BEST OF 2014
always, we offer suggestions about recordings and give praise to the
most memorable performances, as best we can. We can’t hear every
CD, attend every show, nor be everywhere in the world. We wish we
could. Let’s doff our hats and open our ears to our Best of 2014.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
New York State
what a love/hate thing compiling this list each year proves to
be. Love, for the artists and many great recordings from which to
choose. Hate, in that it seems impossible to narrow the list down
to any less than about 75 discs. The concept of a “top 10” went
out the window years ago, so these are but 35 of the recordings that
moved me this year.
Allman Brothers Band - The Final Concert Beacon Theatre 10-28-14.
Hittin’ The Note.
Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio
& Peter Evans - The
Freedom Principle. No Business
Bobby Avey - Authority Melts From Me.
David Binney – Anacapa. CrissCross
Brian Blade Fellowship
- Landmarks. Blue
Johnathan Blake - Gone, But Not Forgotten.
Anthony Branker & Word
Play - The Forward (Towards
Equality) Suite. Origin
Peter Brendler - Outside the Line.
Jeff Davis - Dragon Father. Fresh Sound
John Escreet - Sound, Space and Structures.
Orrin Evans' Captain Black
Big Band - Mother's Touch.
Joe Fiedler's Big Sackbut
- Sackbut Stomp.
Stephen Gauci, Kirk
Knuffke, Ken Filiano - Chasing
Tales. Relative Pitch
Brian Groder Trio -
Ross Hammond - Humanity Suite.
Eric Harland - Vipassana. GSI Records
Taylor Haskins - Fuzzy Logic. Sunnyside
Russ Johnson - Meeting Point. Relay
Adam Lane's Full Throttle
Orchestra - Live In Ljubljana.
James Brandon Lewis
- Divine Travels. Sony
Tony Malaby's Tamarindo
- Somos Agua. Clean
Michael Mantler - Jazz Composers Orchestra Update.
Ross Martin, Max Johnson,
Jeff Davis - Big Eyed Rabbit.
Mario Pavone - Street Songs. Playscape
Eric Revis - In Memory Of Things Yet Seen.
Jason Roebke Octet
- High Red Center.
Daniel Rosenboom Quintet
- Fire Keeper.
Jochen Rueckert - We Make The Rules.
Samo Salamon Bassless
Quartet - 2ALTO.
Kendra Shank & John
Stowell - New York
Wadada Leo Smith - The Great Lakes Suites.
Wadada Leo Smith - Red Hill. Rare Noise
Mark Turner Quartet
- Lathe Of Heaven.
Ken Vandermark - Nine Ways To Read A Bridge.
Peter Van Huffel - Boom Crane. Fresh Sound New
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
(event of the year)
Poet, Music Maven
david murray at tribute to ornette at prospect park,
brooklyn, june. bricartsmedia.org/events/celebrate-ornette-the-music-of-ornette-coleman-featuring-denardo-coleman-vibe, davidmurraymusic.com
(in no particular order)
tony malaby trio at
cornelia street café, ny, november.
peter brötzmann at
the vision festival, roulette,
brooklyn, june. artsforart.org, roulette.org, peterbroetzmann.com
evan parker/ paul rogers/
mark sanders at les instants chavirés, paris, october.
instantschavires.com, evanparker.com, marksanders.me.uk
jim hall trio at
the jazz standard, ny, june.
kris davis/ tom rainey/
tony malaby at cornelia street café, ny.
corneliastreetcafe.com, krisdavis.net, tonymalaby.net,
ingrid laubrock trio
at spectrum, brooklyn.
mary halvorson / tom
rainey / ingrid laubrock at cornelia street café, ny.
mary halvorson / jon
irabagon / nasheet waits at cornelia street café, ny.
keiji heino solo
and trio gigs at the wick and the knitting factory, brooklyn.
venues, new york city
issue project room.
the stone. thestonenyc.com
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Ethnomusicologist, composer, improviser
In alphabetical order:
BEST DISCOVERIES OF 2014
ABKHAZIA . The
Sounds of Abkhazia.
Recordings of traditional music from this disputed territory with a
population of 243,000. Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Nauru
recognize its independence, but Georgia still claims it as hers.
Includes a capella choral
singing and instrumental music. Released October 2013.
The Albert Ayler Story.
Brooklyn, New York: ESP Records. ESP-4072. Michael D. Anderson’s
terrific compilation provides a listener-friendly journey through
Ayler’s recordings, transformed into a narrative by organizing spoken
interviews according to the chronological events of Ayler’s short
life. Although you may already own all of the music recordings,
having them organized into an organic whole and connected with
delightful comments by the musicians who played with Ayler and those
who recorded him, makes this 68-track compilation well worth the price
BEETHOVEN, Ludwig van.
Rage Over a Lost Penny -
Rondos and Klavierstücke. Complete Works for Solo Piano, Volume 13.
Ronald Brautigam, fortepiano. The latest volume in this terrific
series. Includes Opuses 51, 129 Rondos; Op. 77 Fantasie; Op. 89
Polonaise; and several works without opus numbers. Akersberga,
Sweden: BIS. BIS-1892. Released 2014.
Offering: Live at Temple
It’s really remarkable to finally hear this concert nearly half a
century after it was recorded. The music is powerful, making it
on a par with the raw energy of Live in Seattle. It also includes
perhaps the only recording of Coltrane singing. Essential.
Santa Monica, CA: Resonance Records. B0019632-02. Released 2014.
DENMARK, GREENLAND, and
the FAROE ISLANDS. Early
& Late: Gaman.
Traditional folk music side-by-side with three modern works by Pelle
Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Sunleif Rasmussen, and Rune Glerup.
Copenhagen: DaCapo Records. 6.220640. Released 2013.
Works by Unsuk Chin, Olga Neuwirth, and Sun Ra. Performers
include the great Marco Blaauw on trumpet and Frank Gratkowski on
saxophones. By including the Sun Ra work, this album opens a new
chapter in the adoption of jazz composers by virtuoso modern music
ensembles. Mainz: Wergo. WER-68612. Released 2014.
ESTONIA. Songs of Siberian Seto.
Series: Recordings from the Estonian Folklore Archives, Volume 7.
A fantastic album of traditional music performed by descendants of
Estonians who emigrated to Siberia in the late 19th or early 20th
century. Available as two CDs, DVD, and booklet, or for free
viewing on the web, including the complete 230-page booklet (in
Estonian, English, and Russian), audio, and video. Tartu,
Estonia: Estonian Literary Museum. EKMCD-009. Released 2012.
This splendid album of works for various ensembles, with and without
electronics, reveals the composer’s profound understanding of living
sound. Each work opens a window to a new world of
vibration. In four of the works, Hodgkinson augments Iancu
Dumitrescu’s Hyperion Ensemble variously with members of the Talea
Quartet and the Bergersen Quartet, Gustavo Aguilar, and himself.
The fifth work is performed by Ne(x)tworks. New York: Mode
Records. Mode-266. Released 2014.
Wie ein glasernes meer, mit feuer gemischst. Intense organ music.
Good liner notes, including seven pages of commentary by Ingo
Dorfmüller. Mainz: Wergo. WER-67892. Released 2014.
Quintets and Solos.
“Landscapes II, V,” “Threnody,” “Fragmente II,” “Small Chant” (2012),
and “Elegy.” Performed by the Arditti Quartet, Mayumi Miyata, et
al. Mainz: Wergo. WER-67692. Released 2014.
IRAN. Gosan Parsi: Some Examples of the
Melodious Tale in Iran, Volume 7. Includes music from
Turkmen, Baluchi, Kurdish, Bakhtiari, and Hormozgan ethnic
groups. Tehran: Barbad Music. barbadmusic.com
Complete String Quartets.
The JACK Quartet. New York: Mode Records. Mode-267. CD
& DVD. Released 2014.
Electroacoustic Music Collection.
Ricardo Dal Farra. Fantastic resource with 558 works available to
the public, some with score and/or sonogram. Also some written
texts, pictures, and video interviews with composers. Includes
works by many composers, including Jorge Antunes, Juan Blanco, Jocy de
Oliveira, Orlando Jacinto Garçia, Alcides Lanza, and Mesias
Maiguashca. Elsewhere on the foundation’s site are multimedia
works by many artists, including Michael Snow. Montreal: La
Fondation Daniel Langlois.
LATVIAN RADIO CHOIR.
A diverse and splendid selection of modern works traversing the sound
palette of modern choral composition. Ligeti’s “Lux Aeterna” and
Cage’s “Four2” provide a familiar grounding for more recent works:
Lasse Thoresen’s setting of a poem by Giacinto Scelsi, Toivo Tulev’s
beautiful “Tanto Gentile,” Anders Hillborg’s remarkable “Mouyayoum,”
and Martins Vilums’ microtonal “gaw ek-dad kard.” Includes a 20-page
booklet with excellent notes by the great discoverer of unheralded
composers, Malcom MacDonald, who, sadly, passed away in May of this
year. Also from the liner notes: “The Concrescence Project is an
aesthetically orientated research project that intends to bring about
innovations in vocal practise and composition. It was initiated
by Lasse Thoresen and the Norwegian Academy of Music in 2004.
Through stimulating the synergy between highly different, seemingly
contradictory vocal traditions - ethnic as well as contemporary - new
musical expressions come into existence. So far the project attempts to
combine Western classical singing with harmonic chant (”diphonic”
chant) and Scandinavian traditional singing styles (kveding, kulning,
etc). To these sources is added a spectromorphological perspective
(derived from the French Musique Concrčte). Further reflection on the
compositional possibilities of these elements makes evident the need
for a theoretical understanding of microtonality and the series of
harmonics (‘JustIntonation’).” Oslo: Aurora.
ACD-5083. Released 2014.
LIM, Liza. The Navigator
(2008). Brilliant, wonderful, modern. The composer has provided
the link to the complete opera (90 minutes), and the production and
recording are excellent.
Comparison of Iranian and Turkish Music.
A fascinating double album that juxtaposes Iranian and Turkish
classical musics, providing a new perspective on their commonalities
and differences. The nine-piece ensemble, directed by Ehsân
Zabihifar, consists of both Iranian and Turkish musicians. Includes
liner notes in Farsi and English, by three authors. Tehran:
Mahoor Institute of Culture and Art. M.CD-350. Released 2013.
NONO, Luigi. Seguente.
Berlin: Edition RZ. 1031-32. “Rerelease of ed. RZ 1004 LP plus three
legendary recordings.” Two compact discs. Released 2014.
Symphonies 1 & 8.
World premiere recording of Symphony 8 (2011). Copenhagen: DaCapo
Records. 6.220574. Released 2014.
RUDHYAR, Dane. Four Pentagrams. Aucourant
Records. See my review in
this magazine. Released 2014.
String Quartets 2 and 3.
Albanian-born British composer with a strong, original voice. This is a
beautiful album. The most surprising discovery of my year. More,
please. Hong Kong: Naxos. 8.570428. Released 2008.
SLAVENSKI, Josip. Religiophonia (Simfonija Orijenta).
An extraordinary composition from 1934, in seven movements: Pagans,
Hebrews, Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Free Thought, and Hymn of
Toil. The first work to integrate an Islamic singer into a
Eurogenetic orchestra (in movement 5). Originally published on
London Records in the 1950s (LL-1216). Hong Kong: Naxos Digital
Services. 9.80116 (download only). Released 2008. (Not available in the
United States, Australia, and Singapore.)
Missa Puer natus est nobis.
Sung by The Cardinall’s Musick, with excellent liner notes by Andrew
Carwood. London: Hyperion Records. 68026. Released 2014.
Arboles Lloran por Lluvia.
Munich: ECM Records 2243. Released 2014.
VANUATU. Music of Vanuatu: Celebrations and
Splendid album surveying different types of music and instruments;
128-page booklet (in French and English) with many beautiful color
Paris: Inédit. W-260147. Released 2013.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Discoveries Of The Year:
Like Columbus, I am late to a show that’s been running for aeons.
I have finally discovered both Nick
Cave (a cross between Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits; Wiki noting
his obsession with “religion, death, love, and violence”) and Current 93
(a cross between The Tiger Lillies, Pearls Before Swine. and
Gnostic Christian drone music), as well as much of their tremendous, in
quality as well as quantity, back catalogues.
On the classical front, Erwin
despite being a victim of the Nazis is still a force to be reckoned
with. His influences are jazz, Dada, Late Romanticism and a
Poulenc-like Gallic humor and charm. The young Russian-American Lera Auerbach has a very different
soundworld, tender and tough at the same time, sometimes reminiscent of
Record Of The
Darius Milhaud. L'Orestie d'Eschyle. (The Oresteia of
Aeschylus) I. L'Agamemnon. II. Les Choéphores III.
University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kenneth
Choirs of the University Musical Society, University of
Michigan Percussion Ensemble,
This first complete recording of Milhaud’s masterwork using Paul
Claudel’s translations. I first became aware of this from Leonard
Bernstein’s LP of Les Choéphores,
which riveted me. Forget Carmina
(which I’ve always disliked); for sheer thrills and great drama, this
is drama is your dram. Giant orchestra, lots of percussion, and
very French-style pitched singing. That composer William Bolcom
was able to get the U. of Michigan to present this mega-production, and
for Naxos to record it, most richly, is our major release of the
year. Naxos’ booklet has lots of information including a detailed
synopsis, plus the names of the entire cast of a third of a
thousand. They offer a free PDF download of the Claudel text with
side-by-side English translation.
Naxos 8.660349-51, 3CDs. naxos.com
J. S. Bach. Goldberg Variations.
Jeremy Denk, piano. A truly spell-binding performance which holds
up to repeated listening. Nonesuch 535452 CD/DVD with a video
lecture, here called the “liner notes.”
Raoul Björkenheim. eCsTaSy.
Where the Finnish guitarist’s prog quartet is also a jazz quartet in a
very satisfying way. The album title is the group’s name as
well. Cuneiform RUNE 373. The track “El Puebo Unido” can be
Matthias Boss. koans I-VI.
Solo violin. The booklet notes: “the questions were
unanswerable so i played on them.” He got some boss answers, and
the .pdf booklet reproduces Boss’ own Zen-influenced paintings, titled
koans 1-8, which are strikingly beautiful.
Anthony Braxton &
Taylor Ho Bynum. Duo (Amherst)
This pair of 45-minute duo sets is well-filmed and gripping. New
Braxton House DVD (with flac/mp3 download card) NBH 902.
Anthony Braxton, Tomas
Fujiwara, Tom Rainey. Trio
(New Haven) 2013. New Braxton House NHB904, 4
Anthony Braxton. 12 Duets (DCWM) 2012.
Four discs with each: violinist Erica Dicker, vocalist Kyoko Kitamura
and bassoonist Katherine Young. New Braxton House NHB903, 12 CDs.
Tom Chang. Tongue and Groove.
The quartet of guitarist Chang with tenor sax Jason Rigby, alto sax
Greg Ward, bassist Chris Lightcap and drummer Gerald Cleaver offer a
coherent album of quirky, wriggling compositions including a take on
Anton Webern’s Variations for Piano
which is very successful. So is the addition of Indian percussionist
and vocalist T.H. Subash Chandran on several tracks. Raw Toast
The Craig Charles Funk
& Soul Club. Volumes 1 and
Superb anthologies of exciting funk and soul cuts from the ‘60s through
today. Only a few bum tracks, and the rest are must-owns.
Freestyle FSRCD100 and FSRCD101, available only separately. freestylerecords.co.uk
Jeff Colella and Putter
Smith. Lotus Blossom.
In the great piano-bass duo tradition of mainstream jazz, Colella and
Smith. Nothing effete here, just two minds in sync for a savory
hour. American Jazz Institute/Capri Records. jeffcolella.com, caprirecords.com
John Coltrane. Offering: Live at Temple University.
Had it on bootleg; this has more of it, with much better sound.
Alice Coltrane’s piano sparkles. Impulse!/Resonance B0019632-02,
2 CDs. johncoltranehome.org, resonancerecords.org
Jacques Coursil with Alan
Sessions For Bill Dixon.
The trumpeter and bass player explore sound, silences and pathways over
the course of three suites dedicated to the late trumpeter Bill Dixon,
with whom they both played at different times. RogueArt ROG-0052.
Jack DeJohnette. Live In Chicago.
With Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Richard Abrams, Larry Gray, Roscoe Mitchell
and Henry Threadgill live from the 2013 Chicago Jazz Festival.
Roscoe's “Chant” and “This,” then one piece each by DeJohnette, Abrams,
and Threadgill, concluded by one group improvisation. To be
released early 2015. ECM 2392. ecmrecords.com
Bob Dylan and The
Band. The Basement Tapes
Complete. Columbia Legacy 88750161222, 6 CDs and
Grounds; `A Propos de Nice; Kritik der Urteilskraft.
Richard Jackson, baritone; New Music Players. Métier msv28536. divineartrecords.com
Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon, Vol. 1: Orchestral Works.
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, et al. This
lesser-known gem of a conductor gets a well-deserved big-box treatment,
expanding on the 9-disc set A Life
In Music from a decade ago. Samples on the link.
Deutsche Grammophon 0289 479 2691 7, 45 CDs. deutschegrammophon.com/us/cat/4792691
piano. Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition. Schumann: Kinderszenen. I am a Pictures
freak with over 30 piano versions alone in my collection. This
one blew my head apart. I’ve never been so transfixed by every
single individual promenade and (pun permitted) movement. Perhaps
not for all tastes, but you’d be remiss to not sample this, as well as
Gavrylyuk’s other discs, which I’ve consequently acquired. The
PianoClassics label also has boxed reissues of Sergio Fiorentino as
well as Bruce Hungerford’s (Vanguard) Beethoven recordings, and they
have amazing customer service. PianoClassics PCL0063. piano-classics.com,
Jimmy Giuffre 3 &
4. New York Concerts.
Top-notch performances we would now call free improv. Giuffre
grooves the multiphonics. Judson Hall 1965Sept3 Richard Davis and
Joe Chambers. Wollman Auditorium, Columbia University. 1965May19
Don Friedman, Barre Phillips, Joe Chambers. Elemental Music
5990425, 2 CDs with 26-page booklet. elemental-music.com/releases/the-jimmy-giuffre-3-4%E2%80%A8-new-york-concerts/
: Cage : Sonatas.
It’s uncanny how well these sonatas, interwoven, complement each other,
and how well Greilsammer performs them, but not surprising after how
well his earlier disc held Baroque
Conversations between contemporary pieces and baroque keyboard
works. Sony 8883762402. davidgreilsammer.com
Until now, I’d only heard of her. Now I’ve bought all I can get
my hands on. In this box: three Beethoven sonatas and two
Romances. Ravel, Bartók, Stravinsky and many others in smaller
pieces. Riveting Sibelius, Wienawski and Beethoven concerti plus
Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole
with Karel Ancerl, and Glazunov with Smetacek at the podium. Good
stuff. Click on the link for sound samples. Supraphon SU
4162-2, 5 CDs. supraphon.com/en/catalogue/releases/?item=1352
Phil Haynes’ No Fast Food
is a new stalwart trio with saxophonist Dave Liebman (here also on
flute) and bassist Drew Gress. Individually leaders, collectively
they make a wonderfully tasty ensemble. No fast food
indeed. Their double disc In Concert
should be high on your shopping list. CornerStoreJazz Records
Fauvette Passerinette: A Messiaen Premiere.
His complete Messiaen from Unicorn in the 1970s remains among the
top. This 11-minute piece flutters happily among works by
Sculthorpe, Ravel, Murail, Takemitsu, Stockhausen, et al.
Delphian DCD34141. peterhillpianist.co.uk,
Volumes 1 and 2. Jun Markl, conductor. Royal Scottish
National Orchestra or the Orchestre National de Lyon. The works
here are derived from Japanese traditional music, such as gagaku and
Buddhist Shômyô singing. Not as avant-garde as some other
Hosokawa, but not not, either. Riches abound. Naxos
8.573239 and 8.573276. naxos.com
Ideal Bread. Beating the Teens: Songs of Steve Lacy.
The band birthed by baritone saxist Josh Sinton to give further life to
Lacy’s compositions does yet another superb set here. Kirk
Knuffke on cornet, drummer Tomas Fujiwara and bassist Adam Hopkins
complete the quartet. I know Steve Lacy would have appreciated
knowing that my spell-check suggested I call this “Sarongs of Steve
Lacy.” Cuneiform RUNE 386/387, 2CDs. joshsinton.com, facebook.com/LacyBread, cuneiformrecords.com
Jon Irabagon. It Takes All Kinds.
Total winner of a live performance with saxist Irabagon (perhaps best
known from Mostly Other People Do The Killing) in tandem with
drummer/percussionist Barry Altschul and bassist Mark Helias, masters
all. Jazzwerkstatt 139. jonirabagon.com,
Keith Jarrett and Charlie
Haden. Last Dance.
Standards. Farewell, Charlie. ECM 2399. ecmrecords.com
Keith Jarrett, Gary
Peacock, Jack DeJohnette. Somewhere
(Live In Lucerne 2009).
Standards, plus two Jarrett originals which play off of their pairings:
Miles Davis’ “Solar” in a medley with Jarrett’s “Deep Space”;
Bernstein/Sondheim’s “Somewhere” with Jarrett’s “Everywhere.”
2013 release, but I just hear it now. ECM 2200. ecmrecords.com
On Disques Vogue: The Perfect Collection: 35 Original Albums.”
This box of French discs tops most reissue boxes from Sony or anyone
else. Classic performers on discs little-known in the US.
Each of the 20 CDs has an original jacket and back, and printed spines,
but the discs are filled in with relevant material, usually 10-inchers
(hence the 35 of the title), with all color photos and data in a
well-printed booklet. Even the box’ graphics are redolent of
1960s France. These albums were recorded in France by Monk, Diz,
Clifford, Mulligan, Jaspar, Hampton, Gryce, Eldridge, Schifrin,
Pettiford, Konitz, Raney, Django, Bechet, Mary Lou Williams, Roy Haynes
and French worthies Henri Renaud, René Thomas, André Hodeir, Martial
Solal and, especially, Barney Wilen. Sony/Vogue/Legacy
This standing quartet of trumpeters Christian Pruvost and Natsuki
Tamura, pianist Satoko Fujii and drummer Peter Orins blew me away in
concert at The Stone. Treat yourself to some that you can have at
home. Circum-Libra 202. satokofujii.com, myspace.com/christianpruvostsolo, peterorins.com
Keller Quartet. Ligeti SQ1
(Métamorphoses nocturnes), SQ2; Barber SQ: Molto adagio. The
Kellers had already proven their mettle with their Teldec set of the
Bartók quartets and ECM’s Kurtág collection. Two kinds of
luscious in one disc. ECM New Series 2197. ecmrecords.com
Victor Kissine. Between Two Waves: Concerto for piano and string orchestra.
Andrius Zlabys, piano; Kremerata Baltica; Roman Kofman, conductor. Duo (after Osip Mandelstam). Daniil
Grishin, viola; Giedre Dirvanauskaite, cello. Barcarola
for violin solo, string orchestra and percussion. Gidon Kremer,
violin; Andrei Pushkarev, percussion; Kremerata Baltica. The Duo, especially, is a high-tension
wire where things could fall apart at any second. Barcarola is an our-times La Mer,
which the composer describes as a “concerto in watercolour” which may
be so for the colors, but the lines are sharply etched. ECM New
Series 2312. ecmrecords.com
Jan Klusák. Inventions 1-10; Dreams: III: Perished
Multiple Czech orchestras and conductors. Supraphon SU 4163-2,
Karen Mantler. Business Is Bad.
Karen Mantler’s songs insist on grabbing your attention and a snippet
of lyric or a deceptively simple tune remain in your head even after
one listen. Business Is Bad
is the best yet of her infrequent solo albums. Doug Weiselman,
guitar, bass clarinet; Kato Hideki, bass. XtraWatt/3 - ECM 839
Michael Mantler. Jazz Composers Orchestra Update.
If you already know his music, you’ll love this. If new to
Mantler, you’ll find mesmerizing, richly-textured tapestries of
jazz-orchestra sound, with electric guitar, amplified string quartet,
and Mantler’s trumpet prominent. Excellent interview by Steve
Lake in the booklet. mantlermusic.com,
Walter Marchetti. De Musica Inversa. An
LP-sized 4CD box set including La
Caccia, In Terram Utopicam, Per La Sete Dell'orecchio, Natura Morta
and Vandalia. The music
ranges from acousmatic to noise to cinema
Each of the discs is now available individually, but this large-box
reissue includes a large-format new book by Marchetti, De Musica Inversa. alga
marghen nmn 076cd. forcedexposure.com/Catalog/marchetti-walter-de-musica-inversa-4cd-box-book/NMN.076CD.html
Olivier Messiaen. Turangalîla.
Angela Hewitt, piano; Valérie Hartmann-Claverie, ondes Martenots; Hannu
Lintu, conductor; Finnish RSO. Ondine ODE 1251-5, hybrid SACD. naxosusa.com/2014/oliver-messiaen-turangalila-symphony
Charlotte Moorman. Cello Anthology.
The notorious “naked cellist” performs Cage, Earle Browne,
Bussotti, MacLow, Ichiyanagi, Nam June Paik, et al. Each of the
four CDs are available separately. alga marghen nmn 064box.
Juan Antonio Nieto. Shortcut.
Very successful electronic music blended with sound derived from
electronics plus modified “everyday objects, much more clean and
recognizable.” Excellent use of spatial (stereo)
soundstage. Free download but donate anyway. archive.org/details/ShortcutJANieto
Ed Palermo Big Band.
Oh No! Not jazz!!
Palermo continues his rich exploration of the Zappa catalog with clever
arrangements of “Dog Breath Variations,” “Uncle Meat Variations,”
“Lumpy Gravy,” and an especially noirish “Chunga’s Revenge.” Add
a batch of non-Zappa works to fill two CDs, including Palermo originals
such as the Ellington-inflected “Prelude To An Insult,” and the
Lennon/McCartney “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” with too many good
soloists to name here. Cuneiform RUNE380/381. palermobigband.com,
Evan Parker, Paul Dunmall,
Tony Bianco. extremes.
Before you ask, yes, you do need another Parker and Dunmall disc.
Both play tenor here and, with the prodigious Tony Bianco on drums,
offer two extended improvs and a five-minute digestif. On the
great Canadian label Red Toucan RT9349. sympatico.ca/cactus.red/toucan/
Ivo Perelman. Enigma.
The intrepid saxist’s quartet with Matthew Shipp, Whit Dickey and
Gerald Cleaver continues Leo’s spate of Perelman records, all of them
more than worthy, only some of them on this list. Enigma has
passion and interesting compositions; great free-improvisation.
Leo CD LR 683. leorecords.com/?m=select&id=CD_LR_683, cityhallrecords.com
Ivo Perelman and Mat
Maneri. Two Men Walking.
The tenor and the violist play rings around each other, or is it cat
and mouse. Whatever you call the game, it’s fun, and nutritious
at the same time. Leo CD LR 696.
Ivo Perelman. Book Of Sound. Trio
with William Parker and Matt Shipp. The expected depth. Leo
CD LR 697. leorecords.com/?m=select&id=CD_LR_697,
Ivo Perelman and Matt
Shipp. The Art Of The Duet,
Spellbinding from first note to last. If you have to choose
just one of the recent Perelmans. Leo CD LR 665. leorecords.com/?m=select&id=CD_LR_665
Libor Pesek, conductor. The
Gold Collection. A mid-price, high-adventure trip
by this undervalued Hungarian through La
Mer, a razor-sharp Daphnis,
the Elgar cello and Scriabin piano concerti, Bruckner 7 and two major
Suk works, A Summer’s Tale
and Fairy Tale. Sound
samples at the link. Supraphon SU 4132-2, 4 CDs. supraphon.com/en/catalogue/releases/&list%5Bsort%5D=&list%5Boffset%5D=20?item=1261
Josef Rheinberger. Complete Organ Works.
Rudolf Innig, organ. MD+G MDG 3171864, 12 CDs. challengerecords.com/products/1408458649/
Akos Rózmann. Tolv Stationer (Twelve Stations)
for piano and voices. This electro-acoustic work is fascinating
across all seven CDs. Idiologic Organs/Editions Mego
SOMA021. idiologic.org, editionsmego.com
Complete Works for Violin & Orchestra and Cello &
Orchestra. Soloists of the Queen Elizabeth Music Chapel;
Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Ličge, conducted by Christian
Arming. I never expected to be delighted by the music of
CS-S. What Poulenc-like riches here. Zig-Zag Territoires
ZZT 335. outhere-music.com/en/albums/complete-works-for-violin-orchestra-cello-orchestra-zzt-335
Erwin Schulhoff. Concertos
for: Piano and Small Orchestra op43; Double for Flute, Piano, String
Orchestra, and two Horns; String Quartet and Wind Ensemble.
Beethoven (arr. Schulhoff: Rondo a capriccio “Rage Over A Lost
Penny.” Capriccio C5197, capriccio.de, naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=C5197
Robert Schumann. Symphonies 1-4.
Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor.
Deutsche Grammophon 0289 479 2437 1, 2 CDs. deutschegrammophon.com/us/cat/4792437
violin. Dvorák: Violin
Sonata, Op 57 B106. Nocturne, Op 40 B48a. Slavonic Dances (arr.
Kreisler), Op 46 No 2; Op 72 Nos 2 & 8. Josef Suk: Four Pieces, Op 17.
Pavel Sporcl, violin; Petr Jiríkovský, piano. Supraphon SU
Richard Strauss. Complete Lieder for Voice and Piano.
8 CDs, boxed with a large book of notes and complete German texts and
English translations. TwoPianists TP1039312, book,
Sun Ra Arkestra. 3rd September 1988 Chicago.
Fine-sounding 80-minute broadcast with all the attendant thrills.
I only wish some of the money would go to Marshall Allen and Sonny’s
estate. Klondike KLCD 1511. forcedexposure.com/Labels/KLONDIKE.RECORDS.UK.html
Sun Ra and his
Intergalactic Research Arkestra. It’s After The End Of The World: Live at
the Donaueschingen and Berlin Festivals.
One of my longtime favorite Sun Ra LPs has now made it onto
silverdisc. “It’s after the end of the world. Don’t you
know that yet?” MPS/Edel 0209744MSW. http://www.mps-music.com/portfolio-items/sun-ra-intergalactic-research-akestra-end-world/
Natsuki Tamura and
Alexander Frangenheim. Nax.
The versatile trumpeter joins German bassist Frangenheim, new to me, in
a set of improvisations which play with space and silence, intensity
and the unexpected. Creative Sources CS 280. natsukitamura.com,
Erkki-Sven Tüür. Piano Concerto, Symphony No. 7.
Laura Mikkola, piano; Paavo Järvi, conductor, Frankfurt RSO; NDR
Chorus. The concerto is well-crafted post-war modernism with a
dark start which offers shimmers of light. The choral symphony,
titled “Pietas” although using mostly Hindu scriptures, starts with
twinkles and swirls of scraped strings, celeste, and shifting tectonic
plates of strings reminiscent of Ornette Coleman’s Skies of America. It ends with
percussive artillery and ends in a slow fade. ECM New Series
2341. erkkisven.com, ecmrecords.com/Catalogue/New_Series/2300/2341.php?lvredir=712&catid=0&doctype=Catalogue&order=releasedate&we_search=%2Btuur&rubchooser=302&mainrubchooser=3
Velvet Underground. Velvet Underground: 45th
Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition.
Six discs in a hardbound large-format book, same as the others in this
series. Only gluttons require three CDs of variant mixes, one of
studio sessions, and two of Live At
The Matrix; I am one of them. Polydor B0021752-02. velvetundergroundmusic.com/releases/45th-anniversary-super-deluxe-edition/
David Virelles. Mbókň: Sacred Music for Piano, Two Basses,
Drum Set and Biankoméko Abakua. Vital Cuban jazz,
con sabor. ECM 2386. ecmrecords.com/Catalogue/ECM/2300/2386.php?lvredir=712&catid=0&doctype=Catalogue&order=releasedate&we_search=%2Bvirelles&rubchooser=302&mainrubchooser=3
Tryyo. Pershing Woman.
Electric cellist Jonathan Golove and drummer Damon Short (who has some
neat discs of his own) join the veteran trumpeter for a set of very
witty improvisations on compositions by Vlatkovich, with very witty
titles. Another winner from Vlatkovich and from pfMentum, the
little label that could. pfMENTUM CD071. pfmentum.com
Symphony 10; Solo Violin Sonata 3; Sonatina for violin and piano;
Concertino for violin and string orchestra. Kremerata Baltica,
directed by Gidon Kremer. ECM New Series 2368/69, 2 CDs. ecmrecords.com/Catalogue/New_Series/2300/2368-69.php?cat=&we_start=0
Benjamin Britten. Violin
Concertos. Linus Roth, violin. Deutsches
Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Challenge Classics CC 72627, hybrid
Mieczysław Weinberg. Complete Works for Violin and Piano.
Linus Roth violin; José Gallardo, piano. Challenge Classics
72567, 3 CDs. challengerecords.com/products/1363091856/
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PERFORMANCES: Music and Theater
Performance Of The Year:
Long Day's Journey Into Night
by Eugene O'Neill.
Directed by Angie Bolivar. Cast: Nikki Chawla, William Sours,
Chris Austin, Jon Gennari, Mickele Hogan. Nikki Chawla stuns as
Mary Tyrone, drawing upon a kaleidoscope, albeit subtle, of emotions
and reactions. She rivets your attention the moment she steps
onstage. This hardscrabble production from a tiny company in the
tiny Roy Arias Theatre on W. 43rd, reconfirms that off-off-Broadway’s
intimacy can often best the Big Names currently invading
Broadway. (To non-New Yorkers: The terms Off and Off-Off Broadway
pertain to the number of seats in the theater, not the location.) hardworkproductions.com/long-day-s-journey-into-night.html
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A Tribute To Robert Ashley.
Roulette, Brooklyn. September 11. Tom Hamilton, Joseph
Kubera, Pauline Kim Harris, Conrad Harris, JD Parran and members of the
SEM Ensemble. All the performances and all the pieces were first
rate, with the exception of the one originally composed for MIDI
Note: In theater, I make no apologies for the quantity of plays from
the Signature Theatre on this list. They nurture new and also
noted playwrights, and the audiences need pay only $25 due to generous
Kung Fu by David Henry Hwang.
The Signature Theatre, NY. Hwang’s biographical play about Bruce
Lee was revelatory to this writer, who knew nothing of Lee or his
circumstances until this play, and it resonates well beyond the
specifics of one man’s life. Directed by Leigh Silverman.
Choreography by Sonya Tayeh. Fight Direction by Emmanuel
Brown. Chinese Opera Movement Direction by Jamie Guan.
Cast: Emmanuel Brown, Clifton Duncan, Bradley Fong, Cole Horibe,
Francis Jue, Peter Kim, Ari Loeb, Reed Luplau, Kristen Faith Oei, Jon
Rua, Phoebe Strole, Christopher Vo. signaturetheatre.org/tickets/production.aspx?pid=2358
Ray Anderson & Sarah
Weaver – “The Point Being // Slideride.”
February 23 at Roulette, Brooklyn. The Point Being by Ray Anderson and Sarah Weaver.
Ray Anderson, trombone, voice; Sarah Weaver, conductor; Jane Ira Bloom,
soprano saxophone; Oliver Lake, alto saxophone; James Zollar, trumpet;
Uri Caine, piano; Mark Helias, bass; Gerald Cleaver, drums. Slideride: Ray
Anderson, Craig Harris, Art Baron, Earl McIntyre, trombones. rayanderson.org
Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.
The Signature Theatre, NY. “The estranged members of the
Lafayette clan have returned to Arkansas and their crumbling old
plantation home to settle the accounts of their recently deceased
patriarch. As they sort through a lifetime of hoarded mementos and
junk, the discovery of a gruesome relic and a surprise visitor send the
family into a spiral of crackling confrontations, repressed histories,
and regret.” Directed by Liesl Tommy. Cast: Maddie Corman,
Patch Darragh, Johanna Day, Alex Dreier, Mike Faist, Izzy
Hanson-Johnston, Sonya Harum, Michael Laurence. signaturetheatre.org/tickets/production.aspx?pid=3107
This Is Our Youth
by Kenneth Lonergan.
The Cort Theatre, NY. Directed by Anna D. Shapiro. Cast:
Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Jessica Goldman. These three
prove, contrary to many expectations, to be consummate stage actors
with acuity of timing, phrasing, and reactions. thisisouryouthbroadway.com/.
Dover String Quartet with
Leon Fleisher. March 16, Town Hall, NY.
Program: Schubert: Rosamunde Quartet; Bach: Chaconne;
Korngold: Suite for Piano Left Hand, Two Violins, and Cello, Op.
S.E.M. Ensemble &
Ostravská banda, Petr Kotik, conductor. Ostrava Days in New York: Celebrating
Christian Wolff’s 80th birthday.
March 26 at Roulette, Brooklyn. Kamala Sankaram, soprano and
Jeffrey Gavett, baritone; String Noise (Conrad Harris, Pauline Kim
Harris, violin); OB-Trio (Conrad Harris, violin; Daniel Costello, horn;
Daan Vandewalle, piano); Special Guest: George Lewis
Program: Petr Kotik: There is
Singularly Nothing; Christian Wolff: For Six or Seven Players (Music for
Merce Cunningham); Martin Smolka: Autumn
Thoughts; Idin Samimi Mofakham: Mirage; Iannis Xenakis: Mikka and Mikka “S”, Christian
Wolff: Violin Duo for Petr;
Petr Cígler: Über das farbige Licht
der Doppelsterne; György Ligeti: Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano.
Ying String Quartet.
May 3 at Washington Irving H.S., NY.
Schumann: Quartet in F Major, Op. 41, No. 2; Lera
Auerbach: Quartet No. 8, "Sylvia's
Diary"; Brahms: Quartet in A Minor, Op. 51, No. 2; Encore:
Randall Thompson: arr. Alleluia.
This was my fortuitous introduction to the music of Lera Auerbach, a
young Russian-American composer whose quartet was aphoristic and
Nancy Van de Vate's
opera All Quiet
on the Western Front.
May 24, Roulette, Brooklyn. Philip Nuzzo, conductor, The Metro
Chamber Orchestra. A stunning performance of Ms. Van de Vate’s
powerful opera, using projections, staged singers, and an orchestra of
extraordinary finesse. The singers were bone-chilling.
Until a DVD is available, I encourage you to buy the double-CD with
complete libretto. roulette.org/comm_events/metro-chamber-orchestra-nancy-van-de-vate-present-quiet-western-front
The Realistic Joneses by
Lyceum Theatre, NY. Directed by Sam Gold. Cast: Toni
Collette, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Marisa Tomei. therealisticjoneses.com
Sun Ra Arkestra + Nate Wooley,
trumpet. July 12, Roulette, Brooklyn. Two separate sets,
each invigorating in their own ways. roulette.org, http://natewooley.com/
Karen Mantler Trio.
July 31 at SubCulture, NY. “Business Is Bad: Album Release
Performance.” The chanteuse presented her lounge-casual persona
in a set of songs from her new CD, with some of her older songs woven
in. Delicious on wry. subculturenewyork.com,
The Killer by Eugčne Ionesco.
Directed by Darko Tresnjak. New translation by Michael
Feingold. Cast: Kristine Nielsen, Michael Shannon, Paul
Sparks, Robert Stanton, and 20 more. Theatre for a New
Audience at Polonsky Shakespeare Center, Brooklyn. This
little-performed, three-hour Ionesco masterpiece would be significant
even if it didn’t get this stunning production, but it did! tfana.org/season-2014/killer/overview
And I And Silence by Naomi Wallace.
Directed by Caitlin McLeod. Cast: Trae Harris, Rachel Nicks,
Emily Skeggs, Samantha Soule. Young women from the wrong side of
the tracks, in prison as youth, and struggling as adults. signaturetheatre.org/tickets/production.aspx?pid=3748
Nude With Violin by Noël Coward.
The Theatre Fellowship of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, NY.
Delicious satire of the art world and human behavior. Thanks
always to small companies like this presenting obscure, worthy plays of
the past, in this case 1956. fapc.org
The Wayside Motor Inn
by A. R. Gurney.
Directed by Lila Neugebauer. The Signature Theatre, NY.
Cast: Kelly AuCoin, Jon DeVries, Quincy Dunn-Baker, Rebecca Henderson,
Marc Kudisch, Jenn Lyon, Lizbeth Mackay, David McElwee, Ismenia Mendes,
Will Pullen. signaturetheatre.org/tickets/production.aspx?pid=3756
Federico Ughi and Yoni Kretzmer. Drums and tenor
sax duo. Downtown Music Gallery Sunday Free Performance
Series. March 16. downtownmusicgallery.com,
Open House by Will Eno.
Directed by Oliver Butler. Signature Theatre, NY. Cast:
Hannah Bos, Michael Countryman, Peter Friedman, Danny McCarthy, Carolyn
The Real Inspector Hound
by Tom Stoppard.
The Producers Club, Grand Theater, NY. A marvelously witty and
absurd revival of a play in the same vein. Perfect timing by the
Matana Roberts’ Anthem.
Kevin Tkacz, bass; Liberty Ellman, guitar; Ches Smith, drums.
December 3. The saxist/composer presented yet another successful
multimedia performance which had all engrossed. That day she
titled the piece “Black Lives Matter,” thought for a second, and said
it’s “Black Lives Matter. All Lives Matter.” roulette.org/events/matana-roberts-anthem
Our Lady of Kibeho by
Signature Theatre, NY. Leading Role Actors: Nneka Okafor, Mandi
Masden, Joaquina Kalukango, Starla Benford. Hall is one of the
younger playwrights whose work the Signature supports. Kibeho
is about a young girl in an African Catholic school who sees a vision
of Mother Mary, and the effect it has on her village, her schoolmates,
the clergy and the media. signaturetheatre.org/tickets/production.aspx?pid=3752
Cobra by John Zorn.
November 29. 30th anniversary musical game/improv instructions,
with Zorn conducting the cream of the crop: Cyro Baptista, Sylvie
Courvoisier, Trevor Dunn, Mark Feldman, Erik Friedlander, George Lewis,
Eyal Moaz, John Medeski, Ikue Mori, Marc Ribot, William Winant and
Kenny Wollensen. Roulette, Brooklyn. roulette.org/events/john-zorns-cobra
… and last but not least, the Broadway musical Pippin, which I hadn’t seen
before. It had many elements in common with Bernstein’s Candide.
Although it has only three songs which stand on their own, the whole
circus was nothing but kicks. We also saw understudy Sam Lip as
Pippin December 3rd, and the cast cajoled him throughout and everyone
had a blast. Pippin won the 2013 Tony Award, but closed after a
relatively brief run of one year, although it’s now on tour. pippinthemusical.com
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *