João Carlos Martins / Bach
Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook
Street Date July 30 13
Volume 6 of The Complete Keyboard Works of J.S. Bach performed by the legendary Brazilian pianist João Carlos Martins, is the latest reissue in the Labor Records' 15-volume/19 CD monumental edition. The new CD features the Italian Concerto, a prime showcase for Martins' impressive technique, combined with some of Bach's most intimate work: 20 pieces from the "Anna Magdalena Notebook" and two sets of Little Preludes. Martins does not hesitate to give this music a romantic tinge when such treatment seems appropriate and occasionally he launches an all-out display of pure virtuosity which can be dazzling. The result is a unique glimpse into the musical life of the Bach household.
Martins puts considerable muscle into some items of the Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook. But there is plenty of compensation in the form of elegantly molded phrases.
Some of the most disarming examples of his artistry – and imagination – occur in what may be the least likely items: The Little Preludes. Many a piano student may think of these miniatures as mere busy-work, but not Martins. From the gorgeous, misty colors he achieves in the first of the Twelve Little Preludes, to the startling rubato he works into the final measures of the first of the Six Little Preludes, the pianist is in his element. And what he does may be a little crazy, but who cares–it’s terrifically entertaining.
“Entertaining” may not be an adjective some people associate with Bach, but if his music ever sounds stuffy and mathematical, that’s invariably the musician’s fault–not the composer’s. In compelling fashion, João Carlos Martins reveals the spontaneity and joy behind each contrapuntal flourish–the structural brilliance of each piece.
– National Public Radio
His dynamic prowess is frequently breathtaking.
– The New York Times
"As always, Martins is intense and exuberant in his approach, which works best for the outer movements of the Italian Concerto and the faster little preludes. The easy movements from the Anna Magdalena benefit from somewhat sly, humorous readings where the expression is sometimes a little overdone, the way a teacher might emphasize the details of an interpretation to a young student. The tone is excellent, varied, and always appropriate for the music. Some musical choices offer a welcome new perspective on the familiar music, as for instance in the slow and intimate D-major Prelude and the soft, understated closing for the F-major Prelude."
– American Record Guide
Street Date February 26 13
Out of the cross-currents of Central and Eastern European post-modernism, minimalism and mysticism comes this collection of new works for virtuoso piano, solo recorders and string quartet featuring music by the Greek Yannis Xenakis, the Estonian Arvo Pärt, the German Walter Steffens, the Pole Pawel Szymański and two Bulgarian composers, Gheorghi Arnaoudov and Georgi Minchev.
www.jsitop21.com (see review #7 down)
Louisiana Red (1932-2012) / When My Mama Was Living
Street Date October 30 12
16 never before released tracks of Louisiana Red at his peak–the true Louisiana Red, with all of his intensity and raw talent exposed. Also featured, guitar wizard Lefty Dizz and harmonica legend Peg Leg Sam.
"With a guitar that sings, twangs and whines–now angry, now unspeakably lonesome and gentle–and a satin-edged growl that is comfortable in several octaves, Louisiana Red exemplifies the perfect balance of technique and soul that is the blues."
The International Review of Music (PDF)
ABS Magazine (PDF)
Soulbag France (PDF)
Blues Matters! UK
Eric Salzman / The Nude Paper Sermon & Wiretap
Street Date October 30 12
THE NUDE PAPER SERMON
"The Nude Paper Sermon" is a ground-breaking multi-media music-theater work in sound and one of the first and finest works of contemporary music to be written specifically for multi-track recording. It was also one of the first new works to be written for Renaissance ensemble (Nonesuch Consort under Joshua Rifkin) in half a millennium in a dramatic and thrilling multi-style mix of singing voices and early instruments with chorus, electronics and the highly charged voice of an actor (Stacey Keach) who brilliantly declaims original texts by Steven Wade and John Ashbery.
“…a sustained power to comment on our convulsive time…a wide-ranging mind
at work, one that serves as a tonic function when the arts are becoming increasingly mindless.”
New York Times
Four original pieces, two recorded in performance and two created as recordings. Helix was created in performance by the voices and instrumentalists of Salzman’s Quog Music Theater at the popular Free Music Store, a performance venue established by Salzman at WBAI, the‘underground’ New York Pacifica radio station. “Wiretap” was made out of the recorded voice of dancer/choregrapher Daniel Nagrin and was originally intended for his monumental solo dance workThe Peloponnesian War for which Salzman created most of the score (it was never used in the dance work because Nagrin found he could not move to the anguished sound of his own voice!). Larynx Music, performed by singer Elise Ross and guitarist Stanley Silverman, is based on a text by John Ashbery which appears in fractured syllabic form before it coalesces into a song. Queens Collage is a sound portrait of the Queens College campus in New York City where the composer briefly taught; it was written as a kind of academic festival overture for a student festival.
"The simple but touching vocal parts borrow from madrigals and plainchant,
to which Tony Elitcher's beautiful clarinet adds a nice counterpoint" (Helix). Larynx Music is a wonderful piece...wonderful record.”
Heiner Stadler / Brains on Fire
Street Date February 28 12
Brains On Fire Reintroduces Jazz Listeners To One Of The Visionaries Of The 1970s
With Two Discs Of Exciting Jazz Composition.
HEINER STADLER'S MASTERWORK FEATURES PERFORMANCES BY SOME OF THE GREATEST PLAYERS FROM AMERICA AND EUROPE, INCLUDING DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER, REGGIE WORKMAN, JIMMY OWENS, TYRONE WASHINGTON, JOE FARRELL, LENNY WHITE, MANFRED SCHOOF, WOLFGANG DAUNER AND ALBERT MANGELSDORFF
Brains On Fire presents, for the very first time on two compact discs, some of the innovative early works of pianist/composer Heiner Stadler. These works, written and conceived over 40 years ago, are examples of what are arguably some of the most creatively and unjustly neglected amalgamations of the jazz and contemporary classical traditions. The follow-up release to the critically acclaimed Tribute To Bird And Monk (LAB 7074), Brains On Fire features groundbreaking compositions recorded between 1966 and 1974 that still sound as fresh and stimulating today as when they were first performed. The eight original compositions comprising this remarkable set reveal the mindset of the highly innovative Stadler in his utilization of the instrumental and improvisatory skills of some of the day’s most accomplished players from both the United States and Europe. In bringing together artists of distinctly varied backgrounds and reputations, Stadler defied the separatist system of the time that divided performers into virtually warring camps: classical versus jazz, mainstream versus avant-garde. Composition and improvisation come together, in a confluence that realizes some truly amazing music
Noted author Howard Mandel contributes the illuminating liner notes
www.gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.com (May 2012)
www.italia.allaboutjazz.com (All About Jazz Italia)
The New York City Jazz Record (PDF)
Michael Sahl and Eric Salzman / Civilization & Its Discontents
Street Date January 31 12
Civilization & Its Discontents is a lively and biting satire in the form of a music-theater work with words and music created jointly by Michael Sahl and Eric Salzman. It was originally a prize-winning off-off-Broadway music theater piece, a music-theater recording for National Public Radio that had one of the largest air plays of any work of its kind, and a Prix Italia winner. Carlos Arachnid invites us to join him and his friends in Club Bide-a-wee whose motto is "If it feels good, do it!". Dancing alternates with 'freeze-frame' moments of high anxiety, angry words and sexual come-ons. Scene II is in Jill Goodheart's bedroom where a seduction scene is interrupted by a constant string of phone calls, the arrival of Jill's boyfriend and the deus ex machina appearance of Arachnid who brings us back to Club Bide-a-wee for a deconstructed dance orgy and an ironic morality.
“…a brilliant amalgam of jazz, pop, blues and classical forms, cleverly developed and timed to make the satiric points stand out in the most vivid musical and theatrical terms.”
–Peter G. Davis, New York Times
“…a work that builds up its own undulating momentum and sustains it so thoroughly that the audience boogies long after the music stops. A skillful, rhythmic integration of words, music and movement is responsible for the compelling power of this stunning show.”
“…jazz and pop elements in an understandable idiom, in addition to avantgarde traits originating in the NY experimental scene…swinging melodies that seem to stem from Gershwin, combined with strong, somewhat abrupt but exciting harmonies and surprising rhythmical accents that are reminiscent of Thelonious Monk…Kurt Weill for our time.”
–Doron Nagan, Algemeen Dagblad (The Netherlands).
“…a delightful, tuneful satire…not everything is funny (as) the underlying subject is something very real…This is a wonderful work.”
–Rita H. Mead, Newsletter of the Institute for Studies in American Music.
"...highly entertaining...The music...gets deeply into your head. So does much of the text.... Everyone works hard to put across Sahl and Salzman’s sarcastic rant against … well, against something. (The stars of Seinfeld could have performed this opera.) To be honest, they succeed. Furthermore, every single word of the text can be understood. Civilization and Its Discontents is too clever for its own good, maybe, and it plucks awfully low-hanging fruit, but I keep coming back to it, and that must mean something."
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare
Javor Bračić / Music of Tribute Vol 7 - Haydn
Street Date Oktober 25 11
In 1909, six great French composers—including Ravel, Debussy, Dukas, Vincent d’Indy and Reynaldo Hahn—created new works based on a musical spelling of Haydn’s name in celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the death of the great Viennese master; eighty-nine years later, the English composer George Benjamin added his own homage based on the same theme. All these tributes plus a Sonatina “Homage à Haydn” by the Croatian composer Davorin Kempf and a rollicking Capriccietto after a rough Viennese folk song (that had been previously treated by Haydn) by the German composer Wolfgang Hochstein have been wrapped around three sparkling piano sonatas by the master himself, including the late, great C major Sonata, all brilliantly recorded by the young Croatian pianist Javor Bračić.
This is the seventh in the Music of Tribute series from Labor; music by and in homage to Heitor Villa-Lobos, Claude Debussy, Gabriel Fauré, Domenico Scarlatti, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Alban Berg were the earlier releases in this much-lauded ongoing series.
Heiner Stadler / Tribute to Bird and Monk
Street Date April 26 11
LABOR RECORDS REISSUES A PIONEERING CLASSIC
Heiner Stadler's Tribute to Bird and Monk, featuring a sextet of cornetist Thad Jones, tenor saxophonist George Adams, trombonist George Lewis, pianist Stanley Cowell, bassist Reggie Workman, and drummer Lenny White, takes six compositions by Charlie Parker and Thelonius Monk as reimagined by Stadler with out-of-the-box improvisations by some of New York's greatest instrumentalists of the 1970s and remixes them to modern standards by the brilliant engineer Malcom Addey. The result is a critically acclaimed tribute that sounds as fresh and daring today as when it was originally released.
“Tribute is a brilliant mixture of arranged and free jazz, with the strength of the compositions providing a firm foundation.”
DOWN BEAT ***** Five-Stars (top rating)
“The result is a giant step bridging the avant-garde of the ‘forties, bebop, with the avant-garde of today.”
www.gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.com (May 2011)
(see near bottom of page)
(see review #6 down)
(see bottom of page)
(see bottom of page)
The New York City Jazz Record
www.italia.allaboutjazz.com (All About Jazz Italia)
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