A look at music on the rise and causing waves around the globe.
Amazonon – “Invisible Cities” release concert
Diversity and multiplicity are keywords for this inspired project spearheaded by Brazilian musician Juliano Abramovay. That’s intimated by the album title and group name: in Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, an imaginary meeting between Marco Polo and Dzhengis Kahn symbolizes the coming together of east and west; and the word Amazonon refers both to Greek mythology and the Amazon rainforest.
Invisible Cities pairs him on classical guitar, oud, and fretless guitar with bass clarinetist Massimiliano Dosoli, double and electric bassist Daniel de Boer, percussionist Jacobus Thiele, and Chrysanti Gkika on lyra and soprano lyra (also known as the kemenche, the lyra’s a string instrument mainly found in Greece and Turkey). In addition to two pieces by the leader and one by Gkika, the album features compositions by Hermeto Pascoal, John Zorn, Ralph Towner, and Rabih Abou Khalil, the diversity of those names attesting to the range encompassed by the recording. Elements of jazz, folk, and chamber classical come together in a world music fusion that draws from Greece, Turkey, Brazil, and America. – via Textura
Fiona Monbet – Comme un blues
On her new album Maelström, Fiona Monbet considers herself as “violoniste, compositrice et cheffe d’orchestre” (violinist, composer and conductor). Ambitious and atmospheric, Maelström sees Monbet moving into pieces that play alongside a larger ensemble, giving her all kinds of expressive possibilities both as composer and as the lead soloist. The album explores her Franco-Irish roots, as well as re imagining Brazilian sounds, contemporary pop compositions and even a touch of Ravel. A sumptuous release.
Michelle Areyzaga and Dana Brown – Were I With Thee
Chicago Soprano Michelle Areyzaga and pianist Dana Brown deliver a fine new recording in Were I With Thee, showcasing a crystalline voice, masterful piano, and words penned by women and set by American composers. Focusing on on women authors from a variety of English- and Spanish-speaking countries, “Were I With Thee” is a line from the Emily Dickinson poem “Wild Nights – Wild Nights,” and this album contains three settings of that poem. The album continues to celebrate Dickinson, featuring cover art by Emily’s living relative Kandice Dickinson. These twelve works and twenty-six tracks include compositions from Gwyneth Walker, Patrice Michaels, Richard Pearson Thomas, Lee Hoiby, Wayland Rogers, John Duke, Edouard Lippé, and Leonard Bernstein.
Black Harmony – Don’t Let It Go To Your Head
Soul Jazz Records celebrate their 30 Years as a label dedicated to bringing the sounds of reggae, house, hip hop, punk rock, jazz, funk, bossa nova and soul to the world. Their latest compilation, Life Between Islands (Soundsystem Culture: Black Musical Expression in the UK 1973-2006) coincides with the launch of Tate Britain’s exhibition of the same name. This landmark exhibition explores the links between Caribbean and British art and culture from the 1950s to now. The Black British musical styles to emerge out of the distinctly Caribbean world of Soundsystems are a well established cultural phenomenon. Reggae festivals such as the Notting Hill Carnival have been a firm favourite amongst UK music lovers for decades and the artists included on this 20 track collection are a good representation of the variety of sounds that make up the Soundsystem experience.