," due Oct. 21, and he's got another one coming right behind it. Lighthouse is a collection of stripped-down acoustic songs produced with Michael League, the bassist and leader of the Brooklyn-based jazz fusion ensemble Snarky Puppy. Recorded in a mere 12 days, the material ranges from the intimate "Things We Do For Love," written for his wife of nearly 40 years Jan, to "Look In Their Eyes," a song about the Syrian refugee crisis. Crosby is set to play the Palace Theatre, in Greensburg on Friday Aug. 26.   READ THE Pittsburgh Post-Gazette INTERVIEW
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Jane Ira Bloom, Mark Helias and Bobby Previte are fearless on 'Early Americans' / Critics At Large

In talking about jazz nothing warms my heart more than hearing from a musician who says she loves the notion of being off balance, playing in the moment, and has a keen sense of rhythm. And so it goes for composer and soprano sax player Jane Ira Bloom and her marvelous new album Early Americans (Outline, 2016). The album features 13 tracks all less than six minutes, which is quite the feat for a group of musicians who love to improvise. On this record, Bloom's 16th as a leader, she's joined by Mark Helias, bass and Bobby Previte, drums yet it's only her first trio album. To put out an album of soprano sax, bass and drums immediately tells you that Bloom and her band mates are fearless by not including a piano player or a guitar player to round out the chords that put music into harmonic context. By the same token Early Americans isn't a wild and crazy record of free jazz that, unless you're in the room, has a tendency to be self-indulgent. Bloom's record is much more formal with 12 original compositions and one beautiful cover ("Somewhere" by Leonard Bernstein) gracing the disc. Each work has an emotional appeal and stands self-assured creating a short story aspect to the album.  READ THE FULL Critics At Large REVIEW
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Inbal Segev plays Bryant Park's August - IN/TER\SECT / NY BLUEPRINT

Cellist Inbal Segev released her recording of the complete Cello Suites of J.S. Bach in fall 2015 on the Vox label, to critical acclaim and a spot on The New York Times Classical Playlist. She has performed Bach's Cello Suites in venues around the world including Lincoln Center and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Shanghai Concert Hall, and Henry Crown Hall in the Jerusalem Theatre. Her cello was made by Francesco Ruggieri in 1673.  Cellist Inbal Segev will open Bryant Park's New York IN/TER\SECT, a concert of jazz and classical music running from 5pm to 10pm with Bach's Cello Solo Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007 and Gity Razaz's "Legend of Sigh" for cello and electronics.                                                                             INTERSECT gives New Yorkers the rare opportunity to experience some of the best players in jazz and classical music, all on one bill. The series showcases world-class performances in these seemingly disparate genres. The series features standards and new works, including commissions and world premieres, and is produced with Chamber Music America and curated by composer and saxophonist Patrick Zimmerli. SEE THE FULL NY BLUEPRINT PAGE
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fyi, Yo-Yo Ma is a Harvard Graduate / University Herald

He is a known child prodigy. At the age of four, he already made his name with the violin and the viola. But Yo-Yo Ma also went to Harvard. Aside from the fact that he is famously known for the cello, Yo-Yo, according to The Richest, studied at Harvard. It was in 1976 that he earned his Bachelor's degree in Music. He is a celebrated soloist in several major orchestras in the whole world. On the record, he has received 15 Grammys and already has more than 90 albums to his name. To acknowledge his work in his field of study, he also received an honorary doctorate degree from his Alma Mater, Harvard, in 1991. It is interesting to note that President Obama appointed Ma to serve on the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Ma's goal is to bring together talents from all over, diverse artists and musicians. In his efforts, he formed the Silk Road Ensemble and the Silk Road Connect - for children. He continues to make music in order to bring people and music together. READ THE FULL University Herald ARTICLE
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The Bad Plus - It's Hard / Buffalo News review

The Bad Plus, "It's Hard" (SONY/Okeh). The photography on the group's 14th disc is certainly cool. And there's nothing wrong with the repertoire either. Says Bad Plus drummer Dave King "after several years of focusing largely on original music, we thought it would be creatively challenging to return to arranging music that's not ours. We chose the songs together, arranged them together and got in the garage and played them together. It's a distinctly different process than anything else we do and we feel we do it uniquely enough to take another stab at it after 13 albums and 16 years together." Yes, and no it seems to me. For every one that works pretty well – Prince's "The Beautiful Ones" recorded shortly before his death and TV On the Radio's "Staring at the Sun" – there seem to be three that are ungainly or just don't work at all. Yeah Yeah Yeah's "Maps" becomes Free Jazz but Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" and Barry Manilow's "Mandy" are more clumsy than they should be. "Mandy" begins with an "every man for himself" approach that negates the song and the musicians and becomes a tempo rubato nightmare. The trouble, often, is drummer King who is simply not gifted enough as a "free jazz drummer" to improvise engagingly around and behind what pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Reid Anderson are doing. I keep wondering how the pianist and bassist would deal with a Jack De Johnette or a Jeff "Tain" Watts – not to mention what they could have done with Paul Motian. Two and a half stars out of four. (Jeff Simon)    SEE THE FULL Buffalo News PAGE
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Chiara String Quartet set to play complete Bartok SQ from memory at National Sawdust / The New York Times

"Bartok By Heart" is a funny term when you think about it. After all, the act of memorization is done by the head. But the members of the Chiara String Quartet, who have made it their mission to perform without sheet music in front of them, say something special happens in the act of internalizing an entire quartet; connections deepen - with the music, with fellow players and with the audience. On Tuesday, Aug. 30, and Wednesday, they will perform the complete Bartok string quartets at National Sawdust from memory, offering a survey of the composer's inventive writing and his ability to absorb myriad styles and traditions. His final work in the genre was dedicated to the Kolisch Quartet - an ensemble that pioneered the practice of performing by heart. SEE THE New York Times PAGE
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Top 10 Albums for August

Charlie Hunter :

Everyone Has A Plan Until They Get Punched

Charlie Hunter is not only a singular guitarist - he uniquely plays a custom-made seven-string ax that allows him to deliver bass grooves simultaneously with rhythm chords and solo notes - but he's also a creative whose style and expression continue to advance with each project he immerses himself into. Proof positive is Hunter's new album-and 18th as a leader-whimsically titled Everyone Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth, out July 22nd on GroundUP Music/Verve Label Group. The superlative ten-tune collection of songs-all originals except for one cover-is steeped in the blues and r&b. Hunter has enlisted a stellar support team of trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, cornetist Kirk Knuffke and drummer Bobby Previte who play live in the studio for optimum effect. 14 NEW  164 TOTAL SYND: NPR/Fresh Air, NPR/Songs We Love, WFMT-Jazz Net, Jazz Variations Direct: SiriusXM, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Portland, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, New Orleans, Austin, San Diego, Milwaukee, Baltimore, San Antonio, Berkeley CA, Indianapolis, Orlando FL, Jacksonville FL, Wichita KS, Omaha NE, Madison WI, Boulder CO, Hartford CT, Santa Fe, Honolulu INTER: Canada, UK Online: MOJA, WSJ, allaboutjazz, Jazz Weekly, Jazz From Gallery 41, GreenArrow, Downbeat, SoulandJazz, All Music, Dirty Dog, radiovalencia 51 JazzWeek ADD's
The Hot Sardines :

French Fries & Champagne

Formed by bandleader Evan "Bibs" Palazzo and lead singer "Miz Elizabeth" Bougerol, The Hot Sardines have released their sophomore studio album, French Fries & Champagne on Universal Music Classics. The record comes on the heels of their critically lauded self-titled debut album, which was named one of iTunes' best jazz albums of 2014 and spent more than a year on the Billboard Jazz Chart, debuting in the top 10 alongside Michael Bublé and Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga. 7 NEW   164 TOTAL SYND: NPR, PRI/Jazz After Hours, Jazz Happening Now, Radio DeLuxe, Jazz Inspired, CBC Direct: SiriusXM Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Detroit, Denver, New Orleans, San Diego, Baltimore, St. Louis, Kansas City, Orlando, Berkeley CA, Tampa, Santa Fe, Madison WI, Wichita KS, Omaha NE, Boulder CO, Rochester, WV-Statewide, Honolulu, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver INTER: Canada, UK, Italy, Singapore Online: billboard, Vogue, Bandsintown, Paste, examiner, Taintradio, GreenArrow, billboard, The Bluegrass Situation, Jazz Weekly, BroadwayWorld, Paste 36 JazzWeek ADD's
Various :


re:works is the result of a groundbreaking project that sees the rich catalogue of Decca Classics being opened to some of the world's foremost electronic producers, including Mr Scruff, Starkey, Henrik Schwarz, Fort Romeau, Patrice Bamuel, Martin Buttrich and Kate Simko. Re:works seeks to further establish the common ground between the historic and modern day aspects of musical composition, opening the hallowed Decca vaults-including works by Rachmaninov, Satie, Holst, and more-- to a selection of seminal electronic artists.  Ranging from the experimental to the more recognizable 4/4 structures of house and techno, Re:works elicits the full range of emotion – from the heartbreaking to the ecstatic – over the course of 13 extraordinary tracks.
Soundtracks :

Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins is the new comedy-drama directed by Stephen Frears (Philomena, The Queen) which tells the inspirational true story of the eponymous New York heiress who obsessively pursued her dream of becoming a great singer. The film celebrates the human spirit, the power of music and the passion of amateurs everywhere. The voice Florence (Meryl Streep) heard in her head was divine, but to the rest of the world it was hilariously awful. At private recitals, her devoted husband and manager, St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant), managed to protect Florence from the truth. But when Florence decided to give her first public concert at New York's Carnegie Hall, St Clair realized he had perhaps bitten off more than he could chew.
Yo-Yo Ma & Silk Road Ensemble :

Sing Me Home

The latest album by Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble will surprise and delight, with guest performers and imaginative sounds that transform the traditional musical landscape. Sing Me Home is the sixth album by the Grammy-nominated Silk Road Ensemble and its founding member and guiding light Yo-Yo Ma. Available from Sony Music Masterworks. Sing Me Homeis a companion album, developed and recorded alongside The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, a documentary feature from Oscar® and Emmy-winning director Morgan Neville that tells the story of the Ensemble and Silkroad, its parent organization. The Music of Strangers is slated for theatrical release in June. 14 NEW  272 Total SYND: NPR/ATC & Thistle & Shamrock, APM/Performance Today, PRI/C24, Echoes & The World, Sing Out!, Jazzfm Direct: SiriusXM, Music Choice, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Seattle, St. Louis, Detroit, Denver, Portland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New Orleans, San Diego, Milwaukee, Albuquerque, Berkeley CA, San Antonio, Louisville, Wichita, Madison WI, Boulder CO., Montreal, Vancouver, Amsterdam INTER: Canada, UK, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand Online: axs, CCTV,, MOVE - Maneater, The Bluegrass Situation Mother Jones, HuffPost,, Musicas Imaginadas, allmusic, Bass Player, Wall Street Journal, MusicTAP, Musical Shapes, SONGLiNES, Yam Mag,, PopMatters, Taintradio,,, JazzTimes, JazzPolice, examiner, SLANT, Metro, WSJ, Classical Candor, Quisqueya, RootsWorld,, Hollywood Reporter, IndiWire
Richard Galliano :


Legendary accordionist Richard Galliano again forges new paths in classical music with this album of well-known Mozart pieces arranged for him and a string quintet. The third album of classical repertoire from the legendary jazz accordionist, this follows his successful albums of Bach and Vivaldi. Richard Galliano shows a clear empathy for the music of Mozart, largely borne from his origins playing classical music at the beginning of his career before turning his attentions to jazz. "Playing Mozart on the accordion and the bandoneon!" jested Galliano. "It's true that it's something that doesn't happen every day. The public finds it hard to imagine… are accordionists afraid to play Mozart' But in my opinion no music ever sounded so obvious. Like J.S. Bach's compositions, Mozart sounds marvelous on an accordion." 30 TOTAL SYND: Classical 24, CBC Direct: SiriusXM, Music Choice, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, St. Louis, Seattle, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Portland, Detroit, Baltimore, Austin, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Columbus OH, Canada, UK Online: AccuRadio
House of Waters :


House of Waters (GroundUP)   "In today's world, there are no boundaries." Max ZT is trying to explain House of Waters, a nearly impossible-to-define trio that incorporates elements of Afrobeat, jazz, psychedelic, indie rock, classical and world music-as well as a 100+ string instrument that probably 99% of the mainstream music world has never experienced. Add in a strong spiritual and philosophical undertone, as well as musical and cultural influences that stretch from India and Senegal through Ireland and the heart of New York City, and you have, as one critic noted, "The most original band on the planet." Five years after their groundbreaking Revolution, House of Waters now returns with its eponymous follow-up. Alongside the eight-string bass of Moto Fukushima, the album features percussionist and n'goni player Luke Notary, virtuosic cellist Dave Eggar, flautist Sam Sadigursky and the singer Priya Darshini.
Jake Shimabukuro :

Nashville Sessions

Jake Shimabukuro's new album, Nashville Sessions, is one of the most adventurous, multifaceted and engaging recordings yet from the man whose music has redefined the ukulele for the 21st century. In Shimabukuro's gifted hands, the age-old Hawaiian instrument has become a medium for previously undreamed of levels of expressiveness and musicianship. And with Nashville Sessions he's reached a new plateau with the instrument. The result is one of the boldest and most unique ukulele records ever made-a new benchmark for the uke. 
Mehmet Ali Sanlikol & Whatsnext? :


Resolution marks a major step forward for Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, the musical polyglot, multi-instrumentalist, restless bandleader and prolific composer who writes in both contemporary classical and jazz but draws heavily from Turkish influences. His band Whatsnext' -- a shapeshifting jazz orchestra that can be pared down to a combo, depending on his needs -- is a force to be reckoned with, able to conform to the demands of Sanlıkol's complex but accessible compositions and shift genres on a moment's notice. Sanlıkol was able to recruit a roster of A-list guests to solo on the compositions of Resolution, including clarinetist Anat Cohen, soprano saxophonist Dave Liebman, trumpeter Tiger Okoshi and drummer Antonio Sanchez. Moreover, he composed their showcases with them in mind after he secured their commitments, rather than try to fit them into the music he had already completed. "I designed (the compositions) to make sure that it was these four specific artists that these pieces were written for," he says. "This was not a project where I brought them in to blow. Absolutely not."
The Chiara String Quartet :

Bartok by Heart

The Chiara String Quartet (Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung JulieYoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; Gregory Beaver, cello) will release its next album, Bartók by Heart, on Azica Records on August 26, 2016. The 2-CD set includes Béla Bartók's six string quartets, played entirely from memory. The album was produced by Alan Bise and recorded by Bruce Egre at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, NY. The Chiara will celebrate the new album with two performances of the complete cycle of Bartók's String Quartets, played by heart, at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY on August 30 and 31 and at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL on September 7 and 8.