Lara Downes releases recording of exceptional quality that celebrates the artistic spirit / textura
On earlier releases, Lara Downes celebrated Billie Holiday, Leonard Bernstein, and even America itself. On Holes in the Sky, the pianist shifts the focus to female artists and does so in a most expansive and encompassing manner. Works by contemporary composers, among them Elena Ruehr, Georgia Stitt, and Mary Kouyoumdjian, are presented alongside ones by earlier figures such as Florence Price, Hazel Scott, Lil Hardin Armstrong, and Billie Holiday; songs by iconic singer-songwriters Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell appear, and Downes also augments solo piano performances with ones featuring singers and instrumentalists. The result is a recording of exceptional quality; though Downes conceived Holes in the Sky as a project designed to celebrate women, it ultimately acts as a celebration of the artistic spirit in general and the benefits that accrue from a vision rooted in values of community and positivity.