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Paul Merkelo:

ARUTIUNIAN-SHOSTAKOVICH-WEINBERG Trumpet Concertos

The three works featured on this recording each has a connection with the trumpeter Timofei Dokshizer. Born in Nizhyn (in the Chernihiv region, now Ukraine) on 13 December 1921, he commenced his concert activity on All-Union Radio when barely 20, and then, in 1947, gained first prize at a competition in Prague. Although he enjoyed a notable career as soloist, he was also for many years principal trumpeter with the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, from which his distinctive tone can be heard on many commercial and archival recordings of the operatic and ballet repertoire. He pursued a distinguished academic career, being professor at the Gnessin Academy of Music in Moscow for a quarter-century and giving classes at the International Trumpet Academy in Bremen throughout the 1990s. He died in Vilnius on 16 March 2005, having done much to expand both the solo and the concertante repertoire for his instrument.

Although its repertoire is limited by comparison with other woodwind and brass instruments, the trumpet has had numerous concertos written for it from composers of the Soviet era and beyond. Much of the motivation in this must lie with Dokshizer, who not only commissioned and premiered a succession of such pieces but also made a notable number of recordings (not least of the two ‘original’ concertos found here) on which his distinctive style of playing can be said to have established the interpretative parameters for those who followed in his wake.
 

Timo Vollbrecht:

Givers & Takers

FLY MAGIC is saxophonist-composer, bandleader, and scholar Timo Vollbrecht’s longstanding signature ensemble. A genre-exploding unit with a bold sense of creativity and intent. After two acclaimed records and performances in over 30 countries, their third album, Givers & Takers, marks a new chapter: It conjures acoustic delicateness with otherworldly electronic soundscapes of orchestral width. Recorded in the studio while on a 12-date-tour, it captures the unique chemistry the four musicians developed on the road while using the stage as their laboratory.

Originally from Germany and based out of New York, Timo Vollbrecht is a celebrated creative force on the Brooklyn music scene who fuses jazz with post-rock, electronics, and instrumental songwriting. Described as a “luminously-fine bandleader” by the NYC Jazz Record, he has performed at landmark stages like the Village Vanguard. He is also the new Director of Jazz Studies at Brown University. Together with Keisuke Matsuno (guitar), Elias Stemeseder (piano & synthesizers), and Dayeon Seok (drums), he formed a band with no bassist. Instead, Stemeseder - who just led his residency at John Zorn’s iconic Stone venue - plays synth-bass while his other hand operates other keys.

Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla:

Weinberg - Symph 3&7, Flute Concerto No. 1 w/COBSO

Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla launched her Deutsche Grammophon recording career in 2019 with an album devoted to Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s Symphonies Nos. 2 and 21, released to tie in with the centenary of this neglected composer. Among its many accolades, it was named Gramophone’s Recording of the Year and won Gražinyte-Tyla the Opus Klassik Conductor of the Year award. Now she continues her mission to broaden awareness of the Warsaw-born composer’s music with Weinberg: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 7 and Flute Concerto No. 1. She is joined by The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and soloist Kirill Gerstein for Symphony No. 7, and by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for the Flute Concerto – with soloist Marie-Christine Zupancic – and Symphony No. 3. The new album will be released digitally and on CD on 16 September 2022. 
The earliest work presented here is the Third Symphony, on which Weinberg began work in 1949. He had settled in Moscow by then, after being displaced by the outbreak of World War Two, during which he lost many of his close relatives. By 1949, however, he had already fallen out of favour with the Stalin régime and the symphony’s planned premiere was cancelled. Having substantially revised the original score, he finally saw it performed in March 1960. A work full of rich contrasts, it incorporates folk tunes from Poland and from Belarus, where Weinberg had studied – whether for purely musical reasons or in an attempt to comply with the official Soviet doctrine of socialist realism – as well as reminiscences of Schubert, Mahler and Weinberg’s friend and champion Shostakovich.

Terence Blanchard:

The Woman King

Milan Records today announces THE WOMAN KING (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) and shares an original vocal track “KEEP RISING” ahead of the album’s release on September 16. Available everywhere now, “KEEP RISING” was written by singer-songwriter JESSY WILSON alongside JEREMY LUTITO as the end credits theme to TriStar Pictures’ upcoming action drama, which is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Recorded as a duet between Wilson and “Africa’s premiere diva” ANGÉLIQUE KIDJO, who compliments Wilson’s soulful vocals with her traditional African melodies, “KEEP RISING” is a powerfully inspiring and uplifting song that captures the bravery and spirit of the onscreen warriors.

Of today’s track, The Woman King director GINA PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD says, “An end title song is so important because you are curating the emotional end for your audience as they leave the theater. Jessy and Angélique have given us an incredible song that gets me incredibly hyped and inspired. Our film is a period piece, and ‘Keep Rising’ lyrically and sonically gives us an incredible bridge to the present. It is also a beautiful meld of cultures, most notably the culture of Benin where our incredible warriors are from. It is the perfect last flourish for The Woman King.”

Amanda Lee Falkenberg:

The Moons Symphony

Inspired by the beauty and majesty of the moons in our solar system, composer Amanda Lee Falkenberg’s major new work is a thrilling merger of music and science. Discovering these fascinating moons of the outer solar system made her realise “These moons need music – these moons need emotion.” Extensive research followed and discussions with leading planetary scientists at NASA/JPL, John Hopkins APL and UMich along with consultations with astronauts helped shape the stories of the symphony.

Falkenberg’s experience as a film composer made her acutely aware of music’s emotional power and how she could unleash the moons’ secrets and transport the listener to experience each moon’s unique exotic habitats on a stunning space adventure.

Paul Giger:

ars moriendi

In the late Middle Ages, a literary genre of devotional books illustrated with woodcuts flourished under the name ‘ars moriendi’. They gave instructions on how to 'die well'. The purpose of this tradition was to attune the soul to the 'art of dying' in order to save it for eternity. Music is also an ars moriendi, an exercise in the "becoming" of a note, of "being" in sound and of "passing" into silence – or into an inner reverberation.    – Paul Giger 

"Becoming – Being – Passing" – this is the name of the tryptichon by the Tyrolean painter Giovanni Segantini, which served violinist and composer Paul Giger as an important source of inspiration for the music on ars moriendi. The theme of transience runs through this programme like a thread and combines Bach compositions with original pieces and music influenced by traditional Swiss folk in equal parts. Much of the programme was written in connection with the film about the painter, Giovanni Segantini – Magie des Lichts, and was recorded in the Chiesa Bianca, Maloja, in the Swiss canton of Graubünden. On the album, Giger is joined by Marie-Louise Dähler on harpsichord, Pudi Lehmann on gongs and percussion, and alto Franz Vizthum as well as the Carmina Quartett to form a chamber ensemble. 

"In Guggisberglied, apart from the water sounds, everything bowed, beaten, drummed, scratched and plucked was recorded and partly arranged with my 11-string violino d'amore and brought together in the studio," the violinist explains the complex sound collage behind the meditative opening piece. It is one of the oldest and best-known Swiss folk songs, which Giger makes his own through an additional fifths-relationship, thereby expanding the material with a nine-tone scale. Beyond occidental practices, the violinist also makes use of non-European musical idioms, so that characteristics of South Indian music also come to bear. The Zäuerli mit Migrationshintergrund in turn, uses elements of the traditional natural yodel from the Swiss canton Appenzell, and expands these with a microtonal language as well as a low second degree, as is common in the Arabic "Bayati" maqam. 

An utterly distinguished, atmospheric sound poetry comes to the fore on Agony I, II and III, produced by Pudi Lehmann's extensive instrumentation as well as violin, chest organ and the discreetly applied notes of the string quartet. The expansive Agony parts are interspersed with idiosyncratic interpretations of pieces by J.S. Bach: Bach's cantata Ich ruf' zu dir, the Largo from Bach's Sonata No. 4 in C minor, and the aria Erbarme dich from the St. Matthew Passion. 

Ich ruf' zu dir and Largo are duo performances between harpsichord and violin, while Erbarme dich features the entire ensemble, including the passionate alto of Franz Vizthum, who also plays an essential role on the album-closing Altus solo II. Here again transience is the main theme – the text comes from the Egyptian Book of the Dead "Pert Em Hru" (translated: "Coming forth by day"). Giger: "The report from the afterlife and the merging of the deceased with the sun god Ra is only one level in the final music Altus solo II: at the same time and, as it were, in contrast to this, from a nihilistic conception, the harpsichord represents a wind-up music box that slowly expires at the end of its life and then stands still." Musically, Giger translates these notions on violin with overtone-rich and pizzicato-heavy playing, but also with long, plaintive melodic arches that, in the interplay with interrupted harpsichord arpeggios, form the dynamically wide-ranging framework for Vizthum's voice.

Francesco Tristano:

on early music

Sony Classical shares today the first single, ‘Aria For RS’, from Luxembourg classical and contemporary pianist and composer Francesco Tristano’s upcoming studio album On Early Music. The record is a return to what Tristano calls his first love – early music. “I grew up listening to a lot of early music,” he says. “So it’s always been with me.”

A meditative, peaceful listen full of grace and beauty, ‘Aria For RS’ is one of five original compositions that Tristano wrote for the On Early Music, his third release with Sony Classical which will be out February 4, 2022. Interspersed with these are works by some of early music’s greatest English composers and organists – Orlando Gibbons, John Bull, and Peter Philips – and one of Tristano’s greatest inspirations, Italian composer Girolamo Frescobaldi. Yet On Early Music is not merely a fitting homage to this repertoire; the works are given a fresh, contemporary twist thanks to Tristano’s production skills, studio mastery, and keen eye for detail.

“I wanted works by English composers, some of whom I’ve played for a long time and love, but I also wanted to continue exploring the repertoire of Frescobaldi,” he says. “He really changed the way composers wrote for keyboards.” Inspired by these greats, and their enduring works, the music he wrote for On Early Music bursts with vitality and spark. ‘Tristano: On Bull Galliard in D’ is a faux-baroque, rhythmic joy, all bright and jaunty. ‘Toccata’ is similarly uplifting, a dizzying dancelike whirlwind full of intricate arpeggios and an insatiable rhythm. “Early music is intensely rhythmical, and I just love the innate groove it has,” he says. “I wanted to reflect that.”

All the works featured are tonally and melodically complimentary, and while some have been faithfully reproduced, others have been re-worked and reinterpreted. “I wanted to bring something new to them,” he says. “Something original.” That led him to works that reflected another of the album’s main themes, and something he wanted to focus on and bring to the fore – the gentle majesty of sunrise.

“The magic hour is very short, but the energy unleashed is unique,” he says. “This moment is often paralleled in scores of early music – at a very specific moment toward the end of a given piece, it seems as if the score is wrapped up in a harmonic sequence that determines the end of a complex development, and transitions into a soothing ending. It is both the end, and a new beginning.”

Such ideas resonate that much harder after the last few years; beauty, rejuvenation, energy. In focusing on early music that conveyed these elements, Tristano wanted to return to “simple things and basic values” that bring joy and pleasure. Playing this repertoire brought him solace, and a deep sense of harmony, something he felt compelled to share.

“Early music has a reparative power, just like an early sunrise,” he says, “and these works give me an uplifting feeling. There’s something really primitive about them, but something rejuvenating too.” For Tristano, this repertoire remains as joyful and inspiring as when it was composed over 500 years ago, and is thoroughly deserving of a contemporary audience.

Danish String Quartet:

Prism IV

This is the Danish String Quartet’s fourth instalment in the Prism series, the group’s ongoing project that will ultimately hold five volumes of recordings linking Bach fugues with Beethoven quartets and quartets by alternating later composers. While the preceding volumes presented quartets by masters who lived to experience the 20th century – these being, in order of their appearance in the series: Dmitri Shostakovich, Alfred Schnittke and Béla Bartók – Prism IV finds the Danish musicians interpreting Felix Mendelssohn’s (1809-1847) String Quartet No.2. As Paul Griffiths remarks in the liner notes, the quartet’s interpretation of Mendelssohn is empowered by Beethoven’s model in terms of “vivid gesture, contrapuntal energy, harmonic boldness and formal innovation”. The piece is paired with Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 15 and Bach’s Fugue in G minor in the arrangement of the Austrian educator and composer Emanuel Aloys Förster.
 
Praised by The New York Times for “playing of unusual, and unusually effective, liberty” and a tone that “throbs with joy”, The Danish String quartet have built a reputation for their unique interpretations of both traditional and contemporary repertory, often opposing contrasting material and idioms within a programme. The group’s violist Asbjørn Nørgaard has explained that in the past, the quartet members had become “slightly bored with much of the classical music programming. Too much randomness, too little connection.” As they attended a back-to-back performance of Wagner’s Prelude to Lohengrin and Ligeti’s Atmosphères, interpreted by the Berlin Philharmonic under Simon Rattle, they came to a collective realization that ultimately gave birth to the idea for the Prism concept: “connecting masterworks” and “creating a completely new framing but with elegance and respect”, as Nørgaard puts it.

Caroline Widmann:

L' Aurore

L’Aurore is Carolin Widmann’s seventh recording for the New Series and her first solo violin disc for the label, exploring a characteristically wide arc of composition with élan and imagination. In this fascinating recital, Widmann sets out to document the expressive potential of the violin in a programme that concludes with a radiant account of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Partita in D minor.

At the album’s core, there are some major discoveries to be made, not least in Romanian composer George Enescu’s rarely-played Fantaisie Concertante, written in 1932. : “How is one able to notate something that sounds so free, so visionary?” Widmann reflects in an interview with Max Nyffeler in the CD booklet. “The melody unfolds improvisationally, as it were: the piece feels like a sweeping melisma.” Throughout the unbroken fifteen-minute duration of the Fantaisie Concertante, tension and intensity are maintained.

Enescu, like Bartók before him, drew inspiration from the folk music heritage of his homeland, bringing its colours and energies into his multi-layered music. Widmann also perceives and underlines a cross-connection between Enescu and Belgian composer Eugène Ysaÿe, whose Sonata No. 5, written in 1923, embraces a swirling “Danse rustique” in its second movement.

Bridging the demanding Enescu and Ysaÿe pieces are the aphoristic Three Miniatures of British composer George Benjamin: “There is not a note too much. His music is like a fabric very finely woven, and the three pieces are also interwoven in a subtle way.” These brief character sketches were written in 2001 and 2002 and respectively dedicated to violinist Jagdish Mistry, to music publisher Sally Cavender, and to new music patron Klaus Lauer, at whose Badenweiller Music Days the cycle was premiered.

L’Aurore also includes two passes at Hildegard von Bingen’s 12th century antiphon Spiritus sanctus vivificans vita, with Widmann translating Gregorian chant into the idiom of the violin, while keeping the idea of the breath in focus. “We come from the voice. That is the origin of our musical tradition. During the recording we discovered that I play the antiphon differently each time. That’s why it appears twice, like a kind of ritual.” 

The album concludes with Bach’s Partita in D minor. “Bach is the one who holds everything together. It was a great concern of mine to finally record this Partita. I waited and waited with it, and worked on it for years.  Now I felt the time is ripe and I have enough experience with the piece. Maybe in five years I’ll play it differently again, but in its present form it’s a mirror of my current life and artistic experiences…”
 

Omniboi - OFK:

We Are OFK - EP & Soundtrack

Virtual pop group OFK and the stars of the interactive series WE ARE OFK today release their debut EP entitled WE ARE OFK. Available everywhere now, the five-track collection includes each of the featured singles from the series’ five episodes, which are available now on PlayStation 4 & 5, Nintendo Switch and PC. We Are OFK invites players to immerse themselves in the day-to-day life of the band, from their creative process making music together and attempts to break into the industry to getting by and falling in and out of love in Los Angeles. The story unfolds over the course of five episodes, each of which were released alongside a new single from OFK, culminating in today’s EP entitled We Are OFK. The EP arrives alongside the season finale of We Are OFK.

Enrico Rava - Fred Hersch:

The Song Is You

The Song Is You documents the inspired meeting of two master improvisers. Italian trumpeter and flugelhornist Enrico Rava and US pianist Fred Hersch share a love of the music’s history and together explore standards including Jerome Kern’s “The Song Is You”, Thelonious Monk’s “Mysterioso” and “’Round Midnight”, Jobim’s “Retrato em Branco e Preto”, and George Bassman’s “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You”. They also play their own tunes, Fred’s “Child’s Song” and Enrico’s “The Trial”, and create music freely together. It’s a subtle and far reaching performance: when jazz reaches this level of understanding and interplay, a performance becomes less about the material – however distinguished it may be - than what the interpreter brings to it. Rava and Hersch bring vast experience and a finely honed sense of jazz improvisation as a storyteller’s art.

Brian Eno:

FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE

Grammy-winning musician and producer Brian Eno unveils a new song “We Let It In” today featuring daughter and vocal counterpart Darla Eno—listen here. An accompanying video, directed by Eno and London-based multidisciplinary artist Orfeo Tagiuri with handwriting by Eno’s granddaughter Anya, is out now—watch/share here. The track is taken from his forthcoming album FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE set for release on October 14 via Verve/UMC. The self-produced, 10-track record is his first studio album in six years and the first to feature his vocals on nearly every track since 2005’s Another Day on Earth.

A change in Eno’s voice brings a fresh perspective to the record, with “We Let It In” as the second taste of his new sound. “…it’s lowered” he explains. “It’s become a different personality I can sing from. I don’t want to sing like a teenager, it can be melancholy, a bit regretful. As for writing songs again—it’s more landscapes, but this time with humans in them.”

Sheku Kanneh-Mason:

Song

Song, the new album from cellist Sheku-Kanneh Mason, features music from across the entire spectrum of classical, folk, jazz and pop – all personally curated by Sheku. The eclectic mix of styles are tied together by one thing – the unique singing voice of Sheku’s cello.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason became a household name in 2018 after performing at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Windsor Castle. His performance was greeted with universal excitement and was seen by nearly two billion people globally. 

Sheku initially garnered renown as the winner of the 2016 BBC Young Musician Competition, the first black musician to take the title. He has released two chart-topping albums on the Decca Classics label, Inspiration (2018) and Elgar (2020). The latter reached #8 in the overall UK official album chart, making Sheku the first cellist in history to reach the UK top 10.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason has included some of his own arrangements including of Aretha Franklin’s ‘I Say a Little Prayer’ (written by Burt Bacharach) for solo pizzicato cello, Bach arrangements for multiple cellos, and the folk tune ‘Myfanwy’, his Welsh grandmother’s favourite song. Sheku said, “This is one of my absolute favourite melodies, and one that I’ve known for as long as I can remember. I spent a lot of my childhood in Wales with my family and particularly my Welsh Grandma, so this is for her.”

As well as performing solo Sheku is also joined by family and friends for many of the pieces on his new album Song. He improvises with jazz pianist Harry Baker on ‘Cry Me A River’, collaborates with singer-songwriter Zak Abel on their original song, ‘Same Boat’ and joins the South African soprano Pumeza Matshikiza on Massenet’s ‘Élégie’.

The album also includes the world premiere on a new work (commissioned by the Royal Academy of Music, where Sheku studied) from British composer, Edmund Finnis, who wrote the ‘Five Preludes’ especially for Sheku, and a movement from Messiaen’s moving ‘Quartet for the End of Time’.

“I wanted to show who I am as a musician right now,” said Sheku Kanneh-Mason. “In doing so, I was able to showcase different styles and approaches to music.”

HAUSER:

The Player

Today, international superstar HAUSER announces his highly-anticipated new full-length solo album, THE PLAYER, to be released on September 16 via Sony Music Masterworks and available now for preorder. Along with the news, HAUSER debuts his second single from the project, an imaginative performance of “Quizás, Quizás, Quizás” featuring renowned American violinist Caroline Campbell - listen here.

Following an incredible 10-year run as half of 2CELLOS, HAUSER is ushering a new era as a solo artist and visual concept creator with THE PLAYER, using his innovative musical stylings and irresistible charisma to bring a new wave of cello music to fans everywhere.

Influenced by his love of Latin music and culture, “Quizás, Quizás, Quizás” arrives with a brand new spin on a song that has become a global standard. HAUSER says, "We did a tango version, adding Latin rhythms, which is something totally new. I'm very proud of it." The accompanying music video finds HAUSER and Caroline Campbell in an emotionally-charged dialogue between two incredible string soloists - watch here.  

“Quizás, Quizás, Quizás” follows HAUSER’s recent release, “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” a vivacious take on Ricky Martin’s classic Latin Pop hit song reinvented with HAUSER’s unique musical intuition.

THE PLAYER, which features an accompaniment from the Czech National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Steven Mercurio, skillfully merges modern-day hits with timeless classics in custom HAUSER flavor. The genre-bending artist has found a deep appreciation for Old Hollywood and classic rock-n-roll greats like Elvis and Dean Martin, who have inspired much of his new style. On the new record, HAUSER follows in the footsteps of his heroes, taking the stage as a cross-generational legend in his own right.

Igor Levit:

Tristan

On Igor Levit’s upcoming album “Tristan” the pianist explores nocturnal themes of love and death, fear, ecstasy, loneliness & redemption in the music of Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt, Gustav Mahler & Hans Werner Henze.

Includes his first concerto recording with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig under Franz Welser-Möst.

The five works that feature on Igor Levit’s latest double album span a period of 135 years that extends from around 1837 to 1973. Very different genres are represented here. Only one of these works was originally conceived for piano solo, but Igor Levit’s exploration of borderline experiences in our lives – death in Life (2018), spirituality in Encounter (2020) and now, with Tristan, the link between love, death and our need for redemption – inevitably means that it is not just masterpieces for the piano that are central to his concern but, above all, compositions in which certain thematic associations find their most personal expression.

And yet Levit’s own thoughts revolve less around the themes of love and death as such than around the experience of night and of the nocturnal as a dark alternative to our conscious actions by day. Exceptional psychological states set the tone here: “Night has so many faces. It can signal a place of refuge or the loss of control, it signifies love and death, and it is the place where we feel our deepest, most paranoid fears,” says Levit. “The Adagio from Mahler’s Tenth Symphony contains a famous outburst of pain in the form of a dissonant chord, and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde is all about a kind of emotional nuclear meltdown. All of the piece’s essential actions take place at night. In his reminiscences, Hans Werner Henze likewise recalled his work on Tristan as a time of nightmares and of dreamlike hallucinations."

The Comet Is Coming:

HYPER-DIMENSIONAL EXPANSION BEAM

The Comet Is Coming, the London-based Mercury Prize nominated synth-sax-drum trio featuring DANALOGUE (Dan Leavers), SHABAKA (Shabaka Hutchings),  and BETAMAX (Max Hallett),  today announce their fourth studio album Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam set for release September 23 via the legendary Impulse! Records. Their first single “CODE” is released today – an intergalactic head-banger that explores hidden meaning and codes in humans (DNA) and technology  – alongside a visualizer. Watch here and pre-order Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam here.

The Comet Is Coming grab you by the head and don’t let go with their relentless and fiery sound, “at once eliciting thoughts of impending doom and possible hope”  (Pitchfork). The ingredients: 80s synth models, saxophone and drums, sprinkled with visceral punk rock, interstellar jazz blasts, and dance-floor trances.

On their fourth album, Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam, The Comet Is Coming – synth magician/producer Danalogue, drummer-producer Betamax, and saxophonist/spiritual riffologist Shabaka– burn brightly, soundtracking our epoch of change in ways their contemporaries simply aren’t trying to.

Samara Joy:

Linger Awhile

Once-in-a-generation vocalist Samara Joy has signed with Verve Records, and will release Linger Awhile, her full-length debut for the label, on September 16. At just 22 years old, Samara has already garnered critical acclaim for a voice “as rich as custard” (The New York Times) and a delivery that is  “disarming [and] unhurried” (NPR Fresh Air), just as she has built a devoted following on TikTok and made avowed fans of Regina King, LaKeith Stanfield, and others. The Bronx native took home the 2019 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition prize while still in college and performed on The Today Show earlier this year. Hailed as an “exciting boundary-stretcher” by the  (The Boston Globe), Samara also made her “glowing, auspicious debut” (NPR) at the Newport Jazz Festival last weekend, earning multiple standing ovations in the process.

Linger Awhile finds Samara updating beloved songs with a modern twist, sometimes singing original lyrics using the melodies of famous instrumental solos, a style known as vocalese. Recorded at Sear Sound in New York City and featuring exemplary musicianship by Pasquale Grasso (guitar), Ben Paterson (piano), David Wong (double bass), and Kenny Washington (drums), the tracklist is comprised of reinvented classics including “Someone to Watch Over Me” (George Gershwin), “'Round Midnight” (Thelonious Monk), and “Nostalgia (The Day I Knew)” (Fats Navarro). Linger Awhile not only highlights Samara’s timeless vocals and a musical wisdom beyond her years, it also introduces this foundational popular music to a fresh audience.

Antonio Sanchez:

SHIFT - Bad Hombre Vol II

SHIFT (Bad Hombre Vol. II) is the sequel to Antonio Sánchez’s 2017 Grammy-nominated Bad Hombre. On his premiere release for Warner Music, Sánchez approached a who’s-who of collaborators — some of his favorite singers and songwriters — for material he could deconstruct and reimagine. He then called upon his “Bad Hombre” alter-ego, where he plays virtually all the instruments while adding his compositional, production and percussion talents to “shift” the song to new realms while still leaving its essence intact.  

The result is a beautiful circle that sees Dave Matthews & Pat Metheny, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Meshell Ndegeocello, Lila Downs, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Kimbra, Ana Tijoux, Becca Stevens, Silvana Estrada, MARO, Thana Alexa & SONICA sitting in on their own tunes — or ideas cowritten by Sánchez — as a familiar yet original space regifted to the composers for joint musical exploration.

Tom Holkenborg:

Three Thousand Years of Longing

Milan Records today releases THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) featuring music by multiplatinum-selling producer, composer, musician and educator TOM HOLKENBORG aka JUNKIE XL. Available everywhere now, the album features score music written by Holkenborg for the fantasy film by Academy Award®-winning director George Miller. The project is the latest in an ongoing creative partnership between Holkenborg and Miller, with the duo working together on the 2015 blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road and the franchise’s highly-anticipated prequel Furiosa. Also included within the 9-track collection is “Cautionary Tale,” an original song performed by Matteo Bocelli. Written by Holkenborg in collaboration with George Miller and Augusta Gore, the emotionally resonant track features as the film’s end title theme. Originally making its world premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, Three Thousand Years of Longing debuts in theaters today.

Of the soundtrack, composer TOM HOLKENBORG says, “This movie spans 3000 years, and George wanted a score that could move from the ancient to the contemporary, while capturing all the emotions the characters experience in this film. This is really apparent in the main melody, which took two years to create! The goal was to compose something that sounds like it has always been here, and always will be. Music is essential to George's vision, and the arrangements had to be incredibly precise to convey the feeling captured on screen. Working with George is a joy, he continues to make me a better composer, and I am honored to call him a collaborator and a friend.”

"Tom has a very comprehensive understanding of music. He understood that this film had to evoke the magical feeling about the wonders and catastrophes of this world,” adds director GEORGE MILLER. “His score allows you to lose yourself in the story from the opening credits until the end." 

Ruth B.:

'Paper Airplanes' from A Jazzman's Blues

Milan Records today releases “PAPER AIRPLANES,” a new original song from singer-songwriter RUTH B. as featured in the upcoming Netflix original film A JAZZMAN’S BLUES written, directed and produced by TYLER PERRY. Available everywhere now and featured in the film’s newly-released trailer, the romantic ballad features the Ethiopian-Canadian singer’s velveteen vocals above a rousing chorus of strings and piano composed by Ruth B. and multi-GRAMMY Award®-winning musician TERENCE BLANCHARD. A story of star-crossed lovers in the deep South, A Jazzman’s Blues will debut on Netflix Friday, September 23.

Of the track, RUTH B. says, “After having initial discussions and going over the script with Tyler Perry’s team, I knew what Bayou’s and Leanne’s song needed to be – a song of longing and deep, timeless love, a once-in-a-lifetime love. I am endlessly thankful to Tyler Perry for trusting me with this song and giving me the opportunity to write my first original song for a major motion picture. A Jazzman’s Blues is an absolutely beautiful and classic story filled with depth and truth, and I’m so excited for the world to see.”

“I was overjoyed to work with Ruth B. who wrote and performed our song ‘Paper Airplanes,’” adds director TYLER PERRY. “This was a song we wanted to be an instant classic that would sound at home in 1947 as well as today. A great song is an extension of dialogue and ‘Paper Airplanes’ is exactly that. It speaks of heartbreak and the longing of love that spans distance, time, and tragedy. Ruth B. brought all of that to this magnificent song.” 

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