Michael Whalen's "Sacred Spaces" is an epic recording nearly ten years in the making. "I have been pursuing a spiritual ‘awakening' for most of my adult life. Over the past decade, I realized that I am 100 percent responsible for whatever my relationship with a ‘higher being' might be," says Whalen. Filled with sonic landscapes built from hundreds of layers of sound, "Sacred Spaces" is Michael's tour-de-force electronic project, which seamlessly blends his natural gift for melody with fresh textures and percolating rhythms. Deeply inspired by Michael's film and TV work and his love for progressive rock, "Sacred Spaces" is the ambient recording of the year.
MW spoke with 88.1WMBR: Boston, 'New Edge' host; Ken Field. Listen to the attached file
Legendary maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangaash will be collaborating with multiple Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin. The new album will give viewers a unique teaming of two classical music instruments strumming together. The album, "String For Peace", is scheduled to release on the 22nd of May on the ZOHO label (ZM 202004).
Strings For Peace is a perfect blend of various classics. Viewers will get to listen to a melodious eclectic east-west fusion of sarod and classical guitar. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Sharon Isbin have been contemplating about the east-west fashion and finally, their fusion will come to fruition. The album will contain four tracks and cover various ragas composed by Amjad Ali Khan.
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Produced by Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman, and with a sound described as "an album to daydream to", Open Waters finds Todd Mosby once again embarking on a creative journey navigating through elements of Jazz, New Age, Folk and Indian music. Coming from a family of inventors (he is the co-inventor of the Imrat guitar along with Kim Schwartz and Imrat Khan), Mosby's early musical DNA was formed from his love of Bluegrass and Folk music, which eventually expanded into Fusion and Jazz.
Todd Mosby's 'Open Waters' wins the 2019 ZMR 'Best Contemporary Instrumental Album'
If there's an air of resignation to the way pianist/composer Bley has titled the movements of her opening suite-"Life Goes On," "On," "And On," "And Then One Day"-it is belied throughout this gently gripping album by Bley's indelible wit and unsinkable sanguinity. Both are evident in her pithy liner notes, her quotes of "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "The Star Spangled Banner" in the "Beautiful Telephones" suite (inspired by remarks made by the current president during his first week in the White House), her play on call-and-response in the closing suite, "Copy Cat," and the unfrantic flow of her elegant melodies and soothing harmonies. The album title could reference Bley's career (more than five decades of recording), her age (she turns 82 in May), or the longevity of this uncannily simpatico trio (25 years and counting). Touching here on the blues and there on tango, now buoyant, now contemplative, the music is richly poignant but never lugubrious, bent but not sharply angular, spacious and light but never ungrounded. Swallow's unique electric bass sound and Sheppard's stately tenor and soprano sax tones, heard in ample solo space, seamlessly lock in with Bley's eccentric phrasing as the band sublimely plays on.
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In episode 919 of "ANIMAJAZZ", conceived and conducted by BRUNO POLLACCI , broadcast TUESDAY 19 May at 20.30, on PUNTORADIO, also streaming on www.puntoradio.fm and in an immediate podcast of the evening includes; "Hot Time"; from William Susman's "Scatter My Ashes."
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.
"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)
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Niv Ashkenazi, the only violinist in the world to hold an instrument from the Violins of Hope collection on a long-term loan, has just released an album recorded on that instrument featuring music by composers that were affected by the Holocaust. Ashkenazi, a former student of Itzhak Perlman, is joined on the album by his fellow Juilliard graduate, pianist Matthew Graybil. This recording was part of Ashkenazi's work as Artist in Residence at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya) in Northridge, CA.
Violins of Hope is an artistic and educational project composed of instruments that were owned by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust. Violins in the collection were played in the concentration camps and ghettos, providing a source of comfort for some and a means of survival for others.
Violins of Hope was founded by Amnon Weinstein and his son Avshalom, Israeli luthiers who collect these instruments, refurbish them to concert quality, and bring them to communities all over the world, so that their voices can be heard again. The message of these violins is one of hope, tolerance, and remembrance. Niv Ashkenazi: Violins of Hope is the first solo album to be recorded on one of these instruments.
READ THE FULL Jewish Link ARTICLE
Close your eyes and travel to exotic new lands!
Academy Award-winning composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel does a lot of traveling, soaking up the musical traditions as he goes. His recent album, Migrations, received a Grammy nomination in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category. In this episode, Bermel teaches about composer Bela Bartok who inspired one of the pieces on the album. Bartok moved from his native Hungary to New York City at the outset of World War II, and while a lot of great music came out of his journey, his is also a really human story about being a stranger in a strange land. Bermel also talks about the migration of his own European Jewish family and how it influenced his work.
LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT
Guitarist John Scofield celebrates the music of his friend and mentor Steve Swallow in an outgoing and spirited recording, made in an afternoon in New York City in March 2019 - "old school" style as Scofield says, acknowledging that more than forty years of preparation led up to it.
Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin's new recording, Strings for Peace, with sarod master, Amjad Ali Khan, and his virtuoso sons Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash, is a groundbreaking release steeped in the tradition of ragas and talas of North Indian classical music.
The Bureau (original title: Le Bureau des Légendes) is a French political thriller television series created by Éric Rochant and produced by TOP - The Oligarchs Productions and Canal+, which revolves around the lives of agents of the DGSE (General Directorate of External Security), France's principal external security service.
Sharon Fendrich's 'Red Sky Prairie' ranks as one of the most impressive releases in many years / one world music
Posted: August 9, 2019 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
It is not often that I get to review the work of a debut artist I know personally, especially one that I remember so well from a meeting with our friend David Lanz, and Sharon Fendrich names Lanz as one of her musical heroes, so here now, with the release of this her debut album Red Sky Prairie, she takes her first steps into the world of becoming an official recording artist, and what stunning first few footfalls they are indeed.
Red Sky Prairie is part of the new and growing revolution in music called Neo Classical, and this addition must probably rank as one of the most impressive to be released for many years. The starting point of our voyage of tone is a track called L'Dor Vador. Ok, so I had to look this one up as my Hebrew is one of many languages I have no grasp of at all, it means from generation to generation. The softness of touch on this piece was so noticeable and the added instrumentation and vocals would go onto make this simply the best start to an album I have heard for years.
On A Secret's Song we have a film score waiting to happen, a tribute to the work of James Homer (Somewhere Out There) maybe, but a full flowing, emotional and moving opus indeed. Fendrich follows the passionate refrains from an excellently played Violin (Wilfred Sassen) and thus the result is pure genius bathed in the beauty of a truly moving arrangement.
Within Whispers has to have one of the most inventive starts I have heard for some time, the wind blows softly across the face of time; do we hear its words of wisdom? The Celtic influence on flute here creates a fresh, but familiar backdrop of sound, and this symbiotic partnership between the piano of Fendrich and her flautists Helen Hendriks and Les Muller are but a beauty to listen to, a wonderfully crafted duo here of instrumentation, this is one song I would advise listening to many times over.
I think I may have hinted to Sharon that one thing I love as a music writer and listener is to hear the sounds of a storm in a composition, such a scene setter for me, and it looks like she has taken me up on that suggestion with this next piece, her title track Red Sky Prairie. Storms however are balanced with the natural calm of the nature and here I do believe she has created a classic tune that will be loved by many listeners, who like to cross the borderlands of the new age genre into the neo classical. Perfectly timed crescendos a wonderful passionate fluency, all go to create in my view one of the most complete pieces of music I have heard this year.
There is a moment of time when the mood changes and you can feel it deep within your musical soul, that time has now arrived with the offering Song of the Dove. Fendrich has utilised the talents of Russian vocalist Anna Emelyanova on this her first release, and that talent shines so brightly on this quite breath-taking composition. The lyrics are from the little used world language of Esperanto and manifest a true feeling of a desired peace in a track that is one the most empowering perhaps off the album.
An amalgamation of languages is within your realm now on the piece called Never Alone. The combination of English, Spanish and Yiddish vocals all go to manifest a real one world, one people ethic. Fendrich on this performance in particular, has that beautiful David Lanz influence flowing through the piece, and that cannot be a bad thing can it? Whilst listening to the track one can really feel a sense of togetherness come from the composition and even the piano is seemingly played with this in mind. Never Alone is a very complex offering, extremely well delivered and very well played.
We have now started our journey down from this hillside of musical mastery, and as we do so we come across a charming musical narrative called Moonswept. Here is a track that illustrates just how a multi-instrumental offering should be played, this combination of Flute, Harp, Violin, and of course piano, gifts us a piece that is not only full flowing, but utterly beautiful and quite fun to listen to as well.
This next piece is perfectly placed on the album, as we are now swimming in the deeper waters of the release; it is called Bittersweet Memory. I have had many of these in my life, those happy moments that are tinged with a small grey cloud of regret and longing perhaps. This track for me does exactly what I described above, the combination of flute and piano provide us with a moment to open the memory box, and then gently close it again, remembering the lessons we have learned. The performance here is so moving and deeply touching; Fendrich on piano employs a gentle touch of the keys, but adds more weight when needed, the strings just further manifest a deeper moment of emotion for us to all enjoy.
Sorrow is a reality we have all felt at one time or another, and the art in making music to heal such wounds is well known, few can do it brilliantly and it is to that list that the artist now must be added. Last Tears is the track we flow with now and combines strings and piano in a way that doesn't just move the heart, it literally tugs at it with such a powerful surge of emotive brilliance. The Cello (Joep Willems) in particular here, adds a whole new dimension to this offering and Fendrich's piano performance is so deeply moving.
The back story behind this next piece is a devastating tragedy that occurred to the occupants of the fateful Alaska Airlines flight 261, who all perished after an accident. Fendrich at the time was not sure if one of those lost was someone she knew. The vocals are in Latin and create a truly memorable moment of heartfelt music, the sweeping string sections add to that, and allow this river of sadness to flow to its final destination of peace, thanks to this most emotional narrative we now know as In Memoriam.
Our last stop on this simply marvellous debut album by pianist Sharon Fendrich is called That September Day. I guess all of us have our memories of 9/11; I was live on radio at that time and had to hold it all together for hours describing all I saw. This has to one of the hardest tracks to have not only put together but also played, but Fendrich does it so well, and manifests along with the multi-instrumental and vocal nature of the composition, a perfect ending track, one that rounds off one of the best debut albums I think I have ever heard.
It seems a life time ago since we met up with the artist, and to now look at this amazing journey she has embarked upon literally brings tears of joy to my eyes, for in my view she has probably produced the perfect debut album, kudos to her team of other artists, all previously mentioned within this review as well.
The production quality and art work, each lush performance, yes it is all right here for you and done so brilliantly, that you're going to want to be ready and waiting for the next album to arrive. Fendrich has created the perfect beginning for what we all hope is going to be an extremely long, happy and forth coming career for the artist. Red Sky Prairie is an album I am more than happy to recommend, no I will go further, I literally insist you buy it, truth being, said Neo Classical music simply doesn't come any better than this.
American neo-classical composer Sharon Fendrich presents her self-produced first album, Red Sky Prairie. With 11 tracks full of emotive melodies that captivate the heart, the disc offers the listener a soundtrack to their own dreams and memories, featuring Fendrich on piano, along with four Dutch soloists: violinist Wilfred Sassen, cellist Joep Willems, flautists Helen Hendriks and Ies Muller, and Russian vocalist Anna Emelyanova. Mixing both instrumentals and lyrical pieces, Fendrich writes her songs in five languages including Esperanto, and together with a captivating orchestral sound design, the 59-minute album creates an inviting and magical sonic world.