Jazz has always been Slow Culture's forte. That being said, vocal jazz never really got our full attention. But that was before Laila Biali's single Sugar hit our inbox on a rainy morning. At that time, we din't believe that the whole album would stay in our playlist for long. Little did we know! We will review ‘Out of Dust' – Laila Biali's eighth album – next week. To cure our wait (and hopefully, yours!), we're delighted and honored to publish today the interview we did with The Artist Formerly Known As Laila Biali.
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Last summer, back when family trips were still a thing you could do, our family took a great one – starting with a family event in southern California, there was a day at Disneyland, some Los Angeles sightseeing, and then a Route 66 road trip all the way from San Bernardino to Albuquerque.
But in our family, even a family vacation ends up including some radio – and so while the kids went off to see the Peterson Automotive Museum, your editor took advantage of the chance to meet one of radio's most interesting owners. Saul Levine, now in his nineties, put 105.1 FM on the air in Los Angeles back in 1959 as KBCA and has owned it ever since, now as one of the last independent big-market radio owners in the country.
After expanding his empire over the years with stations as far away as Hawaii and San Francisco, Levine's Mount Wilson Broadcasters is back to his base here in Los Angeles, anchored in an office building hard by the side of the 405 freeway in West LA. (It's visible mostly for the big billboard that advertises Saul's stations to what's usually a packed audience of rush-hour drivers a few yards away.)
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JUNO Award winner Laila Biali's deeply personal new album, Out of Dust features not only contributions from the singer/pianist's husband; Ben Wittman and son, but also multiple GRAMMY nominees and winners including Lisa Fisher, Alan Ferber, John Ellis, and Larnell Lewis. "There's a line from a song by the indie gospel group, Gungor, that has become like an anthem to me," Biali says. "‘He makes beautiful things out of dust.' That's where the title for the album comes from, and as a songwriter and musician, my ultimate intention and hope is to spread a little more love."
Laila Baila's 'Take Me To The Ally' from Out of Dust is the Jazz FM Breakfast Track of the Week for April 6, 2020
Jazz FM had the pleasure to have had the World first exclusive play of Nina Simone's 'Fodder In Her Wings'. The song is taken from an obscure French Nina Simone recording from 1982 and is set to have its full commercial release for the first time - Fodder On my Wings.
Originally recorded for a small French label and only sporadically available since its initial release, Fodder On My Wings will be reissued tomorrow. The original album will be expanded with three bonus tracks from the recording sessions from a rare French reissue released in 1988.
A lesser-known but important part of Simone's musical history, Fodder On My Wings contains deeply personal songs.
At the time she recorded the album, Simone was living in France and extremely lonely; her mental illness was worsening and her family life was fractured. It's out of this despair that one of the many album standouts, the near title track "Fodder In Her Wings," was birthed.
An 'A list' track, Nina Simone - Fodder on My Wings gets 'JazzFM world exclusive' & 'Album of the Week'
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Maybe it's the impact of the movie Harriet; maybe it's all the fine work of artists such as Mavis Staples and Rhiannon Giddens and others who have brought more awareness of old spirituals sung in the fields by slaves, some of which later became rallying songs for the Freedom Rides and the Civil Rights era. Whatever the catalyst, this music seems more present than ever. Pianist Lara Downes delivers these mostly well-known spirituals and freedom songs, some alone on the piano, and others with a diverse cast of guests on Some of These Days.
Some of this music Lara Downes is playing has been with us for centuries. Her interpretations are so precious, that they should continue to extend for centuries to come. It's a masterful recording.
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I first became aware of the Canadian singer/pianist Laila Biali over a decade ago thanks to her version of Joni Mitchell's ‘Woodstock'. It was a terrific performance that swept majestically along with a soaring vocal that completely floored me (it sounds just as good today). If you're not familiar with the artist, she's a classically trained pianist, touring musician with Paula Cole, Sting and Chris Botti, a member of the rather wonderful Rose and The Nightingale, a jazz radio DJ, a self-releasing album artist and the winner of the Best Jazz Vocal category at the 1999 Juno Awards for her eponymous album.
Over the last few years she has had some personal issues to contend with, not least a nasty and debilitating illness brought on by the mould hidden behind the walls of her home studio. Hence her new album's title ‘Out of Dust', and an opportunity to move forward with a positive outlook.
This is a big-sounding album, well produced by Laila Biali and Ben Wittman with great mixes by Tim Abraham. Everyone delivers, from the core musicians and soloists to the backing vocalists and string players. I'd enjoy to see some of this performed live and maybe I'm lucky she'll even play ‘Woodstock' again.
READ THE FULL London Jazz News REVIEW
Even though in-person concerts have been suspended, many talented artists and ensembles are committed to sharing stunning music through the internet. Here's a guide to some upcoming classical livestreams you should add to your calendar!
On Friday, April 3 at 7 pm CT, Pianist Lara Downes launches her new album, Some of These Days, with a Facebook Live performance from her home in Sacramento, California. The album's uplifting content - freedom songs and spirituals - offers hope in this troubled time. Plus, you can make a difference just by tuning in: the e-concert is a fundraiser for hunger relief organization Feeding America.
On Saturday, April 4 at 7:00 pm CT, there's an Artist Relief Virtual Benefit Concert. Classical music stars, including Rachel Barton Pine, J'Nai Bridges, Anthony McGill, and Emanuel Ax, will come together (digitally, that is) for a virtual concert to benefit Artist Relief Tree, a new fund for artists affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Tickets are available for a donation of $5 or more.
READ THE FULL 98.7WFMT: Chicago ARTICLE
‘Love Letters' marks a different direction for the internationally celebrated artist; it offers a shift in intimacy and content and comes at a pivotal time in her career as she signs to her new record label, Mercury KX.
Milan Records today announces the February 28 release of WENDY (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) with music by award-winning composer, songwriter and producer DAN ROMER and the film's award-winning director BENH ZEITLIN.
Wolfgang Muthspiel, whom The New Yorker has called "a shining light" among today's jazz guitarists, returns to the trio format with Angular Blues, the Austrian's fourth ECM album as a leader, following two acclaimed quintet releases and his trio debut.
World-renowned guitar hero Al Di Meola welcomes a new decade with an ambitious follow-up to his 2013 studio recording All Your Life: A Tribute to the Beatles with a sophomore homage to the Beatles, entitled Across The Universe, due out on earMUSIC on March 13, 2020.
Philip Glass's 'Akhnaten' brings ancient egyptian piety to life / NATIONAL REVIEW
Posted: December 14, 2019 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
The final opera in Philip Glass's "portrait" trilogy, Akhnaten, which premiered in 1984, had its Metropolitan debut this season. (The first two in the trilogy, Einstein on the Beach and Satyagraha, are about the lives of Albert Einstein and Mahatma Gandhi, respectively.)
The score is minimalist with maximal effect, repetitive and slowly building on themes. The libretto is primarily in English, but also makes good use of Hebrew, ancient Egyptian, and Akkadian. The performance is intrinsically ritualistic. "If Einstein epitomized the man of Science and Gandhi the man of Politics, then Akhnaten would be the man of Religion," Glass once said of the work. Akhnaten's most affecting passion is not physical but spiritual. While the opera, as directed by Phelim McDermott, is bright and opulent, it makes clear that its protagonist is driven not by hedonism but by principle. Akhnaten is remarkable in its depiction of the Egyptian ruler's piety, its immemorial-sounding rhythms, and its visual composition of illumination and acrobatics.
The opera has several different visual layers: relatively simple sets, careful lighting, and elaborate costumes and choreography. There is constant motion on stage, be it acrobats juggling, set pieces slowly moving, or lights varying in luster. The effect is entrancing. Although it's hardly an action-packed show, the glowing sun-like lights and acrobatics make it a visually arresting one.
At his investiture as pharaoh in Act One, the first time that he appears on stage, Akhnaten, played by countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, arrives nude like a child being born. He does not dress but is dressed, a sign of royalty, and one which also reminds the audience that Akhnaten is fulfilling a duty by becoming pharaoh. He does not ascend because of personal desire for the throne but because of his obligation to his people and his gods that he has carried since birth.
"Anthony Roth Costanzo exists to transform opera." - THE NEW YORK TIMES
Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo Announces ARC his debut solo album pairing arias of Philip Glass and Handel Set for release on September 21 on Decca Gold. In conjunction with the album, Costanzo and Visionaire unveil GLASS HANDEL, an ambitious live installation of ARC in Philadelphia (Sept 22, 23, 30) and NYC (Nov 26, 27)
Along with ARC, Costanzo and the avant-garde fashion/art company VISIONAIRE and producer CATH BRITTAN will present GLASS HANDEL, an hour-long, live interdisciplinary installation that will take place at Opera Philadelphia's Festival O18 (at the Barnes Foundation) on September 22-23, 30, and in New York City (produced with National Sawdust at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, who co-present) on November 26-27.
With GLASS HANDEL, Costanzo and Visionaire have curated an unprecedented collaboration with stars from the worlds of art, fashion, dance, and film: