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John Finbury - American Nocturnes / Deep Roots

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On a recent sunny morning in Manhattan, Jeff Spurgeon, the beloved morning host on New York City's classical station WQXR, offered a postscript after playing a recording of Gabriel Fauré's Canticle de Jean Racine, Op. 11, describing the composition as "a piece of music that picks you up and settles you back down, more comfortably." Of late three discs have crossed this desk that admirably fit Mr. Spurgeon's description of the Fauré piece. This trio of new releases share only a meditative quality, otherwise coming from places reflecting each artist's stylistic preferences. John Finbury's American Nocturnes: Final Days of July is the only one of the three devoted entirely to original music, composed by pianist Finbury for a small ensemble. Twilight features Mike Kaupa on flugelhorn and trumpet leading a trio of bass and piano in a tribute to women jazz composers (including two vintage Carole King tunes in what may be the first album designation of Ms. King as a jazz composer). In spirit and in some cases in feel, both of these albums radiate a sense of the spiritual in their interpretive performances. Trumpeter Jason Bergman's Be Still My Soul: Songs of Hope and Inspiration is comprised of quiet and contemplative duo and trio offerings of spirituals ranging from the traditional to the classical (Wagner and Sibelius) to the contemporary, many of which are identified in the liner notes as "beloved hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" but have become folk and Protestant standards as well. Be that as it may, the majesty and soul of Bergman's trumpet makes denomination an irrelevant consideration when his music burrows so deeply into the heart. So, weary souls, may the music considered here indeed pick you up and settle you back down, more comfortably. And in the still of the night, may these blessings be yours.