WFMT: Chicago 's Candice Agree writes....From the age of 3, CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe toiled at a keyboard-not in typing, as unintended preparation for his 13 years at the Washington Post, but in studying classical piano in Delmar, a suburb of Albany, NY. Although he loved playing, his interest in current events and politics pulled him into a journalism career. No stranger to Chicago, in 2008, O'Keefe was in Grant Park the night that Barack Obama was elected president. O'Keefe, 37, is about to become a fixture in the White House press room, as he will cover the Biden administration for the TV network he joined in 2018. But he has never left his first passion far behind. He shared some musical memories with us before taking on his new assignment at CBS News as Senior White House & Political Correspondent. Photo courtesy CBS News)
READ Candice Agree's Q&A with Ed O'Keefe.
Jane Ira Bloom, Mark Helias 'Some Kind Of Tomorrow' was Reviewed by JAZZ VIEWS Sammy Stein, who wrote........
Saxophone player Jane Ira Bloom and bass player Mark Helias are long-time collaborators. This album was born out of the need to create music in such a unique time where live audiences and in-person studio recordings were impossible. Recorded remotely from their homes, the music stands as a departure from any kind of release they have done together as all tracks are completely improvised. The resulting sound is raw, intimate, and fearless.
I asked Jane Ira Bloom about the recording, and she explained, " Given how we had to make this made Mark and I rely on the most basic aspect of our collaborative impulse – our two sets of ears. Mark and I have known one another for over 40 years. We first met in New Haven CT in the 1970s, and when you think about it, you build up so much shared vocabulary when you've played with someone over such a long time.
We really didn't plan this recording. It happened because we needed to improvise with one another and so the music emerged from a different place than normal when you plan a recording project."
READ THE FULL JAZZ VIEWS REVIEW
An ensemble that attracts rave reviews and sell-out crowds at prestigious venues everywhere from Vienna to New York, the sensational Signum Saxophone Quartet presents their first Deutsche Grammophon album. Featuring inventive arrangements of music by composers from Dowland to Peter Gregson, as well as Guillermo Lago's Sarajevo, a saxophone quartet original, Echoes showcases the full potential of the saxophone – a modern instrument more than capable of capturing the echoes of the past.
For January 19, 2021, the Signum Saxophone Quartet: Echoes is the WFMT: Chicago 'Featured New Release.'
"the Monet of the classical guitar" Sharon Isbin, returns to Montana Public Radio's - Musician's Spotlight to talk technique, collaboration and guitar diplomacy with host John Floridis. Isbin's accomplishments involve big numbers: she has recorded more than 30 albums, premiered 80 new works by composers like John Corigliano, Joseph Schwantner and Lukas Foss, performed as a soloist with over 200 orchestras around the world, appeared on numerous television and radio programs, hit #2 on Billboard, and won dozens of prestigious honors and awards. Montana Public Radio's Musician's Spotlight will Broadcast this segment on Tuesday 1/19/2021.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE & LISTEN
TFOV Founder - Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck writes.....RE-INVENTIONS takes talent and a lot of courage to take world-renowned and treasured classical pieces by the masters and rework them into your vision. After hearing this album, I think you will agree that Robin should put the crown on her head because she proves why she is piano music royalty.
The 2 LP set is a beautiful translucent smokey marble with three sides of music. The sound for instrumental piano is exceptional. I would think most instrumental music is well suited for the vinyl format. Of course, when you have an equally exceptional musician such as Robin Spielberg performing, the sound is that much more beautiful and defined.
Robin Spielberg has poured her heart and soul into this music, which becomes apparent quite readily. Track after track you have the opportunity to revisit classic compositions and the old blended with the new reborn into several variations. The color, ambiance, and heavenly beauty of this music is brilliantly performed. I can guarantee if you appreciate piano solo music, you will fall in love with RE-INVENTIONS. I know it did not take me long!
READ THE FULL Final on Vinyl REVIEW
THE Violin Channel writes......The United States Marine Band commissioned American composer Peter Boyer for special fanfare at Biden/Harris Inauguration, to be performed at the U.S. Capitol on January 20th, 2021. Boyer's new work, "Fanfare for Tomorrow," will be performed as part of the one hour prelude music of the inauguration, conducted by Colonel Jason K. Fettig., the Marine Band's Director.
The piece was originally for solo French horn, was commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra. Boyer significantly expanded and developed it for a full concert band for this inaugural commission.
The United States Marine Band, the "The President's Own," is America's oldest continuously active musical organization. It is said that debuted in 1801 for Thomas Jefferson's inauguration. "I had just over a week to compose and orchestrate the piece," Boyer said. "Col. Jason Fettig had cautioned me about writing too high for the brass, due to the very cold conditions in which the piece would be performed outdoors. I had just a few hours to create and deliver this lower key version of the piece to the Marine Band. Happily, It seems to have worked out well!"
READ THE FULL Violin Channel ARTICLE
Hollywood Soapbox - John Soltes writes......Arturo O'Farrill, who heads The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, has always brought the real world into his musical compositions, and that's especially true of his latest release, Four Questions, featuring well-known academic Dr. Cornel West. The album was met with acclaim in 2020 and received a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album.
The title of the album is pulled from the original composition featuring West on the album. The 16-minute piece pairs the academic's voice with the measured musical musings of the orchestra. Surrounding this central tune are other songs that speak to the versatility of O'Farrill's creative output, including "Baby Jack," "Jazz Twins," "Clump, Unclump" and the "A Still, Small Voice" series.
"What happened was I had been very interested in Dr. West's speaking for many, many years," O'Farrill said in a recent phone interview. "You can't help but be aware of Dr. West, and periodically he would come to a show. And I'd see him in the audience."
READ THE FULL Hollywood Soapbox ARTICLE
An ensemble that attracts rave reviews and sell-out crowds at prestigious venues everywhere from Vienna to New York, the sensational SIGNUM saxophone quartet are now set to present their first Deutsche Grammophon album.
"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.
Celebrating thirty years of friendship and collaboration in concerts and recordings, Ma and Stott share pieces they have frequently performed but have never recorded. In the interview, they reflect on the journey of this project, and on the journey called life.
Backstory - The first time Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott met, it was completely by accident. In the summer of 1978, Yo-Yo and his wife Jill sublet a London flat, but to their surprise someone else was living there. That someone was Kathryn Stott. Returning home after a holiday, the pianist, also unaware of her new roommates, walked in to her living room to discover Yo-Yo practicing his cello. Happily everything sorted itself out and six years later what started as an accidental meeting turned into a wonderful 30-year collaboration as recital partners. Aging gracefully together through the years with a collective musical curiosity, the duo has a managed to create a remarkable unforced intimacy of playing that unites both of their instruments into a singular voice.
Touring regularly throughout Europe, the USA, South America and the Far East, Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott have recorded three albums for Sony Classical – the 1999 - Grammy Award winning Soul of the Tango which explored the music of Astor Piazzolla, the 2004 recording - Obrigado Brazil, which fuses diverse styles into a cohesive European-South American voice, and Paris: La Belle Époque, a stylish disc of more seriously minded French music from the turn of the 20th century.
Life is One Big Arc
Kathryn Stott: Songs from the Arc of Life is an album that Yo-Yo and I have been talking about making for a very long time. It's a beautiful story, from the beginning of life, and what we see as the journey. And it's taken us a long time and much discussion, as to what we think that journey might be, because everybody's journey is slightly different.
So we had some starting points. What might happen when you're a child; what might happen, when you're going through your twenties. The kind of adventures you might have. Where to start? You know, the beginning of life – how do we represent that in music? To me, this is a very cohesive story line. And people can add things to it. They can take something away. They can say, "Well, that didn't happen to me but that's an interesting part of your own story." I love this title: the arc of life. Because it is one big arc.
Yo-Yo Ma: I first started thinking about this, when I was playing at friends' weddings and, unfortunately, also at their memorial services. Because suddenly the music I'm playing is incredibly purposeful. It's to bring joy. It's to express some form of being in a state of being for two people who want to get married or in the case of a memorial service, it's to have a depth of thinking about someone's life. And it doesn't have to be said, it could celebratory, it could be all kinds of things. But, ah, but … so that took me out of, you know, the usual, "OK, I'm playing a concert. For what reason? Why are people coming? Are they coming for the communal sense, feeling, of coming together?"
Music and Memories
Yo-Yo Ma: I think the role of music, the role of sound is crucial for anybody that wants to remember anything. There can be just even certain chords or a voice or, of course, a whole piece, and I'm immediately transported to something. I say, "Oh, yeah, that reminds me – I haven't heard that for so long. I remember – I remember when." You hear a piece of music, and you remember when, where I was, who I was with. It can transport you. It can also kind of transport you to the future, if you can allow your imagination to go with it. But I think everybody is able to be moved by music to a place they have once been.
Locating memory is a fundamental human cultural act. How many experiences have you gone through that you remember, and how many experiences have you gone through that you don't remember? I try to live life so that I will remember as much as possible of what I go through, especially if I have a choice in how to go through life and every day.
Cultures remember things. Gypsies, the Roma people, they don't have a written language or history, but they code five generations of their experiences through music and songs. So everything that they are, you get to hear in the music. Their like seventeen layers of sound, of realities that get incorporated into like one phrase, one sound? If you can manage to do that, you then capture something that might be essential.
Kathryn Stott: Music is one of the strongest powers to evoke memories from the past. There can be just even certain chords or a voice or, of course, a whole piece, and I'm immediately transported to something. You hear a piece of music, and you remember when, where I was, who I was with. It can transport you. I think it can also kind of transport you to the future, if you can allow your imagination to go with it. But I think everybody is able to be moved by music to a place they have once been.
Yo-Yo Ma: Music is able to transcend. It's a way to escape. It's a way to go to another emotion. Whether we want it or not, it will take us there. I've sat in a concert and something has been incredibly moving, I can feel the way that the person next to me is also feeling that. And sometimes by the end of the performance there's a collective feeling of joy or of deep sadness. I can remember once completely bursting into tears at the end of a concert - listening – and sharing that emotion with an audience was really incredibly powerful. More so than I would have felt, I think, if I was on my own. And perhaps the emotion became stronger because there were more of us.
What do we do with a life?
Yo-Yo Ma: What do we do with a life? We all share that. You go from the beginning to the end. And what happens in between? What do people go through? What do they experience? What do they cherish? What do they want to remember? What do they want to forget? How do they want to say, "Well, I want to put an X on this part of my life", and how do you express that in music? How do you express longing? How do you express regret? How do you express young love? Mature love? Trying to remember something, but you can't quite remember it. And then it comes back in full force.
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott come together again, this time for Songs of Comfort and Hope, set for release on December 11, 2020 on Sony Classical. Available now for preorder, Songs of Comfort and Hope is inspired by the series of recorded-at-home musical offerings that Ma began sharing in the first days of the COVID-19 lockdown in the United States. Throughout the spring and summer, Yo-Yo Ma's #SongsofComfort grew from a self-shot video of Antonín Dvořák's "Goin' Home" into a worldwide effort that has reached more than 18 million people.
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott create a unique classical music experience with their new Sony Classical recording Songs from the Arc of Life available September 18, 2015. This all-new recording also celebrates thirty years of friendship and collaboration in concerts and recordings for Ma and Stott. The album includes pieces they have frequently performed but never recorded, as well as a handful of discoveries.
13 NEW 200 Total
SYND: NPR/First Listen, Classical 24, CBC Direct: SiriusXM, Music Choice, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Portland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Baltimore, Denver, Pittsburgh, Houston, Austin, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Albuquerque, Louisville, Buffalo, Madison WI, Columbus OH, Honolulu, Canada Online: Associated Press , axs, AARP, Today Show Weekend, Wall Street Journal, Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Live With Kelly & Michael, New York Magazine, AllMusic, Classicalite Taintradio, Pop Sugar