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Africa Boogie Composers Electronic Funk Jazz Lists Orchestral Performers Piano Pop Postclassical R&B Soundtrack

Best of 2016

Childish Gambino “Awaken, My Love!” (Glassnote)

Vicky Chow A O R T A (New Amsterdam)

King We Are King (King Creative)

Laura Mvula The Dreaming Room (Sony · RCA)

Holly Roadfeldt The Preludes Project (Ravello)

Solange A Seat at the Table (Saint · Columbia)

Esperanza Spalding Emily’s D+Evolution (Concord)

reissues · remasters · restorations · box sets

Wally Badarou Back to Scales To-Night (Barclay · Expansion)

The Emotions Blessed: The Emotions Anthology 1969-1985 (BBR)

Philip Glass The Complete Sony Recordings (Sony)

Bernard Herrmann Twisted Nerve (Stylotone)

John Williams Jurassic Park · The Lost World: Jurassic Park (La-La Land)

Various Artists Doing It in Lagos: Boogie, Pop & Disco in 1980s Nigeria (Soundway)

Various Artists Star Trek: 50th Anniversary Collection (La-La Land)

Categories
Chamber Collaborations Composers Electronic Hip Hop Jazz Lists Orchestral Percussion Performers Piano Pop Postclassical R&B Soundtrack

Best of 2015

Some great new discoveries and otherwise the usual company in abundance.

John Adams Absolute Jest · Grand Pianola Music San Francisco Symphony · Michael Tilson Thomas · John Adams (SFS Media)

Bang on a Can All Stars Field Recordings (Cantaloupe)

eighth blackbird Filament (Cedille)

Mahan Esfahani Time Present and Time Past (Archiv)

Morton Feldman · Erik Satie · John Cage Rothko Chapel [Gnossiennes, In a Landscape, etc.] Kim Kashkashian · Sarah Rothenberg · Steven Schick · Houston Chamber Choir · Robert Simpson (ECM)

Floating Points Elaenia (Luaka Bop/Pluto)

Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly (Top Dawg · Aftermath · Interscope)

Steve Martland Band Martland (NMC)

Steve Reich Music for 18 Musicians Ensemble Signal · Third Coast Percussion · Brad Lubman (Harmonia Mundi)

Max Richter Sleep (Deutsche Grammophon)

Linda Catlin Smith Thought and Desire Eve Egoyan (Earwitness Editions)

Stephen Sondheim Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano Anthony de Mare (ECM)

Ann Southam Glass Houses for Marimba Taktus (Centrediscs)

Tennyson Like What EP (self-released)

Kamasi Washington The Epic (Brainfeeder)

John Williams Star Wars: The Force Awakens Gustavo Dudamel · William Ross · John Williams (Walt Disney)

reissues · remasters

Bernard Herrmann Obsession Special Archival Edition (Music Box)

The Spinners Spinners (BBR)

John Williams A.I. Artificial Intelligence Expanded Archival Collection (La-La Land)

John Williams Jaws and Jaws 2 (Intrada)

John Williams, Herman Stein, Hans J. Salter, Joseph Mullendore, Alexander Courage, Cyril J. Mockridge, Gerald Fried, Leith Stevens, Robert Drasnin, Fred Steiner and others Lost in Space 50th Anniversary Soundtrack Collection (La-La Land)

Categories
Composers I Care If You Listen Media Music Journalism Percussion Performers Postclassical Toronto

Glass Houses for Marimba

My reviews of the launch and CD for I Care If You Listen.

Categories
Memoir Performers Toronto

Come Through

I created a playlist a couple of years ago, to collect a series of 70s and 80s re-edits emailed to me in draft form for my feedback. One of the tracks arrived by way of reply to an email I’d sent with a gift of remastered music files, the source material for the re-edit. This was how it was with me and Masimba Kadzirange, Grandmaster DJ Son Of S.O.U.L., Source of Undying Love. For me it was an acknowledgement: among circles which intersected and didn’t in our brief friendship, we had this. A man of extraordinary musical gifts, recollection, insight, technique and experience, he included me among those trusted folks from whom he sought an opinion and whose musical values were understood and shared. I’m honoured by that fact.
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It’s been one month since he left us suddenly. I’m grateful to have shared in the wonderful human being he was, while part of me remembers not taking up his invitation to “come through one time” to a recent series of club nights he was putting on only a ten-minute walk from my home. I was too tired from my job or busy tending to the bedtimes and wakeups of our small children. Every time I did get to hear him spin and cut — always with turntables, music on vinyl and no software — I was astounded by his musicality and brought to my feet to dance and sing along.

Masimba made a tremendous impact in his community. He was loved. He will be missed in person, though his memory will continue to be celebrated by those who knew him, and through the music that was a central part of his own celebration of life.

“Pardon the delayed response my brother. You all will see me soon.”

Categories
Composers Electronic I Care If You Listen Media Music Journalism Performers Postclassical Toronto

An Evening with Barrière and Saariaho

My review for I Care If You Listen.

Categories
Chamber Choral Composers Electronic Jazz Orchestral Performers Piano Pop Postclassical R&B

Best of 2014

John Adams, The Gospel According to the Other Mary – Los Angeles Philharmonic, LA Master Chorale, Gustavo Dudamel

John Luther Adams, Become Ocean – Seattle Symphony, Ludovic Morlot

D’Angelo and The Vanguard, Black Messiah

Morton Feldman, String Quartet No. 1 – FLUX Quartet

Flying Lotus, You’re Dead!

Philip Glass, The Complete Piano Etudes – Maki Namekawa

Meredith Monk, Piano Songs – Ursula Oppens, Bruce Brubaker

Laura Mvula, With Metropole Orkest Conducted by Jules Buckley at Abbey Road Studios

Steve Reich, Radio Rewrite – Jonny Greenwood, Vicky Chow, Alarm Will Sound, Alan Pierson

Ann Southam, Glass Houses Vol. 2 – Christina Petrowska Quilico

tuku, moonday sessions:the black

reissues

Herbie Hancock, The Complete Columbia Album Collection 1972-1988 (rel. late 2013)

Odyssey, Happy Together (Expanded Edition)

Sly Stone & various artists, I’m Just Like You: Sly’s Stone Flower 1969-1970

Categories
Composers I Care If You Listen Media Music Journalism Percussion Performers Piano Postclassical

Radio Rewrite Is ‘Everything’ and Then Some

An excerpt of my review of the Nonesuch album for I Care If You Listen; full version available with a subscription.

Categories
Composers I Care If You Listen Media Music Journalism Performers Postclassical

I Care If You Listen – FLUX Quartet Records Feldman’s String Quartet No. 1

Here’s my review of FLUX Quartet’s recording of Morton Feldman’s String Quartet No. 1, Structures and Three Pieces, over at I Care If You Listen.

Categories
Composers I Care If You Listen Media Music Journalism Performers Piano Postclassical

I Care If You Listen – Hamelin performs Feldman

I’m delighted to share my debut piece for the excellent contemporary classical magazine I Care If You Listen.

It’s a review of Marc-André Hamelin’s performance of Morton Feldman’s For Bunita Marcus at the 21C Music Festival in May. Have a look and let me know what you think!

Categories
Funk Jazz Performers Piano Pop Postclassical R&B

Get It up for Love, Five Pianos Re:cover

This is based on Táta Vega’s 1978 cover of the song by Ned Doheny, played downtempo. It is for multiple pianos and combines elements of contemporary classical, jazz and popular dance music. The track could serve as a demo for a live performance, or for a studio recording with acoustic pianos.

The first two pianos, the bassline and main chordal part, were recorded in an evening as a last minute favour for a producer friend. An additional three pianos – lead/solo, second bass/chord and repeating patterns – were added over the next several evenings. A notated version would condense the music to four pianos (score pending).

The piece is faithful to the original material, with a layer of variations added later on, especially in the long outro section. The spirit is one of fun and admiration for the artist and repertoire.

Recorded March 27-31, 2014
Roland digital piano direct to GarageBand, no effects
All playing is live; no programming, looping or quantization

Original recording on Motown arranged by Al Johnson, produced by Winston Monseque, co-produced by André Fischer

Music copyright Warner Music Group and Longdog Music (ASCAP)

This arrangement and notes copyright Bruce A. Russell 2014