Jazz has always been Slow Culture's forte. That being said, vocal jazz never really got our full attention. But that was before Laila Biali's single Sugar hit our inbox on a rainy morning. At that time, we din't believe that the whole album would stay in our playlist for long. Little did we know! We will review ‘Out of Dust' – Laila Biali's eighth album – next week. To cure our wait (and hopefully, yours!), we're delighted and honored to publish today the interview we did with The Artist Formerly Known As Laila Biali.
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Last summer, back when family trips were still a thing you could do, our family took a great one – starting with a family event in southern California, there was a day at Disneyland, some Los Angeles sightseeing, and then a Route 66 road trip all the way from San Bernardino to Albuquerque.
But in our family, even a family vacation ends up including some radio – and so while the kids went off to see the Peterson Automotive Museum, your editor took advantage of the chance to meet one of radio's most interesting owners. Saul Levine, now in his nineties, put 105.1 FM on the air in Los Angeles back in 1959 as KBCA and has owned it ever since, now as one of the last independent big-market radio owners in the country.
After expanding his empire over the years with stations as far away as Hawaii and San Francisco, Levine's Mount Wilson Broadcasters is back to his base here in Los Angeles, anchored in an office building hard by the side of the 405 freeway in West LA. (It's visible mostly for the big billboard that advertises Saul's stations to what's usually a packed audience of rush-hour drivers a few yards away.)
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JUNO Award winner Laila Biali's deeply personal new album, Out of Dust features not only contributions from the singer/pianist's husband; Ben Wittman and son, but also multiple GRAMMY nominees and winners including Lisa Fisher, Alan Ferber, John Ellis, and Larnell Lewis. "There's a line from a song by the indie gospel group, Gungor, that has become like an anthem to me," Biali says. "‘He makes beautiful things out of dust.' That's where the title for the album comes from, and as a songwriter and musician, my ultimate intention and hope is to spread a little more love."
Laila Baila's 'Take Me To The Ally' from Out of Dust is the Jazz FM Breakfast Track of the Week for April 6, 2020
Jazz FM had the pleasure to have had the World first exclusive play of Nina Simone's 'Fodder In Her Wings'. The song is taken from an obscure French Nina Simone recording from 1982 and is set to have its full commercial release for the first time - Fodder On my Wings.
Originally recorded for a small French label and only sporadically available since its initial release, Fodder On My Wings will be reissued tomorrow. The original album will be expanded with three bonus tracks from the recording sessions from a rare French reissue released in 1988.
A lesser-known but important part of Simone's musical history, Fodder On My Wings contains deeply personal songs.
At the time she recorded the album, Simone was living in France and extremely lonely; her mental illness was worsening and her family life was fractured. It's out of this despair that one of the many album standouts, the near title track "Fodder In Her Wings," was birthed.
An 'A list' track, Nina Simone - Fodder on My Wings gets 'JazzFM world exclusive' & 'Album of the Week'
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Maybe it's the impact of the movie Harriet; maybe it's all the fine work of artists such as Mavis Staples and Rhiannon Giddens and others who have brought more awareness of old spirituals sung in the fields by slaves, some of which later became rallying songs for the Freedom Rides and the Civil Rights era. Whatever the catalyst, this music seems more present than ever. Pianist Lara Downes delivers these mostly well-known spirituals and freedom songs, some alone on the piano, and others with a diverse cast of guests on Some of These Days.
Some of this music Lara Downes is playing has been with us for centuries. Her interpretations are so precious, that they should continue to extend for centuries to come. It's a masterful recording.
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I first became aware of the Canadian singer/pianist Laila Biali over a decade ago thanks to her version of Joni Mitchell's ‘Woodstock'. It was a terrific performance that swept majestically along with a soaring vocal that completely floored me (it sounds just as good today). If you're not familiar with the artist, she's a classically trained pianist, touring musician with Paula Cole, Sting and Chris Botti, a member of the rather wonderful Rose and The Nightingale, a jazz radio DJ, a self-releasing album artist and the winner of the Best Jazz Vocal category at the 1999 Juno Awards for her eponymous album.
Over the last few years she has had some personal issues to contend with, not least a nasty and debilitating illness brought on by the mould hidden behind the walls of her home studio. Hence her new album's title ‘Out of Dust', and an opportunity to move forward with a positive outlook.
This is a big-sounding album, well produced by Laila Biali and Ben Wittman with great mixes by Tim Abraham. Everyone delivers, from the core musicians and soloists to the backing vocalists and string players. I'd enjoy to see some of this performed live and maybe I'm lucky she'll even play ‘Woodstock' again.
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Even though in-person concerts have been suspended, many talented artists and ensembles are committed to sharing stunning music through the internet. Here's a guide to some upcoming classical livestreams you should add to your calendar!
On Friday, April 3 at 7 pm CT, Pianist Lara Downes launches her new album, Some of These Days, with a Facebook Live performance from her home in Sacramento, California. The album's uplifting content - freedom songs and spirituals - offers hope in this troubled time. Plus, you can make a difference just by tuning in: the e-concert is a fundraiser for hunger relief organization Feeding America.
On Saturday, April 4 at 7:00 pm CT, there's an Artist Relief Virtual Benefit Concert. Classical music stars, including Rachel Barton Pine, J'Nai Bridges, Anthony McGill, and Emanuel Ax, will come together (digitally, that is) for a virtual concert to benefit Artist Relief Tree, a new fund for artists affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Tickets are available for a donation of $5 or more.
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‘Love Letters' marks a different direction for the internationally celebrated artist; it offers a shift in intimacy and content and comes at a pivotal time in her career as she signs to her new record label, Mercury KX.
Milan Records today announces the February 28 release of WENDY (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) with music by award-winning composer, songwriter and producer DAN ROMER and the film's award-winning director BENH ZEITLIN.
Wolfgang Muthspiel, whom The New Yorker has called "a shining light" among today's jazz guitarists, returns to the trio format with Angular Blues, the Austrian's fourth ECM album as a leader, following two acclaimed quintet releases and his trio debut.
World-renowned guitar hero Al Di Meola welcomes a new decade with an ambitious follow-up to his 2013 studio recording All Your Life: A Tribute to the Beatles with a sophomore homage to the Beatles, entitled Across The Universe, due out on earMUSIC on March 13, 2020.
There's an infectious bounce and sparkle to Nelsons' direction that impels the members of the orchestra to produce a sound marked by precise attacks, sharp accents, and punctilious rhythms and dynamics. At once gracious, velvety rich, highly nuanced and energetic, this is one of the best interpretations of the Blue Danube Waltz I've heard in a long time. And one of my all-time favorites, the Light Cavalry Overture by Franz von Suppé (1819-1895) is given a dramatic touch in this riveting account. The brass ensemble work in particular is a thrill to hear. It builds to such a powerfully well-attained coda that even the applause at the end is spectacular. This is a party not to miss, 'cause the music is a rockin'.
The 2020 New Year's Concert - The Vienna Philharmonic and Andris Nelsons
There are few concerts in the world that are awaited with as much excitement as the New Year's Concert from Vienna. Under the direction of Andris Nelsons, the Vienna Philharmonic ushers in the New Year with a concert in the magnificent Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein.
The concert is relayed to over ninety countries all round the world, reaching an audience of more than fifty million.
The 2020 New Year's Concert will be conducted for the first time by the Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons, who first worked with the Vienna Philharmonic in October 2010 and who has been a regular and invariably welcome guest since then, not only at the orchestra's subscription concerts in the Vienna Musikverein and at the Salzburg Festival but also on tours of Asia, the United States and Europe. So far he has appeared more than sixty times on the podium of the Vienna Philharmonic.
There are few concerts in the world that are awaited with as much excitement as the New Year's Concert from Vienna. Under the direction of Christian Thielemann, the Vienna Philharmonic ushers in the New Year with a concert in the magnificent Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein.
The concert is relayed to over ninety countries all round the world, reaching an audience of more than fifty million.
The 2019 New Year's Concert will be conducted for the first time by Christian Thielemann. A native of Berlin, Thielemann has been a regular and welcome guest of the Vienna Philharmonic since 2000, with the result that his first New Year's Concert may be seen as setting an example and providing an appropriate tribute to his previous work with the orchestra. According to the orchestra's chairman, Daniel Froschauer, orchestra and musicians trust each other completely: "The profound musical understanding and trust that have existed from the outset and that have always functioned perfectly have subsequently borne remarkable fruit in the symphonic repertory as well."
Riccardo Muti celebrated his 75th birthday with a program at the 2016 Salzburg Festival featuring two masterworks from the Austro-German tradition that had both been premiered by the Wiener Philharmoniker under the direction of their respective composers: Bruckner's Symphony No.2 and R. Strauss'Orchestral Suite Der Bürger als Edelmann. Alongside lauded pianist Gerhard Oppitz is violinist Rainer Küchl, on the eve of his retirement from the Wiener Philharmoniker following a remarkable 45 years of service.
Few concerts can claim to generate such tremendous international interest as the New Year's Concert from Vienna. Under the baton of the world's leading conductors, the Vienna Philharmonic rings in the New Year with a gala concert from the magnificent setting of the Golden Hall in Vienna's Musikverein. The event is broadcast to over 90 countries all over the world and watched by more than 50 million viewers. In 2018 Riccardo Muti will conduct the prestigious New Year's concert for the 5th time (1993, 1997, 2000 and 2004). Together with Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti is one of the most engaged New Year's Concert conductors since the era of Lorin Maazel. The conductor's close artistic relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra celebrates 47 years, 500 concerts and dates back to 1971. In 2011, this exceptional bond was awarded with the Honorary Membership in the Vienna Philharmonic.
Summer Night Concert 2017: The Vienna Philharmonic with Christoph Eschenbach & Renée Fleming
Sony Classical is proud to announce the release of this year's Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn 2017, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach with soprano Renée Fleming as soloist.
The Summer Night Concert, performed this year on May 25th 2017, is an annual open-air event, which has been held since 2008. The previous series was the "Concert for Europe", which took place from 2004 until 2007. The park of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna/Austria is the magical setting for the concert, which is free of charge for all residents and visitors of the city. The illustrious conductors who have previously led the orchestra at this event are Georges Prêtre, Daniel Barenboim, Franz Welser-Möst, Valery Gergiev, Gustavo Dudamel, Lorin Maazel, Christoph Eschenbach, Zubin Mehta and Semyon Bychkov.