Think you know your Verdi operas? With this month’s selection, featuring the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra with Jose Serebrier on the podium, you might be surprised at how much music Giuseppe Verdi wrote for his operas that is rarely heard in public today.
What would happen if an inventive jazz record label decided to blend a great singer of standard-pop ballads with an outstanding jazz pianist? The two artists would be on their own--no other musicians--just the two of them, performing a number of time-honored classics.
Well, there was such an occurrence in June of 1975, at the Fantasy Recording Studios in Berkeley, California, when and where Tony Bennett and Bill Evans were recorded. A better result could not have been imagined.
Vocalist and composer Gregory Porter has released his much-awaited sophomore album, Be Good, the follow-up to Water, which made huge waves in the jazz world in 2010. Sophomore albums tend to make fans and critics a bit nervous due to expectation and anticipation, so I'll save you some time and anguish - Gregory, once again, delivers! Strong musicianship, horn arrangements by Kamau Kenyatta, and Porter's booming, yet expressive voice, make this record a true crowd-pleaser.
Matthew Weiner, the creator of the hugely popular TV series Mad Men - now in its fifth season - works very hard at going beneath the surface to capture the look of the 1960s, from company logo typefaces to office equipment tints to the shine in a pair of trousers. Mad Men composer David Carbonara labors just as much on the show's music to express that era; he’s a composer of acutely original pieces. *
Even some jazz cognoscenti may not be familiar with the name of Joe Magnarelli...but that's not Joe's fault. He's been playing a heap of trumpet since arriving on New York City's jazz scene some 25 years ago. Sometimes in the often-wacky world of music, and especially in jazz, even the near-great ones escape detection for quite a spell. But on the wings of My Old Flame, his latest CD, Joe's name and fame may take flight - and perhaps soon we'll all know Joe.
If you enjoy wind band music of the toe-tapping and head-bobbing variety, or appreciate Pennsylvania musical history, you're sure to be delighted and captivated by the Allentown Band's latest release. Pennsylvania Pioneers celebrates 18 composers from across the Commonwealth, from the mid-19th through the mid-20th centuries. It's mostly marches, but with an occasional concert waltz, suite, and medley thrown in for good measure. Actually, make that many good measures!
Cinque: Catch A Corner Joey DeFrancesco, Steve Gadd, Peter Cardinali, Robi Botos, John Johnson
A new musical project is always an easy sell in our area when Joey DeFrancesco is part of it. Now add famed drummer Steve Gadd to the mix. That should be enough, right? In the case of Cinque, a group formed by Toronto-based record producer Peter Cardinali, those two musicians are just the bow that ties this funky package together. The Canadian contingent on this record is no joke.
Soliloquy: Music of Mark Hagerty Tracy Richardson, harpsichord Douglas McNames, cello
Mark Hagerty's music is smart and sneaky. Let's start with sneaky. He doesn't show off: his music is so nicely grounded that you don't appreciate the intelligence and difficulty needed to bring it off until later. Whether it's the hipness grooved into High Octane (written for the new-music ensemble Relache) or the Clavier Books 1 through 3 and Cello Suite 2 in his new CD Soliloquy, his music keeps surprising you.
Lena Horne lived to be a legend in her own time. She was 92 years old when she departed a little over two years ago. She lived a long time, and in her time, she accomplished much in show business and beyond.