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03/28/19




JOHN ROBERTSON/Virtuosity: It's just us. In jazz or rock, we like things that push the limits and take things to new places. In classical, we like our contemporary cats to have old school smarts and craft works that are in the pocket. Robertson is one of those cats that catches our fancy right out of the box. Featuring four of his works performed by the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, the right gravitas is in all corners buffeted by sprightly moves all of which add up to a well conceived work that would be at home in any era. A cat that knows how to find the beauty where ever he looks, this is a fine entry into his growing canon.
(Navona 6223)

GIOVANNI PIACENTINI/Between Worlds: A modern guitar thinker, this cat proves that a moving target is harder to hit. Shifting his interests between electronics and acoustics, he's a compositional wild man that refuses to acknowledge boundaries. A diverse program all anchored by his compositions, he can take you to the moon and back in the course of an hour leaving your ears breathless but not tired. A solid bet for modern, forward thinkers.
(Navona 6224)

FUEGO QUARTET/Migration: An award winning sax quartet of fairly recent vintage, they have the telepathy to show you how to get it done with just one flavor of instrument sounding like everything you could need. Lovely lyrical playing throughout, this bunch is going to be making a well worn path to many award podiums when they keep making sonics that have this kind of depth and beauty. A well wrought set that has what it takes to easily become a fave.
(Ravello 8010)

MICHAEL G. CUNNINGHAM/Ecumenical Spirit: Cunningham has delivered music to all quadrants, but his work in the religious field over shadows it all. A set of archival recordings stretching back to the 70s, this live collection recorded on his university home turf delves nicely into the spiritual side of spiritual classical music. A boatload of choral selections, he taught his charges well and they give the love right back. The niche market this serves is well served here.
(Navona Live Performance 6222)

DUO SEQUENZA/Yes...It's a Thing!: Aside from loving the smart ass title of this collection, we love the music on it as well. A guitar/flute duo with a mission to feature live composers, the filigree that holds this recording together catches all kinds of descriptors in it web, like gossamer and stuff like that. They can underplay so subtly that you don't even realize what a sublime listening experience you are having. Tasty and lovely throughout, this duo makes the kind of chamber/recital music that can bring droves into the tent. Well done.
(Navona 6225)

VOICES OF EARTH AND AIR V. 2/various: A choral collection where language isn't even as important as sound. This collection of various voices is all linked by the choral goodness all know how to exhibit. The song list doesn't confine itself to a single genre or mode but it all hangs together nicely in the end giving choral fans room to crow that there's still a lot of life left in the genre no matter how much non adherents try to marginalize it.
(Navona 6221)

REBECKA SOFIA AHVENNIEMI/Tacit-Citat-Ion: The kind of in depth Euro recording that allows the composers/performers to explore things that would never be given that treatment stateside, even as mp3s, this modern chamber creator digs into things like the depth of sound and how it's shaped. Unadorned but never simple, this set goes beyond general genre markers and takes you places you never imagined. Deep stuff for listeners looking for some real meat in their contemporary classical.
(Ravello 8011)

DALE ANN BRADLEY/Hard Way: The well decorated grande dame of bluegrass vocal acknowledged modern times and comes in with a set card that would make the genre's grand fathers flip out in wonderment. The only thing to wonder at here is how well she can make Journey and Grateful Dead her own so easily. Through out it all, she hasn't forsaken her roots which come shining through like dyed over gray hair that loves to make itself known. Hot stuff throughout.
(Pinecastle 1229)

JIM & LYNNA WOOLSEY/Long Ago: Here's how an interesting set of contradictions add up nicely. This is a debut of a traditional sounding family band that's powered by originals that sound like they could have come from an overlooked songbook. Tasty stuff throughout with everything popping just the right way, they play, sing and write like they've been dong this their whole lives---and maybe they have. A smoking debut that gives traditional bluegrass a great shot in the arm.
(Bonfire 5009)

SCOTT SLAY/The Rail: One of those back porch sets where bluegrass and Americana meet up nicely and share some sipping from the jug in good camaraderie. Sharing the road with some important folkies giving it that slightly different flavor, this easy rolling set is a summer afternoon treat to be played facing the sunset when the day needs some claming down---and you can go along for the ride. Top shelf throughout.
(Bonfire 5011)

Volume 43/Number 158
March 28, 2019
MIDWEST RECORD
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record


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