Emerson Quartet returns to Pittsfield's 'South Mountain Concerts' with fresh blood / Berkshire Eagle review

The Emerson String Quartet returned to South Mountain Sunday afternoon at the beginning of its 40th-anniversary season. As the senior quartet today, the Emerson occupies the place the Budapest held as the reigning quartet during much of its 50-year existence from 1917 to 1967. The now venerable Emerson enjoys the dual benefit of continuity and fresh blood. Violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer, who alternate positions, have been with the group from the start, while violist Lawrence Dutton and cellist Paul Watkins are recent additions. To celebrate the anniversary, the group's entire recorded repertoire has been reissued as a 52-CD boxed set on Deutsche Grammophon. Recalling the Emerson's long history at South Mountain in a brief talk from the stage Sunday, Setzer thanked the audience for its support over the years. The feeling was clearly mutual. The Emerson seemed a quartet transformed on its return. Its playing was refined almost to the point of understatement, illuminating works by Mozart, Shostakovich and Dvorak. READ THE FULL Berkshire Eagle REVIEW
Bookmark and Share

Vocalosity plays Bucks County Playhouse / DC Metro Theater Arts review

Resounding applause met the awe inspiring, all a capella group, Vocalosity at the newly renovated Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope PA - opening night for their North American Tour Launch. Ten ultra-talented young performers, directed by Artistic Director, Music Director and Arranger, Deke Sharon, and Director and Choreographer, Sean Curran, demonstrate, with verve and vocality, the amazing sounds the human body can make. They are the very instruments themselves. No other musical instruments are necessary for any of the concert numbers. The energy, enthusiasm, and all-out stunning presentation of their novel musical numbers presents a night of total entertainment. The vocalists, James C. Jones (bass), Hannah Juliano (alto and Associate Music Director), Kelli Koloszar (soprano), Cheeyang Ng (tenor), Nattalyee Randall (alto), Tracy L.J. Robertson (vocal percussion), Bryant Vance (bass), Nicole Weiss (mezzo), Amy Whitcomb (soprano), and RJ Woessner (tenor), rework a variety of music genres to fabulous affect. READ THE FULL DC Metro Theater Arts REVIEW
Bookmark and Share

Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame inducts first classical hosts ever - KDFC's Dianne Nicolini & Hoyt Smith

This doesn't happen every day. The Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame  just inducted their first classical hosts. KDFC legends Dianne Nicolini and Hoyt Smith were inducted on the same day. Part of the great KDFC team. KDFC broadcasts classical music 24 hours a day, and morning drive hours also feature short news and traffic updates by Hoyt Smith. Programming features include: the Big One @ 1 at 1 p.m., the Island of Sanity at 5 p.m., and the Classical Giant at 10 at 10pm. The San Francisco Symphony airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. Dianne Nicolini, a standout on a staff of excellent announcers at KDFC first worked as a DJ at age 21. About Nicolini, KDFC operations and program director Bill Lueth says:  "She's one of the stars of classical radio. People just love her. Somebody gave money to the drive and said, 'I had to make sure Dianne met her goal.' " The Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame was founded in 2006. Here you will find all the personalities, and Legendary stations that have made Bay Area radio so great. These people and stations are to be congratulated for the tremendous impact they have had on Bay Area radio and radio broadcasting. Distinguished broadcast journalism educator and 2011 inductee into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame, Gordon Greb, has died at the age of 95. In the 1950s Gordon "discovered" Charles Herrold. Professor Greb was a news reporter on several Bay Area radio stations before becoming a San Jose State University professor.  SEE FB POST
Bookmark and Share

The Chiara String Quartet interviews with WCVE Radio

Hungarian composer Béla Bartók sought to capture the essence of folk music in his string quartets, and in his travels across Europe and North Africa, he documented hundreds of hours of folk music, meticulously transcribing it. Much of this music had never before been written down, and had instead been passed down from generation to generation in an oral tradition. The Chiara String Quartet (Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung JulieYoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; Gregory Beaver, cello) have released - Bartók by Heart, on Azica Records. Produced by Alan Bise and recorded by Bruce Egre at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, NY, the 2-CD set includes Béla Bartók's six string quartets, played entirely from memory.  LISTEN TO WCVE: Richmond VA - Mike Goldberg's interview with the Quartet
Bookmark and Share

Jake Shimabukuro - Nashville Sessions / Washington Post review

Jake Shimabukuro draws sounds both traditional and innovative from his ukulele on "Nashville Sessions," an adventurous, dazzling album. Using the instrument from his native Hawaii to explore a variety of styles in the company of drummer Evan Hutchings and bassist Nolan Verner, Shimabukuro broadens his sonic palette on 11 original compositions stretching from jazz fusion to rock and beyond. Recorded in a jazz-like six days with no preconceptions or plans, Shimabukuro's mastery of the instrument, the abilities of his bandmates and the variety of the tunes on "Nashville Sessions" add up to a very enjoyable effort. READ THE FULL Washington Post REVIEW READ Yahoo Movies READ Lincoln Journal Star
Bookmark and Share

Dom Flemons plays 'Freedom Sounds' on the National Mall / Smithsonian.com

The celebrations have begun and the music is underway. To celebrate this weekend's grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage is treating visitors to a spectacular musical festival on the Washington Monument grounds. Grammy-award winning musicians 9th Wonder and Dom Flemons have already taken the stage. We'll be updating throughout the festivities and celebrations with stories from the festival grounds.  The three-day festival includes performances of jazz, R&B, gosepel, folk, classical, New Orleans brass band, Afro-Latin jazz and hip-hop. Note the schedule of performers.  Flemons - founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and American Songster has recently released his third solo album 'Prospect Hill' on Music Maker Relief Foundation which finds Flemons digging 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. READ THE FULL Smithsonian.com ARTICLE
Bookmark and Share

Black Violin sell out Oswego State's Waterman Theater / The Oswegonian

When some people think of two individuals playing the violin, they make assumptions regarding the type of music they will play, the way the performers look and the way the performers present themselves. However, when Wil Baptiste and Kev Marcus came on stage, they demonstrated just how different their perspective of playing the violin is. Their group, Black Violin, challenges stereotypes. Some of the first words that came out of Marcus' mouth were, "Scream. Yell. Clap along and sing along." Wil then proceeded to hype up the crowd shouting things like, "Stand up! Hands up." The sold-out Waterman Theater held a beyond enthusiastic audience on Sept. 20, with people dancing, singing and recording the performance. Baptiste and Marcus made sure that there audience was as interactive as possible, even saying things like "flash photography is encouraged" and "follow us on Facebook." Baptiste and Marcus intrigued the audience by playing well known songs such as "Too Good," "Controlla" and "One Dance" by the rapper Drake. They also dipped into different genres, playing "Let's Get it On" by Marvin Gaye, "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran and "I Took a Pill in Ibiza" by Mike Posner. Toward the end of their performance, they played classical composers, but the traditional aspect didn't stop them from adding their own "stink," as Baptiste said. The two men performed some of their own songs, including "Invisible," "A-flat" and "Stereotype." READ THE FULL Oswegonian REVIEW
Bookmark and Share

The Bad Plus - It's Hard / JazzTrail review

The genius of the ingenious New York city-based jazz trio The Bad Plus can be heard again on their twelfth studio album entitled "It's Hard", a collection of covers that originally inhabited the pop, rock, country, jazz, and electronic music universes.
Its concept contrasts with the last year's mandatory album, "The Bad Plus Joshua Redman", whose tracks were composed by the members of the quartet. 

The album opens with "Maps", an original song by the American indie rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which is treated with a relentless musical hammering produced by bass-drums movements, getting more chaotic as it moves forward without losing any of its melodic sense. Peter Gabriel's "Games Without Frontiers", a massive hit in the UK in 1971, is rhythmically well crafted and gains a newfound perspective. Yet, its melody remains completely recognizable. READ THE FULL JazzTrail REVIEW
Bookmark and Share

Joshua Bell interviews with KHFM Radio: Albuquerque 'For the Love of Brahms'

Violinist Joshua Bell and cellist Steven Isserlis join pianist Jeremy Denk and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, in a landmark recording - 'For the Love of Brahms' on Sony Classical.  Available September 30, 2016, the new album is a unique project that features works of Brahms and Schumann that Bell calls "music about love and friendship." A personal, deeply affectionate impulse frequently sparked the music of Johannes Brahms and his mentor, Robert Schumann – often including their mutual friend, the violinist and composer Joseph Joachim. It clearly drove all three works on For the Love of Brahms.   KHFM: Albuquerque Brent Stevens aired the interview with JB followed by the andante from the Double Concerto. Listen to the attached clip.
Bookmark and Share
  Interview with KHFM's Brent Stevens

John Scofield - Country for Old Men / theguardian review

Following last year's Grammy-winning Past Present, the improvisationally wily but sociably funky jazz guitarist John Scofield now presents a tribute to the country songs of American icons including Hank Williams, Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton, with pianist/organist Larry Goldings, bassist Steve Swallow, and drummer Bill Stewart pitching in. Williams' I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry quickly becomes a fast bebop bass-walk, but Scofield always keeps his long, zig-zagging solo within earshot of the tune. Parton's Jolene begins as a dark and dramatic theme statement, and takes on the elemental rhythmic insistence of the classic John Coltrane quartet, while a fine account of Shania Twain's You're Still the One exhibits a tenderness caressed by Scofield's signature tonal creativity. Occasionally there's a disconnect between the convivial lilt of some of these tunes and the jazz grooves, but Scofield at full jazz-improv pelt is always something to behold. SEE theguardian PAGE & WATCH THE VIDEO
Bookmark and Share

One hit is as important as 1 million to The Piano Guys / Lexington Herald Leader

When The Piano Guys decide to cover a piece of popular music, cellist and songwriter Steven Sharp Nelson said, it has to pass a couple of important tests. The first is what they call "the Disney test," which is what they describe as a song that has themes and lyrics fit for all ages. "If the answer is no, it's completely ruled out, no questions asked," he said. The second test - a crucial part of the formula that has led to The Piano Guys' success - is what Nelson refers to as the "chills up test." "When you listen to the song, does it give you chills up your spine rather than down?" he asked. The Piano Guys' specialty certainly appears to have passed more than a few tests for listeners and viewers alike. This quartet of Mormon dads from Utah, comprised of Nelson, pianist and songwriter Jon Schmidt, producer and songwriter Al van der Beek, and videographer and producer Paul Anderson, formed in 2010 and started putting its unique classical spin on pop songs by the likes of Coldplay, Adele, One Direction and Christina Perri, to name a few. They do the same with famous movie themes, classical pieces and hymns, and they write original compositions. The songs are visually presented in the form of music videos that appear to spare no expense toincorporate special effects, incredible landscapes, or how-did-they-get-that-piano-up-there locations. READ THE FULL Lexington Herald Leader ARTICLE
Bookmark and Share

5 Questions to CEO Collin Rae about Sono Luminus / I CARE IF YOU LISTEN

It's still September and it's still Classical Music month! The third interview in our series (read the first one or the second one) focuses Sono Luminus (label and studio) and its CEO: Collin J. Rae. COULD YOU INTRODUCE SONO LUMINUS TO OUR READERS? WHEN WAS IT FOUNDED? WHAT WAS THE IMPETUS? For the past two years I've been the CEO of the label and studio known as Sono Luminus. Our goal is to bring the world some of the most important and dynamically recorded music in the industry. In 1995, Sandy Lerner and Len Bosack (founders of Cisco Systems) drew upon their expertise in digital technologies as well as their love of music, and applied their experiences to realize a life-long dream: to develop and create a new paradigm for recorded sound, dedicated to the realization of true Performance Fidelity. READ ALL 5  I CARE IF YOU LISTEN QUESTIONS
Bookmark and Share

Top 10 Albums for September

John Scofield :

Country For Old Men

Coming off a Grammy win earlier this year for his last album, Past Present, John Scofield has been largely in the spotlight over the last year, sitting in the with The Roots on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, gracing the cover of Downbeat and garnering the attention of NPR.   His impressive 40-plus-year career has seen Scofield masterfully tackle multiple genres as well as several eclectic collaborations with everyone from Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, to Government Mule and Medeski, Martin & Wood, not to mention his own groups. 54 NEW  115 TOTAL SYND: Voice of America, Radio DeLuxe, Modern jazz Today Direct: SiriusXM, MOOD, Spafax Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Denver, Portland, Cleveland, Houston, Baltimore, Detroit, St. Louis, New Orleans, Austin, San Diego, Berkeley CA, Kansas City, Albuquerque, Madison WI, Tampa, Wichita, Honolulu, Toronto, Vancouver INTER: Canada, UK Online: Jambands.com, GreenArrow, MOJA, Soulandjazz.com, JazzTimes, billboard, Jazz From Gallery 41, Radio Valencia, Radio CUH 30 JazzWeek ADD's
The Bad Plus :

It's Hard

OKeh Records/Sony Music Masterworks has announced the release of the eagerly awaited new album by The Bad Plus. IT'S HARD arrives in stores and at all leading digital retailers on August 26th. The Bad Plus' eleventh studio recording IT'S HARD sees the leaderless trio – bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson, and drummer David King – returning to the distinctive deconstruction of pop forms that drew their first international attention almost two decades ago. Recorded this past April at NYC's Brooklyn Recording with longtime engineer Pete Rende (Joshua Redman, Bill McHenry), the album spans both era and inspiration as The Bad Plus offer new perspectives on classic songs from the 1970s to the 2010s. 12 NEW  119 TOTAL SYND: NPR/First Listen, PRI/Jazz After Hours, Modern Jazz Today Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Detroit, New Orleans, Portland, Milwaukee, Austin, Albuquerque, Tampa, San Antonio, Raleigh NC, Hartford CT Seattle, Cleveland, Omaha, Santa Fe, Toronto, Vancouver INTER: Canada, UK, Italy Online: Pollstar, WSJ, Jazz Weekly, Soulandjazz.com, Jazz From Gallery 41, popMATTERS, MOJA, JazzTrail 40 JazzWeek ADD's
Madeleine Peyroux :

Secular Hymns

Twenty years after her recording debut, Dreamland, Madeleine Peyroux continues her musical journey of exploration beyond the ordinary with Secular Hymns, a spirited and soulful masterwork to be released September 16 on Impulse!/Verve Label Group. Recorded with her touring band-mates of the last two years -electric guitarist Jon Herington and upright bassist Barak Mori- the trio crafted the album in a live setting in a small church in the Oxfordshire countryside of England.  The result is a stirring collection of songs that have their own hymn-like stories of self-awareness. 22 NEW  108 TOTAL SYND: Jazz Inspired, Jazz Variations, Sixty Second CD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Houston, Detroit, New Orleans, San Diego, Denver, Baltimore, St. Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Orlando, Tampa, Knoxville, Hartford, Santa Fe, Honolulu, Toronto Online: MOJA, MOJO, Jazz From Gallery 41, all about jazz, The Mail on Sunday, allmusic, theguardian, Radio Valencia, Vinyl Tap 18 Jazzweek ADD's
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." 14 NEW  81 TOTAL Direct: SiriusXM Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Cleveland, Detroit, Denver, Portland, Baltimore, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Hartford, Omaha, Honolulu INTER: Canada, Italy Online: Jazz From Gallery 41, JazzTimes, Downbeat 17 JazzWeek ADD's All Press Secured by DL Media
Lang Lang :

New York Rhapsody

The ineffable magic of New York City fires the imagination of superstar pianist Lang Lang on his new album New York Rhapsody (Sony Classical) available September 16, 2016. He is joined by a wide array of special guests including Andra Day, Herbie Hancock, Jason Isbell, Jeffrey Wright, Kandace Springs, Lindsey Stirling, Lisa Fischer, Madeleine Peyroux andSean Jones.From the haunting reveries of Gershwin and Copland to the in-the-moment intensity of songs made famous by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, Lou Reed and Don Henley, New York Rhapsody rediscovers the dazzle and the soul of America's most symbolic city. Following the release of the album, a star-studded concert special Live From Lincoln Center will air on PBS on November 25, 2016 as part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival.  The video for "Empire State of Mind" with Lang Lang and singer Andra Day premiered on Town & Country. 18 NEW  24 TOTAL SYND: CBC Direct: AccuRadio  Markets include: Atlanta, Houston, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Hartford CT, Canada Online: JazzTimes, Town & Country, BroadwayWorld.com, We The Unicorns, io9gizmodo 
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. 8 NEW  172 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, Cleveland, 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, relix 51 JazzWeek ADD's
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.  12 NEW  110 TOTAL SYND: UnderCurrents Direct: Galaxie Markets include: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Orlando, Tampa, Madison WI, Hartford CT, Santa Fe, Honolulu, Vancouver Online: MOJA, SoulandJazz, Green Arrow Radio, Creative Loafing, Jazz Weekly.com 20 JazzWeek ADD's
Joshua Bell | Steven Isserlis :

For the Love of Brahms

Violinist Joshua Bell and cellist Steven Isserlis join pianist Jeremy Denk and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, in a landmark recording - 'For the Love of Brahms' on Sony Classical.  Available September 30, 2016, the new album is a unique project that features works of Brahms and Schumann that Bell calls "music about love and friendship." A personal, deeply affectionate impulse frequently sparked the music of Johannes Brahms and his mentor, Robert Schumann – often including their mutual friend, the violinist and composer Joseph Joachim. It clearly drove all three works on For the Love of Brahms. 23 TOTAL SYND: Classical 24 Direct: SiriusXM Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Portland, Detroit, Albuquerque Online: AccuRadio
Matt Haimovitz :

Overtures To Bach

Matt Haimovitz's continuously-evolving and intense engagement with the Bach Cello Suites reaches a new zenith with Overtures to Bach, six new commissions that anticipate and reflect each of the cello suites. The new overtures expand upon the multitude of spiritual, cross-cultural, and vernacular references found in the Bach, building a bridge from the master's time to our own. Overtures to Bach, released internationally on the PENTATONE Oxingale Series in August, follows the 2015 release of Haimovitz's profound new interpretation of the Bach Suites, inspired and informed by an authoritative manuscript by Bach's second wife and performed on period instruments. 29 NEW  33 TOTAL SYND: Classical 24 Direct: AccuRadio Markets include: Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, St. Louis, Seattle, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Portland, Detroit, Albuquerque, Columbus OH, Honolulu, Canada Online: HuffPost, Van
Johann Johannsson :


Jóhann Jóhannsson, the Golden Globe-winning, Oscar, BAFTA and Grammy-nominated composer's first album for Deutsche Grammophon, is a meditation on beauty and the process of creation. Orphée traces a path from darkness into light, inspired by the various retellings of the old story of the poet Orpheus, from Ovid's to Jean Cocteau's. A many-layered story about death, rebirth, change and the ephemeral nature of memory, the myth can also be read as a metaphor for artistic creation - about the elusive nature of beauty and its relation to the artist, as well as the idea that art is created through transgression - by the poet defying the gods who forbade him, to turn back towards his beloved as he leaves the Underworld. The new album is set for a September 16th release date on Deutsche Grammophon. 18 TOTAL SYND: NPR/First Listen Direct: SiriusXM Markets include: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Portland, Albuquerque Online: The AWL, AV Club, Pitchfork