Posts Tagged ‘Vijay Iyer’

playlist #157 (5/2/11)-new season, new songs

May 3, 2011

World of Music
Pgm #157 – all new music for today’s show
Catch the show on Mondays 3-5pm ET – at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT or online at The Radiator
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
Sergent Garcia: Bolero Nuevo / Una y Otra Vez / Cumbancha 19 – (FRANCE) *NEW – being released on 5/17*
Shawna Lenore & Darrell Kastin: O Maior Bem / Mar Português / Vagabundo Music 2011 – (OREGON, USA) *NEW*
Vijay Iyer with Prasanna & Nitin Mitta: Tribal Wisdom / Tirtha / ACT Music 9503 – (INDIA / USA) *NEW*
Hossam Ramzy & Phil Thornton: Khofu’s Return / Egypt Unveiled / ARC Music 2316 – (EGYPT) *NEW*
Lök-Batan Folklore Group: Qalx ayaga Azerbaycan (Stand up, Azerbaijan) / Azerbaijan – Traditional Music / ARC Music 2318 – (AZERBAIJAN) *NEW*
Lotfi Double Kanon: 7oukouma / Khalas Mix Tape / (self-produced) 2011 – (LIBYA) *NEW*
Vinicius Cantuária & Bill Frisell: Ma Declaración / Lágrimas Mexicanas / EOM  2110 – (BRAZIL / USA) *NEW*
Malika Zarra: Mon Printemps (My spring) / Berber Taxi / Motéma 60 – (MOROCCO) *NEW*
Tiempo Libre: Prende La Radio (Turn on the radio) / My Secret Radio / Sony Masterworks 8869784585 – (CUBA)  *NEW*
Dengue Fever: Cannibal Courtship / Cannibal Courtship / Fantasy 32622 – (USA) *NEW*
Big Youth: Travelling Man / Mista Savona presents Melbourne Meets Kingston / elefant TRAKS 29 – (AUSTRALIA / JAMAICA)
Cuong Vu 4-Tet: Child-Lie (for Vina) / Leaps of Faith / Origin 82585 – (USA) *NEW*
Bombino: Tar Hani (My Love) / Agadez / Cumbancha 20 – (NIGER) *NEW*
Monla: Railroad / Bossa Nova Around the World / Putumayo 306 – (SOUTH KOREA) *NEW*
Deodato Siquir: Grito / Deodato Siquir / (self-produced) – (MOZAMBIQUE) *NEW*
Vusi Mahlasela: Umalume / Say Africa / ATO Records 8808821722 – (SOUTH AFRICA) *NEW*
Dub is a Weapon: Curva Peligrosa / Vaporized / Harmonized 38 – (USA) *NEW*
Constantinople & Françoise Atlan: Premiers Songes (Early Dreams) / Early Dreams / Analekta 9989 – (MEXICO) *NEW*


playlist #154 (4/11/11)-newbury infusion

April 11, 2011

World of Music
Pgm #154 – Listening to new recordings bought recently at Newbury Comics, Cambridge
Catch the show on Mondays 3-5pm ET – at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT or online at The Radiator
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
Beto y Sus Canarios: Que Me Vas a Abondonar / Norteño Caliente / Lideres 7449508162 – (MEXICO)
Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer: Sur la Vignelon / Wô / La Tribu 7205 – (CANADA)
Les Orientales: Chante ma guitare / Music-Hall d’Algerie / mk2 Music 8345106342 – (ALGERIA)
Balkan Beat Box: Cha Cha / Balkan Beat Box / JDub 3 – (ISRAEL)
Dobet Gnahoré: Jho avido (Do not cry) / Na Afriki / Cumbancha 4 – (IVORY COAST)
Kélétigui Diabaté featuring l’Ensemble Traditionnel du Mali: Djarabi / Sandiya / Contre-Jour 12 – (MALI)
Tiris: El Leil, El Leil (the Night, the Night) / Sandtracks / Sandblast Records 1  – (WESTERN SAHARA)
Malabo Strit Band: Siribo / M.S.B. / Nubenegra 1116 –  (GUINEA)
Astier & Les Freres Sakarine: Latex Blues / Le Bal du Malheur / Les Disques Gaulois 808 – (FRANCE)
Oztara: Toi! / ensorsoleil / 1 – (CANADA)
Malinky:  Billy Taylor / 3 Ravens / CD Trax 233 – (SCOTLAND)
Aphrodesia: World Under Fire / Aphrodesia / Cyber 1039 – (USA)
Ricardo Ray: El Señor Embajador / Se Soltó (On the Loose) / Fania 773130456 – (USA)
Ray Barretto: Llanto de Cocodrilo / Energy to Burn / Fania 773130457 – (USA)
eccodek: Calling the Rain / More Africa In Us / White Swan Records 66 – (CANADA)
Mahotella Queens: Kumnyama Endlini / Sebai Bai / Label Bleu 2571 – (SOUTH AFRICA)
Vijay Iyer with Prasanna & Nitin Mitta: Tribal Wisdom / Tirtha / ACT 9503 – (USA / INDIA) *NEW*
Chichi Peralta + Son Familia: Ella Tiene / Pa’ Otro La’o / Caïmán 13853-2881 – (DOMINICAN REPUBLIC)
Steel Pulse: Tightrope / Earth Crisis / Elektra 60315 – (JAMAICA)
Omara Portuondo: Adiós felicidad / Gracias / World Village 479021 – (CUBA)
Zaman: Batalti Eli / Acoustic Arabia / Putumayo 282 – (ISRAEL)
Los Ribereños: Silbando / The Roots of Chicha 2 / Barbès Records 28 – (PERU)
Wolga Balalaika Ensemble: When Cossacks Dance / World Travel-Russia / ARC Music 2110 – (RUSSIA)

2010 in the rearview: what’s to love in music, part 2

December 31, 2010

The year-end survey continues – a few more of my favorite recordings from 2010:

Stile Antico: “Media vita” – This is the fourth recording from the young choir Stile Antico. They’re 14 members strong with a singular strong artistic vision that’s wasting no time establishing them in good company with groups like Anonymous 4. “Media vita” features choral music by the Tudor composer John Sheppard, a oft-overlooked contemporary of higher profile composers Thomas Tallis and (the somewhat younger) William Byrd. The real appeal of Sheppard’s outwardly austere harmonies reveals itself in washes (rather than flashes) of color, and the occasional dissonance and disharmony created with passing tones. The pure performance aesthetic of Stile Antico assures you hear every complexity and nuance in the various layers of music. This is one of two recordings from Stile Antico this year, the other is “Puer natus est” for Christmastime. I enjoyed both but prefer “Media vita” for its handling of the unusual repertoire.

Luisa Maita: “Lero-Lero” and “Maita Remixed” – This is actually two-in-one. Luisa Maíta’s debut album “Lero-Lero” was released in July, and it almost immediately spawned (in November) a remix treatment from notables like Maga Bo, Seiji, and DJ/rupture. Whether your tastes run to traditional Brazilian samba and bossa sounds (on “Lero-Lero”), or to the contemporized versions of the same material on the “Remixed” album, Maíta delivers her original songs with understated sultry flair. There is consistency of quality from track to track on these recordings, but not at the sacrifice of variety in tone and flavor. The message is clear: this is Brazil NOW.

Vijay Iyer: “Solo” – For an artist with a decade and a half experience it’s a little surprising it’s taken Vijay Iyer this long to offer the world a solo recording. I wasn’t sure what to expect with “Solo”, given Iyer’s artistic involvement with everything from hip-hop to improvisational collaborations and larger ensemble (orchestral) work. It’s worth the wait, and the question about all of those previous influences is answered by the fact that Iyer’s solo work is a rich blend of all of them. There’s the recording’s simple introduction with “Human Nature”, a song that digs deep into Iyer’s emotional abilities and reminds me of the supreme sensitivity and awareness heard with pianists like Bill Evans (always) and Keith Jarrett (in his best playing). And then you can hear Iyer’s spirited homage to Duke Ellington with “Black and Tan”, and his moving take on Monk’s “Epistrophy”. There is nothing about “Solo” that doesn’t ring true, from the standards (and not-so standard “standards”) to Iyer’s own forward-looking compositions. Look for more great things from this evolving young pianist.

Roland Tchakounté: “Blues Menessen” – What if John Lee Hooker had called his home West Africa? Cameroon’s Roland Tchakounté offers an answer to that thought – at least in part – with his searing bluesy guitar and deep, affecting vocals. And, he’s cool. But the John Lee Hooker comparison can’t be carried too far, Tchakounté is very much his own artist. He recorded two albums in Douala before he left Africa to live in France a few years ago. “Blues Menessen” was released this past May as his latest, most commercial recording. It is blues, but it’s not the West African/Sahara Touareg (think: Tinariwen) blues we’ve become familar with in recent years. This is fairly straightahead American Delta-style blues with an African accent, sung in Tchakounté’s native West Cameroonian language bamileke. It’s both unusual and familiar at the same time. The songs run a wide range of styles, from consistently rhythmic to more free-ranging and moodily interpretive. I love this recording.

Lobi Traoré: “Rainy Season Blues” – I couldn’t mention Roland Tchakounté without also talking about fellow Malian blues man Lobi Traoré. It was quite a shock this year to learn of his June 1st death. The circumstances aren’t completely clear (and of course, not especially important anyway). We do know that Traoré was 49 years old and had enjoyed great success in recent years. A year prior in the summer of 2009, he had met with producer Chris Eckman to lay down tracks for a new recording  featuring just his voice and guitar. What an ideal opportunity for an artist. The result is the new posthumous collection “Rainy Season Blues” – a quietly personal insight into Traoré’s art, featuring exclusively original material.  Traoré sings in Bambara on themes of peace, politics, and family. “Rainy Season Blues” is something like the ‘unplugged’ counterpart to the earlier “Mali Blues” album, and its rewards are equally sweet. Make that bittersweet, since this is also Traoré’s final musical statement. He will be greatly missed.

There are a LOT of other recordings I could mention…here’s a short list:

Mayte Martin: “Cantar a Manuel” – gorgeous flamenco singing from Spain.

Galactic: “Ya-ka-may” – down home SUPER funky sassy, brassy soul grooves from New Orleans…in fact, New Orleans gave the world several other hot releases this year too, including albums from Trombone Shorty (“Backatown”), Kermit Ruffins (“Happy Talk”), and Dr. Michael White (“Blue Crescent”).

Antonin Dvořák’s complete Symphonic Poems, with Charles Mackerras & the Czech Philharmonic (on Supraphon) – this is the contemporary recording of the Poems we’ve been waiting for.

Gil Scott-Heron: “‘I’m New Here” – gritty, original, real, with all the usual great observations about life and our society. Scott-Heron’s first recording in 15 years, and WHAT a return.

Joan Soriano: “El Duque de la Bachata” – singing, blistering guitar-driven melodies from the Dominican Republic.

Frederic Chopin’s late masterpieces with pianist Stephen Hough (on Hyperion) – a perfectly crafted recording to celebrate Chopin’s 200th anniversary year.

Oswin Chin Behilia: “Liber” – politically-infused, lyrically Caribbean songs from a soulful guitar master.

I guess it has to end somewhere, so that’s it for this year’s wrap-up. Cheers to another year of good listening in 2011!

2010 in the rearview: what’s to love in music, part 1

December 31, 2010

Remember a year ago, when so many people and media organizations fell over themselves to declare the “end of the 21st century’s first decade”, and publish their “best of the decade” music lists? And remember that they were wrong about 2009 concluding the century’s first decade? (Here’s that discussion…)

Well now it’s new year’s eve, 2010, and we really ARE at the end of the 21st century’s first decade. I’ve yet to see a single “best of the decade” list. Odd. I’m not going to create one either, I’d rather share some of the sounds I encountered and enjoyed the most over the past year. Just like last year’s list, I don’t know how many we’ll end up with: it’s not a “best 10′ or ‘best 20’ just to keep the list at a tidy round number. The music will guide the discussion and we’ll see where it takes us.

Here’s the first handful of the recordings I found the most compelling in 2010. Please share yours too – leave a comment below!

Michèle Choinière: “La Violette” –  You like to dance? I mean, really dance? It’s OK if the answer is ‘no’, because all you really need to do is listen to “La Violette” to join the party. The dancing will take care of itself. “La Violette” is the new recording from Vermont-based Franco-American singer Michèle Choinière. I couldn’t stop listening to it this year. It’s the long-awaited followup to her soulful 2003 debut release “Coeur Fragile“.  The songs on “La Violette” are mostly (not entirely) traditional French and French-Canadian, many arranged by Choinière herself and performed with great energy, ease, and classy style. From the catchy song Tant Mon Mari (including exciting traditional French-Canadian fiddling technique) to the Edith Piaf classic Tu es Partout (You are everywhere), this is a warmly melodic recording with a lot of heart. Yet while the songs of “La Violette” may be rooted in the past, the performance is irresistable and spirited, infusing the whole recording with fresh, contemporary relevance. Special nod to Lane Gibson at Gibson Recording in Charlotte, VT  for “La Violette”‘s terrific production. I’m ready for Michèle Choinière’s third recording – any time now!

Gorillaz: “Plastic Beach” -This is one of the first new recordings I heard this year, it premiered in Australia and the UK in February and then on March 1st National Public Radio streamed the whole album. Two days later is was released to the public. I was immediately struck by the continuity and textural richness of “Plastic Beach” – and how I kept getting more from it, the more I listened. Nearly a year later that’s still true. “Plastic Beach” is the third studio release from musician Damon Albarn (formerly of Blur) and animation artist Jamie Hewlett. The album creates a fully realized sonic world of disillusionment, wonder, and some sadness with a long list of special guest including Lou Reed, Mos Def, Snoop Dog, and Lebanon’s National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music. Highlights for me include “White Flag”, “Broken”, and the title track. Sometimes the transitions between the album tracks or musical grooves seem abrupt or disjointed, but that effect seems to be an intentional aspect of the aural topography being described in “Plastic Beach”. This is an unusual, engaging and repeatedly rewarding album. Notable quotes: “all we are…is stars.”

Jordi Savall and Hesperion XXI: “Istanbul” – Jordi Savall is a viol player, an early music scholar, and the tireless leader of ensembles like Hesperion XX, Hesperion XXI, and the Concert des Nations. I’ve come to expect the unexpected from any project he’s involved with, and yet this year’s recording “Istanbul” still surprised me. First of all, there’s the pedigree: the title on the recording says “The Book of Science and Music and the Sephardic and Armenian musical traditions”. Really? OK, then, so maybe we can expect to hear Sephardic and Armenian music from Turkish sources. But who is Dmitrie Cantemir (also noted in the album title) and what does he have to do with the music being played here?  Turns out he was a 17th-century intellectual and Moldavian Prince who had some musical skill. He wrote a few pieces, but his greater contribution is probably his “Book of Science and Music”, a collection of some 350+ pieces of music popular in 17th-century Turkey, all preserved in his own unique notation format. This is a collection that Jordi Savall encountered while doing research for his earlier album, “Orient-Occident”, and he decided there was enough material to create a whole other album. This is that album. Add to the Cantemir collection a few Savall originals that serve as preludes to the Cantemir contributions, AND a small assortment of Sephardic and Armenian songs in contemporary versions by Sephardic scholar Isaac Levy. Interesting background, but does it all hold together to make for good listening? It does. In fact, it’s on the purely musical level where “Istanbul” works best. This is a rare instance where the backstory doesn’t necessarily enrich the experience by providing context for the music. Once we’ve navigated through the tangled patch-up of the program’s various source material, we can simply listen and be delighted by the lively inventiveness of Hesperion XXI, and the exotic tunings and instruments this spirited, beautiful music requires. When you listen to this – just listen. Leave the booklet alone until you’ve heard the recording a couple of times all the way through and had a chance to enjoy it on a musical level. It doesn’t need anything else.

Myra Melford & Be Bread: “The Whole Tree Gone” – (Be Bread is: Stomu Takeishi, bass; Ben Goldberg, clarinet; Cuong Vu, trumpet; Matt Wilson, percussion; Brandon Ross, guitar) Another year, and (thankfully!) we have another Myra Melford recording to show for it. I’ve mentioned before I appreciate Myra Melford’s artistry without reservation. And I have enjoyed her various solo or chamber music outings in recent year, but what a joy to hear her return to her role as the leader of the Be Bread ensemble in the 2010 release “The Whole Tree Gone”. It’s a programmatic album, featuring eight pieces inspired by Rumi verse. Each piece is self-contained, but one listens to the collective result differently to realize that the pieces were written as part of a suite (supported by a 2004 Chamber Music America grant). Be Bread is a capable, incredibly creative ensemble grounded by Wilson and Takeishi and tastefully accented by Goldberg, Vu, Ross, and Melford herself in playing that ranges colorfully from meditative and introspective to punctuated, and explosive. Thrilling playing (individually AND as an ensemble) – “The Whole Tree Gone” is undoubtedly one of my top faves of the year.

2010 in the rearview, part two coming up…stay tuned…and tell me about your 2010 favorites! Leave a comment here.

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