Monday, October 26, 2009

Autorickshaw, Gotan Project, Dave Brubeck, and Baroque Recorder: Playlist for The Open Window for October 26, 2009

The Open Window airs Mondays at 6:30 am and Thursdays at 10 am at (Kootenay Cooperative Radio)

Listen to a podcast of this show here

Autorickshaw: Ragam and Saraswati from Four Higher (Tala-Wallah)

Vocalist Suba Sankaran leads this Toronto group that plays a mix of Indian classical, jazz, and funk. Always a big fan of Indian music and its cross-over with Western music, I find the funky electric bass lines really interesting here, and I like Suba Sankaran's vocals. In December Autorickshaw will perform a concert in Toronto to mark the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, the worst industrial disaster in history. The concert is a benefit for the Sambhavna Clinic which treats the thousands of people still affected.

Gotan Project: Gotan Project Meets Chet Baker from Inspiracion-Espiracion (Pioneer)
This piece samples Chet Baker playing Round Midnight accompanied by accordion with a tango-like section as well. The Paris-based Gotan Project likes tango but they are into beats and samples too, and they throw them together every which way, with surprising results. This Chet Baker piece has the feel of a live performance in a relaxed club in some mysterious part of a big city-- somewhere like Rio or Buenos Aires.

Bernard Krainis and the London Strings directed by Neville Mariner: Concerto in A (Vivaldi) and Concerto in C (Handel) from Concertos for Recorder (Mercury)

It's such a treat to hear virtuoso recorder in the baroque style. That was the recorder's heyday before it was supplanted by the transverse flute. In the 1700's there were recorder virtuosos and composers writing for it. Bernard Krainis, who died in the late 1990s, once said that the recorder is harder to play than a reed or flute because you can't control the sound with your embouchure, it has to come from your diaphragm like a singer. This is a piece of vinyl from the 1960s, out of print now.

Dave Brubeck: Strange Meadowlark and Three to Get Ready from Take Five (Columbia)

When this record came out in the early 1960s, the Brubeck Quartet was popular with the masse
s but not with us really hip people, except that we had to admit a grudging respect for alto saxophonist Paul Desmond whose brand of dry, fluent lyricism is still unparalleled. Part of our problem was that tendency of youth to dismiss any artist once they are known to more than a dozen people. (I have a friend who wears a t-shirt that boasts: I listen to bands that don't even exist yet!) Anyway to me now Brubeck was an interesting and engaging experimenter but not one of the great jazz pianists, but Paul Desmond gets more wonderful with time (even though he's been gone a couple of decades now). And this is a much better record than I and my friends were prepared to admit back then.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Arvo Part, Dave Holland, Beyond the Pale: Playlist for The Open Window for October 19, 2009

The open window airs at (Kootenay Co-op Radio) at 6:30 am Mondays and 10 am Thursdays.

Arvo Pärt: Da Pacem Domine, Mein Weg, and Fur Lennart in Memoriam; Estonian National Chamber Choir and Talinn Chamber Orchestra conducted by Tonu Kaljuste from In Principio (ECM)

"I could compare my music to white light which contains all colours. Only a prism can divide the colours and make them appear. This prism could be the spirit of the listener."-- Arvo Pärt

Arvo Pärt (1935- ) has made ancient music relevant to modern times and has given certain 20th century minimalist sounds an ancient flavour and to that I say bravo. This is a new CD and beautiful.

Dave Holland: Candlelight Vigil, Jugglers Parade, and Down Time, from Prime Directive (ECM)

This is one of my favourite jazz albums. The ability of Dave Holland (bass), Chris Potter (saxophones), Robin Eubanks (trombone), Steve Nelson (vibes and marimba), and Billy Kilson (drums) to play separately yet together in inspiring and intricate and fresh ways seems infinite. When Dave Holland was a young man in the 1960's Miles Davis heard him in Ronny Scott's in London (Holland is British) and invited him to play with him immediately. So he is the bass player on groundbreaking work of Miles' including Bitches Brew and In a Silent Way. Now he's a respected elder and leader of a group of people half his age and they pretty much define jazz in the early part of this century.

Beyond the Pale: Split Decision, Doina, and Meditation from Postcards (Borealis)

Boundary-busting Euro-folk fusion someone called it—klezmer, Balkan, Romanian styles with North American influences. I like the meditative ones better than the burners, but it's all great.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blake Parker, Bach, Bill Frisell, Archie Shepp: playlist for The Open Window for Oct 12 and 15, 2009

The Open Window airs at 6:30 am Mondays and 10:00 am Thursdays at (Kootenay Co-op Radio)

Listen to a podcast of this show

Blake Parker and Jude Davison: Shadow of the World and Fool from Terminal City Trilogy (Independent)

Blake was a Nelson poet and local cultural hero who died of cancer in 2007. When he was diagnosed, he and Jude Davison decided to put his poems to music, and the result is these three CDs.

Bill Frisell: Disfarmer Theme
and Focus from Disfarmer (Nonesuch)

These pieces are impressions of the photographs of a man known as Disfarmer, who lived in Arkansas from 1884 to 1959. He was a portrait photographer whose work is now considered pioneering because of the start, piercing, artistic way he portrayed people in rural areas and small towns Arkansas in the 1930s and 1940s. Most of them were not discovered until the 1970's, and you will now find them on the web and in museums,

Archie Shepp and Horace Parlan: Motherless Child, Nobody
Knows the Trouble I've Seen, and My Lord What a Morning from Goin' Home (Steeplechase)

This 1976 album of spirituals surprised a lot of people when it came out because Shepp was usually a fire-breathing avant-gardist. Here, he's reverent and sensitive and subtle, especially when he plays soprano saxophone.

Jean-Jacques Kantarow: J.S. Bach: Sonata #1 in G Minor from J.S. Bach-- 3 Sonatas and 3 Partitas (Denon)

How many times could I listen to this without getting t
ired of it and thinking I am only scratching the surface of a new universe?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Nuzrat Fateh Ali Khan, Luciano Sgrizzi, Leonard Cohen: Playlist for The Open Window for October 5 and 8, 2009

The Open Window airs at, Kootenay Coop Radio, at 6:30 am Mondays and 10 am Thursdays

Listen to a podcast of this show

Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer: six tracks from Music for Two (Sony Classical)

The re-imaginer of the banjo
and a genre-crossing classical bass player give us the unique sound of bass-banjo duets, sometimes in classical music (Bach) and otherwise with acoustic improvs of various kinds.

Nuzrat Fateh Ali Khan and Michael Brook: My Heart, My Life; Lament; and My Comfort Remains from Night Song (Real World)

This 1995 CD is a classic of world music, with the Canadian guitarist Michael Brook taking Nuzrat's music some distance into the west. Nuzrat (1948-1997) has been called both the Bob Marley of Pakistan and the Pavarotti of Pakistan, not surprising considering his revered status there. He has also been called the most popular singer in the world, some of his concert crowds rivaling most western cities in population. He sings a kind of Sufi devotional trance music, altered here somewhat for this experiment with Brook. The grooves and the improvizations and the quiet moments on this CD have grown on me very much over the years and it's one of my all-time favourites.

Luciano Sgrizzi: Suite in C by Domenico Zipoli, from 18th-Century Italian Harpsichord Music (Nonesuch )

This was requested by a beautiful Italian woman at a party-- the first actual request I've ever had. I've since discovered that Sgrizzi (1910-1994) was quite an eminent musician with dozens of recordings.

Leonard Cohen: Villanelle for Our Time from Dear Heather (Columbia)

These me
morable lyrics are by Frank Scott (left) (1889-1985), the Canadian poet who was a professor of Cohen's in university in Montreal, and also a mentor. The words would have to be exquisite to stand up alongside any of Cohen's songs and they do, in fact they are quite Cohenesque. Or maybe all Cohen's songs were influenced by Frank Scott. Here's the poem, but you have to imagine it read by Cohen at his deepest and most resonant.

From bitter searching of the heart,
Quickened with passion and with pain
We rise to play a greater part.
This is the faith from which we start:
Men shall know commonwealth again
From bitter searching of the heart.
We loved the easy and the smart,
But now, with keener hand and brain,
We rise to play a greater part.
The lesser loyalties depart,
And neither race nor creed remain
From bitter searching of the heart.
Not steering by the venal chart
That tricked the mass for private gain,
We rise to play a greater part.
Reshaping narrow law and art
Whose symbols are the millions slain,
From bitter searching of the heart,
We rise to play a greater part.