A weekly roundup of what’s hot in contemporary Classical and Modern Jazz

Steve Million featuring Sarah Marie Young – The Way Home

Wonderfully warm and from the heart are these songs on the new album Jazzwords, made by pianist Steve Million and featuring the pure, even voice of Sarah Marie Young. These are human songs, journey songs, all delivered with a melancholy remembering.

Accompanied by Jim Gailloreto on sax, Juan Pastor on drums and bassist John Sims, the colour and light provided by the creators present these recordings like an old friend you haven’t seen in some time due to the tyranny of distance, but one with whom you can instantly pick up with where you last left off.

Hannah Collins, cello | Britten Suite for Solo Cello, Op. 72 | VI. Moto Perpetuo e Canto quarto

Hannah Collins posesses a rather impressive CV. She’s a member of the Bach Aria Soloists, Cantata Profana, and Grossman Ensemble. Augmenting music degrees from Yale School of Music, the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, and the City University of New York, she earned a degree in biomedical engineering at Yale University, the latter experience perhaps accounting for the choice of album title. The term comes from physics and has to do with the energy absorbed or transmitted by an atom as it moves between different states.

Once lost within these pieces, it’s easy to forget that the recording is the product of a single person and instrument, sans any extra effects or overdubs. A truly wonderful recording.

The Motion Orchestra – Everything We Are

Formed in 2017, The Motion Orchestra’s cinematic explorations of Neo-Classical and Jazz on display throughout their debut album All One are simply stunning. The arrangements are sumptuous and give each player the ability to showcase their talents in both a group and solo setting, all the while without any bombastic performing. That’s not to say there’s not a strength to these pieces – the combination of electronics layered amongst the string arrangements give the music a muscular elegance. Don’t be surprised if in future, you see a feature film scored by this group. They are a new force to be reckoned with.

Apollo Chamber Players – With Malice Toward None

On their fifth album With Malice Toward None, Apollo Chamber Players continue to push musical and social boundaries, touching on Beethoven, Vietnam, Abraham Lincoln, spoken word performance and the poetry of Samuel Beckett, all on an album dedicated to the late Civil Rights leader John Lewis. Sonically, expect electric wah wah violin, cut up Joni Mitchell samples, mantras, spoken word and the blues. This is a mirror reflecting America today, yesterday and tomorrow. It is wildly ambitious, with a key track stretching out to the 18 minute mark. Apollo Chamber Players are a voice in contemporary classical music and beyond that definitely won’t disappear silently into the night. Simply amazing.