Dresdner Kammerchor & Hans-Christoph Rademann – Schtz: Schwanengesang (2018)
Classical, Choral | WEB FLAC (tracks) & d. booklet | 383 MB
Label: Christophorus | Tracks: 13 | Time: 79:04 min
Heinrich Schtz composed his last work, a monumental setting of Psalm 119, in 1671 at the age of 86, complemented by a setting of Psalm 100, and a setting of the German Magnificat. This group of works, known as the Schwanengesang, or swansong, is a highly personal musical declaration, distinguished by its elegance and spiritual depth. As part of the Schtz Complete Recording, the Dresdner Kammerchor conducted by Hans-Christoph Rademann has again made a recording which sets new standards, presenting both the sung and the expressive elements of the composition in exemplary fashion. This recording of the fragmentary-surviving Schwanengesang is based on a new edition of the music by Werner Breig, published in November 2017 as part of the Stuttgart Schtz Edition. In many passages it suggests other approaches to reconstruction from the version published in 1984, and so approaches the Schwanengesang in a completely different way.
Daniela Dessi, Fabio Armiliato, Alfonso Antoniozzi, Daria Kovalenko, Genoa Carlo Felice Theater Orchestra, Valerio Galli – Giordano: Fedora (2018)
Classical, Opera | WEB FLAC (tracks) & front cover | 456 MB
Label: Dynamic | Tracks: 25 | Time: 101:18 min
The soprano Daniela Dess died suddenly on 20th August 2016, aged 59. She was hailed by critics and colleagues as one of the finest voices the world of opera has ever known. Dynamic pays tribute to the great soprano with this recording, filmed just one year before her untimely death. Her performance of Giordano’s Fedora was one of the pinnacles of her stunning artistic career. In the famous aria O grandi occhi lucenti from Act One, she delivers a technically perfect and emotionally passionate performance worthy of a great star. The story takes place at the end of the 19th century, in St. Petersburg (Act One), Paris (Act Two) and Switzerland (Act Three). It’s an operatic crime story, a drama of passion, revenge and guilt that unravels against a historical backdrop of Czarist Russia’s political and ideological conflicts in the late 19th century. Daniela Dess is a complete prima donna of outstanding finesse, her rich voice both powerfully intense and deeply expressive. Tenor Fabio Armiliato shines particularly in the famous aria Amor ti vieta from Act Two, with a commanding and highly expressive stage presence in support of a powerful and wonderfully nuanced voice. The finale of the opera is reserved for the two protagonists, companions both on stage and in life. The singers surpass themselves, and it is impossible not to be moved when Fedora dies, believing that fate would shortly turn theatrical makebelieve into reality.
Clovis Nicolas – Freedom Suite Ensuite (2018)
WEB FLAC (Tracks) – 301 MB | Cover | MP3 CBR 320 kbps – 128 MB | 00:55:17
Jazz | Label: Sunnyside
The concept of freedom in music relates to many things. Bassist/composer Clovis Nicolas didn’t eschew formal jazz harmony and rhythm in the search for freedom but found a measure of added purpose and space for his bass playing in a chord-less band format without piano or guitar. Freedom Suite Ensuite is a recording of Nicolas’s efforts in this formation and a tribute to the musician who exemplifies playing free within a form, saxophone great Sonny Rollins.
Nicolas has been an important voice in the New York music scene since his arrival from Paris in the early 2000s. Having already established himself as a first-call bassist in Europe, he quickly garnered attention with many of the music’s most noted players, including Peter Bernstein, Jane Monheit, Frank Wess, Joe Magnarelli, Behn Gillece, and Samora Pinderhughes.
The concept behind Freedom Suite Ensuite came from a succession of regular gigs that Nicolas participated in with a two saxophone, chord-less quartet. He began to find a new identity for his bass within this assemblage, including an increased influence on the music’s direction, expanded range of expression and an added focus on soloing. There were also many examples of similar ensembles whose recordings began to inspire his conception more and more, including John Coltrane and Don Cherry’s Avant Garde, Ron Carter’s Etudes and Ben Wolfe’s 13 Sketches.
The sound identities of these ensembles were definitely in Nicolas’ s head as he chose who he would record with. Drummer Kenny Washington was a faculty member at Juilliard while Nicolas attended; Washington had a tremendous impact on Nicolas when the two played together. Nicolas’s appreciation for Washington’s breadth and taste were echoed by the master drummer, who recommended the bassist to many. Tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart has been playing with Nicolas since the bassist’s arrival in New York and proves to be an excellent foil and soloist, who is incredibly articulate within the changes. The trumpet duty is split between the introspective Brandon Lee, a supportive bandmate and focused soloist, and the fiery Bruce Harris, a soulful player suited for the recording’s blues and standard tunes.
Nicolas wanted to achieve a few things with the recording. He wanted to attempt a new version of Sonny Rollins’ s incredible Freedom Suite, a piece that has been done almost exclusively by saxophone. Here he wanted to add the trumpet to freshen up the piece in a respectful way. The Suite would be followed by the Ensuite, or in French, afterwards, the following program of original compositions and standards.
The ensemble’s sound is established quickly on the easy-going The 5:30 PM Dive Bar Rendezvous, with its title and form emulating the quirkiness of Thad Jones, with a perfect ambiance for happy hour, featuring Harris on trumpet. Rollins’ s Freedom Suite is broken down into three parts, which provide different approaches to reorganization of the piece, separated by two Interludes without solos. The slightly angular blues of Grant S was written for the saxophonist by Nicolas and is a great soloing vehicle with some subtle changes in the harmonic form. The off kilter Nichols and Nicolas is inspired by Herbie Nichols’ s idiosyncratic style, the melody springing to Nicolas in an hour while the changes took nearly a month within an unusual AABC form.
The bouncy You or Me is a contrafact of the Irving Berlin standard The Best Thing for You (Would Be Me), while Nicolas’s Dark and Stormy is a noir inspired waltz, the composer imagining Montmartre in the rain. A dynamic take on Kay Swift’s Fine and Dandy injects energy into the program with some brilliant solos from Stewart, Harris and Washington. The bassist’s Speak a Gentle Word (the title is taken from Oscar Wilde’s Ballad of Reading Gaol) traverses three sections with separate tonal identities with lyrical solos from Stewart and Lee. The program concludes with Nicolas’ s beautifully played solo rendition of Richard Rodgers’s Little Girl Blue.
Progress in jazz music has come through both addition and subtraction. While Clovis Nicolas retained the elements of formal jazz harmony, his experiments with removing piano and guitar from his ensembles enabled a different side of his playing to emerge. Freedom Suite Ensuite encapsulates all of the elements of Nicolas’s fascination with this system, from inspiration, to composition and to presentation.
Clifton Chenier – King Of Zydeco: The Rhythm And Blues Years 1954-1960 (2017)
WEB FLAC (Tracks) – 305 MB | Cover | MP3 CBR 320 kbps – 146 MB | 01:01:15
Blues, Zydeco | Label: Fremeaux & Associes
A marvellous black American singer and accordionist, Clifton Chenier succeeded in forging a style all his own, Zydeco, and for a long time he was considered its sole representative. Born in the 30s, the music came from mixed Creole and Cajun cultures in French-speaking Louisiana; when Chenier took hold of the genre it was marginal and mocked by mainstream America, but in just a few years, with a series of hit albums, the man they called the King of Zydeco turned the music into an accomplished form of expression that everyone appreciated. This anthology from Jean Buzelin follows the history of this King’s coronation between 1954 and 1960.
Chang-Yong Shin – Piano Recital (2018)
Classical, Piano | MP3 CBR 320 kbps | 00:59:22 | 136 MB
Label: Steinway and Sons
Changyong Shin, the gifted winner of the 2016 Hilton Head International Competition, debuts on the Steinway Label with a shimmering program that highlights his passionate musicianship and astounding technique. Twenty-one year old Korean pianist Chang-Yong Shin is the winner of many competitions around the world. He has performed in prestigious venues, including two solo recitals and a chamber concert at Kumho Art Hall, a Young Mozart Concert at The Mozart Hall, and more. Until 2011, he studied with Choong-Mo Kang at The Juilliard School and Ms. Mari Kwon, a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, at the Dankook University in Korea. Since then, he has been studying with Robert McDonald at the Curtis Institute of Music. Mr. Shin will pursue a Masters degree at The Juilliard School beginning in September, 2016, also under the tutelage of Robert McDonald.
Celtica Pipes Rock – Live at Montelago (2018)
Celtic, Folk, Rock | MP3 CBR 320 kbps | 01:37:52 | 224 MB
Label: Stringdependent Records
Celtica is an outstanding, high energetic live act, so it was time to capture this energy and the atmosphere of their live show on DVD and CD. The Montelago Celtic Festival in Italy, where Celtica has already played very successfully in 2014, should be the perfect ambience for a unique concert – the best Celtica performance ever. Mainly the latest album ‘Steamphonia’ had already symphonic elements, so the eight best tunes were carefully selected to be performed with a full orchestra. Already several months before the concert the preparations with the classical orchestra and choir of ‘Compagnia della Piuma’, located in Siena, Italy, started, and a score with hundreds of pages had to be written and practiced. Finally, all the intense creative work paid out in full: The weather at the concert night was perfect, and Celtica performed an absolutely fantastic concert. The band celebrated with the audience of several thousand fans a wonderful summer night of symphonic Celtic-Rock – and every note got filmed and recorded.
Camille Bertault – Pas de gant (2018)
Vocal Jazz | WEB FLAC (tracks) & d. booklet | 283 MB
Label: Okeh | Tracks: 16 | Time: 51:41 min
Le jazz dans la langue de Molire est un sentier pig que Camille Bertault dmine en peine deux syllabes. Swing arien et mots soupess, la jeune femme fait son entre dans la cour des grands dans les habits colors d’une princesse d’un scat aussi bien funambule qu’envotant. Aprs avoir t rvle via sa relecture trs personnelle du Giant Steps de John Coltrane en version vocale (des milliers de vues sur YouTube), logique qu’elle baptise cet album par ce titre des plus fameux : Pas de gant. Une manire aussi pour elle d’affirmer son attachement un certain patrimoine qu’elle ose d’ailleurs bousculer avec intelligence. Une dmarche fascinante au regard du texte plutt drle et lettr qu’elle appose ici avec espiglerie. Elle a ainsi demand Ravi Coltrane (le fils de ) l’autorisation de reprendre ce Giant Steps ainsi relook. Encore plus impressionnant sur le Very Early de Bill Evans sur les contours duquel elle dpose l aussi ses mots en franais. Le terrain de jeu n’est pas assez grand pour Camille Bertault Aucune importance, elle secoue Comment te dire adieu popularis par Franoise Hardy et renverse le fameux Je me suis fait tout petit de Brassens. Idem pour le surraliste Conne de Brigitte Fontaine et La Femme coupe en morceaux de Michel Legrand chappe des Demoiselles de Rochefort. Plus os encore, elle chante avec gourmandise l’aria des Variations Goldberg de Bach et entonne du portugais/brsilien sur House of Jade de Wayne Shorter ! Pour l’accompagner dans ce puissant tourbillon, Camille Bertault s’est entoure de musiciens de got parmi lesquels Franois Salque au violoncelle, Dan Tepfer au piano et l’orgue, Stphane Guillaume au saxophone, Daniel Mille l’accordon et Jeff Ballard la batterie. Bref, un disque suffisamment impressionnant pour envoyer Camille Bertault dans ce club trs priv o l’attendent les Double Six, Claude Nougaro, Jacques Loussier, Andr Minvielle et quelques autres
Bojidara Kouzmanova-Vladar – My Favorites (2018)
Classical | WEB FLAC (tracks) & d. booklet | 202 MB
Label: Orlando Records | Tracks: 11 | Time: 57:22 min
Music and making music can lead one to doubt and even despair but also always to grow. Music allows us to engage ourselves in a dimension that is as substantive and necessary as the air that we breathe, but its not tangible’ Bojidara Kouzmanova on the reasons why she is making music. On her new CD she is giving us a deep look into her musical treasure chest and shares some of her favourite pieces with us, her audience.
Black Label Society – Grimmest Hits (2018)
Heavy Metal | MP3 CBR 320 kbps | 00:55:31 | 128 MB
Label: Spinefarm Records
Hey Black Label Society fans, it’s been several years since BLS has released a new album, 2014 to be exact, well don’t despair, a new Black Label Society album titled, Grimmest Hits’, will drop. Don’t be fooled by the title of the album, this is not a greatest hits album with a couple new songs added. Despite the confusing title, Grimmest Hits’ is an album of entirely new songs. Any BLS fan knows lead vocalist/lead guitarist Zakk Wylde has been quite a busy guy with other bands Zakk Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne, Wylde found time to keep working on material for another BLS album. It took some time but eventually things fell into place for Wylde to not only make an album but get the band together to tour in support of the album.
In tow with Wylde is John DeServio on bass and backing vocals. Dario Lorina on rhythm guitar and backing vocals and Jeff Fabb on drums. This band came together to create the 12 songs on Grimmest Hits’. It’s a continuation of that BLS sound that fans are used to, the heavy groove laden metal with Wylde’s vocal crooning and signature guitar playing. After listening to the album through the first time, I felt like Wylde conjured up the spirit of Layne Staley on some of the songs, which was awesome, I miss Staley and those haunting vocals. Most people have gotten a taste of the album with the single Room Of Nightmares, which has a constant crushing and rumbling rock beat, it’s a nice introduction to give the fans and entice them on the new album.
I have to say my favorite song on this album is not a heavy rocking song but rather a mellow and sorrowful beautifully gloomy melancholy track titled The Only Words, this song reaches onto you and doesn’t let go until the final chord rings out. Some other songs of note are The Day That Heaven Had Gone Away. Illusions Of Peace and Nothing Left To Say. All which touch on either heavy grooves or tender melodies or both.
Belle Adair – Tuscumbia (2018)
WEB FLAC (Tracks) – 258 MB | Cover | MP3 CBR 320 kbps – 92 MB | 00:40:17
Indie Rock, Indie Folk | Label: Single Lock (Red)
After their tasteful but slightly underwhelming debut album five years ago, the four-piece band found themselves in such demand for live and session work that album number two was put on the back burner. Tuscumbia proves this was entirely for the best. This is a quantum leap forward, a beautifully produced collection of affecting, hook-filled songs that will fill the hearts of Big Star, The Byrds, Teenage Fanclub and Shack fans with joy.
The opening one-two punch of Get Away and Long Fade Out sets the tone. The spacious arrangements, anthemic feel and strong sense of dynamics are reminiscent of early Big Star, the lyrics a masterclass in painting a picture in a few well-chosen words.
Every melody here sticks in the head, guitars chime like Mr Tambourine Man-era Byrds or hint at country-tinged melancholy. This is music by classicists for sure, fat-free three minute nuggets wedded to verse/chorus/verse, with expert use of space, harmonies and subtle sonic touches meaning every tune has a plethora of features to tickle the eardrums.
Phantom Beach is the pick of a very tasty bunch, its surprisingly funky drumming and bustling, soul- inflected bassline setting things up for a killer Abbey Road-esque outro. The slower grooves, such as Marooned, are an oceanic wash, a gorgeous bubble bath for the ears (the verses of Status Quo have the warm, cocooned feeling of late-period Shack, high praise indeed).
However, the beauty of the melodies is often undercut by lyrics expressing doubt and existential unease – Pushing the Stone comes across like a Stateside Squeeze. Luckily for all concerned, the album ends with the deep contentment of Rest Easy.