Bowling Green resident and Professor Emeritus at Bowling Green State University Dr. Wallace DePue has garnered another national award, receiving a third place recognition from the American Prize organization for his comic opera "Something Special."
DePue said that what makes "Something Special" one of a kind is that it is the only "barbershopera" in music literature. Moreover, says DePue, "The 50-minute piece is unique in that it is accapella, in the barbershop style. There is no orchestra, just the voices of the four singers."
The American Prize organization is dedicated to the idea that a great deal of excellent music is being made all across the country, in schools, churches, colleges and University. According to their website, these efforts too often go unrecognized. Laureates of the American Prize at all levels of achievement derive local, regional and national recognition to help generate jobs, build audiences and sustain careers.
"Something Special" was first presented in mid-1970s to a packed house at the Masonic Theater. The recording has often been aired on WBGU-TV. It also can be found on Youtube.
In 2014, "Something Special" also won the "Gold Medal" (first prize) in a worldwide competition sponsored by the Boston Metro Opera. There were 625 works, from six continents, submitted.
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A list of the greatest jazz albums released so far this year, as chosen by the BBC Music Magazine critics includes; John Scofield - Swallow Tales, featuring; John Scofield (electric guitar), Steve Swallow (bass guitar), Bill Stewart (drums) ECM 2679
The electric guitarist John Scofield comes full circle with this fine trio release, revisiting original pieces from veteran bass player Steve Swallow's repertoire – accompanied by the composer himself. Scofield first met Swallow when he was a 20-year-old student at Berklee College, and the bassist's beguiling, compact tunes were a training staple there. The pair have collaborated often over the 40 years since. Bill Stewart has long been Scofield's go-to drummer.
The trio's close rapport means they can nail a deeply satisfying session like this in just an afternoon. The pretty, song-like ‘She Was Young' sets the scene, Scofield and Swallow's lines melting into one another, the guitarist eventually diverging with suggestions of rhythm and blues; Stewart's touch is lighter than air, yet he creates an atmosphere that crackles with energy.
The classic ‘Falling Grace' begins all warm toned and lyrical, Swallow walking the bass up and down behind Scofield before artfully breaking time in his solo to lift the temperature. The musical synergy is thrilling. As Scofield succinctly puts it in the CD liner: ‘When we play it's like one big guitar, the bass part and my part together'.
SEE THE BBC Music Magazine PAGE
A list of the greatest jazz albums released so far this year, as chosen by the BBC Music Magazine critics includes; 'Shabaka and the Ancestors: We Are Sent Here by History' featuring Shabaka Hutchings (tenor sax), Mthunzi Mvubu (alto sax), Siyabonga Mthembu (voice), Ariel Zamonsky (bass), Gontse Makhene (percussion), Tumi Mogorosi (drums), Nduduzo Makhathini (piano), Thandi Ntuli (piano), Mandla Mlangeni (trumpet)
Reflecting his both informed and enquiring viewpoint, Shabaka Hutchings fronts several notable groups. This formidable unit, in which he works with a group of South African musicians, is now on its second album that also marks its Impulse! debut. Tagged occasionally offhandedly as anything from ‘Afrobeat' to ‘spiritual' and even ‘old-school' by listeners and pundits while described by its convener as an extension of the African griot tradition of storytelling and the preservation of history, the album blends poetry and chants with driving, drum-driven instrumental statements reminiscent of Steve Coleman, whose early influences Hutchings no doubt shares.
The narrative theme of this set of pieces is literally post- apocalyptic: the End of Days has already happened, so what happens next? It's at this point that we begin to address the extraordinary music itself, which is uncontainable in its energy, gravity and the sense of indefatigable potential that it can't help but generate; perhaps the album's ultimate message lies there, in which case ‘timely' doesn't quite cut it. Irresistible.
SEE THE BBC Music Magazine PAGE
Pianist Keith Jarrett, one of the most important figures in jazz of the last 50 years, has been curiously invisible since his last performance in February 2017 at New York's Carnegie Hall. He has now revealed the reason for his silence in a New York Times interview with Nate Chinen: Jarrett suffered two strokes in 2018 that have likely permanently derailed his ability to perform in public.
Jarrett, 75, told Chinen that since being afflicted by the strokes in February and May of 2018, he is partially paralyzed on his left side. The second stroke resulted in a 10-month stay in a nursing facility. Jarrett has since relearned to walk with a cane but has only occasionally attempted to play the piano; in a recent attempt, he discovered that he had forgotten some staple tunes of the bebop repertoire.
"I can only play with my right hand, and it's not convincing me anymore," Jarrett told Chinen. "I don't know what my future is supposed to be, [but] I don't feel right now like I'm a pianist."
Chinen also conducted the most recent JazzTimes interview with Jarrett, in 2017. At that time, the pianist discussed a late-1990s struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome that had nearly destroyed his career. "I just found myself too tired to do anything I normally do. I thought I was dying," he said. "I didn't know if I'd play again." In that case, Jarrett recovered sufficiently to launch a renaissance in 1999.
Jarrett's newest release, the forthcoming Budapest Concert, documents a solo performance from his 2016 European tour. It will be released October 30 on ECM Records. Keith Jarrett (photo: Woong Chul An)
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GRAMMY® Award-winning pianist/composer Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra released their latest recording, Four Questions (ZOHO Music), earlier this year. Featuring special guest Dr. Cornel West on the title composition "Four Questions," the recording marks O'Farrill's first album in his famed recording catalog to exclusively include all originally written compositions. Weaving together empowering messages for the times, Four Questions portrays the pioneering pianist as outspoken as ever on the obligation of artists to speak truth to the great injustices occurring across the globe.
O'Farrill discussed the album with Maui - Hawaii's 91.7 Mana'O Radio. Listen to the attached interview
What a pick-me-up this album is. Released as the days darken, literally and metaphorically, it's a real joy – a transport of delight to dappled squares in Paris or Lisbon, or a street party in Rio. Sunset in the Blue is billed as "an orchestral celebration of Melody Gardot's jazz roots" but the abiding sound that remains in the mind's ear after the album's finished is that of a jazz guitar, played with a bossa nova rhythm.
This is Gardot's fifth album in twelve years, a mix of standards and originals in which her voice is close-miked and properly out front in the mix.
Most of the set was recorded pre-lockdown in LA's famed Capitol Records Studios with a creative team that included Larry Klein and Vince Mendoza, trumpeter Till Bronner and guitarist Anthony Wilson among the players. "From Paris With Love" features some forty musicians from around the world who answered Gardot's call, made on 1 May, International Jazz Day, for a virtual orchestra to play away the lockdown blues. All were paid according to union scale and the result is musically rewarding – shout-outs to the pianist and solo fiddler. "Ave" finds Gardot born aloft above orchestral cross-rhythms, while "Moon River" takes us back to the Audrey Hepburn original, a lazy arch-top guitar with strings and percussion in the background. Gardot's vocal is of course not tentative – she is no Holly Golightly after all! "Fall in Love too Easily" is really rather exquisite. The physical album contains a bonus track, "Little Something", a duet with Sting.
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With the abundance of jazz and blues that slides into my mailbox every week, it's sometimes easy to forget the bustling and beautiful American piano that much of our musical heritage comes from. Don't let words like "heritage" discourage you from diving deep into her boundless piano energy… her performance of Harry Thacker Burleigh's 5:07 "Troubled Water" (based on "Wade In The Water") is full-bodied and moving… this is one of the tunes I believe will be getting some HUGE amounts of airplay on all types of stations around the globe!
I'll tell you right now, you've never heard a more invigorating performance of "Down By the Riverside" than Jeni gives you… she presents some very unique stylings with her keyboard, too.
Of the eighteen enchanting songs presented, I found the 6:40 opener, "Deep River", to be my choice for personal favorite… Jeni's piano covers all the bases… jazz, blues and even Tchaikovsky in one stunning performance of Margaret Bonds beautiful song!
I give Jeni a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, with an "EQ" (energy quotient) score of 4.98. Get more information on the Zoho Music page for the release. Rotcod Zzaj
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WaterTower Music is pleased to announce today's release of the 62-track Lovecraft Country (Soundtrack from the HBO® Original Series), featuring music from the first season of Lovecraft Country, which airs on HBO/ HBO Max, and is Based on Matt Ruff 's novel of the same name.
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.
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.
READ THE TRANSCRIPT - "We like to open doors," explains Paul Smith of the British vocal ensemble Voces 8. "This idea that we might find someone who loves Tallis but hasn't heard of Massive Attack, or loves Massive Attack and hasn't heard of Tallis - actually, if we can just open people's minds to the wide array of music that exists in the world. We're a group with eclectic tastes. We like to include those tastes but also really share them and encourage people to broaden their horizons."
When Voces8 began to compile pieces for their latest recording, Lux, Paul's brother Barney says it made sense to consult with ClassicFM, the largest commercial classical radio station in the U.K. "For us as a group to get our music heard, we want to give people what they want to listen to," Barney says. "Getting in touch with a radio station that caters to the needs of a wide market is quite important for us. They have so much feedback on all the tracks they play that we wanted to get their input, to make sure that we were singing music that people really wanted to listen to."
The end result is a rollercoaster adventure spanning four centuries of choral arrangements from the Renaissance to 21st-century popular music. Barney explains the concept behind this new release. "We call this recording Lux," he says. "Many people associate choral singing and the sound of a choir with radiance. The image on the front cover portrays that well. It's a wonderful shot of the sun shining bright into the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern in London. And I think for me, that's a fantastic image that I have in my head when I hear a glorious choir singing. So with that theme of light we wanted to choose music that was glorifying and uplifting. And so that's 'how we settled on Lux.
"From there, we looked for great texts, great melodies and built a playlist which we are really, really proud of," Barney continues. "One of the most interesting things is the track by Eriks Esenvalds called 'Stars,' where this luminous effect is created by the harmonics of water glasses. And they create this beautiful halo under which we sing some beautiful music. So the theme of light is very important, and I think a great way to demonstrate the choral sound."
According to soprano Emily Dickens, it took a village to record this piece. "We needed to get hold of about 16 glass players for this," she says. "We decided we'd ask our family and friends. We got to the church and Barney tuned the glasses to a pitchpipe, he was immaculate. We had my sister, Barney's family, Chris's wife, and they all sat down and played glasses to Barney's conducting and us singing - an experience we've never had before. We've only recorded with just us or a professional orchestra, and these were just amateur musicians - or not musicians at all - who just enjoyed being a part of the process."
Paul agrees it was pretty special. "Actually," he says, "on Facebook when the album went to No. 2 on U.K. charts, I saw Emily's sister send a post saying, 'I'm delighted to get my first classical number No. 2. My sister's on the album, too'."
Voces8 Paul Stuart / Decca - Emily recalls another memorable moment during the making of this new CD. "Recording 'The Luckiest' by American singer-songwriter Ben Folds - that was really special," she says. "It was something the group already knew before I joined, and I learned really for the first time in the last couple of years. Bringing it into a recording setting, where you have to learn it inside out and really get into the music, was brilliant. We've been performing it in America. It's one of the audience's favorite pieces over here - they really love it."
"And actually, we had some good friends come over from the U.S. to spend time with us at the Gresham Center," Paul adds. "They were celebrating their 20th anniversary and wanted to renew their vows. So as a special gift to them, we had them join us. As they spoke their vows to each other, the only people in attendance were the eight of us and we sang 'The Luckiest' to them afterwards, and there was not a dry eye in the house. And we were with them again on this tour. When we performed, we dedicated the song to them. It's one of the hardest emotional things - to avoid crying on stage."
Lux opens with "Ubi Caritas" by Norwegian-born composer Ola Gjeilo, who next year will be the composer in residence for Voces8. Barney explains that this recording actually opens and closes with this beautiful sacred text, which speaks of goodness and love.
"It's a personal favorite text of mine," Barney says. "I was reading a magazine the other day where the writer was saying that he feels the text 'Ubi Caritas' always brings out the best in choirs, the best in their singing. Well, I often feel it brings out the best in composers. We have two fantastic settings on the CD to open and close. The first by Ola Gjeilo. The second by Paul Mealor, who shot to fame in 2011 when that setting was sung at the wedding of William and Kate.
"The thing I love about it - it carries our message at the ethos of our group because our education work is very, very important to us. We feel extremely fortunate to have had such a fantastic opportunity both as individuals and as a group. And we'd like to give that opportunity back and to inspire other people to be creative, to use their voices, to express themselves. The text of the 'Ubi Caritas' sums that up - it's an important text to the group so it was nice to be able to open and close with it."
Great texts and great melodies make up a radiant collection of choral pieces, all of which make for a very satisfying listening experience on Lux with Voces8.
Enter for a chance to win a copy of this CD. This week on New Classical Tracks, you can enter for a chance to win a copy of Voces8's Lux CD. Winners will be drawn at random. Be sure to enter by midnight CDT on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.
The British vocal ensemble VOCES8 is proud to inspire people through music and share the joy of singing. Touring globally, the group performs an extensive repertory both in its a cappella concerts and in collaborations with leading orchestras, conductors and soloists. Versatility and a celebration of diverse musical expression are central to the ensemble's performance and education ethos.
Voces8 releases Enchanted Isle, a new album of music reminiscent of rolling hills, green valleys, rugged mountainsides, and sleepy villages. Enchanted Isle features reimagined pieces originally written for film or television (such as Lord of the Ringsand Game of Thrones), new arrangements of Scottish and Irish melodies, and compositions set to texts by great English poets.
Breaking typical expectations of a seasonal album, Voces8's new release Winter paints a portrait of the season through a sparse and powerful aural landscape, invoking a meditative, inspiring feeling of solitude and unity. The album includes four world premiere recordings, notably "Winter," written exclusively for the album by award-winning composer Rebecca Dale.
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British a cappella octet VOCES8 releases their second album for Decca/Universal Music Classics, Lux, available January 27, 2015. The recording features a selection of pieces spanning over 400 years: from Thomas Tallis and Gregorio Allegri to Massive Attack (Teardrop) and Ben Folds (The Luckiest - which appeared on the soundtrack for Richard Curtis's film About Time). The album title ‘Lux' refers to the Latin word ‘light,' which has inspired composers throughout history with the meaning of hope, banishing darkness, and nurturing both the body and the spirit. Voces8's celestial performances on the album prove how few can better evoke the power of light in all its physical, spiritual and mystical guises than the timeless sound of a choir. In addition to the soothing sound of unaccompanied voices blended in harmony, several tracks feature additions of saxophone, cello, harp and water glasses.
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One of Britain's most exciting and versatile vocal ensembles, VOCES8, makes their debut on Decca/Universal Music Classics with the release of Eventide. VOCES8 features eight young singers who form one perfect sound while adding a contemporary edge on their new album with original arrangements from plainchant to Paul Mealor and from Saving Private Ryan to Emeli Sandé. Eventide showcases the ensemble's perfectly-blended voices interwoven with haunting melodies for solo cello, harp and saxophone and provides an immersive sonic experience which will soothe, beguile and inspire. Evoking the spirit of Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble, VOCES8 and saxophonist Christian Forshaw create their own captivating sound world with arrangements of the ancient Latin hymn Te lucis ante terminum and Tallis's setting of the same text.
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