Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil reinvigorate Tchaikovsky's 'Nutcracker' / KDFC: Album Of the Week

When a conductor of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker doesn't have to worry about what the dancers are doing on stage, it can be very freeing! It certainly is for Gustavo Dudamel in this inspired concert performance with the LA Phil from 2013. In his LA Times review, Mark Swed wrote: "For those for whom the images of dancing snowflakes, the Sugar Plum Fairy and violence to mice are inextricably connected to the music, this will be a revelation."    For the Week of December 10th, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by Gustavo Dudamel in Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker is KDFC: San Francisco 'Album Of the Week.'   SEE KDFC PAGE     Photo by Vera Evans p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #4d4d4d} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #4d4d4d; min-height: 14.0px}
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As festive carols dominate this time of year, King's College Cambridge takes over CLASSIC fM chart

With more and more people opting for festive carols at this time of year, King's College Cambridge takes over the chart – but they are yet to reach No. 1. Only two new entries have made it on to the chart this week, both at opposite ends of the top 30. Katherine Jenkins' new album Guiding Light has entered an No. 2 and A Renaissance Christmas by The Sixteen & Harry Christophers enters at No.27. Seven re-entries make an appearance, of which six are Christmas albums. The top 30 now currently includes Christmas albums from The Choir of King's College, Cambridge, André Rieu, John Rutter, The Choir of Trinity College, St Paul's Cathedral Choir and The Sixteen. Amongst the popularity of Christmas music, Andrea Bocelli has still managed to remain at No. 1 this week, ahead of Aled Jones and Russell Watson at No. 3, Bryn Terfel at No. 5 and Sheku Kanneh-Mason at No. 8.
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Stone Church Arts will present 'Christmas Caravan' / The Keene Sentinel

Stone Church Arts will present "Christmas Caravan," a holiday world music concert for all ages on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. featuring Sultans of String and singer Rebecca Campbell. The concert will be held at Immanuel Episcopal Church, the stone church on the hill, 20 Church St., Bellows Falls. Sultans of String have won three Juno awards (Canada's Grammy). They play original songs, world-music inspired classics and seasonal favorites such as "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," a djembe-driven "Little Drummer Boy," a "Feliz Navidad" ska party, a Turkish twist on "Greensleeves," a Gypsy-jazz inspired "Django Christmas," and a Rumba Flamenca-fuelled "Jingle Bells." Rebecca Campbell has sung alongside such luminaries as Lynn Miles, Ian Tamblyn, Fred Eaglesmith, Alanis Morrisette and many more. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #4d4d4d} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #4d4d4d; min-height: 14.0px} READ THE FULL Keene Sentinel ARTICLE
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Big recording story this year was discovery of John Coltrane's 'lost album' / THE IRISH TIMES

Anyone who thought that jazz still involved men in suits playing swing music was put right (again) this year as the improvised music envelope continued to expand in every available direction, both at home and internationally. The discovery of a lost recording by one of the undisputed giants of the music, the continued rise of Ireland's regional jazz festivals, a string of high-quality new releases from both ends of the island, a discussion (finally) about gender balance, and a renaissance at the Cork Jazz Festival were just some of the highlights of a busy year in Irish jazz. But undoubtedly the year's big recording story was the discovery in New York of a lost album by John Coltrane. Recorded in 1963 and tucked away in a private house ever since, Both Directions at Once was greeted with disbelief by the international jazz community and The Irish Times was among a very select group of industry insiders invited to hear the lost album in the New Jersey studio where it was recorded. It did not disappoint – either the ecstatic jazz critics (ahem) or the record company, who achieved their own kind of ecstasy when the record made a brief appearance in the mainstream pop charts. In a year when the jazz meta-genre continued to expand in every direction, it showed that there is still room for a few men in suits. READ THE FULL IRISH TIMES ARTICLE
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Yo-Yo Ma plays Place des Arts metro / Montreal Gazette

With the subway rumbling underneath and a cold wind penetrating from the outside, Place des Arts métro station on a Saturday afternoon was not quite the black-tie venue and ideal acoustic theatre Yo-Yo Ma was used to. His free concert in the métro was part of his "Bach project," to play Johann Sebastian Bach's six suites for solo cello in 36 places on six continents. But when the renowned musician made his way through the crowd with his $2.5-million cello on his back, the station was immediately transformed into a concert hall, and its patrons into patrons of the arts - if only for a brief time.  "This is fantastic - in the métro, for everyone," Ma said, greeting the crowd in French. "And now I want to play something for you and we'll see what happens." Corralled behind police tape to allow other métro users to bypass the concert, hundreds of fans immediately fell silent as the Chinese-American virtuoso began to play the Bach suites for solo cello, for which he has become famous the world over. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #4d4d4d} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #4d4d4d; min-height: 14.0px} span.Apple-tab-span {white-space:pre} READ THE FULL Montreal Gazette ARTICLE
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Bill Murray joins Puss N Boots for 'Blue Christmas' / JamBase

Puss N' Boots was joined by Bill Murray on a rendition of "Blue Christmas" on Thursday night in New York City. The collaboration with the group featuring Norah Jones, Catherine Popper and Sasha Dobson took place at Sunny's Bar in Brooklyn, New York. Murray co-wrote and starred in the 2015 Netflix musical Christmas special A Very Murray Christmas and last year teamed with cellist Jan Vogler on the album New Worlds. Established in 2008, the lone Puss N' Boots album to date is their 2014 debut, No Fools, No Fun. Watch Murray join the trio on "Blue Christmas" captured by tahcofan below. WATCH THE VIDEO via JamBase
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Igor Levit's approach is unique at St. Paul's Schubert Club / Interlude

Igor Levit the fascinating German-Russian pianist was featured on the Schubert Club's International Artists Series here in Saint Paul, Minnesota recently. The highly anticipated program had us on tenterhooks as the lone piano stood on the empty stage. Then out he walked in a long, flowing, white shirt, one arm leading his lanky body, and with barely a bow he sat at the instrument and began. He immediately set a tone of introspection- a serious, studied, and probing approach, as if suspended in another dimension. Levit's approach is unique. I am reminded of the genius of Glenn Gould, who was fiercely independent and resistant to the live concert experience. Levit, like Gould, seemed to be immersed in his deepest, innermost sanctum. One can imagine him alone with the piano playing at a remote shrine and we in the audience, the privileged few, there to overhear his mystic communion with music. Recently, Igor Levit has recorded these works in an album entitled Life and he will be performing this program until the end of the year.  READ THE FULL Interlude ARTICLE
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Aaron Parks has reached a milestone on 'Little Big' / All About Jazz

The press release for highly praised keyboard/composer Aaron Parks's (Kurt Rosenwinkel, Terence Blanchard) latest album states: "after experimenting with various lineups and sessions, Parks landed on three musicians ideally suited for this atmospheric, genre-bending new work." And after listening to this inspiring session it's easy to discern why Parks needed time and a bit of prudence to fulfil his personalized mission of original genre-hopping compositions, that gel to a synergistic group-focused vibe. Here, it seems that the artist has reached a milestone 10-years after his 2008 Blue Note debut Invisible Cinema. READ THE FULL All About Jazz REVIEW
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Rachel Barton Pine brings 'Blues Dialogues' to Community IdeaStations: Breakfast Classics

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine plays blues-infused works by Black composers on her new album "Blues Dialogues." Rachel is a long-time advocate for music by Black composers and one of the initiatives of her well-established foundation is to promote their music. This recording features several world-premiere recordings, including Noel Da Costa's "A Set of Dance Tunes for Solo Violin," Delores White's "Blue Dialogues" for solo violin, and Billy Child's "Incident on Larpenteur Avenue." Other highlights include the first recordings of Wendell Logan's violin and piano arrangement of Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood," Daniel Bernard Roumain's "Filter for Unaccompanied Violin," and the violin version of Charles S. Brown's "A Song Without Words." "Pine's passions for the blues, discovering interesting new repertoire, and championing the music of unjustly neglected Black composers converge on Blue Dialogues." WCVE: Richmond VA - Classical Music and Breakfast Classics host; Mike Goldberg recently spoke with RBP about this project, which features longtime recital partner, pianist Matthew Hagle.  LISTEN   p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #4d4d4d} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #4d4d4d; min-height: 14.0px}
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  Interview with WCVE's Mike Goldberg

Coltrane without Coltrane on St. Louis Public Radio's 'Jazz Unlimited'

St. Louis Public Radio's Jazz Unlimited for December 9, 2018 will be "Coltrane Tunes Without Coltrane."  The great saxophonist John Coltrane left us a number of compositions that are sometimes tricky and difficult to play, sometimes beautiful and sometimes very spiritual, among other attributes.  We will play some of these inspiring compositions without Coltrane in big band, piano and small group settings. They will be played by the Buddy Rich Band, our own John Hicks, our own Pee Wee Russell, the Woody Herman band, Sonny Fortune, Karrin Allyson, John McLaughlin, Janice Borla, the Conrad Herwig Latin Side of… group, Kenny Garrett, Vijay Iyer, Kurt Elling, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, Kenny Werner, Doug Raney, the Jim McNeely Tentette, Suzanne Pittson, McCoy Tyner, Kenny Garrett, the Turtle Island String Quartet, the Herbie Hancock/Michael Brecker/Roy Hargrove Directions in Music group, Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition and John's wife Alice and their son Ravi Coltrane. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #4d4d4d}
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Crossover Media picks up 18 GRAMMY nom projects this year

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
• "'S Wonderful"
Tony Bennett & Diana Krall - Track from: Love Is Here To Stay Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
• Love Is Here To Stay - Tony Bennett & Diana Krall Best Jazz Vocal Album
The Questions - Kurt Elling        
The Subject Tonight Is Love - Kate McGarry With Keith Ganz & Gary Versace Best American Roots Performance
• "Saint James Infirmary Blues" - Jon Batiste Track from: Hollywood Africans Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media
• Call Me By Your Name (Various Artists) Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media
• The Shape Of Water - Alexandre Desplat, composer Best Instrumental Composition
• "The Shape Of Water" - Alexandre Desplat, composer (Alexandre Desplat)
Track from: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack The Shape Of Water Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella
• "The Shape Of Water" - Alexandre Desplat, arranger (Alexandre Desplat) Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
• Head Over Heels
Nathaniel Alford, Jason Evigan, Chris Galland, Tom Gardner, Patrick "P-Thugg" Gemayel, Serban Ghenea, John Hanes, Tony Hoffer, Derek Keota, Ian Kirkpatrick, David Macklovitch, Amber Mark, Manny Marroquin, Vaughn Oliver, Chris "TEK" O'Ryan, Morgan Taylor Reid & Gian Stone, engineers; Chris Gehringer & Michelle Mancini, mastering engineers (Chromeo) Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical
• Larry Klein   • Anthem (Madeleine Peyroux) (A)    • Junk (Hailey Tuck) (A) Best Engineered Album, Classical
• John Williams At The Movies
Keith O. Johnson & Sean Royce Martin, engineers; Keith O. Johnson, mastering engineer (Jerry Junkin & Dallas Winds) • Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11
Shawn Murphy & Nick Squire, engineers; Tim Martyn, mastering engineer (Andris Nelsons & Boston Symphony Orchestra) Producer Of The Year, Classical
• David Frost  • Mirror In Mirror (Anne Akiko Meyers, Kristjan Järvi & Philharmonia Orchestra) • Judith Sherman
• Beethoven Unbound (Llŷr Williams) Best Orchestral Performance
• Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11
Andris Nelsons, conductor (Boston Symphony Orchestra)  Best Classical Instrumental Solo
• Bruch: Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46; Violin Concerto No. 1 In G Minor, Op. 26
Joshua Bell (The Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields) Best Classical Solo Vocal Album
• ARC - Anthony Roth Costanzo; Jonathan Cohen, conductor (Les Violons Du Roy) Best Classical Compendium
• John Williams At The Movies
Jerry Junkin, conductor; Donald J. McKinney, producer p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #4d4d4d} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #4d4d4d; min-height: 14.0px}
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YNS-Philadelphia Orchestra 'Messiah' is something much more than a holiday ritual /

The minute Handel's Messiah starts, you feel like you're home. "Comfort ye" are the first words out of the tenor's mouth in the first aria, and at this point in the holiday season, you need to hear that. The later moments, however, are where the Philadelphia Orchestra's Thursday performance, the first of three through Sunday at the Kimmel Center, began distinguishing itself as something much more than a holiday ritual, or, worse yet, a musical rerun. This was a Messiah that constantly asked you to think again at passages that often veer into redundancy - but sometimes at a cost. Music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin brought this out early in the season, and his soloists Carolyn Sampson, Christophe Dumaux, Jonas Hacker, and Philippe Sly showed no signs of Messiah burnout that is likely to be heard later in the month. Roughly 80 singers from the Westminster Symphonic Choir managed the customarily big, auditorium-filling moments - but with its lighter young voices scaled back to a more contemplative manner that took some of the crowd-pleasing pomp out of the piece and peered into what the work is really saying. Countertenor Dumaux has a solid, forthright sound that has often been lacking in singers of his voice type. And bass-baritone Sly, one of the more interesting singers of his kind out there, brought lean, precise coloring to his arias, though the stentorian "Trumpet shall sound" had him on thin ice.   PHOTO: TOM GRALISH  READ THE FULL REVIEW
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Top 10 Albums for December

John Coltrane :

1963: New Directions

A selection of Coltrane's 1963 Impulse! recordings, derived from the original albums Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, Dear Old Stockholm, Newport ‘63 and Live at Birdland In the brief, bright arc that is the career of John Coltrane, 1963 marks a point of transition between past jazz masterpieces and future work, which would transcend the boundaries of the music itself.  That year's recorded output shows movement in many directions: a look back at the past, continued examination of a familiar repertoire, exploration of more traditional formats and a look forward at compositions and approaches that would further extend the reach of jazz.
Robert Ziegler - Czech Philharmonic :

Christmas at the Movies

‘Christmas at the Movies' is a dazzling new album of movie music that beautifully captures the Winter holiday spirit.  This stunning collection features some of the greatest Christmas movie themes of our time, written by some of the world's leading composers for the big screen and is guaranteed to enhance the holiday season for everyone. Featured movie themes span almost 80 years of big screen magic and offer something special for all the family, from timeless classics such as 'The Wizard of Oz', 'White Christmas' and 'Home Alone' through to unmissable contemporary Christmas blockbusters 'Frozen' and 'Elf'. Newly recorded arrangements by the renowned Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under Robert Ziegler provide here the perfect festive soundtrack for your essential holiday preparations - decorating the tree, baking mince pies, wrapping the presents and more! Relive treasured memories of Christmas movies around the fire or treat someone special with this perfect present - Christmas at the Movies – it's the most wonderful time of the year!
Cast Albums :

Head Over Heels

The producers of Head Over Heels, the new musical comedy featuring the iconic songs of The Go-Go's – the most successful female rock band of all time, and Sony Masterworks Broadway today release The Original Broadway Cast Recording.  Included in the 20-track cast album is a true bonus from The Go-Go's themselves: an exclusive new recording of one of the band's most popular songs, "This Town," which marks their first studio recording in more than 17 years since their album God Bless The Go-Go's (2000). The track, produced by Scott Sigman, was recorded exclusively for the Broadway collection by members Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine and Jane Wiedlin.  The album is produced by Scott M. Riesett and Tom Kitt with co-producers Louise Gund and Christine Russell, engineered by Isaiah Abolin and Lawrence Manchester, and was recorded at the DiMenna Center in New York City on August 26-28.
Giuliano Carmignola :

JS Bach Sonatas & Partitas BWV 1001-1006

Giuliano Carmignola has earned his reputation as one of the top interpreters of Baroque music. Following his critically-acclaimed recording of the Bach Concertos, the "prince among Baroque violinists" (Gramophone) releases a new interpretation of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, adding the first period-instrument recording of these works to DG's rich catalog. 
Gustavo Dudamel :

Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker w/LA. Philharmonic

The Christmas ballet by Tchaikovsky that needs no introduction is brought to life in its entirety by Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Featuring beloved pieces such as the "Waltz of the Snowflakes" and the "Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy," this new recording of The Nutcracker is the first in Deutsche Grammophon's new partnership with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Dudamel.     
Tall Heights :

Pretty Colors For Your Actions

Rising duo Tall Heights release their much-anticipated sophomore album Pretty Colors For Your Actions today via Sony Music Masterworks.  Pretty Colors For Your Actions heralds a new chapter for Tall Heights, who made their major label debut with 2016's Neptune and have since racked up 140 million streams to date as well as critical acclaim from the likes of NPR, Wall Street Journal, Paste, Stereogum and more.  The 11-track collection is grounded by the duo's signature melodies, layered and shaped with live instrumentation and contemporary production to create a sonic universe all their own.  
Imogen Heap :

The Music of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Written, composed, performed and recorded by Grammy and Ivor Novello Award-winner Imogen Heap, The Music of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is presented as four contemporary musical suites, each showcasing one of the play's theatrical acts.  This unique new album format from Imogen Heap chronologically features the music heard in the stage production, further reworked to transport listeners on a sonic journey through the world of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Charlie Haden-Brad Mehldau :

Long Ago and Far Away

Legendary jazz bass player Charlie Haden and pianist Brad Mehldau joined forces back in November 2007 to perform together at the Christuskirche church in Mannheim, resulting in the live recording Long Ago and Far Away. After 11 years, the recording has finally been released on Impulse! Records. After meeting for the first time back in 1993, Haden found a way to bring Mehldau out to LA to perform with himself and Lee Konitz at the Jazz Bakery in 1996. This led to a trio recording on Blue Note (1997) called Alone Together. In 2011, he and Brad recorded a live album with Lee Konitz and Paul Motian for ECM called Live at Birdland. Mehldau and Haden remained friends from the time of their first meeting – they had a special connection. In the early days, Haden, in a sense, mentored this young pianist in life lessons. He would later go on to pronounce Mehldau one of the most important musicians of his generation because of his unique voice, his depth of knowledge and facility on the instrument, and how he has moved the language of jazz forward.
Brian Newman :


Trumpeter and singer Brian Newman's first album for Verve, SHOWBOAT, is out today and features a brand new track with his long-time friend and colleague  LADY GAGA on "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," a song that was first recorded by Nina Simone in 1964, and subsequently covered by The Animals. Joe Cocker and Elvis Costello among a host of other artists through the decades.  Brian explains, "Please Don't let Me Be Misunderstood was on a short list of songs we wanted to record with LG. Our choices of how to arrange this song and every song always stays true to our original sound as a band. While steeped in the tradition of the Great American Songbook and at the same time we are pushing the boundaries of the music we know and love. LG makes that very easy for us because of her great range and vast knowledge of the music. We didn't want to do what was already done and make it our own. This definitely shines on this track and I'm excited for everyone to hear it!"
Anna Shelest, Neeme Jarvi The Orchestra Now :

Anton Rubinstein PC No. 4, D minor, Caprice Russe

This CD, recorded live at Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, is the first release in the series of complete works for piano and orchestra by Anton Rubinstein featuring conductor Neeme Järvi and pianist Anna Shelest. Piano Concerto No.4, one of Rubinstein's best known works, is accompanied by Caprice Russe, a rarely performed one-movement gem.