Liberate Instrumental Music! The history of western music is one of the instrumental living in harmony (ahem) with the vocal. A Beethoven symphony, a Verdi opera. Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit, Duke Ellington's Isfahan. The Beatles' Let It Be, Herbie Hancock's Watermelon Man. But recently, instrumental music has gone missing. Become nearly invisible. Inaudible. In old media. In new. Words and music, yes. Music alone, no.
Instrumental music must be restored to culture's apex. We need an Instrumental Music Liberation Front. SymphRONica to the rescue. This record is the opening salvo. A journey through the great fountainheads of the instrumental. Jazz meets classical musics (emphasis on the ‘s': European, Québecois, Sepahrdic, Manouche). Let musical freedom ring! Let Instrumental Music be Liberated!
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Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Myer and Chris Thile, each highly accomplished musicians in their own right, unite in their eagerly anticipated follow up album to Grammy Award winning The Goat Rodeo Sessions.
"Goat Rodeo" is an expression meaning a chaotic situation, one in which everything has to go right by skill or luck, or everything will be thrown off course. It's an appropriate title for the complexity of Not Our First Goat Rodeo. "Every Note A Pearl" shows this with dissonant notes in which the strings slide into new keys. In less skilled hands, this would be a mistake, but here it's a testament to the group's skill. It takes a good musician to sing in the wrong key on purpose, but it takes a great one to make the "wrong" key right.
Not Our First Goat Rodeo is a delicate ecosystem of sound. Like most ecosystems, any little change could bring the whole thing down, but here it's perfectly balanced. At the climax of "Scarcely Cricket" and "Not for Lack of Trying," each instrument takes on a life of its own. Rather than one sticking out and the rest supporting, they often each take their own stage, in a cacophony of interlocking chaos. A person can listen to the same track multiple times and get totally different impressions as the ear picks up new parts each time. It's the sonic equivalent of a forest path that demands multiple explorations to be fully known.
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Violin virtuoso Niv Ashkenazi joins FM91: Toledo OH to talk about Violins of Hope, an artistic and educational project composed of instruments that were owned by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust. With his fellow Juilliard graduate, pianist Matthew Graybil, Niv has released the first solo album to be recorded on one of these instruments.
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Since bursting on the scene as a child prodigy, Benjamin Grosvenor has established himself as the most exciting and accomplished British pianist of his generation. Remarkably mature for his 27 years, he has five albums under his belt since being the youngest pianist to sign with Decca in 2011. His latest release, the two Chopin concertos, marks his first orchestral outing since his 2012 Rhapsody In Blue album which featured Saint-Saens' second and Ravel's G major concertos as well as George Gershwin's showstopper.
Opinion has always been divided over Chopin's ability as an orchestrator. There are some who think his scores for the two piano concertos, both written when he was 20 and still living in Poland, are boring and unadventurous. Others believe he got the job done, albeit unspectacularly, and that the instrumentalists complement the soloist.
Whichever camp the listener falls into, there is no doubting that the piano writing is wonderful and memorable, and under the fingers of Grosvenor backed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra the two concertos are glittering and achingly lovely, fully-formed masterpieces.
His technique shows great clarity and technical ease. His touch is light and there is an innate artistry, taste and thoughtfulness in his playing. Still only 27, there is no telling what new heights he may scale. This is certainly a beautiful and impressive survey of Chopin's two masterworks.
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Norwegian composer and pianist Ola Gjeilo presents a stunning collection of brand-new original works for solo piano, composed and performed by Gjeilo himself. NIGHT is an intimate and meditative collection of peaceful piano music, inspired by the twilight hours in the place he now calls home – New York City.
Gjeilo's musical style is often described as cinematic and evocative, characterised by warm harmonies, flowing melodies and gently rocking, repeated figures. He is an exclusive Decca Classics recording artist, and the new album follows the highly successful Winter Songs (2017) and Ola Gjeilo (2016), which also feature Tenebrae, Voces8 and the Choir of Royal Holloway. NIGHT is his first solo piano album to be released on Decca.
Gjeilo is one of the most frequently performed composers in the choral world. He grew up outside Oslo, Norway in a musically eclectic home listening to classical, jazz, pop and folk, a broad background he later incorporated into his classical composition studies at The Juilliard School and the Royal College of Music in London.
He spoke with 89.7WCPE: Wake Forest, classical hoist - Rob Kennedy. Listen to the attached conversation.
On her latest release, multiple Grammy winner Sharon Isbin performs multi-faceted and virtuosic new works for guitar, written for her by four leading composers. From the Africa-influenced El Decameron Negro by iconic Cuban guitarist/composer Leo Brouwer, through the Chinese and Spanish-inspired Seven Desires by Tan Dun, to Richard Danielpour's sensual song cycle Of Love and Longing, and the jazz and world music-influenced Affinity by Chris Brubeck, Sharon Isbin gives her inimitable imprint to, and vastly enriches major new repertoire for guitar.
The album has been covered for the whole note. See review as cover image
Nicholas McGegan may no longer be the artistic director of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, but the record of McGegan's inimitable touch - unmistakable, in the case of Handel's Saul - remains to savor. Everything about his artistry, including the buoyant and sprightly tempos, sly humor, deep reverence for beauty, and capacity for sincere emotional expression come through on this, his final live recording with PBO.
Although Saul's covers and liner notes shockingly fail to give him credit, the recording was superbly produced, recorded, edited, mixed, and mastered by PBO's former recording engineer, David v.R. Bowles of Swineshead Productions, LLC. Set down in Berkeley's First Congregational Church in April, 2019, this digital-only release shows the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Philharmonia Chorale, under Bruce Lamott, in fine form. Auditioned in 24/192 high-resolution, Bowles's achievement captures all the nuance and color that were transmitted by First Congregational's uniquely live, resonant, and spacious acoustic, and leaves me deeply regretting both his departure and that of his husband, McGegan.
The recording is available on various streaming/download services, including Qobuz, Amazon, and others. If you download or stream this recording and discover yourself without libretto, biographies, and Lamott's introduction, you can find them at philharmonia.org/saul., Make sure to access them because they'll help you understand just how wonderful this performance is. Having said that, there are many times when the sound and music are so captivating that you may find yourself closing your eyes as your relish their beauties. PHOTO: Laura Barisonzi
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Sony Music Masterworks today releases Not Our First Goat Rodeo, the long-awaited follow-up album to the GRAMMY Award-winning The Goat Rodeo Sessions, with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile.
In the fall of 1968, a sixteen-year old high school student named Danny Scher had a dream to invite legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk and his all-star quartet to perform a concert at his local high school in Palo Alto, CA.
Blues Hall of Famer Bettye LaVette has decided to release her stirring rendition of "Strange Fruit" ahead of schedule as it says as much about the history of American racism and the state of the country today.
Guitarist John Scofield celebrates the music of his friend and mentor Steve Swallow in an outgoing and spirited recording, made in an afternoon in New York City in March 2019 - "old school" style as Scofield says, acknowledging that more than forty years of preparation led up to it.
Guitarist John Scofield celebrates the music of his friend and mentor Steve Swallow in an outgoing and spirited recording, made in an afternoon in New York City in March 2019 - "old school" style as Scofield says, acknowledging that more than forty years of preparation led up to it. John was a 20-year-old student at Berklee when he first met and played with bassist Swallow, and they have continued ever since, in many different contexts.
"I love these songs", says Scofield of the selection of Swallow compositions explored here – a broad range including tunes that have become standards, as well as some lesser-known works. The rapport between Scofield and Swallow is evident in every moment. John: "Sometimes when we play it's like one big guitar, the bass part and my part together."
Behind the drum kit, Bill Stewart is alert to all the implications of the interaction. "What Bill does is more than ‘playing the drums,'" Scofield says. "He's a melodic voice in the music, playing counterpoint, and comping, while also swinging really hard." The guitarist himself plays with fire and invention throughout: "These two giants bring out the best in me."
Grammy Award-winning jazz guitarist, band leader and composer, John Scofield is set to release his new album, Combo 66, marking his 66th birthday, on September 28 via Verve Records. The album, which features long-time drummer Bill Stewart, bassist Vincente Archer and pianist/organist Gerald Clayton, combines jazz with genre-defying elements, allowing Scofield to find new modes of expression.
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.
6 NEW 221 TOTAL
SYND: Voice of America, Jazz After Hours, Jazz Happening Now, WFMTNet, Radio DeLuxe, Modern Jazz Today Direct: SiriusXM Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Denver, Miami, Portland, Cleveland, Houston, Baltimore, Detroit, Denver, St. Louis, New Orleans, Austin, Minneapolis, San Diego, Austin, Berkeley CA, Kansas City, Albuquerque, Madison WI, Tampa, Santa Fe, Knoxville, San Antonio, Wichita, Omaha, Chattanooga, Bridgeport CT, Bozeman, Honolulu, Toronto, Vancouver INTER: Canada, UK, Italy Online: Jambands.com, GreenArrow, MOJA, Soulandjazz.com, JazzTimes, billboard, JazzTrail, JazzWeekly, Jazz From Gallery 41, Radio Valencia, Radio CUH, Paste, The Eclectic Chair
John Scofield updates his early-'90s quartet with drummer Bill Stewart and saxophonist Joe Lovano by recruiting bassist Larry Grenadier for his fetching, appropriately titled impulse! debut, Past Present. Between 1990 and 1992, the celebrated guitarist released three well-received discs – Meant to Be, Time on My Hands and What We Do – for the Blue Note label as the John Scofield Quartet. On those records, either Marc Johnson or Dennis Irwin played bass. Nevertheless, Grenadier also has history playing with Scofielld; he toured with Scofield in support of the 1996 disc, Quiet.
The nine exciting tunes Scofield penned on Past Present also reflects his philosophy on playing jazz music. He stresses the importance of being knowledgeable of the music's deep, complex roots while simultaneously being spontaneous and in the moment while performing it. For an artist with such a multifaceted discography as Scofield's, getting to the root of jazz means channeling the blues, as demonstrated on the disc's closing, titled-track.
11 NEW 257 Total SYND: NPR/Songs We Love, PRI/Jazz After Hours, Voice Of America Direct: SiriusXM/Real Jazz, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, Minneapolis, Detroit, Baltimore, Denver, Portland, St. Louis, San Diego, Detroit, New Orleans, Milwaukee, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Orlando, Berkeley CA, Tampa, Honolulu, Montreal, Vancouver Online: MOJA, Something Else, Taintradio, Jazz From Gallery 41, Party 934, KUHS, Green Arrow, Jazz Weekly, Jambase, PopMatters, Kaleidophonic Jazz, relix, Dirty Dog, animajazz INTER: Canada, Australia, Ireland, Italy
Guitarist John Scofield is comfortable in any setting – whether it be jazz, blues or rock – as he demonstrates on his latest recording, Überjam Deux, on Decca/Emarcy. Überjam Deux has been a decade in the works, following 2002's Grammy-nominated Überjam; not that Scofield has been inactive in the interim, far from it. There have been seven John Scofield albums in the intervening years, as well as five others on which he is a co-leader on the project. His last Decca/Emarcy release was A Moment's Peace (2011), a luxurious album of ballads – the polar opposite of Überjam Deux. His uncanny ability to drift between various styles of music with fluency, virtuosity and sincerity is rare.
9 New 'ON' this week:
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