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.
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.
Early in 2010, bassist Charlie Haden and pianist Hank Jones got together to record a follow-up to their 1995 (smash hit) album of spirituals and traditional music, Steal Away. They made the decision that a small handful of traditional carols, with a message of peace, would make it onto the album. The result is Come Sunday. It was recorded in February 2010, shortly before Jones' passing.
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 in d minor, op. 30 Vladimir Horowitz, piano The New York Philharmonic; Eugene Ormandy, conductor
It's not often that we re-discover or even newly discover treasures that are hidden in our libraries, but this one is irresistible and undeniably the most exciting recording of one of the most technically demanding works in the piano repertoire - Sergei Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto.
It's well past time to listen to historical instruments because they're, well, historical. Or "informed," or "accurate," or whatever word we might use to feel scholastically correct. It's time to listen because they sound beautiful.