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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

George Gershwin: Gershwin Performs Gershwin: Of Rhythm and Constipation

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Insert your favorite toilet joke here.I tried. I considered dozens of poop puns, then finally decided nothing could top reality. So here it is:In the 1930s, George Gershwin--already a huge star--hosted a radio show on which he played piano between laxative commercials.It's funny, really, when you hear it. And yet it doesn't detract from the music, which is sensational. Actually, the Feen-A-Mint ads are kind of charming.You can hear it yourself on a CD called “Gershwin Performs Gershwin: Rare Recordings 1931-1935." It's not hard to find. The CD came out in 1991 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dorothy Donegan: Strength, Energy, Imagination

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With this double album, Storyville Records--surely the greatest Danish invention since pastry--tells the story of a legend that never was. Dorothy Donegan, born in Chicago in 1924, trained as a classical pianist before switching to jazz and being hailed as “the female Art Tatum." She made her recording debut when she was 18 and three years later appeared in the movie “Sensations of 1945," sitting in with Cab Calloway's orchestra (see attached video). The following year, in July, she was featured on the cover of Ebony, Afro- American equivalent of Time magazine, and looked ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Philip Glass: The Photographer

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Apart from the recognizable repetitive patterns and melodies that adorn composer Philip Glass' music, there is also one recurring theme that reappears throughout his rich and illustrious career regardless if it is opera, symphony, theatre piece or soundtrack. That is the lives of luminaries, revolutionaries, discoverers, erudite scholars whose lives, words and actions have made a difference in the world and have inspired his music. In a range that includes Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Pharaoh Ankhnaten, Walt Disney, Galileo Galilei, Yukio Mishima, Allen Ginsberg or the Dalai Lama, these people have, one way or another, provided the creative fuel for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Philip Glass: Visitors

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One of the most important, interesting and intriguing relationships in the world of film is the one shared by a director and composer. As is known, music is an important component of cinematic identity where many film makers that are considered to be “authors" would have lost their recognizability and allure if they didn't work with the same composers time and again. One of the most celebrated working relationships between a director and a film composer is that of director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass. Reggio and Glass have worked on four films together, creating some of the most ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Dorian Wallace

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Meet Dorian Wallace:Dorian Wallace is a composer, pianist, synthesist, writer, and teacher. His career has experienced a diverse musical palette including orchestral, chamber, avant-garde, jazz, free improvisation, classical dance, electronic, film, opera, hip-hop, and rock. He is co-founder/artistic director of Tenth Intervention and Trystero, as well as artistic director of Dorian Wallace and His Big Band. He also plays keyboard in the jam band, AmmoCake.Instrument(s):Composer, pianist, synthesist.Teachers and/or influences?Igor Stravinsky, Alban Berg, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Elliot Carter, John Zorn, Wu-Tang Clan, Frank London, Meshuggah, Frederic Rzewski, Olivier ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gregg Kallor: A Single Noon

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Solo piano recordings are risky. Even the acknowledged masters of the form--Brad Mehldau, Keith Jarrett--fall flat from time-to-time. Somehow, outside of an interactive ensemble, magic seems harder to conjure. Pianist Gregg Kallor tries his hand at going it alone on A Single Noon, a nine movement suite, a musical ode to life in New York City.This is composed music, with improvisation, and sounds like a very refined recital. Kallor's take on the big city seems to focus on the elegant and the polished side of city life, beginning with the gorgeous cover art, featuring a dazzling sunset (or ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Various Artists: Rework_ Philip Glass Remixes

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In these modern times, remixing is seen as merely another way of reinterpreting someone's work. Just like jazz or rock artists reworking old standards or classics in their own way, so, too, do remixers apply a modern method of interpreting people's songs, compositions--or, their entire oeuvre.According to Wikipedia “the remix is an alternative version of a song, different from the original version. A remixer uses audio mixing to compose an alternate master recording of a song, adding or subtracting elements, or simply changing the equalization, dynamics, pitch, tempo, playing time or almost any other aspect of the various ...

INTERVIEWS

Bob Belden: Jazz Adventurer

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Bob Belden is a jazz renaissance man: a flutist and saxophonist who began his career with Woody Herman's big band. He's also a composer and arranger, who has orchestrated jazz treatments of Puccini's opera Turandot as well as the music of The Beatles, Sting and Prince. His pair of tributes to trumpeter Miles Davis--Miles from India (Times Square, 2008) and Miles Español: New Sketches From Spain (Entertainment One, 2011)- -are conceptually and sonically rich high points in a crowded discography as arranger- impresario.As a producer, moreover, he has led the compilation and reissue of several milestone jazz recordings ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Animation: Transparent Heart

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With his second release for this UK-based progressive record label, award-winning saxophonist/composer/bandleader Bob Belden nurtures and perhaps challenges a youthful cast of musicians who are graduates from his alma mater, the University of North Texas. Moving further east, however, the premise for the production, resides within Belden's impressionistic sensibilities of Manhattan. Belden's jazz-fusion applications paint a sinister viewpoint of the Big Apple, where intermittent rays of light slice through foreboding alleyways and busy thoroughfares. Here, the ensemble melds steamy contrasts with in-your-face-like grooves amid spacey electronic keys segments, simmering horns and polychromatic montages. Marked by a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Franz von Chossy Quintet: When The World Comes Home

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If there is one big story that can genuinely be said to have made the front pages since the dawn of time, it's the story of Adam and Eve's expulsion from Eden. Artists, poets, novelists, dramatists and composers have all sought to put their own perspectives on the tale. The latest in a line that stretches back into antiquity is German pianist/composer Franz von Chossy, who takes the story as the subject for a nine-part suite, When The World Comes Home, that is full of imaginative and, at times, extremely beautiful music.Von Chossy runs his own trio as ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jazz Arts Trio: Swing of Many Colors

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For the most part Jazz Arts Trio's Swing of Many Colors presents relatively sedate recreations of recordings by some of jazz's most famous piano trio greats, including Ahmad Jamal, Red Garland, Oscar Peterson, and Keith Jarrett.Clearly a labor of love, each tune is meticulously reproduced with the fine attention to detail only a pet project can achieve. All three players are astute practitioners and their devotion to the trio form bleeds through, especially on pieces like “Night Train," All the Things You Are" and, “Matrix." Equally apparent is their own satisfaction in solving the difficult puzzle they crafted ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Douglas Johnson

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Meet Douglas Johnson: Douglas Johnson is a bassist, composer and bandleader in Chicago, Illinois. He earned a bachelors' degree in music performance from Northwestern University, studying with Jeff Bradetich, and has been a Fellow for the Tanglewood Music Institute and Bach Aria Festival.Doug served as Associate Principal Bass of the Honolulu Symphony for one season, and is currently active with the symphonic, chamber music, and progressive music scenes in Chicago, including playing as a substitute bassist with the Chicago Symphony, Access Contemporary Music, and the Chicago Composers Orchestra.Doug has written music for the River ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Philip Glass: Einstein on the Beach

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Philip GlassEinstein on the BeachNonesuch2012 (1993)Music has a tremendous ability to affect human emotions in a very inexplicable manner. It offers a way of communication rooted in emotions rather than in meaning. On the other hand, throughout the ages, music has never lacked controversy and has always been able to create a stir with heated debates, to polarize audiences or simply to provoke a reaction. Be it trumpeter Miles Davis or singer Madonna, composer Beethoven or guitarist Frank Zappa,, singer David Bowie or saxophonist John Zorn, it has always been capable of ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Aki Takase / Rudi Mahall and the Alexander von Schlippenbach Trio: London, UK, January 26, 2012

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Aki Takase / Rudi Mahall and the Alexander von Schlippenbach TrioThe VortexLondonJanuary 26, 2012 The last week in January at north London's Vortex was given over to a mini-festival curated by saxophonist Evan Parker, genteelly entitled “Might I Suggest." Sponsored by the Goethe Institute, it showcased several German-based musicians rarely seen in the UK. On paper at least, the highlight appeared to be the double bill showcasing in two contrasting halves, the husband-and-wife team of pianists Aki Takase and Alexander von Schlippenbach. That seemed a widely held view, as punters rammed the club to the ...



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