Labrinth pulls off yet another pristine, passionate endeavour with 'No Ordinary' / Music Talkers

Labrinth pulls off yet another pristine, passionate endeavour through his latest number ‘No Ordinary.' The British singer-songwriter has always displayed a knack for taking simple melodies and working wonders with them, and he does so again with this latest feature. The composition is gentle but magical in its own way, especially when coupled with Labrinth's soulful, touching voice that seems to hit every feeling in the range. The first verse makes use of light bass instrumentation that is resounding without being overpowering; the vast majority of the focus is on Labrinth's phenomenal vocal range that's underscored at each and every step of the way. What gives the composition the extra edge is the vocal layering and overlapping that carries us all the way to the chorus. His voice is so powerful that even the moderate notes are charged with an all-consuming force. The lyrics refer to both ‘devotion' and ‘Holy Ghost,' hinting to the religious stylings of the melody, though they're never hammered in.  READ THE FULL Music Talkers ARTICLE
Bookmark and Share

NPR Music premieres; 'AMPLIFY With Lara Downes'

NPR Music and Lara Downes announce the launch of AMPLIFY With Lara Downes, a new bi-weekly series of intimate and deeply personal video conversations with visionary Black musicians who are shaping the present and future of the art form, premiering Saturday, October 17 on, YouTube, and social media platforms. Created and hosted by pianist and artist Lara Downes, and co-produced by NPR Music's Tom Huizenga, this series invites viewers to experience raw, revealing, and open-hearted conversations reflecting on how artists are responding and creating in this time of profound challenge and change. Downes and her guests-initially including MacArthur Fellow vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens, 2020 Avery Fisher Prize-winning clarinetist Anthony McGill, multidisciplinary artist Helga Davis, and vocalist Davóne Tines, with other guests such as Sheku Kanneh-Mason and family to follow-connect and reflect on highly relevant themes ranging from music and mission, legacy and lineage, to transformation and change. Guests to include Rhiannon Giddens, Anthony McGill, Helga Davis, Davóne Tines, and Sheku Kanneh-Mason and family. Series premieres today!! Saturday, October 17 on NPR and NPR's YouTube and social media platforms. Says Downes of the series: "In this time of our collective reckoning about historical inequities in American life and art, I'm excited to amplify the voices of extraordinary artists of color, shining a bright light on a diverse and rich future that is, in the words of James Weldon Johnson, 'full of the hope that the present has brought us.'" SEE THE NPR PAGE
Bookmark and Share

'TIME IN' with Sharon Isbin on 90.1WRTI

What is multiple Grammy-winning classical guitarist Sharon Isbin's response to everyone wearing masks to stay healthy?  "Welcome to my world!" she says. "I've been wearing an N95 mask for almost 20 years on every single airplane flight, and since doing that, I've never gotten sick from flying." In this 90.1WRTI: Philadelphia TIME IN interview, Sharon talks about navigating the pandemic with more healthy habits, including Transcendental Meditation, and learning the technology to create new ways (beyond Zoom) of teaching her guitar students at Juilliard, where she directs the department she founded in 1989. Sharon met with me on Zoom on September 22nd, 2020 to talk about life during the panedemic. Here are edited excerpts from our conversation:
Bookmark and Share

Ezinma releases new single; 'Vivaldi Springs Forth' / CLASSICAL POST

Known as a "classical babe" and revered for her collaborations with artists including Beyoncé and Yo-Yo Ma, Ezinma utilizes her classical training to create music that marries music of opposite worlds. her latest single, "Vivaldi Springs Forth", is out now.  Anna Heflin: Your latest single, Vivaldi Springs Forth, is overwhelmingly joyous and uplifting. Why is now (October 2020) the best time to release this track? What would you like for a listener to get out of it? READ THE Q&A and WATCH THE VIDEOS
Bookmark and Share

On 'The Messenger,' Helene Grimaud travels to Salzburg to create a fascinating juxtaposition between Mozart and Valentin Silvestrov / WFMT: Featured New Release

For her latest studio album, pianist Hélène Grimaud travels to Salzburg where she creates a fascinating juxtaposition between the eternal Mozart and the Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov. In selecting the music for this album, Grimaud has carefully chosen music by Mozart that fits into an overall dramaturgy: from his famous unfinished D minor Fantasy, she transitions seamlessly into the great D minor concerto, K. 466. The C minor Fantasy then signals "the end of Mozart" and a new beginning: Silvestrov's The Messenger starts with a theme reminiscent of Mozart and creates a connection between the present and the world that existed before. For October 15 2020, Hélène Grimaud: The Messenger is the WFMT: Chicago 'Featured New Release'
Bookmark and Share

Bettye LaVette's 'Blackbirds,' is far from dated by 1960s shackles / Elmore Magazine

An American treasure, Bettye LaVette's a blues-soul singer with a truly remarkable background and heritage. "I'll be 75 in January," she told me, and she has weathered countless twists and turns in her own musical journey since first recording as a sixteen-year-old with Atlantic Records, in Detroit. As we chatted, UK pop giants The Beatles surprisingly somehow creep, albeit forcefully, into the conversation about her current place and her new album, Blackbirds, on Verve, though the new album is far from anything dated by 1960s' musical shackles. Blackbirds, I suggested, includes an unexpected and surprising take as a title track with a Paul McCartney song: "Well, why not? It's a song about a bird, hearing a bird singing. A blackbird!," she laughed. "I was invited to sing at Ringo Starr's birthday recently. He's now 80. I told him I had thought that I was old!" I asked how he took that. "He was great. He just laughed. I sang at his birthday about four years ago. We get on okay." How long was the latest project in the thinking and making? I asked.  Bettye laughed. "The new album was always there really. I always have projects on the go, songs I've already recorded, maybe just waiting 'til I'm ready to put it all together. I never do more than two cuts of any song. I've been doing this a long time and I know what works for me. And I have Steve Jordan again as producer. He knows what he's doing and he knows what I like." Jordan, now an industry veteran and always in-demand producer, also produced LaVette's last, widely acclaimed offering, Things Have Changed, in 2018, an album that gained Best Americana Album award nominations and introduced her to many more listeners globally. READ THE FULL Elmore Magazine REVIEW
Bookmark and Share

John Finbury discusses his 2 new albums with 94.3WOWD

John Finbury is an American composer based in Andover, MA, and he's had quite a career so far. In what he recognizes as his first professional commission as a composer, in 1979 John wrote and recorded a soundtrack for "Portraits from the 2 O'Clock Lounge", a TV documentary by Fred Simon produced for WGBH Boston. The R&B and pop songs he wrote and recorded in the early 80s have garnered current critical attention, with many being acquired in 2014 by Fervor Records. This renewed interest in his music sparked a new era in John's composing focused on his longstanding interest in the beautiful music of Brazil. In October 2014 John released an EP of four original songs of Brazilian Jazz called "The Green Flash". All four songs were nominated for The American Songwriting Awards in 2015, with "SambaDan" winning the award for Best Instrumental. 2015 saw the release of "Imaginário," an album consisting of 11 original songs of Brazilian jazz featuring vocalist Marcella Camargo, accompanied by some of Boston's finest musicians, including longtime members of Paquito D'Rivera's band Oscar Stagnaro and Mark Walker, Tim Ray, and Grammy-winning guitarist Claudio Ragazzi. In 2016, Finbury shocked the Latin Music scene when a cut from "Imaginário" called "A Chama Verde," was nominated for a Latin Grammy for "Song Of The Year." In 2017, John released his second Brazilian jazz infused album "Pitanga" with the same lineup, which received critical acclaim. In May 2020, John released two new albums of original music: American Nocturnes- Final Days Of July" presenting intimate chamber jazz instrumental music uniquely arranged for piano, cello, guitar,accordion and harmonica, and a new Latin Jazz album, QUATRO, featuring featuring Magos Herrera, Chano Domínguez, John Patitucci, and Antonio Sánchez. Ed Smith from 94.3WOWD: Takoma Park MD spoke with JF about his career and the new albums. Listen to the attached conversation.
Bookmark and Share
  Interview with WOWD's Ed Smith

Maria Schneider discusses 'Data Lords' with Valley Public Radio

Data Lords is a new double-album by Grammy Award-winning composer and bandleader Maria Schneider. Inspired by conflicting relationships between the digital and natural worlds, the recording features Schneider's acclaimed orchestra of 18 world-class musicians. Schneider says; "No one can deny the great impact that the data-hungry digital world has had on our lives. As big data companies clamor for our attention, I know that I'm not alone in struggling to find space – to keep connected with my inner world, the natural world, and just the simpler things in life," says Schneider. "Just as I feel myself ping ponging between a digital world and the real world, the same dichotomy is showing up in my music. In order to truly represent my creative output from the last few years, it felt natural to make a two- album release reflecting these two polar extremes." Listen to the attached Valley Public Radio Segment.
Bookmark and Share

Elyse Anne Kakacek's 'Formless' offers a peaceful meditation on spirituality. A salve for the soul / FM91WGTE

The young American soprano Elyse Anne Kakacek joins FM91: WGTE - Toledo OH to discuss her new album Formless: The Biblical Songs of Antonin Dvořák. Inspirational in both interpretation and content, Formless offers a peaceful meditation on spirituality – and a salve for the soul in troubled times such as these. Dvořák's Biblical Songs are simple yet powerful settings of ten famous Psalms (in the composer's own English translation), written while he was living in New York (not far from where Elyse herself lives now). As Elyse tells us in this conversation, Dvořák's music not only resonates with her own Czech heritage, but has deeply personal connections as well. LISTEN
Bookmark and Share
  Interview with WGTE's Brad Cresswell

Smaro Gregoriadou's constant experimentation is evident on 'A Healing Fire' / pizzicato

The Greek guitarist Smaro Gregoriadou is known for her constant experimentation with the guitar sound. On this CD, you can experience this once again. The programme begins with the Violin Sonata No. 2 BWV 1003, for which the instrument has been tuned five semitones higher than the standard guitar tuning in order to better match the frequency range of the original violin. In Bach's multi-layered work this results in a thoroughly attractive sound, which would certainly not be so magnificent without Smaro Gregoriadou's excellent phrasing and dynamic playing. The modern compositions on the CD are played in standard tuning. Britten's Nocturnal about Dowland's song ‘Come, heavy Sleep, the image of true Death' is heard in a very finely differentiated interpretation, which expresses very well the mood swings of this musical meditation. Gubaidulina's expressive Serenade leads to the Suite pour guitare by the Canadian Jacques Hétu (1938-2010). The Suite, composed in 1986, with five relatively short movements, begins with a somewhat unwieldy prelude. This is followed by a Nocturne, while the third movement, the Ballade by Smaro Gregoriadou, is effectively heightened. The fourth movement, Rêverie, leads to the finale, which the guitarist plays with a lot of drive and tension, before the meditative middle section, in stark contrast, provides a breathing pause to gather strength for the virtuoso coda. Also in this piece, Smaro Gregoriadou's full and rich guitar sound is top class. SEE THE pizzicato PAGE
Bookmark and Share

Soul Patrol reviews 'A Woman Like Me.' The Bettye LaVette bio

A singer who has been performing and recording for almost 60 years. But in that time has never achieved the massive star status her talent so richly deserves. A series of possibly bad decisions and many unsupported record deals have led to disappointments, recording companies promise the world but often fail to deliver on those early promises. She has also suffered at times actual physical abuse. All these restrictions and more feature in this excellent account of her life and work. written with the author David Ritz who has written and coauthored over 30 biographies including those of such icons as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye. A woman like me is a very illuminating book to read, written in the ‘first person' most of the time using Bettye's reminiscences of her life and recording her music releases. As I suggested in the introduction to this review the story she tells is both shocking and inspiring, her honesty and humour come to the fore throughout and you soon warm to her determination and resilience. Possibly the most shocking element in the entire book is the fact that at the lowest point in her early life she came under the power of an unpleasant two faced pimp who had her working on the streets of Harlem as a prostitute. In fact when eventually she came to her senses and demanded to be released from his dominance she was hung by the ankles off of a roof 30 floors up to dissuade her. You will need to read the book yourself to learn what happened after that. But that was not the end of her problems and each chapter reveals more. READ THE FULL Soul Patrol REVIEW
Bookmark and Share

90.9WGUC discusses 'Affinity' with Sharon Isbin

In the Spring of 2020 guitarist Sharon Isbin released not one but two CDs simultaneously. One is called Strings For Peace and the other, Affinity. On Affinity, Sharon performs brand new works written specifically for her by four composers - Leo Brouwer, Tan Dun, Richard Danielpour and Chris Brubeck, the son of the legendary jazz man, Dave Brubeck. Dave Brubeck had a Cincinnati connection in the 1960s and ‘70s due to his great working relationship with Erich Kunzel and the CSO and Cincinnati Pops, having performed and recorded together on a number of occasions. As you'll hear Sharon tell us, there's a beautiful bit of Dave Brubeck in his son's terrific piece called Affinity: Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra. And Now, enjoy this beautiful brand new Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra called Affinity by Chris Brubeck. Guitarist Sharon Isbin is joined by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Elizabeth Schulze. LISTEN to 90.9WGUC: Cincinnati OH
Bookmark and Share
  Interview with WGUC's Brian O'Donnell

Top 10 Albums for October

Laura Karpman - Raphael Saadiq :

Tulsa1921 'Catch The Fire' / HBO Lovecraft Country

The HBO series Lovecraft Country follows protagonists as they embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America. The journey leads them to overcome both literal and fictional monsters among the terrors of racist white America. "We're asking our readers at The Root to look these historical monsters in the face," says Danielle Belton, Editor-in-Chief at The Root. "The Root has always had a commitment to sharing Black stories and this partnership with HBO's Lovecraft Country is a wonderful way to showcase Black short story fiction and literature. We're excited to be co-presenting this competition, encouraging the creative talents of our readers." "HBO's Lovecraft Country, created and written by Misha Green, stands as an incredible moment in sci-fi history," says Jackie Gagne, SVP Multicultural Marketing, WarnerMedia. "We have seen how the series has sparked conversations among our audiences, and the way the stories within the series mirror experiences, both metaphorically and not so far from the current events happening today. That's the power of storytelling. We're proud to follow in Misha's footsteps and help empower Black genre creatives to share their stories. We're very excited to partner with The Root, to help reclaim this space, and bring For The Love Of The Craft, to fruition." The winning writer will have their story published in a branded feature running on The Root in mid-October, in addition to receiving a $5,000 prize and a writing mentorship from HBO's Kidd and Winton. For the full list of writing guidelines, official rules, and writing prompt, please continue to The Love Of The Craft landing page. Lovecraft Country looks at the history of Black Americans as overflowing with all kinds of monsters, literal and figurative. That's why we're asking short story writers to pick a decade or an important moment in Black American history, and weave a tale of the monsters that litter that time. As long as the story is fictional, we want to experience through your writing the collision of the historic and monstrous. Whether this be the monsters of oppression, the monsters of folklore, or some new beast, we're open to everything … and, much like in Lovecraft Country, we're curious to see how these ideas and genres combine to show us something new.
Christopher Hoyt Knight :

Yellow Rose OMPS

Sony Music Masterworks announces the release of YELLOW ROSE (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK), an album of music featured in the upcoming musical drama from director Diane Paragas.  Available everywhere October 9, the album features a mix of newly-recorded original tracks as performed in the film by Eva Noblezada, Dale Watson and Lea Salonga as well as score tracks by composer Christopher H. Knight.  The result of a collaborative writing process between the director, country singer Dale Watson and Filipino-American singer and actress Thia Megia, the new original tracks are performed in the film by Watson and lead Eva Noblezada, a breakout star of Broadway's hit smash Hadestown.  Following the story of a young Filipina teen as she fights to pursue her dreams of becoming a country performer, Yellow Rose makes its theatrical debut Friday, October 9 via Sony Pictures' Stage 6 Films.
Dickon Hinchliffe :

The Third Day: Winter (From The Limited Series)

Milan Records announces the release of THE THIRD DAY: WINTER (MUSIC FROM THE LIMITED SERIES) with music by award-winning composer DICKON HINCHLIFFE.  Available everywhere Friday, October 9, the album features music written by Hinchliffe for the second half of Sky and HBO's six-part limited series starring Jude Law and Naomie Harris.  Today's news follows the September release of The Third Day: Summer (Music from the Limited Series) by Cristobal Tapia de Veer – available everywhere now.  The Third Day premiered on HBO and HBO Max on Monday, September 14 and Sky Atlantic (UK) on Tuesday, September 15.   
Adam Janota Bzowski :

Saint Maud

Milan Records announces the release of SAINT MAUD (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) with music by ADAM JANOTA BZOWSKI. Available Friday, October 9, the album features score music written by Janota Bzowski for the eerie thriller and film debut from writer-director Rose Glass. Starring Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Lilly Frazer, Lily Knight, Marcus Hutton, Turlough Convery, Rosie Sansom.
Vangelis :

Juno to Jupiter

Inspired by the ground-breaking mission of NASA's Juno space probe and its ongoing exploration of Jupiter, Juno to Jupiter is a multi-dimensional musical journey through electronic, progressive, ambient, techno, orchestral, and vocal music. The project features soprano Angela Gheorghiu and sounds from space recorded by NASA.
Helene Grimaud :

The Messenger

For her latest studio album, pianist Hélène Grimaud travels to Salzburg where she creates a fascinating juxtaposition between the eternal Mozart and the Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov (b. 1937). Hélène has long had a passion for Silvestrov's music, which some call post-modernist or even neoclassical.  The composer's own words hint at why this is for her so intriguing: "I do not write new music. My music is a response to and an echo of what already exists." In selecting the music for this album, Hélène has carefully chosen music by Mozart that fits into an overall dramaturgy: from Mozart's famous unfinished D minor Fantasy, Helene transitions seamlessly into the great D minor concerto K. 466 - one of the most popular amongst Mozart's 27 concertos (and one of only two in a minor key). The C minor Fantasy here signals "the end of Mozart" and a new beginning: The Messenger starts with a theme reminiscent of Mozart, and like a messenger, creates a connection between the present and the world that existed before. Melancholy and hope, sadness and exuberance can be felt emanating from both Mozart's and Silvestrov's works. The Messenger, one of Silvestrov's most performed works, is dedicated to his wife Larissa Bondarenko, who had recently passed away. The Two Dialogues with Postscript that serve here as an epilogue, leave the outcome open, leading the way to Schubert, Wagner and beyond.
Devonte Hynes :

We Are Who We Are (Original Series Score)

Milan Records today announces the release of Luca Guadagnino's WE ARE WHO WE ARE (ORIGINAL SERIES SCORE) featuring music by producer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, songwriter and vocalist DEVONTÉ HYNES. Available everywhere Friday, October 2, the album features 12 score tracks written by Hynes for HBO®'s new coming-of-age drama series, as well as four previously released instrumental tracks from acclaimed composers Julius Eastman and John Adams.  From Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name), We Are Who We Are made its critically-acclaimed debut on HBO and HBO MAX September 14 and airs Mondays at 10:00PM ET.
Seth MacFarlane :

Great Songs From Stage & Screen

Grammy-nominated vocalist, Seth MacFarlane, releases his 6th studio album, Great Songs From Stage & Screen (Republic/Verve). The collection of tender ballads and uptempo tunes is full of lush and rich orchestrations courtesy of acclaimed composer, Bruce Broughton.  Recorded at the legendary Abbey Road studios, MacFarlane recruited a stellar group of musicians that included Chuck Berghofer (Bass), Peter Erskine (Drums), Larry Koonse (Guitar), Dan Higgins (Alto Sax) and Tom Ranier (piano). Together with members of the John Wilson Orchestra, longtime friend and collaborator, composer/producer Joel McNeely and engineer extraordinaire, Rich Breen, MacFarlane deftly weaved songs of theatrical and filmic origins into a collection that harkens back to Hollywood's Golden Age.
Cristobal Tapia de Veer :

The Third Day -Summer (From The Limited Series)

Milan Records announces the release of THE THIRD DAY: SUMMER (MUSIC FROM THE LIMITED SERIES) with music by award-winning composer CRISTOBAL TAPIA DE VEER.  Available everywhere now, the album features music written by Tapia de Veer for the first half of Sky and HBO's six-part limited series starring Jude Law and Naomie Harris.  The first of three episodes encompassing the "Summer" chapter of The
Richard Reed Parry :

The Nest OMPS

Milan Records today releases THE NEST (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) with music by multi-instrumentalist, producer, composer and Arcade Fire member RICHARD REED PARRY.  Available everywhere now, the album features music written by Parry for the thriller and marks Parry's debut feature film score as solo composer.  Written, directed, and produced by Sean Durkin and starring Jude Law and Carrie Coon, The Nest debuts in theaters Friday, September 18 from IFC Films.   Of the soundtrack, composer RICHARD REED PARRY says, "When I watched the very first rough cut of The Nest without any music, I could feel right away what I wanted the score to be: Music that sounded like it was written and played somewhere within the massive old manor house that so much of the film centers around… I am very grateful to my fantastic musical collaborators, and for Sean Durkin's trust in my own intuitive musical process and the artistic space and freedom he gave me to explore the musical landscape of his film."