Pianist Keith Jarrett, one of the most important figures in jazz of the last 50 years, has been curiously invisible since his last performance in February 2017 at New York's Carnegie Hall. He has now revealed the reason for his silence in a New York Times interview with Nate Chinen: Jarrett suffered two strokes in 2018 that have likely permanently derailed his ability to perform in public.
Jarrett, 75, told Chinen that since being afflicted by the strokes in February and May of 2018, he is partially paralyzed on his left side. The second stroke resulted in a 10-month stay in a nursing facility. Jarrett has since relearned to walk with a cane but has only occasionally attempted to play the piano; in a recent attempt, he discovered that he had forgotten some staple tunes of the bebop repertoire.
"I can only play with my right hand, and it's not convincing me anymore," Jarrett told Chinen. "I don't know what my future is supposed to be, [but] I don't feel right now like I'm a pianist."
Chinen also conducted the most recent JazzTimes interview with Jarrett, in 2017. At that time, the pianist discussed a late-1990s struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome that had nearly destroyed his career. "I just found myself too tired to do anything I normally do. I thought I was dying," he said. "I didn't know if I'd play again." In that case, Jarrett recovered sufficiently to launch a renaissance in 1999.
Jarrett's newest release, the forthcoming Budapest Concert, documents a solo performance from his 2016 European tour. It will be released October 30 on ECM Records. Keith Jarrett (photo: Woong Chul An)
READ THE FULL JazzTimes ARTICLE
What a pick-me-up this album is. Released as the days darken, literally and metaphorically, it's a real joy – a transport of delight to dappled squares in Paris or Lisbon, or a street party in Rio. Sunset in the Blue is billed as "an orchestral celebration of Melody Gardot's jazz roots" but the abiding sound that remains in the mind's ear after the album's finished is that of a jazz guitar, played with a bossa nova rhythm.
This is Gardot's fifth album in twelve years, a mix of standards and originals in which her voice is close-miked and properly out front in the mix.
Most of the set was recorded pre-lockdown in LA's famed Capitol Records Studios with a creative team that included Larry Klein and Vince Mendoza, trumpeter Till Bronner and guitarist Anthony Wilson among the players. "From Paris With Love" features some forty musicians from around the world who answered Gardot's call, made on 1 May, International Jazz Day, for a virtual orchestra to play away the lockdown blues. All were paid according to union scale and the result is musically rewarding – shout-outs to the pianist and solo fiddler. "Ave" finds Gardot born aloft above orchestral cross-rhythms, while "Moon River" takes us back to the Audrey Hepburn original, a lazy arch-top guitar with strings and percussion in the background. Gardot's vocal is of course not tentative – she is no Holly Golightly after all! "Fall in Love too Easily" is really rather exquisite. The physical album contains a bonus track, "Little Something", a duet with Sting.
READ THE FULL artsdesk REVIEW
With the abundance of jazz and blues that slides into my mailbox every week, it's sometimes easy to forget the bustling and beautiful American piano that much of our musical heritage comes from. Don't let words like "heritage" discourage you from diving deep into her boundless piano energy… her performance of Harry Thacker Burleigh's 5:07 "Troubled Water" (based on "Wade In The Water") is full-bodied and moving… this is one of the tunes I believe will be getting some HUGE amounts of airplay on all types of stations around the globe!
I'll tell you right now, you've never heard a more invigorating performance of "Down By the Riverside" than Jeni gives you… she presents some very unique stylings with her keyboard, too.
Of the eighteen enchanting songs presented, I found the 6:40 opener, "Deep River", to be my choice for personal favorite… Jeni's piano covers all the bases… jazz, blues and even Tchaikovsky in one stunning performance of Margaret Bonds beautiful song!
I give Jeni a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, with an "EQ" (energy quotient) score of 4.98. Get more information on the Zoho Music page for the release. Rotcod Zzaj
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Ron Davis. Piano player, composer, band leader, Edinburgh Festival Fringe favourite, BBC Radio 3 repeat guest, solo artist, critics choice has released; SymphRONica - UPFRONT. Ron and his band of award-winning musicians have kept people listening, loving and coming back for more.
Ron's music blends genres and pushes boundaries. It builds on his jazz and classical training, influenced by world music (klezmer, Hungarian, Italian, Brazilian, Latin). He seeks new textures, new forms, new compositions, new formations and new ways of presenting his signature sound. The music is diverse in a characteristically Canadian way. Ron is the founder of SymphRONica, the creative project that combines jazz, world, groove, pop, classical music and a stellar group of Canadian musicians into a mix that can be found nowhere else. In Ron's words "Just as Toronto is a city composed of many people from many places, SymphRONica is composed of a group of musicians from diverse backgrounds, and every one of them plays with intense passion and pleasure together." SymphRONica is genre-defying – no one else is combining a jazz ensemble with full symphony orchestras or string quartets.
Davis spoke with 97.3/107.9 Estero Bay Radio's ( CA ) Abe Pearlstein about the new recording and his great career. Listen to the attached interview.
As we near the election, with hope of setting the country on a better path, tensions are high. We are worried that if things go wrong, as they did in 2016, that the country might never recover, that this horror show might become our permanent identity. And meanwhile, most of the things we would turn to in times of crisis – family gatherings, concerts, baseball games, theatre – are not available to us, making everything even more difficult and dire. But fortunately musicians continue to release albums that speak to the better parts of us, to what humanity remains inside, uniting us in a real way. Here are some brief notes on a few new jazz releases you might be interested in.
Accomplished classical pianist Jeni Slotchiver presents the work of several American composers on her new release, American Heritage, an album of solo piano pieces. The music includes spirituals, blues, and folk, all performed with passion and heart. This is a beautiful and moving album, and in a time of division and hatred in our country, it provides a welcome look back at some of the diverse composers who have added to the great musical culture of our nation, and might help to restore some pride in our history. Composers whose work is featured here include Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Margaret Bonds, Harry Thacker Burleigh, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Florence B. Price, Robert Nathaniel Dett, William Grant Still and Frederic Rzewski. A lot of the music chosen for this release will be familiar to you, and Jeni Slotchiver gives it a fresh life. This album was released on October 9, 2020.
SEE Michael Doherty's Music Log PAGE
JUNO and SOCAN Music Award winner Laila Biali celebrates Canadian icon Joni Mitchell's birthday with an intimate cover of Mitchell's beloved song, "Both Sides Now". Biali's stripped down approach illuminates poignant lyrics that speak to the heart. Multi-award winning singer-songwriter and pianist Laila Biali has performed on prestigious stages from New York City's Carnegie Hall to Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts. Known for her signature sound that "masterfully mixes jazz and pop" (Washington Post), Biali has received top honors including a 2020 SOCAN Music Songwriting Award plus the 2019 JUNO (Canada's GRAMMY) for Vocal Jazz Album. She has also toured with pop icon, Sting, and hosts a national radio show on CBC Music. Be sure to check out Laila's Quarantunes Series, and head to Both Sides Now to pre-save your copy now!
Biali is KBOG'S favorite songstress. SEE THE KBOG: Bandon OR PAGE
For her latest studio album, pianist Hélène Grimaud travels to Salzburg where she creates a fascinating juxtaposition between the eternal Mozart and the Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov (b. 1937). Hélène has long had a passion for Silvestrov's music, which some call post-modernist or even neoclassical. The composer's own words hint at why this is for her so intriguing: "I do not write new music. My music is a response to and an echo of what already exists."
In selecting the music for this album, Hélène has carefully chosen music by Mozart that fits into an overall dramaturgy: from Mozart's famous unfinished D minor Fantasy, Helene transitions seamlessly into the great D minor concerto K. 466 - one of the most popular amongst Mozart's 27 concertos (and one of only two in a minor key). The C minor Fantasy here signals "the end of Mozart" and a new beginning: The Messenger starts with a theme reminiscent of Mozart, and like a messenger, creates a connection between the present and the world that existed before. Melancholy and hope, sadness and exuberance can be felt emanating from both Mozart's and Silvestrov's works. The Messenger, one of Silvestrov's most performed works, is dedicated to his wife Larissa Bondarenko, who had recently passed away. The Two Dialogues with Postscript that serve here as an epilogue, leave the outcome open, leading the way to Schubert, Wagner and beyond.
"When I first heard it, I was mesmerized," is how Grimaud describes the first time she heard Valentin Silvestrov's music. ECM Records founder Manfred Eichner gave her a CD of Silvestrov as a birthday present, and she was hooked. Grimaud talks about her newest album (of over 20!) with 90.5WUOL: Louisville KY - Daniel Gilliam. LISTEN
WaterTower Music is pleased to announce today's release of the 62-track Lovecraft Country (Soundtrack from the HBO® Original Series), featuring music from the first season of Lovecraft Country, which airs on HBO/ HBO Max, and is Based on Matt Ruff 's novel of the same name.
Inspired by the ground-breaking mission of NASA's Juno space probe and its ongoing exploration of Jupiter, Juno to Jupiter is a multi-dimensional musical journey through electronic, progressive, ambient, techno, orchestral, and vocal music.
Milan Records today announces the release of Luca Guadagnino's WE ARE WHO WE ARE (ORIGINAL SERIES SCORE) featuring music by producer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, songwriter and vocalist DEVONTÉ HYNES.
Ofra Harnoy's 'On the Rock' is a charming disc / theWholeNote
Posted: October 2, 2020 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
Renowned Canadian cellist Ofra Harnoy and husband/collaborator Mike Herriott have just released On the Rock, celebrating the music of Newfoundland (Analekta AN28909 analekta.com/en/albums). With 43 previous recordings, five JUNO awards and the Order of Canada to her name, Harnoy needs no introduction to the discerning readers of this magazine. The same can be said of multi-instrumentalist Herriott whose accomplishments in both the classical and jazz worlds run the gamut from lead trumpeter, jazz improviser, orchestral soloist, bassist, arranger and composer. In the summer of 2018 Harnoy and Herriott took a vacation in St. John's, where Herriott had spent his formative years. Evidently she fell in love with the place and people of Newfoundland, one of the few locations in the world her career had not previously taken her, and they decided to buy a house and settle there. After their first collaboration for Analekta, Back to Bach, was released in 2019 they embarked on a journey to explore the island and research its music. The result is this charming disc, a mixture of traditional and popular songs in instrumental and vocal renditions, all arranged by Herriott, with the participation of singers Alan Doyle, Amanda Cash, Kelly-Ann Evans, Heather Bambrick and Fergus O'Byrne. O'Byrne also adds guitar and banjo to the instrumental contingent of guests Maureen Ennis (guitar), Bob Hallett (accordion, mandolin and Irish flute) and Kendel Carson (fiddle). All of the other instruments, and there are many, are played by Herriott except the solo and ensemble cellos of Harnoy.
The album begins with a haunting rendition of the traditional She's Like the Swallow performed by Harnoy and Herriott, who are then joined by Amanda Cash in Wayne Chaulk's story/ballad Saltwater Joys. In a nod to Harnoy's classical background, and perhaps to their previous disc, Herriott's arrangement of Ron Hynes' St. John's Waltz begins with a solo cello line cleverly modelled on the Prelude from Bach's Suite for Solo Cello No.1 in G Major which later develops into an ensemble of cellos accompanying Great Big Sea founder Doyle on vocals. There's an instrumental interlude where Ennis joins Harnoy to perform Cara's Waltz which she penned with Doyle. Although much of the album is mellow and balladic, especially in the tunes that feature Herriott's flugelhorn stylings, things really get cooking in Harbour Buffett Double, a quartet with cello, fiddle, accordion and bass (with Herriott doubling on spoons) and the following Mussels in the Corner. This mainstay of local dance music sees Hallett playing all three of his instruments along with Harnoy and Herriott, all to the accompaniment of a rowdy pub crowd.
One interesting artistic choice is the mournful arrangement for 11 cellos of Stan Rogers' rousing a cappella anthem Barrett's Privateers, bringing an entirely new slant to the broken sailor's lament. A further contribution to the sombre mood of the disc is Evans' beautiful interpretation of Hynes' Sonny's Dream, another iconic tune by the unofficial poet laureate of Newfoundland. In his introductory notes Herriott suggests that this is just the beginning of their exploration of the music of his home province. As beautiful as this maiden voyage is, I hope that the next installment will include some of the roughhousing found in Newfoundland and Labrador's traditional jigs and reels.
For her second recording on the Analekta label, On the Rock, superstar cellist and five-time Juno Award winner Ofra Harnoy was inspired to celebrate the sounds and spirit of Newfoundland. Upon visiting "The Rock" in the summer of 2018, the cellist immediately fell in love with the place and its people. "The more I explore this beautiful island and get to know the people, food, and the culture, the more I feel Newfoundland becoming a part of me. Through these songs I can really express the wonderful connection I have with my new home," says Harnoy.
Her husband, Mike Herriott, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and co-producer of the album, adds "With the guidance and contribution of Bob Hallett, we were able to compile a selection of songs, jigs, and reels that Ofra felt she really connected with and that told a story of what she has come to know and love about the province."
This album presents a number of tried and true Baroque favourites on the cello, such as Bach's "Air" from Orchestral Suite No. 3, "Bist Du Bei Mir," as well as some slightly lesser known gems from composers such as Allegri and Corelli, which Ofra Harnoy interprets with the profound musicality and passion she is known for.
In Ofra's early Baroque recordings, many works were accompanied with organ, chamber orchestra, or harpsichord. For this album, however, rather than revisiting the conventional settings for these works, she has decided to use brass as accompaniment for some works, and, for the works by Telemann and Allegri, has created a cello ensemble through overdubbing and multi-tracking techniques. As much as it is a treat to hear her play this music as soloist, that joy is multiplied in hearing her play each of the nine voices of Allegri's Miserere.