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Kim Portnoy - Caprice is a winner / STAGE & CINEMA

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The eponymous first track is compelling, propulsive, and melodious - a uniquely American sound that one might call Aaron Copland in Buenos Aires. Played with gusto by The Arianna String Quartet and Vera Parkin, who is positively making out with the piano, it seems that Mr. Portnoy is not just composing for his own happiness, but ours as well. Kirk Hanser and John McClellan offer the introspective trio of guitar duet "Intermezzos" that calls to mind the classicism of Andrés Segovia - the duo's expressive performances compliment Portnoy's wide palette of tone, and his musical personality and style. The tryptic of rag-gy syncopated delight that makes up From an Imaginary Musical is for violin (Nicoolae Bica) and piano (Alla Voskoboynikova): the music actually sounds like the titles: "Astaire Steppin'", "Dancing with Ginger" and "Cugat Takes a Bride." I immediately played these three again before moving to another track. The trombones of the St. Louis Symphony play another triptych, Le Tombeau de Justin Wilson; the first, "Waltz", sounds as if a Salvation Army Band graduated from Juilliard and partied at Mardi Gras!

Kim Portnoy - Caprice is a winner 

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After years and years of the so-called New Music and its alienating atonal sawing, I frothed at the mouth for something that was at least palatable. Here, elements of jazz, New Age, classical, tango, Bernstein, Berlin and many more have merged into absolute joy. The composer tells us in the liner notes that fusing these elements was a serious occupation during his formative years (he even throws in the term "post-pubescent-modern," which always makes me chuckle). I really, really love this album,