York Daily Record - Mike Argento writes......Robin Spielberg was looking forward to a good 2020. The pianist and composer was working on her 19th record and had a tour scheduled with legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb, who penned such iconic songs as "By the Time I Get to Pheonix," "Galveston," "Wichita Lineman," "Up, Up and Away" and countless other timeless tunes.
She had toured with Webb before – her husband, producer and talent agent Larry Kosson represents Webb, among other artists – and it was always a great time. "I'm Jimmy's driver, shoe-shiner, everything," Spielberg said. "I always joke with him in the car, telling him, ‘You're an icon." And he would say, ‘Say that one more time and I'll slap you in the face.' So then, I'd have to say it over and over again."
She was also eager to get back on the road to promote her new record, "Love Story," released Feb. 7, her 19th record and first to be pressed on vinyl - bright red vinyl at that.
They played one date of the 20-city tour and were scheduled to play in her adopted home, York County, on March 28. Then the pandemic began. And everything changed.
READ THE FULL York Daily Record ARTICLE
The Korea Times - Kwon Mee-yoo writes.....Pianist Cho Seong-jin will premiere an unheard piece by Mozart in Salzburg on the occasion of the classical composer's 265th birthday. Cho will play Mozart's "Allegro in D K626b/16" at the Great Hall of the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation, Wednesday, which mark's the Austrian composer's birthday as well as the opening date of the first-ever virtual edition of Mozartwoche, or Mozart Week, festival. "It is a great honor to be invited to give the premiere of a formerly unknown work by Mozart in the city of Salzburg, where the composer was born," Cho wrote on his Twitter, Friday.
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Multi Grammy & Emmy nominated recording artist, TV star and activist Jon Batiste announces a new single "I Need You" from his forthcoming ‘black pop' album WE ARE. The album is set for worldwide release on March 19 (Verve Records). On "I Need You" Batiste showcases his vocal range, accompanied by his once-in-a-generation musicianship. Produced and written in collaboration with songwriter Autumn Rowe and producer Kizzo, the song is communal and deceptively sophisticated. It fuses the sound of early 20th century black social music, with modern pop production and a hint of hip-hop storytelling. He expertly alternates between belting high notes in full voice, to singing harmony with himself on the choruses, to delivering the verses in a ‘farm rap' style. Batiste then dives into two killer instrumental breaks on both piano and saxophone - all in less than 3 minutes. Says Batiste, "This song is a vibe cleanse. After 2020, this is like a warm hug," says Batiste. "Let's bring the vibes back!"
Watch Batiste Lindy Hop his way through new single on the attached video. About the video, boingboing's GARETH BRANWYN writes.... "Jon Batiste everybody." One of the upsides of COVID-19 isolation has been getting to know Stephen Colbert and his musical director, Jon Batiste, a lot better. During the Trump Virus shit-show, Jon has been a little nightly dose of heartfelt music and unwavering positivity. In this video, the single to his forthcoming record, We Are, a group of Lindy Hoppers in a gallery photograph come to life and dance with him and another female patron. Sadly, upon seeing this, my first thought was: Where are their masks?
SEE THE boingboing PAGE & WATCH THE VIDEO
textura writes.....A Quiet Madness is somewhat of a curious title for William Susman's latest release. The composer's music is seldom hushed, and neither is it deranged-not that there's any suggestion the title should be taken literally anyway.
The influence of classical minimalism on Susman's melodious music is undeniable, but he uses it as a foundation upon which to construct his own distinctive edifice. These settings enchant as they wend their way through different instrumental groupings, from the violin-and-piano serenity of the opening Aria on through the wholly transporting Seven Scenes for Four Flutes and beyond. Though its material was written between 2006 and 2013 and recorded on two continents, a cohesive impression forms due to the through-line of the composer's voice and the smart sequencing. By distributing three parts of the solo piano work Quiet Rhythms in amongst the other pieces, the album conveys a unified character capable of accommodating dramatic contrasts between the earthy and the ethereal.
For now, the forty-eight minutes of A Quiet Madness offer more than their fair share of listening rewards as a representative sampling of his artistry.
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Iconic NYC jazz club rallies to stay open amid pandemic.
WPIX11's Magee Hickey writes....Like so many jazz clubs and music venues across the city, 'Birdland' has been shuttered on West 44th Street since the pandemic began last March, except for a brief reopening last month. What better way to open the Save Birdland fundraiser than hearing the legendary Catherine Russell sing its anthem: the lullaby of Birdland. Birdland, the jazz corner of the world, has been around for longer than most of us can remember. It first opened in 1949 on 52nd Street with big names, including Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and Billie Holiday. They performed regularly with Billy Taylor as the house pianist.
Owner Gianni Valenti feared would have to close permanently until producer Tom D'Angora held a successful fundraising telethon to save the West Bank Café on Christmas Day. "After a very successful West Bank Café campaign, some of my friends said 'can you do the same for Birdland,'" D'Angira told PIX11 News. "Birdland can't close. We can't have a New York without Birdland. That's impossible."
READ THE FULL PIX11 ARTICLE
For Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson's debut album on Deutsche Grammophon, he is performing selections of Philip Glass's Piano Etudes. Ólafsson's fascination with reinterpreting the Piano Etudes grew as he toured and performed the works with Glass himself. Released for the composer's 80th birthday, the pianist says; "On the surface, they seem to be filled with repetitions. But the more one plays and thinks about them, the more their narratives seem to travel along in a spiral," he explains. "My approach to each of the etudes is to enable the listener to create his or her own personal space of reflection."
The Guardian's Killian Fox writes.....We got this as a Christmas present from my father-in-law, who's a pianist and musicologist, and I think it's one of his favourite records. Ólafsson is an Icelandic pianist and here he's playing works by Philip Glass, for whom repetition is a big thing. The album has a simplicity that for me becomes almost majestic in the end. It's so precise and so clear – it feels almost mathematical but also very soulful. You listen to it for a little while and new details keep emerging. I've been playing it all the time since we got it. Photograph: Antonio Olmos
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The Daily Freeman's Diane Pineiro-Zucker writes......The Ashokan Center has always focused on hands-on outdoor education and the environment, so when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early March, 2020, it immediately became clear that things were about to change drastically, said Jay Ungar, the center's president and chief executive officer.
The Ashokan Center, at 477 Beaverkill Road in Olivebridge, has served about 5,000 schoolchildren annually during academic years since 1967 and has offered on-site dance camps for adults and families each spring and summer since 1980. But it saw enrollment drop and then disappear as the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing made it difficult if not impossible to continue business as usual.
"We leapt into the world of what's now called virtual programming," Ungar said. "I rebel against that word because virtual reality is not real, but online programming is real. It's the real thing, only it's online."
COVID "has been devastating to many non-profits and commercial businesses and small businesses. It's rewriting the world as we know it," Ungar said. "Who knows what the world will be like when we reach whatever the next step is? But for this particular organization, the Ashokan Center, while it's been a struggle and it's been difficult, it has opened possibilities that we never thought of before.
"So, our world is going to continue to include some of this virtual programming in the future and we never would have embarked on it if we hadn't essentially been forced."
READ THE FULL Daily Freeman ARTICLE
An ensemble that attracts rave reviews and sell-out crowds at prestigious venues everywhere from Vienna to New York, the sensational SIGNUM saxophone quartet are now set to present their first Deutsche Grammophon album.
Sarah McKenzie discusses new series of singles with Miami's 90.7WVUM
Posted: January 7, 2021 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
Interview with WVUM's Philip Capuzzi
Sarah McKenzie released 3 new tracks last Fall. When the corona virus hit in early March, Sarah was on tour in France and all her shows got cancelled. At the same time the US government implemented a travel ban for everyone who was travelling from the Schengen territory so Sarah was unable to return to her home in Los Angeles immediately. 'In order not to get stuck during lockdown in a big city I rented an old school house in the very South of England, in Hastings at the English Channel coast. It was a very romantic place from the 17th century with vines on the outside and a large garden with roses and lots of other flowers and old, very stylish furniture on the inside and an old piano that I would play every day. We had planned to stay for two weeks, in the end it was 3 1/2 months. I found a small but well equipped recording studio in Hastings, that had an engineer who had recorded a lot of jazz, and a Yamaha baby grand piano. Perfect conditions to start working 24/7. The song SCHNELLER! was inspired by drives on the German highway. It is called Autobahn and it is one of the very few places in the world where there is no speed limit. For someone not used to this it is quite a frightening experience to travel at 130 mph.
For the 2nd track, Sarah was very lucky that during lockdown the Diablo Regional Arts Association in Walnut Creek, CA commissioned her to create a 60-minute video extravaganza with the theme MUSIC CONNECTS OUR WORLD. Her idea was to create ten cross-genre video clips that would include musicians from all corners of the world and put the videos together with announcements so they become like a concert. The stylistic reach was from Bossa Nova to Tango, from Bebop to Choral Music. And there was this one song in Sarah's drawer that sounded a bit like pop music called; WAITING HERE FOR YOU. She decided to record it
The magic of Christmas! Joy is in the air, everybody's in good cheer and you can hear carols everywhere. The outside is covered in snow, but it is warm by the fireside. Romance is at your heart, while you sit with your loved-ones under the Christmas tree. These are images that Sarah McKenzie creates in this original composition called ‘You, Me & the Christmas Tree'. It captures the spirit of Christmas. It's a song about love and being together. Sarah admits that only when she moved to Boston to study at the Berklee College of Music did she grasp the full meaning of those legendary jazzy Christmas songs. In her home country of Australia she has never experienced a ‘White Christmas', so "a lot of those iconic songs only really started to make sense to me once I experienced winter on the East-coast of the United States with tons of snow and cold temperatures, but also saw the lit-up Christmas trees and Christmas markets, the smell of mulled wine and ‘chestnuts roasted on an open fire'. I instantly fell in love with that season of the year and always wanted to put my feelings in a song."
Sarah chose to record ‘You, Me & the Christmas Tree' with an A-lister cast of Jazz' finest: John Clayton on double bass, Jeff Hamilton on drums, Warren Wolf on vibes and Randy Napoleon on guitar. And they went to legendary Capitol Studios in Los Angeles for this recording, the studio in which a lot of famous Christmas albums have been recorded (Frank Sinatra's ‘A Jolly Christmas', ‘Christmas Carousel' by Peggy Lee, Diana Krall's ‘Christmas Songs'), but also the building on which the famous Christmas tree is lit up every year since 1958. According to Los Angeles Magazine that Christmas tree was the first of its kind, designed by Ollsen Lighting and it featured 4,373 bulbs at 25 watts each.
I was very lucky that during lockdown the Diablo Regional Arts Association in Walnut Creek, CA commissioned me to create a 60-minute video extravaganza with the theme MUSIC CONNECTS OUR WORLD. My idea was to create ten cross-genre video clips that would include musicians from all corners of the world and put the videos together with announcements so they become like a concert. The stylistic reach was from Bossa Nova to Tango, from Bebop to Choral Music. And there was this one song in my drawer that sounded a bit like pop music, but I did not really know what to do with it. My Australian producer Chong Lim, who I happened to speak to during that time, just had his tour as keyboarder for David Foster cancelled and he recommended that I speak to the drummer of that tour, John JR Robinson. John was all up for it and recorded the drums for the track and recommended that I speak to Michael Thompson for guitars. Michael then added the guitars and recommended that I ask Jon Gilutin to add Hammond B3. It was amazing! All these legends, who had worked with the likes of Michael Jackson, Lionel Ritchie, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion suddenly recorded a song of mine and I was playing and singing alongside them. I very much hope that you'll like it! Here is WAITING HERE FOR YOU.
When the corona virus hit in early March Sarah McKenzie was just on tour in France and all her shows got cancelled. At the same time the US government implemented a travel ban for everyone who was travelling from the Schengen territory so Sarah was unable to return to her home in Los Angeles immediately. ?In order not to get stuck during lockdown in a big city I rented an old school house in the very South of England, in Hastings at the English Channel coast. It was a very romantic place from the 17th century with vines on the outside and a large garden with roses and lots of other flowers and old, very stylish furniture on the inside and an old piano that I would play every day. We had planned to stay for two weeks, in the end it was 3 1/2 months. I found a small but well equipped recording studio in Hastings, that had an engineer who had recorded a lot of jazz, and a Yamaha baby grand piano. Perfect conditions to start working 24/7. The song SCHNELLER! was inspired by drives on the German highway. It is called Autobahn and it is one of the very few places in the world where there is no speed limit. For someone not used to this it is quite a frightening experience to travel at 130 mph. So once I had picked my finger nails out of the dashboard I thought this experience needs a song. I then had to find the right musicians for it. With Geoff Gascoyne (bass) and Donald Edwards (drums) I have a long lasting working relationship already, but who could play those trumpets? I was very lucky to then come across Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra's Kenny Rampton, who is a fantastic trumpet player and who put in the extra miles that it needed to make this song special. I hope you'll like it.'
After the great success of Sarah McKenzie's 2017 disc, Paris in the Rain(Impulse! Records), the 31-year-old pianist, singer, and composer returns with the poignant, Secrets of My Heart, reuniting with noted Australian composer, arranger, and events music director, Chong Lim, who produced her first two discs – Don't Tempt Me and Close Your Eyes. Recorded in New York City, Secrets of My Heart exudes cosmopolitan flair with its lineup that includes French bassist Pierre Boussaguet and Brazilian percussionist Rogerio Bocattoalongside guitarist Dan Wilson, drummer Donald Edwards, vibraphonist Warren Wolf,tenor saxophonist Troy Roberts, and cellist Jody Redhage Ferber(all of whom based in the United States).
After enchanting jazz fans with her 2015 Impulse! Records debut, We Could Be Lovers, Sarah McKenzie returns with the sensational follow-up, Paris in the Rain. Like before, the 28-year-old, Melbourne, Australia-born singer, pianist, composer and arranger teams with the acclaimed Brian Bacchus – who has produced classics for such stars as Norah Jones, Lizz Wright, and Gregory Porter – to deliver a gripping program of jazz classics and originals – all of which present McKenzie's incredible musicality in glamorous glory.
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