Acclaimed guitarist Todd Mosby joins me for the latest episode of Harmonious World. We all need perspective right now, and there's a lot of that in Todd's latest album - Aerial Views . Todd's comment about creating music that musicians will love to perform on is very apt and I finish with Aether, one of my favourite tracks of 2021. Harmonious World Podcast gives many thanks to Todd for allowing me to feature clips from Aerial Views alongside our conversation.
Over the last half decade, Shabaka Hutchings has established himself as a central figure in the London jazz scene, which is enjoying its greatest creative renaissance since the breakthroughs of Joe Harriott and Evan Parker in the 1960s. Hutchings has a restlessly creative and refreshingly open-minded spirit, playing in a variety of groups-most notably, Sons of Kemet, The Comet Is Coming, and Shabaka & the Ancestors-and embracing influences from the sounds of London's diverse club culture, including house, grime, jungle, and dub. "The common theme in my career as a jazz musician has been wondering if what I'm doing is the thing that I should be doing," says Hutchings, who studied classical clarinet at college at London's prestigious Guildhall School of Music & Drama. "Me learning about jazz, how to play and interpret, was always a case of just trial and error. I think where I've come to recently is I've stopped trying to think ‘Is what I'm doing valid? or ‘Is what I'm doing part of the jazz tradition?' and just see myself as a musician."
Hutchings is featured on the cover of the May issue of Downbeat. SEE COVER IMAGE
Skope's Sasha Lauryn writes....."A world in which people seek the uncertainties, and possibilities, of art" is the vision of one of the most innovative ensembles to be gracing the popular music landscape right now. With the recent release of their latest album, it's undeniable that Art Of Time Ensemble is bringing that vision to life. Led by the artistic direction and vision of Andrew Burashko together with arrangements by Jonathan Goldsmith who reinterpreted a wide array of songs that qualify as standards. Goldsmith stays faithful to the original melodies and form and then pushes the boundaries as far as possible in every conceivable way. After immersing myself in the deeply sensory sonic landscapes, mesmerizing motifs and hypnotic storytelling that their recent album ‘Ain't Got Long' boasts, I can say with certainty they do just that. The Canada based collective have been breaking archaic genre boundaries since 1998, as their eclectic mix of musicians has attracted captivated crowds on multiple tours. Honestly, I'm just waiting for them to announce their next road trip. This album features the phenomenal pipes of Madeleine Peyroux, Gregory Hoskins, Jessica Mitchell and Sarah Slean. Perhaps it's Andrew's perfect pairings of soundscape with singer or the astounding arrangements of the songs themselves that sets this album apart from anything I've experienced.
Whatever it is, I can't get enough.
READ THE FULL Skope Magazine REVIEW
WRTI's SUSAN LEWIS writes......The Catalyst Quartet uncovers music and the stories of the people who wrote it in its new recording series UNCOVERED. The first volume focuses on music by late 19th-century English composer, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.
The Catalyst Quartet, founded in 2010 by the Sphinx Organization, aims to "reimagine" the classical music experience. "Sometimes classical music is presented like a museum piece," says violist Paul Laraia. "We want to make sure everything we do has relevance to today," and so the ensemble's programs reach out to a diverse audience, with diverse repertoire.
This new project, Uncovered, featuring music of composers who have been overlooked because of race or gender, begins with an album of music by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a Black English composer born in the late 19th century, the child of an English mother and an African father from Sierra Leone.
Ironically, Coleridge-Taylor, who was born in 1875 and died suddenly at the age of 37, was acclaimed during his short lifetime. Raised in England, he started violin at 5, joined the Royal College of Music at 15, and at 23, had a triumphant premiere of his cantata, Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, set to the poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He toured the U.S., where he visited The White House at the invitation of President Teddy Roosevelt. He was so successful, the story goes, that New York musicians in the early 1900s began referring to him as "The Black Mahler;" others are said to have called him "The Black Dvorak."
And while Hiawatha's Wedding Feast remains familiar to many choral ensembles and you may recognize his melodies such as Deep River, much of his over 80 compositions, including operas, ballet music, songs, a symphony, violin concerto and chamber music are unknown today.
Volume 1: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor includes one quartet, and two quintets, one featuring pianist Stewart Goodyear, and one with clarinetist Anthony McGill.
LISTEN & WATCH THE 90.1WRTI: Philadelphia INTERVIEW
'SOMETHING came from Baltimore's' Thom Gouker......Yeah! This was a big thrill for me. I was nervous interviewing one of my favorite artists of all time, Joe Lovano, so I decided to ask him 20 goofy questions to see how he handled them. He easily accepted the challenge and spun junk questions into gold. It's very impressive and that it why I suggest that you check out the Youtube interview, we chatted for 1 1/2 and must of it make it to tape.
"Garden of Expression" is the sent album with the trio Lovano/Crispell/Castaldi, the first was the 2018 release "Seeds of Change"
Do we have to explain who Joe Lovano is????? This is copied from Wiki. Joseph Salvatore Lovano (born December 29, 1952) is an American jazz saxophonist, alto clarinetist, flautist, and drummer. He has earned a Grammy Award and several mentions on Down Beat magazine's critics' and readers' polls. He is married to jazz singer Judi Silvano with whom he records and performs. Lovano was a longtime member of a trio led by drummer Paul Motian.
LIMELIGHT Magazine's Clive Paget writes......Superlative soloists and compelling chamber music from a quartet on a mission.
One of the revolutions set in progress by last year's Black Lives Matter protests has been the refocusing of the classical music industry's attention of composers of colour, many of them historical figures formerly the preserve of the curious collector and rarely programmed live.
New York-based Catalyst Quartet was founded in 2010 by the Sphinx Organization, an outstanding Detroit-based social justice organisation dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. The ensemble (Karla Donehew Perez, violin; Abi Fayette, violin; Paul Laraia, viola; and Karlos Rodriguez, cello) build programs and projects accordingly and this excellent release of music by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor is the first in a projected series of "Uncovered" CDs focussing on composers overlooked because of race and/or gender (others releases will include music by Joseph Boulogne Chevalier de Saint-Georges, William Grant Still, Florence B. Price, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, and George Walker).
CLICK HERE FOR THE LIMELIGHT PAGE
Spellbinding Music's GUILLAUME writes....Born in Chicago and based in Palo Alto, California, William Susman is an American composer and pianist whose work encompasses orchestral, chamber, vocal and soundtrack music informed by western classical, jazz, African and Latin American traditions as well as contemporary minimalism. Constantly toying with instrumental permutations – from solo performance to his scaled-down big-band formation Octet – the music of William Susman is a continuous exploration of harmonic and rhythmic patterns. Released in October 2019 and January 2021 respectively on his own Belarca label, Collision Point and A Quiet Madness introduce works spanning over 25 years.
This is "music for moving pictures" – to paraphrase the title of his documentary soundtrack released in 2009 – an astute and contemporary sonic expression of the "quiet madness" playing out on 24-hour news TV channels or as an infinite scroll on our smartphone screens.
READ THE FULL Spellbinding Music REVIEW
Icelandic pianist and post-classical composer Eydís Evensen has confirmed details of her debut album, BYLUR, which will be released on 23rd April, 2021 by XXIM Records, Sony's new imprint for innovative, post-genre instrumental music.
On 26 March 2021 the ambitiously multifaceted musician/composer Clark presents his chillingly affecting ninth studio album Playground In A Lake, on which he broadens horizons and tries new things, with profound results.
Three-time GRAMMY Award-nominated pianist Joey Alexander follows his major-label debut album, WARNA (Verve Records), with three new singles "SALT" (March 19: LINK), "Under the Sun" (April 23), and "Summer Rising" (May 28) set for global release on Verve.
William Susman's 'A Quiet Madness' is a welcome break from the tensions and stresses of our daily lives / SHARPS & FLATIRONS
Posted: February 24, 2021 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
SHARPS & FLATIRONS - Peter Alexander writes.....One of the perks of job that I do is that people send me recordings.
They want me to review or write about them. Sometimes they come in the U.S. mail, actual CDs. Sometimes they come in the form of links to Mp3 files, although I prefer not to review those because the sound quality of CDs is better. Sometimes I write and ask for a CD instead, and sometimes they send me one.
These recent CDs that showed up in my mailbox all provide opportunities to hear music outside of standard concert fare. This is all the more welcome as the past year has shown even more clearly than usual how much of the music on offer is the same from concert to concert, place to place, year to year. These discs contain music that is definitely not standard concert fare, and they are recommended to help widen your horizons.
His music has the characteristics of post-20th-century minimalism-a term he apparently accepts, since it appears in the liner notes for the CD. It is generally characterized by sections of unchanging textures with shifting harmonies. Endings of sections and pieces are not preceded by any recognizable cadential momentum; they just stop, as if to say, "And that's all I have to say on that subject."
The CD has six tracks, opening with "Aria," performed by Susman on piano with violinist Karen Bentley Pollick, who is known in Boulder as festival artist and principal second violin with Mahlerfest. Tracks 2, 4 and 6 are titled "Quiet Rhythms" nos. 1, 5 and 7, solo piano pieces played by Francesco Di Fiore. Filling the other slots are "Seven Scenes for Four Flutes," all parts performed with apparently effortless cohesion by Patricia Zuber (Track 3); and "Zydeco Madness," performed on accordion by Stas Venglevski.
In "Aria," Pollick soars sweetly above a murmuring piano accompaniment for long passages broken by occasional spells of pizzicato and rhythmic double stops. The music moves organically through several sections that are unified by a mood of calm continuity At the end, the violin's long descending scales build in intensity and weight. Not exactly purposeful, this is music of sustained grace and tranquility.
The three "Quiet Rhythms" convey the essence of Susman's style. Each is in two sections separated by a sudden stop and instant of silence. While the rhythmic motion and mood of each section is distinct, they all convey a sense of a boundless vista, suddenly interrupted.
With a sense of nervous energy, "Zydeco Madness" stands apart from the others. The rate of change is faster, creating an impression of a series of studies in accordion techniques. Characteristic textures are animated by cheerful syncopations, creating the mood of zydeco if not the sound.
All performances are exemplary, within the relatively narrow palette of emotions and musical impulses Susman requires. This is not a recording that will quicken your pulse, but in these days it is a welcome break from the tensions and stresses of our daily lives, a musical environment that you can sink comfortably into.
Grammy-nominated cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, vocalist / accordionist Mira Stroika and composer / pianist William Susman perform a blend of influences in these film scores seen on PBS Television, over 20 film festivals world-wide, museums in New York and San Francisco, and WINNER of the Tribeca Film Festival. Films during the Silent Era were called moving pictures. Live performance of the music helped provide a "narrative" and intensify the emotion. Setting the mood for these early films, a musician, often a pianist, performed live accompanying the projection of the film. In some of the larger picture houses an organist or orchestra played a score live-to-picture or improvised to pre-determined themes.
"When you think you have a clear idea of a composer's purpose, suddenly you realize that something is hiding behind it, and behind it, again and again. I will keep playing William Susman's music for a long time." –Francesco Di Fiore, 2012
Violinist Karen Bentley Pollick, pianist Francesco Di Fiore, bayan accordionist Stas Venglevski, and flutist Patricia Zuber have been knitting restorative sonic garments from the compositional yarn of William Susman for over a decade. Their rapport is deeper and more apparent than ever on A Quiet Madness, an appropriately titled new masterwork for our zeitgeist.
A Quiet Madness immerses the listener in a photorealistic sound world of understated beauty. At once calming and thought-provoking, it allows the ear and mind to make their own connections without feeling overwhelmed by thematic constraints. Susman's precise harmonic and rhythmic languages invite us into a subdued, enchanting expression of madness that roams all over the map, akin to the mind wandering during a rainy day-or, perhaps clairvoyantly, akin to the strange passage of time spent in self-isolation during the collective trauma of COVID-19.
Scoring the documentary Fate of the Lhapa was an inspiring experience. I worked with a marvelous director, Sarah Sifers, who trusted my musicianship and gave me the freedom to compose a score that attempts to capture the place, culture, spirit and passion of the Tibetan Shamans and their broader historical context.
As with many of my scores, I look for melody and instrumentation that the filmmaker has captured on film. In Fate of the Lhapa, there were stunning musical moments including ritual chanting, a prayer vigil, bells, gongs, drumming and dance. All of these sonic elements contributed to my choice of melody, harmony, rhythm and instrumentation.
OCTET''s inaugural album has been recorded over the past few years with renowned engineer John Kilgore and was released by Naxos on the label Belarca. The album features the music of William Susman including two song cycles (with poems by his sister Sue Susman) Scatter My Ashes and Moving in to an Empty Space performed by soprano Mellissa Hughes, as well as his Piano Concerto and the ensemble work Camille.
OCTET takes the instrumentation of the American big band and scales it down to a brass section of saxophone, trumpet, and trombone and a rhythm section of piano, electric piano, double bass and drums plus vocals.
"William Susman's remarkable achievement is to take the familiar instrumentation of American popular music, harmonic and rhythmic influences from jazz and Afro-Cuban music and sinuous melodic lines that are uniquely his own and weave them into something new and fresh, yet timeless and haunting. Memorable yet enigmatic, simple yet profound, Susman's music is irresistible." - John Kilgore (Grammy Award-Winning Classical Engineer)
Scatter my Ashes reached No. 1 on Amazon's Classical Hot New Releases, No. 8 on Billboard's Classical and was featured in iTunes Classical New and Noteworthy.
Belarca Records presents Collision Point, a new album by American composer William Susman and Rome-based ensemble Piccola Accademia degli Specchi celebrating a 10-year collaboration. Collision Point features music inspired by love, loss, redemption, and the writings of Allen Ginsberg, Colum McCann and Francis Bacon.
The album brings together four premiere recordings including two pieces for the full ensemble: Camille (2010), which was written for the ensemble, and The Starry Dynamo (1994), as well as a piano trio, Clouds and Flames (2010) and a duo, Motions of Return (1996) for flute and piano.
Susman's music is described by AllMusic as "the next developments in the sphere (of) minimalism," and has earned praise from The New York Times for being "vivid, turbulent, and rich-textured," from Gramophone as "texturally shimmering and harmonically ravishing," and from textura as "distinctly American."