Thursday, April 23, 2009

Silk Road, Wynton, Zorn: Playlist for Beethoven's Breakfast April 20, 2009

Beethoven's Breakfast airs at Mondays at 6:30 am PDT

Silk Road Music:
Sparkling Dew and Autumn Cloud from Autumn Cloud: A Journey With Her Pipa (Silk Road Music)

At the recent Northwest Guitar Festival in Nelson I was delighted to make the acquaintance of Qiu Xia He from China who plays the pipa, Chinese lute-like instrument, in the duo Silk Road Music. Her partner in the group is Andre Thibault, guitar. They played a lovely set of Chinese music that crossed over into Brazil, India, Morocco, and other places. Qiu Xia played one solo: a classical Chinese piece that was very moving and I think it was the first time I have ever felt that way about Chinese music which has always seemed inaccessible. I was impressed by her gentle charisma, also.

Wynton Marsalis: Haydn, Trumpet Concerto with Raymond Leppard and the National Philharmonic Orchestra (CBS)

Wynton Marsalis was just a kid when he made this record-- 20 years old. He is probably the world's most successful jazz-classical crossover artist. I am not sure how the classical music establishment views this and other classical records Marsalis has made, but to my ears he approaches this music with panache and virtuosity. Do I hear a few more more notes that are slurred, jazz-like, than we would hear from a purely classical trumpeter?

Masada String Trio:
Sippur, Taharah and Hoodaah, from The Circle Maker (Tzadik)

The wildly prolific John Zorn never stops changing. This is chamber music for string trio with influences from the worlds of jazz, klezmer, Middle Eastern and classical. It's his attempt to create a new form of Jewish music. The excellent trio members are Greg Cohen, bass; Mark Feldman, violin; and Eric Friedlander, cello. The music walks a lovely line between comfortable, gentle grooves and curious wanderings from the path.

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