I'm on a musical voyage again, and I am now wondering if this is the most exciting sojourn through tone and sound I have taken this year, as Michael Whalen is back with Scared Spaces a breath taking new offering from the artist, and a completely new direction from all that I have heard before.
Michael known recently for his lush and moving piano work on Cupid Blindfolded, has delivered a truly refreshing new offering of electronic ambient and new age styles for us to enjoy.
This is powerfully illustrated by the opening piece entitled A Metaphysical Morning, a wonderfully upbeat and literally sparkling new composition that sets the scene musically for us, with one of the most empowering performances on keyboards that I think I have ever heard; this is true music to raise the rhythms.
The title track Sacred Spaces is up next, the combination of synths and keyboards here transports us to a whole new musical realm entirely; this is an extremely smooth performance by Whalen, one that has to be both admired and deeply enjoyed; the mix here is sublime, it's a track that if listened to carefully, moves you from one space to another with such a crafted sense of movement employed in the presentation.
READ THE FULL Steve Sheppard Music Review
Lyrics in medieval Hebrew, Arabic and Spanish from Andalusia, 900-1400 C.E. The Golden Age of Spain that created the tradition of Western song, from Schubert and Verdi to Hank Williams and the Beatles
Zajal, renowned Downtown composer and instrumentalist Dave Soldier explores the beginning of popular song and locates it 1000 years ago at the intersection of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures in southern Spain. Zajal, along with muwashaha, were the lyrics of medieval Andalusia. While many are still sung today (notably in Lebanon), their offspring are everywhere. On a trip to Spain in 2004, Soldier read about the Andalusian caliphate, when the Muslim, Christian and Jewish com- munities not only coexisted, but co-created much of the world we inhabit today. Together, they produced the novel, cowboy culture, the guitar, the dance suite, the Kabbalah, Maimonides and ibn Arabi and the discovery of the New World. And modern song: the zajal and muwashaha introduced the verse and chorus that are the backbone of popular music. Imitation of Andalusia's singing oud players begat the troubadours and the figure of the wandering poet and singer in its myriad incarnations, from Villon to Joni Mitchell.
Zajal With Dave Soldier And Pedro Cortes - The Spanish Tradition Is Our Culture
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
Zajal features Maurice Chedid, a celebrated singer and oudist from Lebanon who drives a livery cab in New York; Triana Bautista and Ismael Fernandez, scions of famous Gypsy flamenco families; flamenco and Latin music singers David Castellano and Barbara Martinez; and Israeli-Moroccan-Persian vocalist Ana Nimouz. Players include composer Dave Soldier on guitar and keyboards: classical and klezmer violinist Rebecca Cherry; Alan Kushan, the foremost virtuoso of the Iranian sentur: trombonist Chris Washburne (Eddie Palmieri and Willie Colon): klezmer trombonist Dan Blacksberg: jazz bassist Ratzo Harris (Mose Allison, Betty Carter): timbalero Robby Ameen (Eddie Palmieri, Dizzy Gillespie): Greek clarinetest Lefteris Bournias: flamenco dancer and percussionist Jose Moreno: and palmas (handclaps) by the dancers Nelida (Neli) Tirado and Sonia Olla (Madonna and Ricky Martin). Dave learned flamenco guitar from Pedro Cortes, the foremost American exponent of Gypsy flamenco, who produced the record.
The lyrics are by the major Arabic and Hebrew poets of medieval Spain, plus one by their Persian contemporary Rumi in Farsi; a lyric by Dave Soldier in English that uses the sevillianas, a flamenco form; and a modern muwashaha from the great Lebanese singer Fairouz. The music uses contemporary Andalusian forms (buleria, fandango, petenera, rumba, tango) as translated through Soldier's vision of the contemporary cultures of New York City.
Musicians: Dave Soldier, guitar, keyboards, musical compositions (except #2), arrangements; Ana Nimouz, Triana Bautista, David Castellano, Barbara Martinez, Ismael Fernandez, Anais Tekarian vocals; Maurice Chedid, oud, vocals; Chris Washburne, Dan Blacksberg, trombones;
Philip Payton, Rebecca Cherry (solos), violins; Alan Kushan, sentur; Lefteris Bournias, clarinet; Mahmoud Hamadani, recitation; Ratzo Harris, bass; Jose Moreno, hand percussion, trap set, vocals; Robby Ameen, timbales; Ismael Fernandez and Sonia Olla, palmas and jaleo; Neli Tirado, palmasn.
Produced by Max Horowitz - Crossover Media, This content, as well as the related podcast, are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) for redistribution and adaptation.
JUNO Award Winning singer-songwriter Laila Biali deeply personal new album, 'Out of Dust' releases today, March 27. Co-produced by Biali and her husband, Ben Wittman, the album is a celebration of life; warm and uplifting even as it confronts her recent challenges (and the current political climate!) head-on. "These new songs took shape as I processed my own feelings of doubt and loss," Biali reveals. "I believe that nothing is wasted, that even life's greatest challenges can produce something meaningful, even if only to make us more aware of and empathetic to the struggles of those around us."
In addition to contributions from Biali's husband and son, Out of Dust features multiple GRAMMY nominees and winners including Lisa Fisher, Alan Ferber, John Ellis, and Larnell Lewis.
In conjunction with today's release date, 'Out of Dust' has been selected as a play>mpe top 10 stream
Joey Alexander, the Grammy-nominated jazz pianist, composer and bandleader has released his major label debut album, WARNA on Verve Records. The album is primarily a collection of reflective, moving new and original music by an experienced and confident musician. Translating as "color" from Alexander's native language of Bahasa, WARNA follows four Motéma Music albums that garnered the pianist three Grammy nominations and such honors as historic critics' and readers' poll victories in DownBeat and JazzTimes. Joining Alexander on the new album are bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Kendrick Scott, who comprise the core piano trio. On select tracks, Venezuelan-born percussion Luisito Quintero, and flautist Anne Drummond, join on to stunning aural effect.
LISTEN TO THE Jazz Hall Radio INTERVIEW
Ten years in the making, Sacred Spaces is an epic electronic album by Michael Whalen, an award-winning composer who has released 33 solo and soundtrack albums since his 1984 debut. In addition to his work as a sound designer, Whalen has composed more than 800 TV and film scores as well as thousands of commercials, TV themes and video games. Aside from the stunning sound quality and the beauty of the music, Sacred Spaces is very different from 2019's Cupid Blindfolded, Whalen's first solo piano album in twenty years. Obviously not content to find a groove that works and then stay there, Whalen's drive to keep venturing into new musical territory is part of what keeps his music so fresh and creative. In short, Sacred Spaces is one amazing album that will undoubtedly put Michael Whalen back on the top of the charts and earn him a slew of new awards.
READ THE FULL MainlyPiano REVIEW
The New Music Solidarity Fund is designed to help new/creative/improvised music freelancers whose livelihood has been threatened as a result of performances which have been canceled during the COVID-19 crisis. The Fund was started by a group of musicians in the new music community who have raised over $130,000 in a week, primarily from fellow musicians, composers, and music professionals. Our hope is that the Solidarity Fund will continue to grow in the coming weeks, so that we can assist and bolster more people in need of emergency relief. For now, at least two hundred and sixty, $500 emergency assistance grants will be made available to applicants who meet the below criteria.
We are grateful to New Music USA for donating their time and services to help us run the Fund. Most importantly, we are immensely grateful to you, freelance artists who have risked so much in service of the music of our time. We stand in solidarity with you, and we are committed to helping you as much as we can.
In solidarity, the New Music Solidarity Fund Collective includes;
Anthony Roth Costanzo
Seth Parker Woods
Israeli tenor saxophonist and composer Oded Tzur (who was actually born in the Netherlands) has released his first album on the prestigious ECM label. Oded, who is working in or from New York since 2011 (where else?), debuted in 2015 with "Like A Great River" which was followed in 2017 with "Translator's Note".
It seems as if his new-found home at ECM has somehow earthed him, grounded him, since this release is much more connected and quintessential than its predecessors. We have lived with the album for a month now and the beauty of its content has not vanished. From the opening notes of the title track, its introspective stance, immensely melodious structure, almost hushed playing by the leader, this album sometimes comes across as Americana meets the Eastern world. Pianist Nitai Hershkovits is the perfect, reflecting partner during the opening piece, and Jonathan Blake‘s drum work is deeply balanced. Greek bassist Petros Klampanis rounds out the team on this beautiful piece of work.
READ THE FULL Gina Loves Jazz REVIEW
‘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.
What we have here is an extremely rare example of a "complete" musician among the violinists of the present day: one of the most sought-after soloists in today's world of music, he regularly performs with leading international orchestras under the most high-profile conductors.
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.
Debussy has been with me as far back as I can remember, but my first encounter with the keyboard music of Rameau was Emil Gilels' 1951 recording of "Le rappel des oiseaux", which I came across during my student days in New York.
Vikingur Olafsson's latest recording is a sprawling juxtaposition of Debussy and Rameau / The New York Times
Posted: March 20, 2020 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
The pianist Vikingur Olafsson's recording career could be described as a constant refusal to be pinned down.
His debut on the Deutsche Grammophon label, in 2017, featured Philip Glass's études, and he was encouraged to follow it with more Minimalism. But Mr. Olafsson insisted on something else entirely: a winding album of Bach. Again, he was asked to record more of the same.
And again, Mr. Olafsson, now 36, didn't. His third Deutsche Grammophon album - "Debussy Rameau," out March 27 - is similar to his Bach in its sprawling ambition. But it's new in its juxtapositional structure.
The album's 28 tracks, which include a tender transcription by Mr. Olafsson from Rameau's opera "Les Boréades," are a dual portrait and an experimental colloquy, exploring what these two composers share across centuries: pathbreaking individualism, and, at times, a synesthetic approach to music.
The program begins with Debussy's 1906 transcription of the prelude to his cantata "La Damoiselle Élue," which is based on a poem and painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. It depicts an impossible conversation - a woman gazing at her lover from heaven - which is how Mr. Olafsson envisioned the album. So the prelude, with its inconclusive ending, leads directly into Rameau's "Le Rappel des Oiseaux," and the cross-temporal exchange goes from there.
In an interview at Walt Disney Concert Hall here in February, Mr. Olafsson said that he spends about six months assembling the pieces that will go into his albums before he even begins to learn them in earnest.
And between each album release - a period of 18 months or so - he tours programs unrelated to his recording projects. He was in California appearing with his Icelandic countryman Daniel Bjarnason, whose new piano concerto will premiere with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Mr. Olafsson next season. Mr. Olafsson has also been playing John Adams's concerto "Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes?" in Europe, with stops planned for the United States.
His schedule is increasingly filled with high-profile performances and debuts. (His first collaboration with the New York Philharmonic is another to come next season.) "All of the sudden, everything is happening at the same time," he said. "I got this advice, that it takes 15 years to become famous overnight."
This new album is his first dive into Rameau. He long loved Emil Gilels's recording of "Le Rappel des Oiseaux," but it wasn't until Mr. Olafsson was awaiting the birth of his first child last spring that he read through more.
"I'm scratching my head over why Rameau's music is not played very much," he said. "With the quality and the inventiveness, and the unpredictability of it all - there's never a formulaic element to these pieces."
Those characteristics reminded him of Debussy, a hunch he turned into an album. Here are edited excerpts from a conversation about the recording.
Why these specific juxtapositions?
It took me three or four months of reordering the album. There are so many versions, and I have like a hundred secret Spotify playlists where I'm working with the order. What I'm trying to do is that "impossible conversation" between Debussy and Rameau.
You ended up with quite a lot of tracks.
I want the album to be listened to as a playlist, as an entity - as opposed to people taking a few favorite tracks that they like. Which they will do, and that's fine. But I'm sort of secretly trying to push against that, to push for the album as a playlist, as its own work of art.
I always think endlessly about two things: of course, the ordering of the pieces and all the little connections, but also the tonality of those pieces. So the album is like a composition in 28 tracks.
Why do your albums and your touring programs diverge so much?
I see the album as an independent work of art. It is its own world; it should be like a microcosm. There has been a tendency for a very long time to see the idea of recording as an extension of a performing career: to document what you've been up to onstage, and in a way glorify yourself. If you do that, you miss so many wonderful opportunities to get to know music in a different way.
You listen differently through headphones, so the music works in ways it wouldn't in a hall, and vice versa. The album deserves its own kind of love and focus. There are artists who do this; Cecilia Bartoli is probably the best example. And those are the albums that I'm drawn to.
When I play at Carnegie Hall next season, the first half will be about 60 minutes from the "Debussy Rameau" album. Then the second half is Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition," but in the arrangement of Vladimir Horowitz, and also my own. It of course fits so well into this album of pictures in music.
How did you reconcile Rameau's style with the modern piano?
Playing Rameau on the piano requires you to find your own sound. He wrote a treatise about harpsichord playing, but if you were to play him by his own rules on the modern piano, in my opinion it might not work. The timbre, the dynamics, the range and scope of textures - they make it overcrowded. There are a lot of trills on my album, but I had to spend a lot of time figuring out how to make it my own on the piano, for the modern piano to serve the music.
You end the album with Debussy's "Hommage à Rameau." What do you think is the homage there?
It's so difficult to pinpoint where the Rameau element is. There is more Rameau in other pieces of Debussy's than in this one. My recording of it is very nostalgic, reflective, looking back in time for sure. It's like when a child really wants to pay homage to its parent, it does so by being itself and finding its own way. You learn from someone, but you don't imitate them; they become a part of you, but on a much deeper level than you can prove or explain. So Debussy bows his head as a composer to a composer, rather than as a student to a teacher.
Maybe there is no answer to the question. It's not tangible. It's like everything Debussy did: elusive.
Debussy has been with me as far back as I can remember, but my first encounter with the keyboard music of Rameau was Emil Gilels' 1951 recording of "Le rappel des oiseaux", which I came across during my student days in New York. I was immediately fascinated by the music and how well it lends itself to the modern piano, at least in Gilels' noble rendition, with its layered textures and light and shades. But it wasn't until the spring of 2019, as I waited (and waited and waited) for the birth of my first child that I finally had the chance, having cleared some weeks in my concert schedule, to sit down with all of Rameau's published keyboard works and read through every one of them. A world of wonder revealed itself: ingenious works of remarkable diversity, rarely programmed or recorded on the modern instrument.
Following his critically-acclaimed Johann Sebastian Bach album, pianist Vikingur Ólafsson releases a double LP of Bach Reworks, featuring new arrangements of his Bach transcriptions from electronic artists such as Valgeir Sigurðsson and Ben Frost (Prelude BWV 855a), Peter Gregson (Above and Below, B Minor), and Ryuichi Sakamoto (BWV 974 – II Adagio – Rework).
Following his critically acclaimed recording of piano works by Philip Glass, Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson will release his second concept album, Bach, on Deutsche Grammophon on September 7, 2018 (CD released 9/14). The album is available for pre-order everywheretoday.
Renowned for his innovative musical projects, Ólafsson offers listeners a very personal vision of Bach's intricate keyboard music on his new recording – artfully weaving Bach's original works together with transcriptions by Busoni, Kempff, Ziloti, Rachmaninov and Ólafsson himself. Ólafsson will also perform some of the repertoire from the album live at venues including London's LSO St Luke's, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk (Denmark), Hamburg's Laeiszhalle, and the Berlin Philharmonie during the 2018-19 season.
For Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson's debut album on Deutsche Grammophon, he is performing selections of Philip Glass's Piano Etudes to be released on January 27, in time for the composer's 80th birthday. Ólafsson's fascination with reinterpreting the Piano Etudesgrew as he toured and performed the works with Glass himself. "On the surface, they seem to be filled with repetitions. But the more one plays and thinks about them, the more their narratives seem to travel along in a spiral," he explains. "My approach to each of the etudes is to enable the listener to create his or her own personal space of reflection."
16 NEW 28 TOTAL
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