Deutsche Grammophon releases Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic's performances of the complete Charles Ives symphony cycle. Called "a revelation" by the Los Angeles Times, the rarely heard symphony cycle was recorded in early 2020 as part of the LA Phil's Dvořák and Ives festival.
THE CLASSIC REVIEW's David A. McConnell writes.....Dudamel, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and DG deserve our warmest thanks for releasing new recordings of these endlessly fascinating works. The label "Complete Symphonies" is misleading however, since the "New England Holidays" Symphony is not included. Given the excellence of these performances, I hope Dudamel and Los Angeles turn their attention to that work in the future. Nevertheless, it is fantastic that one of America's finest orchestras has recorded this repertoire.
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FanFare's Henry Fogel writes.....Gregoriadou is a Greek guitarist who draws a remarkably wide range of color from her guitar. The calm beauty of the third movement of the Bach violin sonata, simply marked Andante, is followed by a brilliantly executed final Allegro that manages to wed crisp articulation with lyrical flow.
Britten's Nocturnal after John Dowland, written for Julian Bream, is given a superb reading. The music is a set of variations that appear before the Dowland theme itself emerges at the end. Britten said that the music contained "disturbing images," though he never specified what they were. This is unsettled music that seems to stop and start, building tension in its halting, quiet way. Release, at least to a degree, is found at the end with Dowland's original theme. Gregoriadou's performance emphasizes the work's underlying tension without overplaying it.
Sofia Gubaidulina's Serenade was composed in 1960 when the composer was 29, and is a gentler and more introspective work than we are used to from her. At three minutes, it is also very brief. Not unlike the Britten, the music is tonally ambiguous until resolving in what Gregoriadou, in her excellent notes, calls "a therapeutic G major chord."
Jacques Hétu was a Canadian composer (1938–2010) who wrote his Suite pour guitare in 1986. It is predominantly a lyrical work, much of it at soft dynamics. The third movement, "Ballade," is marked by an underlying darkness that is relieved in the following "Rêverie." After these two quiet movements the work ends with a brilliant finale, in the style of a moto perpetuo.
What is special about this recording is Gregoriadou's focus on timbre. Her technique is exceptional, but it is always at the service of creating a sound world with a wide spectrum. Her dynamic shading in the last movement of the Hétu is astonishing, and it is so effortlessly achieved that you don't think about technique as you listen. I don't think of Gregoriadou as a guitarist. I think of her as a musician who happens to play the guitar. This is a very beautiful guitar recital, with recorded sound that makes it seem as if you are in the room with Gregoriadou, and at just the right distance for the best perspective.
HAPPY's Rian Howlett writes.....2020 was an incredible year for gaming for a few reasons. A lot of free time went around the place, imminent next-gen releases pushed everyone into a gaming frenzy, and Keanu Reeves called another man, and all of us, breathtaking. And just like the titles they represent, the video game soundtracks released in 2020 were top notch.
We trawled back through the year that was to single out who we thought brought true heat to the musical table. For the most part, these OSTs are albums you can listen to in their own right, some of them however just complemented the game so perfectly that now it's hard to think of one without the other.
From electrically charged thrash metal to spine-tingling orchestral scores, HAPPY picks the 10 best video game soundtracks of 2020. On the list is Gustavo Santaolalla - The Last Of Us Part 2.
Gustavo Santaolalla has stood as the invisible third piece of the Joel and Ellie puzzle for as long as we've known them. The guitar in the original TLOU was a sparse, exquisite affair. Barely noticeable builds, and almost entirely acoustic. It was haunting and instantly recognisable.
With all of the weapons of the contemporary music producer at his arsenal, he brought a much bigger world for our ears to play in. While absolutely different to the original, there wasn't anything lost through the shift in the music from part one to two. The Last Of Us Part 2's soundtrack is a gorgeous, expansive experience that complemented the jump from adolescence to adulthood that Ellie makes between the games.
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99.5CRB - Boston - CHRIS VOSS writes.......When I asked Israeli mandolinist Avi Avital about his newest album and how it differed from his previous mandolin albums, he answered me with a wry, winking smile: "I don't have other mandolin albums."
Which is true enough.
Avital's past albums - like the 2012 Bach album or the 2015 Vivaldi album - have mostly included pieces composed for other instruments, like the keyboard, violin, or guitar, in arrangements for mandolin. The mandolin was not the focus. As he puts it, those albums featured works that he enjoys playing "because it's beautiful music." To this day, that he plays the mandolin is simply "is a technical fact."
But with Art of the Mandolin, music written for his instrument takes center stage.
In our discussion we explore the ins and outs of the instrument, talk about how composers's social perception of the mandolin shaped how they wrote for it, hear a work that was assumed to be for keyboard but simply makes more sense played on mandolin, and chat about Avital's passion for expanding the repertoire for his instrument through frequent commissioned works.
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Welcome to a new edition of the Neon Jazz interview series with Jazz Composer & Pianist Sarah Mckenzie. When the corona virus hit in early March., she was just on tour in France and all her shows got cancelled. At the same time the US government implemented a travel ban for everyone who was traveling from the Schengen territory so Sarah was unable to return to her home in Los Angeles immediately. ‘In order not to get stuck during lockdown in a big city – she rented an old school house in the very South of England, in Hastings at the English Channel coast. It was a very romantic place from the 17th century. They had planned to stay for two weeks, in the end it was 3 1/2 months. She explains was ensured .. Enjoy ..
Neon Jazz is a radio program airing since 2011. Hosted by Joe Dimino and Engineered by John Christopher in Kansas City, Missouri giving listeners a journey into one of America's finest inventions. Take a listen on KCXL (102.9 FM / 1140 AM) out of Liberty, MO. Listen to KCXL on Tunein Radio at http://tunein.com/radio/Neon-Jazz-Wit.... You can now catch Neon Jazz on KOJH 104.7 FM out of the Mutual Musicians Foundation from Noon - 1 p.m. CST Monday-Friday at https://www.kojhfm.org/. Check us out at All About Jazz @ https://kansascity.jazznearyou.com/ne.... For all things Neon Jazz, visit http://theneonjazz.blogspot.com/
lab.fm writes....Saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom and bassist Mark Helias have released Some Kind of Tomorrow, an improvised duo album they worked on during coronavirus lockdown.
Bloom (soprano saxophone) and Helias (double bass) worked on the 11-track record together over the course of 2020, collaborating remotely online. The two recorded simultaneously in their respective homes and combined the tracks together in post-production, Helias explained in a Facebook post. "The first time that Jane and I improvised together through Wi-Fi sometime in April or May 2020 was a very high experience on so many levels," he said in a statement.
"We were sorting out the possibilities of making music remotely and assessing the technology and our relation to it. Once we made peace with the situation and the medium, listening, feeling, hearing and responding was the same as it ever was."
Bloom added, "There is a vibration between us that's uncanny given the circumstances and a deep need to play what was real to us just then. It's as real as it gets for two musicians who needed to create music together to try to find some way to mend the world."
Listen to the adventurous title track and purchase Some Kind of Tomorrow in its entirety via Helias' Bandcamp below.
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Michael Bonner writes.......This month's Uncut contains a rare interview with Sonny Rollins – the last of the true jazz titans, whose music Dylan once described as "big league sound, covering all bases". John Lewis's superb interview reads like history unfolding, as Rollins takes us through his memories of some of the 20th century's most profound musical and cultural revolutions, including jazz, the civil rights movement and more. I'm thrilled.
Theodore Walter Rollins was born on September 7, 1930 in New York City. He grew up in Harlem not far from the Savoy Ballroom, the Apollo Theatre, and the doorstep of his idol, Coleman Hawkins. After early discovery of Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong, he started out on alto saxophone, inspired by Louis Jordan. At the age of sixteen, he switched to tenor, trying to emulate Hawkins. He also fell under the spell of the musical revolution that surrounded him, Bebop.
He began to follow Charlie Parker, and soon came under the wing of Thelonious Monk, who became his musical mentor and guru. Living in Sugar Hill, his neighborhood musical peers included Jackie McLean, Kenny Drew and Art Taylor, but it was young Sonny who was first out of the pack, working and recording with Babs Gonzales, J.J. Johnson, Bud Powell and Miles Davis before he turned twenty.
In 1956, Sonny began recording the first of a series of landmark recordings issued under his own name: Valse Hot introduced the practice, now common, of playing bop in 3/4 meter; St. Thomasinitiated his explorations of calypso patterns; and Blue 7 was hailed by Gunther Schuller as demonstrating a new manner of "thematic improvisation," in which the soloist develops motifs extracted from his theme. Way Out West (1957), Rollins's first album using a trio of saxophone, double bass, and drums, offered a solution to his longstanding difficulties with incompatible pianists, and exemplified his witty ability to improvise on hackneyed material (Wagon Wheels, I'm an Old Cowhand). It Could Happen to You (also 1957) was the first in a long series of unaccompanied solo recordings, and The Freedom Suite (1958) foreshadowed the political stances taken in jazz in the 1960s. During the years 1956 to 1958 Rollins was widely regarded as the most talented and innovative tenor saxophonist in jazz.
Sonny remembers that he took his leave of absence from the scene because "I was getting very famous at the time and I felt I needed to brush up on various aspects of my craft. I felt I was getting too much, too soon, so I said, wait a minute, I'm going to do it my way. I wasn't going to let people push me out there, so I could fall down. I wanted to get myself together, on my own. I used to practice on the Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge because I was living on the Lower East Side at the time."
When he returned to action in early `62, his first recording was appropriately titled The Bridge. By the mid 60′s, his live sets became grand, marathon stream-of-consciousness solos where he would call forth melodies from his encyclopedic knowledge of popular songs, including startling segues and sometimes barely visiting one theme before surging into dazzling variations upon the next. Rollins was brilliant, yet restless. The period between 1962 and `66 saw him returning to action and striking productive relationships with Jim Hall, Don Cherry, Paul Bley, and his idol Hawkins, yet he grew dissatisfied with the music business once again and started yet another sabbatical in `66. "I was getting into eastern religions," he remembers. "I've always been my own man. I've always done, tried to do, what I wanted to do for myself. So these are things I wanted to do. I wanted to go on the Bridge. I wanted to get into religion. But also, the Jazz music business is always bad. It's never good. So that led me to stop playing in public for a while, again. During the second sabbatical, I worked in Japan a little bit, and went to India after that and spent a lot of time in a monastery. I resurfaced in the early 70s, and made my first record in `72. I took some time off to get myself together and I think it's a good thing for anybody to do."
In 1972, with the encouragement and support of his wife Lucille, who had become his business manager, Rollins returned to performing and recording, signing with Milestone and releasing Next Album. (Working at first with Orrin Keepnews, Sonny was by the early '80s producing his own Milestone sessions with Lucille.) His lengthy association with the Berkeley-based label produced two dozen albums in various settings – from his working groups to all-star ensembles (Tommy Flanagan, Jack DeJohnette, Stanley Clarke, Tony Williams); from a solo recital to tour recordings with the Milestone Jazzstars (Ron Carter, McCoy Tyner); in the studio and on the concert stage (Montreux, San Francisco, New York, Boston). Sonny was also the subject of a mid-'80s documentary by Robert Mugge entitled Saxophone Colossus; part of its soundtrack is available as G-Man.
He won his first performance Grammy for This Is What I Do (2000), and his second for 2004's Without a Song (The 9/11 Concert), in the Best Jazz Instrumental Solo category (for "Why Was I Born"). In addition, Sonny received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2004.
In June 2006 Rollins was inducted into the Academy of Achievement – and gave a solo performance – at the International Achievement Summit in Los Angeles. The event was hosted by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and attended by world leaders as well as distinguished figures in the arts and sciences.
Rollins was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class, in November 2009. The award is one of Austria's highest honors, given to leading international figures for distinguished achievements. The only other American artists who have received this recognition are Frank Sinatra and Jessye Norman.
In 2010 on the eve of his 80th birthday, Sonny Rollins is one of 229 leaders in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, business, and public affairs who have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A center for independent policy research, the Academy is among the nation's oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and celebrates the 230th anniversary of its founding this year.
In August 2010, Rollins was named the Edward MacDowell Medalist, the first jazz composer to be so honored. The Medal has been awarded annually since 1960 to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to his or her field.
Yet another major award was bestowed on Rollins on March 2, 2011, when he received the Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony. Rollins accepted the award, the nation's highest honor for artistic excellence, "on behalf of the gods of our music."
Since 2006, Rollins has been releasing his music on his own label, Doxy Records. The first Doxy album was Sonny, Please, Rollins's first studio recording since This Is What I Do. That was followed by the acclaimed Road Shows, vol. 1 (2008), the first in a planned series of recordings from Rollins's audio archives.
Mr. Rollins released Road Shows, vol. 2 in the fall of 2011. In addition to material recorded in Sapporo and Tokyo, Japan during an October 2010 tour, the recording contains several tracks from Sonny's September 2010 80th birthday concert in New York-including the historic and electrifying encounter with Ornette Coleman.
On December 3, 2011 Sonny Rollins was one of five 2011 Kennedy Center honorees, alongside actress Meryl Streep, singer Barbara Cook, singer/songwriter Neil Diamond and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Rollins said of the honor, "I am deeply appreciative of this great honor. In honoring me, the Kennedy Center honors jazz, America's classical music. For that, I am very grateful."
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"The London-based trio The Comet Is Coming-made up of the saxophonist King Shabaka, the percussionist Betamax, and the keyboardist Danalogue-thrusts empyrean jazz into an apocalyptic future, where raucous psych rock and danceable electro-grooves ride lush tenor lines to outer space.
Sony Music Masterworks today announces the release of THE PROM (MUSIC FROM THE NETFLIX FILM), an album of music from the forthcoming Netflix film directed by Ryan Murphy and based on the hit Broadway musical from Bob Martin, Chad Beguelin, and Matthew Sklar.
Lara Downes - A Billie Holiday Songbook / WQXR: Album Of the Week
Posted: April 5, 2015 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
Few classically-trained pianists have successfully straddled the jazz-classical divide while keeping fans of both genres at least reasonably satisfied. André Previn is one. Of a younger generation, Kirill Gerstein shows similar promise. Lara Downes makes a convincing case in a new tribute album to Billie Holiday, the legendary singer who was born 100 years ago this Tuesday, April 7, with 22 tunes that the singer made famous.
While the jazz community has shown a particular interest in the Holiday centennial, Downes brings a different perspective through arrangements by Jed Distler. She doesn't attempt to hide her classical roots, making full use of the rich tone and colors of her Steinway in ballads including "Lover Man," "I Wished on the Moon," and "I'll Be Seeing You." There are a couple of swinging numbers too, plus an elegantly bluesy rendition of "God Bless the Child" and a bittersweet take on "I Cover The Waterfront."
On March 1, 2019, American pianist Lara Downes releases her new album, Holes in the Sky, on Portrait, an imprint of the Sony Music Masterworks label.
Holes in the Sky is a genre-fluid collection of music written and performed by today's leading female artists, celebrating the contributions of phenomenal women to the past, present, and future of American music.
The music of Holes in the Sky tells the story of what women and girls can contribute to the world when they are given a chance - their dreams can make holes in the sky. Lara collaborates with an extraordinary multi-generational group of female guest artists on this album, including the iconic singer / songwriter Judy Collins, boundary-breaking violinist Rachel Barton Pine, pianist Simone Dinnerstein, fast-rising cellist Ifetayo Ali-Landing, and the urban youth vocal ensemble Musicality.
The album is presented in direct support of PLAN International Because I Am A Girl, bolstering the rights and empowerment of girls and young women around the globe; Women's Empowerment in Sacramento, ending homelessness one woman - and one family - at a time; the Downtown Women's Center in Los Angeles, a permanent and supportive housing and healthcare provider for women; Girls on the Run in Spokane, teaching life skills through fun, engaging lessons that celebrate the joy of movement; and the Lower East Side Girls Club, breaking the cycle of poverty by training the next generation of ethical, entrepreneurial, and environmental leaders.
Lara Downes' new album For Lenny celebrates the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein with a special friends-and-family tribute to the man behind the music. The recording features Bernstein's aptly-named Anniversaries for Piano, new arrangements of his songs, and world premieres of works dedicated to Bernstein by leading American composers including Stephen Sondheim, John Corigliano, and Stephen Schwartz. The album is introduced by an essay from acclaimed writer Adam Gopnik.
Pianist Lara Downes releases a solo album, America Again, worldwide on Sono Luminus on October 28, 2016. The album's title is taken from Langston Hughes' poem, Let America Be America Again, written in 1938. America Again features twenty pieces selected by Downes that explore the elusive but essential American dream, written by composers including Duke Ellington, Lou Harrison, Morton Gould, Amy Beach, George Gershwin, Angélica Negrón, Dan Visconti, Leonard Bernstein, Scott Joplin, Irving Berlin, Florence Price, Aaron Copland, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and more.
26 NEW 67 TOTAL
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In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Billie Holiday's birth, Lara Downes releases: A Billie Holiday Songbook on Steinway & Sons Records, A personal tribute to this sensitive, timeless icon of American music.Radiant. Intimate.
Lara Downes grew up listening to Holiday's recordings with her father, born and raised in Harlem. Trained in the conservatories of San Francisco, Paris, Vienna and New York, Downes acknowledges that Holiday's singing has been a lifelong influence. "As a musician, I learned from Billie Holiday to make something completely personal when you make music," she says. "something that is completely your own - maybe something unexpected, something indefinable, perhaps complicated, but beautiful. To take a chance. As the song says: "But beautiful to take a chance, and if you fall, you fall. And I'm thinking I wouldn't mind at all."
20 NEW 49 Total
SYND: PRI/Classical 24 Direct: Music Choice Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Houston, Austin, St. Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans, Madison WI, Canada Online: Taintradio, Classical Candor, AXS, Party934
In June of 1955, Glenn Gould made his groundbreaking recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations for Columbia Records, rescuing the Goldbergs from obscurity in one of the most significant classical recordings of a generation. Critically acclaimed pianist Lara Downes will be breaking ground of her own when Tritone Records releases her new CD 13 WAYS of Looking at the Goldberg, a fascinating new take on Bach's masterpiece. In an extraordinary coincidence of fate and timing, Lara's recording of her new Goldberg project took place over the same four days in June as Gould's historic 1955 sessions.
11 New 'ON' this week: 93 Total
Synd: NPR/Sunday Baroque, The Romantic Hours, PRI/Classical 24, Harmonia, Galaxy
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Pianist Lara Downes is known for her fusing of rare pianistic sensitivity and evocative, thought-provoking concepts. Her latest album, Exiles' Café-released on the Steinway & Sons label  -- is the result of a moment of inspiration after hearing a lovely little piece entitled Tango from the Exiles' Café. Downes fantasized about this café and created a narrative around it, which she describes as "both real and metaphorical." This album captures the pain, nostalgia, and freedom that are indelibly tied to this state of being-in exile. Featuring miniature works by composers such as Chopin, Milhaud, Bartok, Weill, and including a premiere work by Mohammed Fairouz, Exiles' Café goes beyond an examination of what is to be in exile, to consider the inspiration exiled composers drew from the musical communities they found in their new homes. Because in this sense, the exiles cafes were actual places – there were indeed such locations throughout history to which composers and musicians gravitated and found each other, and they and their music were influenced accordingly.
17 New 'ON' 183 Total
SYND: PRI/Classical 24, The Romantic Hours Direct: SiriusXM, Music Choice, MOOD, Spafax Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Dallas, Houston, Cleveland, Atlanta, St. Louis, Seattle, Minneapolis, Portland, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Denver, New Orleans, San Antonio, Memphis, Columbus OH, Buffalo, Louisville, Madison WI, Honolulu Online: Taintradio, RadioIO, WGOE