Monday, July 27, 2009

Menuhin plays Beethoven, Gould plays Bach: playlist for The Open Window for July 27, 2009

The Open Window airs at 6:30 am Mondays and 10:00 am Sundays at, Kootenay Co-op Radio in Nelson, B.C.

Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D, Yehudi Menuhin, violin, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Wilhelm Furtwangler (Seraphim)

Bach: Invention # 2 and 5, Glenn Gould, piano, from Bach: The Two and Three Part Inventions (Columbia)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Abigail Washburn, Curtis Counce, Oistrach: Playlist for The Open Window for July 20 and 26, 2009

The Open Window airs at 6:30 am Mondays and 10 am Sundays at (Kootenay Cooperative Radio) in Nelson, B.C.

Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet: Great Big Wall, Overture, Fuller Wine, The Journay, Oh Me Oh My from The Sparrow Quartet (Nettwerk)

Abigail Washburn banjo and guitar; Bela Fleck, banjo; Casey Dries
sen, fiddle; Ben Sollee, cello. This music is a mix of Appalachian and Chinese influences because Abigail Washburn had lived in China and could speak some Chinese before she started her career as a bluegrass musician. She's a beautiful singer, and, if you care to go to her website you will find her to be a charming and intelligent talker about music. Also on the net you will find a couple of fascinating videos of the group travelling in China and jamming with Chinese musicians. This band's music is lovely and original.

Bach: Concerto for Two Violins; Igor and David Oistrach with the London Philharmonic directed by Eugene Goosens, from Bach Violin Concertos (Deutsche Grammophon)

For a touch of the sublime, the slow movement of this one can't be beat.

Curtis Counce: Sarah, from Landslide (Contemporary)

This is plain-spoken, unadorned, simple-but-sophisticated, honest, late-night west coast blues from 1957. The bassist Curtis Counce was the leader, with Jack Sheldon (trumpet), Harold Land (tenor saxophone), Frank Butler (drums) and the sweet piano of Carl Perkins (no, not that one).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Abdullah Ibrahim, Jon Hassell, Stephen Fearing, Bach: Playlist for The Open Window for July 6, 2009

The Open Window airs at (Kootenay Cooperative Radio in Nelson, B.C.) on Sundays at 10am and Mondays at 6:30am.

Abdullah Ibrahim: Water From An Ancient Well, Soweto, The Mountain, The Wedding, and The Blessing from Capetown Revisited (Enja)

Abdullah Ibrahim: The Mountain and The Blessing from Water From An Ancient Well (Enja)

The first of these recordings by the venerable South African pianist and bandleader is mostly a trio date, live, with the occasional appearance by trumpeter Faya Faku, recorded in 2000. The second is a studio recording from 1987 with a sextet. The Mountain and The Wedding are great examples of Abdullah's stately intermingling of South African folk forms and Duke Ellington-like jazz.

But his jazz was not always Duke Ellington: check out some of his CD's from t
he 1970s and 80s and you will find collaborations with avant-garde types like trumpeter Donald Cherry. Abdullah has covered a lot of ground and styles in the last few decades, always with a soulful beauty and integrity that is all his own and which I have always loved. He played at Nelson Mandela's presidential inauguration ceremony.

Jon Hassell: Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street from Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street (ECM)

From Jon Hassell's website:
"A childhood in
Memphis, a classical conservatory education, composition and electronic music study with Stockhausen in Cologne; a passage through the New York minimalist sphere with Terry Riley, Reich, Glass; having a window opened onto the world's music and a new approach to the trumpet via vocal master Pandit Pran Nath; a questioning and deconstruction of the European dichotomy between classical and popular, sacred and sensual; a pioneer of digital transformation and sampling—all of this led to Fourth World—the unique blend described as "worldly music" to underline a more subtle equation at work and discourage the simplistic labeling of "world," "jazz," "classical," "minimal," or "ambient.""

Bach: Partita for Solo Flute in A Minor; Jean-Pierre Rampal, flute, from Johann Sebastian Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Flute

"For me, the flute is really the sound of humanity, the sound of man flowing, completely free from his body almost without an intermediary. . . . Playing the flute is not as direct as singing, but it's nearly the same."-- Jean-Pierre Rampal

Stephen Fearing: Goodnight Moon from Yellowjacket (Northern Blues)

Stephen Fearing is coming to the Keep the Beat event at Lakeside Park in Nelson this summer, much to the delight of my daughters Rosie and Laura who are among the organizers of the event and also his nieces (he's their Mom's brother).
He can sing in a very high range
and this lovely song is proof of that.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Catherine Potter, Hilliard Ensemble and Garbarek, Zakir Hussain, Mitsuko Uchida: Playlist for The Open Window for June 29, 2009

The Open Window airs at (Kootenay Co-op Radio) on Sundays at 10 am and Mondays at 6:30 am.

Catherine Potter: Gori, Kutila and Vol Blanc from Duniya Project

Catherine Potter is a Canadian player of the bansuri, or Indian bamboo flute. She has studied under Hariprasad Chaurasia, who is perhaps the most celebrated Indian player of that instrument. This music is somewhere between jazz and Indian classical bansuri music, and is true enough to both to probably please non-purist fans of either (like me). Subir Debv, tabla; Lubo Alexandrov, guitars; Nicolas Caloia, bass; Thom Gossage, drums; Anjana Srinivasan, violin.

Hilliard Ensemble and Jan Garbarek: O Salutaris Hosta, Procedenem Sponsem, and Pulcherrima Rosa from Officium (ECM)

Released in 1994, this gets my vote for one of the most innovative recordings ever. Take a British quartet of singers of early music, combine them with an improvising jazz saxophonist, record them in Austria's Monastery of St. Gerold known for its otherwordly acoustics, ask them to perform music from the 12th to the 16th century much of it so old the author is listed as anonymous, and you get this stunning work of art.

But it is not just any jazz saxophonist. Jan Garbarek of Norway has built a career out of daring collaborations all over the world.

Zakir Hussain: Making Music from Making Music (ECM)

On this piece, Hariprasad Chaurasia on bansuri (see Catherine Potter above) and Jan Garbarek play together, along with Zakir Hussain on tablas and John McLaughlin on guitar. Hussain and McLaughlin were central to the celebrated Indian-jazz crossover group Shakti 25 or more years ago: these guys have been crossing west-east borders for a long time now, wonderfully. Garbarek's soprano saxophone fits the music perfectly, but the tenor does not, in my opinion, because it is recorded too loudly and played too bluntly. The Indian flute of Chaurasia is sublime.

Mozart: Fantasy in D Minor; Mitsuko Uchida-- Mozart: Two Sonatas (Philips)

A celebrated performer of Mozart with a short piece as lovely as the sunny summer early morning on which I played it....