Reed Mathis takes 'Electric Beethoven' on the road / relix

Reed Mathis grew up in a family of classical musicians. His parents, grandparents and a number of aunts and uncles all pursued careers in the arts. But while the Oklahoma-raised Mathis shared their passion for producing sublime sounds, he gravitated toward jazz and rock orbits rather than exploring paths that would lead to an orchestral career.  The accomplished bass player was a founding member of the innovative, ever-evolving Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, a group he first joined as a high-school student. He remained with JFJO through 2008, when he left the Tulsa-based collective to commit full-time to San Francisco rock group Tea Leaf Green. Mathis transplanted himself to the Bay Area and also found time to perform with the Marco Benevento Trio and join two projects with Bill Kreutzmann: 7 Walkers and Billy & The Kids.  This past August, Mathis announced his departure from Tea Lea Green in order to explore a new endeavor, which he dubbed Electric Beethoven. Over the preceding few years, he'd recorded Beethoven's third and sixth symphonies with a variety of other artists in three-piece parings, including: Page McConnell and Jason Smart, Mike Gordon and Joe Russo, Marco Benevento and Matt Chamberlain, Brad Barr and Andrew Barr, and Stanton Moore and Robert Walter. Now, Mathis is taking the project on the road with the help of drummer Jay Lane (RatDog, Primus), keyboardist Todd Stoops (RAQ) and guitarist Clay Welch. The group uses Beethoven as a launching point for a heavily improvisational sound described as CDM (classical dance music). READ THE FULL relix ARTICLE p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica; min-height: 12.0px}
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The Flecktones, Snarky Puppy, Vijay Iyer & John Scofield set to perform at 2017 Newport Jazz Fest / Live for Live Music

The 63rd annual Newport Jazz Festival just dropped its initial lineup for 2017. The festival, which has a rich history dating back to 1954, will again be gracing Fort Adams State Park in Newport, RI. The three-day event has just announced that the original Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Snarky Puppy, Andra Day, and Hudson, an ensemble of Jack DeJohnette, John Scofield, John Medeski, and Larry Grenadier, will all be featured during the festival, among many others. Newport Jazz Festival is scheduled for August 4 through August 6, and the full line-up can be found here. Tickets are available via the festival's website and are open to the public. SEE Live for Live Music PAGE p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica; min-height: 12.0px} span.Apple-tab-span {white-space:pre}
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Rick Cutler creates a rare atmosphere of sweetness and intelligence on' Daydreams (Probably)' / Huffington Post

If the American Songbook has a rhyme befitting the Emmy-nominated multi-instrumentalist Rick Cutler, it's "gentle…. sentimental." His latest album "Daydreams (Probably)" is the musical essence of a person whose gift is creating a rare atmosphere of sweetness and intelligence. Set for release on Feb. 10th, his son's birthday, Rick Cutler's album "Daydreams (Probably)" produced on his own label New Dude Records delivers almost an hour of aural massage with 21 tracks of mostly instrumental, principally keyboard jazz contemplation. The sound experience is an easy stroll with a master musician, the reward for decades of intense collaboration with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Steve Van Zandt, Freddie Hubbard, Charles Aznavour, Gloria Gaynor, Billy Eckstine, Johnny Hartman, Donna Summer, Liza Minnelli and Gregory Hines. READ THE Huffington Post REVIEW
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Ben Plotnik - Greenland / The WVIA: Graham Album Review

What came to be called the New Acoustic scene burgeoned in the 1980s with then-young artists like David Grisman, Tony Rice, and Bela Fleck combined backgrounds in rock, jazz and other styles into the instrumentation of bluegrass. By now, bringing jazz into bluegrass has become a standard feature among many bluegrass groups. So it is not as distinctive as it was, and there are fewer new recordings specializing in the genre. But the eclectic style continues attracting some younger generation performers. This week, we have an enjoyable album that would fit into the New Acoustic scene of the 1980s, with the instrumentation of bluegrass and jazz and swing influence. It's by Canadian-born fiddler Ben Plotnick. His album is called Greenland. READ WVIA: Pittston PA - George Graham REVIEW.  Listen to the attached audio segment
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  The Graham Album Review

New Classical Tracks with Jason Vieaux & Julien Labro

New Classical Tracks is a Syndicated Feature airing Nationally on Classical 24 & Statewide on Minnesota Public Radio. Listen to Julie Amacher's Feature with Jason Vieaux & Julien Labro READ THE TRANSCRIPT - If you love your French-press coffee in the morning, or your brewed afternoon tea, you're partaking in the most common type of infusion. Here's another form of "infusion" you can enjoy: it's a blend of the classical, jazz, pop, and world music found on the latest recording from guitarist Jason Vieaux and accordionist Julien Labro. Jason Vieaux has been teaching at the Cleveland Institute for more than 20 years. That's given him plenty of time to check out Nighttown, a local jazz club. That's where he first met Julian Labro. "I just never really heard an accordion played within jazz context quite like this," Jason recalls. "I mean, he was building these kind of architectural solos and kind of whipping the crowd into a frenzy." Then Jason asked Julien if he'd be willing to perform Piazzolla's Concerto for Guitar and Bandoneon. Jason says that marked the beginning of a thrilling collaboration. "This is a thing that really indulges a part of my musical personality that I wouldn't normally get to perform or express," he says. "And the improvisational nature of that is really what allows it and the fact that these arrangements are kind of living breathing things and they can change from concert to concert." Jason says this concept of Infusion means their putting their own stamp on each piece. "But 'infusion,' you know, takes on a lot of different meanings of the way that Julien infuses the Gnattali arrangement with actual quotes from [Brazilian composer] Pixinguinha, who the first movement is dedicated to, or Ernesto Nazareth, who the second movement is dedicated to," Jason explains. "That arrangement is entirely from Julien's imagination … not unlike a big-band era type of thing." The recording opens with Julien's arrangement of Leo Brouwer's "Tres Danzas Concertantes" written for guitar and orchestra. Julien and Jason each take the lead and the accompaniment roles. "I like to refer to it more as a reduction as opposed to an arrangement," Julien says, "because I really stayed close to the score as far as I took the orchestral score and really looked through what was happening texturally and rhythmically with the orchestra, and I try to do justice to it on providing a great backdrop for Jason to play the solo part, because it's very interesting compositionally." Julien also gets inside the score of a piece by the composer who brought him together with Jason: Astor Piazzolla. "What we decided to do, if we were going to present this on the record, we thought we just put a stamp on it by providing some sort of our own take," Julien says. "Inside that arrangement is a clear quote of Bob Marley: 'Could you be could you be love …' And then Jason, during his solo, takes it to places such as Beyoncé and the NBA theme. And this is kind of, like, off the cuff." Jason says inspiration comes from just about anywhere. In 2012, while watching the presidential debates, suddenly the '80s pop tune "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears popped into his head. He created an arrangement where he played the role of the backup singers, and Julien could take the lead. Julien gets to play the role of lead singer Roland Orzabal, and he took off on the melody. "It's fun working with people like Jason," Julien says. "They have the flexibility and the versatility. It's not every classical player who one minute can just solo and play you the most intense avant-garde classical-guitar riff ever written. It's like it's a permanent exchange of ideas, and when you find the right artist to collaborate with, the door is wide open." By leaving the door open, it blurs the lines between classical, jazz, pop and world music, and it's heard on a new recording called Infusion with guitarist Jason Vieaux and accordionist Julien Labro. Enter for a chance to win a copy of this recording - This week on New Classical Tracks, you can enter for a chance to win a copy of Infusion by Jason Vieaux and Julien Labro. Winners will be drawn at random. Be sure to enter by 9 a.m. CST on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017.      PHOTO BY: Ken Blaze p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica; min-height: 12.0px}
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Cypress Quartet - 'Brahms Sextets' is KDFC: Download of the Week

Each week, KDFC: San Francisco members can download a free mp3 from some of the biggest releases in the world of Classical music. This week's selection is from the Bay Area's Cypress Quartet wanted to do something different for their last ever recording, so they gathered at Skywalker Sound Studio in Marin County to record the two Brahms Sextets. To fill out the ensemble, they called upon good friends and longtime collaborators, cellist Zuill Bailey and violist Barry Shiffman. They also invited a live audience into the studio for the recording. Our Free Download this week is the finale from the Sextet #2. Enjoy! Tune in throughout the week for tracks from KDFC's Download of the Week. More to discover with KDFC and p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica; min-height: 12.0px}
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David Krakauer set for PSOmasterclass at Rider University / BroadwayWorld

On Saturday, January 28, 2-5 pm, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) continues its masterclass partnership with Westminster Conservatory, the community music school of Westminster College of the Arts of Rider University, with a PSO BRAVO!masterclass featuring clarinet virtuoso David Krakauer. The masterclass is open to the general public, and will be held at Hamilton House on the campus of Westminster Choir College. Attendees will observe four clarinet students from area schools Veronica Li (Princeton Day School), Alex Liu (The Lawrenceville School), Matthew Yuan (Montgomery High School), and Daniel Luo (Montgomery High School). David Krakauer occupies the unique position of being one of the world's leading exponents of Eastern European Jewish klezmer music as well as a major voice in classical music. He has redefined the klezmer genre with major appearances at Carnegie Hall and internationally. Mr. Krakauer is in demand worldwide as a guest soloist with the finest ensembles including the Emerson, Orion, and Kronos String Quartets and as a soloist with the Dresden, Seattle, and Detroit symphony orchestras, among many others. David Krakauer is on the faculties of Mannes College of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, NYU, and the Bard College Conservatory of Music. READ THE FULL BroadwayWorld ARTICLE SEE Town Topics PAGE p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica; min-height: 12.0px}
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Regina Carter chats with Radio Columbia in advance of MO show

For her ninth release 'Southern Comfort', jazz violinist Regina Carter researched music of American South from the early 20th century. In a recent interview with KBIA's Trevor Harris, Carter talked about her early Detroit influences, the value of knowing your musical history and the timelessness of Ella Fitzgerald. Carter brings her 'Simply Ella' program to Columbia's Lela Raney Wood Hall on Monday, January 23. LISTEN TO RC's interview with KBIA: Radio Columbia MO - Trevor Harris  p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica; min-height: 12.0px}
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Andris Nelsons - BSO return to Canada after 21 year absence / Musical Toronto

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has announced a two-city tour of Canada, with performances at Montreal's Maison Symphonique on Saturday, March 4, and Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall on Sunday, March 5. The move breaks a 21-year absence of the BSO in Canada, with their last visit in 1995 under the baton of Canadian conductor Malcolm Lowe. Led by Music Director Andris Nelsons, the tour dates will feature piano concertos - both performed by guest pianist Emanuel Ax - as well as a BSO signature performance of Symphonie fantastique by Berlioz. The concertos include Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22 (Montreal) and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 (Toronto). "I am very honored to bring the Boston Symphony Orchestra back to Montreal and Toronto for the first time in more than 20 years," said BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons. "This will be a special occasion also for our orchestra musicians with close personal connections to Canada, and we all greatly look forward to sharing our love and passion of making music together." This tour will mark Nelson's first time performing in Canada. READ THE FULL Musical Toronto ARTICLE p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica; min-height: 12.0px}
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BBC Music Magazine Q&A with Sir Simon Rattle

English conductor - Sir Simon Denis Rattle OM CBE (born 19 January 1955) rose to international prominence during the 1980s and 1990s, while Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (1980–98). He has been principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic since 2002, and plans to leave his position at the end of his current contract, in 2018. It was announced in March 2015 that Rattle would become Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra from September 2017. Rattle tells Rebecca Franks why Beethoven's symphonies remain a true test.  READ THE Q&A p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica}
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Tania Stavreva - Rhythmic Movement / CLASSICALITE review

For her impressive self-released debut, 20 something Bulgarian born - New York City pianist/composer Tania Stavreva has taken solo piano to rare heights on Rhythmic Movement, 14 tracks of a wildly experimental jazz/classical/folk synthesis. Forward-leaning, yet firmly rooted in the folk music of her native Bulgaria, the accents fly by in dizzying whirlwind. Rhythmic Movement was produced in exquisite detail by superstar producer Ron Saint Germain. With over 60 hit albums to his credit, 19 Grammy nominations (14 wins), his associations range from Whitney Houston and U2 to Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross. READ FULL CLASSICALITE REVIEW p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica; min-height: 12.0px} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica}
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Pianist Lara Downes' Vision of the American Dream / WRTI Radio

LISTEN TO Susan Lewis piece for WRTI - Philadelphia. Transcript - The hope in the "American Dream" is heard in America Again, the new CD by pianist Lara Downes. WRTI's Susan Lewis has the story. Listen Listening...8:26 Pianist Lara Downes talks about how music expresses the hope and resilience of the American Dream. Radio script:  [MUSIC: Ernest Bloch, "At Sea," from America Again] Susan Lewis: Lara Downes, an American pianist with Jamaican-American and Jewish-Eastern European roots, plays jazz, classical, and music that crosses genres. The American dream is a recurring theme. Lara Downes: Our American story, most of the time, begins with someone's journey to America, journeys made across the ocean and over mountains. SL: Her CD, America Again, references the 1935 poem by Langston Hughes. LD:  The poem opens, "Let America be America again, let it be the dream it used to be." I just honed in on this notion of the American dream and what it really means. It led me to a lot of different music and a lot of different stories. SL: Music rooted in places, from the Shenandoah Valley to New York City; music informed by different cultures that make up America. [MUSIC: "Shenandoah," from America Again] [MUSIC: Morton Gould, American Caprice, from America Again] And what Downes calls the conversation between generations: as in Art Tatum's arrangement of the Irving Berlin song, "Blue Skies." LD: I digested it, re-interpreted it, re-imagined it from a classical background. SL: Music expressing the hope and resilience of the dream. LD: We have this spirit to us that keeps us trying big things, and  falling down, and getting up again. I think for me, the music is really reconnecting us with what is beautiful and true and essential about American life. [MUSIC: "American Caprice" from America Again] SL: The music of America Again spans the 20th century and beyond, and includes three world-premiere recordings. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica; min-height: 12.0px}
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Top 10 Albums for January

Renee Fleming :

Distant Light

Internationally renowned soprano Renée Fleming begins the New Year with a refreshing new album entitled ‘Distant Light' – her first orchestral album in three years. It features an adventurous mix of music by Samuel Barber, Anders Hillborg and Björk and will be released on Decca Classics on January 6, 2017. For this album, Fleming has chosen works in which music and poetry merge to create soundscapes, each piece evoking emotional states - nostalgia, unease, desire, joy - with cinematic clarity. The pieces are also united by the idea of a singer as a generative force, involved not only in the performance of music, but at the outset, in its creation. 
Bill Laurance :

Live At Union Chapel

Recorded in late May 2015 in front of a live audience at Union Chapel in London, this powerful performance features the very best of this talented keyboardist's (and founding member of Snarky Puppy's) solo catalogue. Featuring Snarky Puppy bandmates Michael League (electric and upright bass) and Robert "Sput" Searight (drums), with contributions from percussionist Felix Higgenbottom and a full string section and French horn. This is a truly great contemporary jazz piano concert with nods to modal jazz icon Bill Evans, post-Coltrane piano giants McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock, and the fusion of Joe Zawinul & Chick Corea. Includes 90-minute concert DVD with behind the scenes footage during rehearsal, designing the set list, an interview with Michael League, and a tour of Sput's drum "castle." 12 NEW  91 TOTAL SYND: PRI/Jazz After Hours, Jazz Happening Now Direct: SiriusXM Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Portland, Cleveland, St. Louis, Baltimore, Denver, San Antonio, Albuquerque, Raleigh NC, Madison WI, Boulder CO., ME(Statewide), Honolulu, Vancouver INTER: Canada, UK, Ireland, Italy Online: Jazz from Gallery 41, Jazz Standard, SoulandJazz, GreenArrow, Downbeat, Observer, Radio Valencia, JazzWise, Jazz Weekly 23 Jazzweek ADD's
Soundtracks :

The Book of Love

Sony Masterworks proudly announces the release of THE BOOK OF LOVE (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), featuring music composed by Justin Timberlake and Mitchell Owens. The soundtrack is available January 13 and the movie opens in theatres the same day. Directed by Bill Purple, The Book of Love also stars Mary Steenburgen, John Robichaux, Paul Reiser, and Orlando Jones. It was produced by Michelle Purple, Jessica Biel, Mike Landry, Carlos Velazquez and Chuck Pacheco, with music composed by Justin Timberlake. Bill Purple's drama The Book of Love, formerly known as The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, is presented by Electric Entertainment and opens in theaters on January 13. 17 TOTAL SYND: The Score, Sixty Second CD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Portland, Baltimore, New Orleans, San Antonio, Madison WI Online: GURU, GreenArrow
Paolo Conte :

Amazing Game

From Paolo Conte, one of the most charismatic, idiosyncratic and internationally successful singer/songwriters of the past four decades comes the first-ever instrumental album. Conte has captivated audiences the world over for the past four decades. With his gruff voice and unmistakable style, he tells the tales of his humorous but poignant views of the world through his music.  This album is his own special tribute to the happy times her has spent immersed in music, and is timed ahead of his 80th birthday in January 2017. 11 NEW  41 TOTAL Direct: MOOD, Stingray Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Denver, Portland, Houston, New Orleans, Milwaukee, Albuquerque, Berkeley CA, Boulder CO, Rochester NY, Montreal INTER: Canada, Slovakia Online: World On A Note, Quisqueya, worldbeat canada p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica}
Angele Dubeau & La Pieta :

Silence On Joue - Prise 2

Having personally done the research for this directory, choosing a variety of film music extracts, I had in mind to revisit their original version are bringing another dimension of sound with my violin and these wonderful musicians that I lead and around me. I also worked closely with various composers and arrangers that I thank and congratulate.  Thank you to all the team for Analekta trust over the years the support and expertise worthy of the greatest. My reason for being as a musician is my audience and that is that I realized that 40th, oops, double I said, 41st album. - Angele Dubeau 22 NEW  50 TOTAL SYND: Classical 24, CBC Direct: MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, Cleveland, Houston, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Hartford, Madison WI, Honolulu, AL(Network) Online: AccuRadio
Hans Zimmer :

The Classics

Sony Classical is delighted to announce a key new recording event: a brand-new album performed by stellar musicians of the day that showcases some of Hollywood's greatest ever movie themes, written by one of the world's most innovative musical talents and leading film composer of our time – Hans Zimmer. This vivid collection of back-to-back blockbuster hits brings together for the first time Zimmer's unmistakeable movie themes, re-imagined and in arrangements especially written for some of our top musicians including superstar pianist, Lang Lang; cello wizards, 2CELLOS and Tina Guo; outstanding violinists, Maxim Vengerov and Lindsey Stirling; Classic BRIT Award-winning saxophonist, Amy Dickson; internet sensations, The Piano Guys and with stupendous vocals by Leona Lewis.
Soundtracks :

Mozart In The Jungle - Season 3

Sony Classical proudly announces the release of the Mozart In The Jungle Season 3 Soundtrack, available digitally and on CD on December 9, 2016.  The album features original performances by soprano Ana María Martínez and beloved classical artists including Joshua Bell, Plácido Domingo, and Yo-Yo Ma. Mozart in the Jungle is a half-hour comedic drama based on the critically acclaimed memoir Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs & Classical Music by Blair Tindall. The series draws back the curtain on the world of music, where artistic dedication and creativity collide with mind games, politicking and survival instincts. 29 TOTAL SYND: Classical 24 Direct: SiriusXM, Music Choice, MOOD  Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Cleveland, Houston, Minneapolis, Portland, St. Louis, Austin, Buffalo, Hartford, IA(Network), NE(Network), Honolulu Online: AccuRadio
Soundtracks :


On December 2, 2016 Masterworks Broadway/Epic Records will release "Hairspray LIVE! Original Soundtrack Of The NBC Television Event" the companion album to NBC's broadcast of "Hairspray Live!" which will air on Wednesday December 7, 2016 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The all-star cast features Harvey Fierstein, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Kristin Chenoweth, Martin Short, Derek Hough, Dove Cameron, Garrett Clayton, Ephraim Sykes, Shahadi Wright Joseph, exciting newcomer Maddie Baillio, and Special Guest Stars Billy Eichner, Sean Hayes, Andrea Martin, and Rosie O'Donnell.
Soundtracks :


Sony Classical and Madison Gate Records proudly announce the release of Passengers (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) featuring music by Thomas Newman. The Sci-Fi Adventure follows the spaceship "Starship Avalon" in its 120-year voyage to a distant colony planet known as the "Homestead Colony" when malfunctions occur in two of its sleep chambers. Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, American Hustle) and Chris Pratt (Zero Dark Thirty, The Magnificent Seven) are two passengers onboard a spaceship transporting them to a new life on the new planet. The trip takes a deadly turn when their hibernation pods mysteriously wake them 90 years before they reach their destination. As their characters Jim and Aurora try to unravel the mystery behind the malfunction, they begin to fall for each other, unable to deny their intense attraction only to be threatened by the imminent collapse of the ship and the discovery of the truth behind why they woke up. Passengers is directed by the Morten Tyldum, director of The Imitation Game.
Soundtracks :

A Street Cat Named Bob

Sony Music Masterworks announces the release of A Street Cat Named Bob-Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.  Available November 11, the soundtrack features six original songs written by written by Charlie Fink (Noah and the Whale), sung by the main actor, Luke Treadaway alongside music scored by Oscar nominee David Hirschfelder. The film opens in theaters November 18.  Based on the much-loved, international best-selling book, the new film, A Street Cat Named Bob, tells the moving and life-affirming true story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, has his life transformed by his friendship with a stray cat.