A collection of 13 studio albums by highly acclaimed Denver, Colorado-based blues guitarist and singer-songwriter.. He is a multi-instrumentalist whose talents include the guitar, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, and vocals.
At the heart of Beethoven’s life’s statement as a composer lies the cycle of sixteen string quartets, which, to this day, has retained a special status and reverence. Since 2012, the Elias String Quartet has been immersed in its Beethoven Project, performing all Beethoven’s string quartets at venues throughout the UK. In this live recording, the ensemble captures both the intimacy and grandeur of the works. With an ever-expanding recording catalogue that has been met with widespread critical acclaim, the quartet is delighted to release this disc, the first volume of its complete Beethoven cycle to be recorded live at Wigmore Hall over the coming Seasons.
Brett Dean is not shy about revealing what his music is ‘about’. Whether inspired by certain individuals (as in Epitaphs), or by an ecological or human disaster (as in his String Quartet No. 1, on the now all too topical plight of refugees), Dean’s works are usually – perhaps invariably – driven by extra-musical narratives. Rather than tease out any innate structural puzzles or tensions, his music typically falls into short little dramatic narratives – no movement on this disc lasts as long as eight minutes, many of them rather less than five. The most obviously successful work here is Quartet No. 2, ‘And once I played Ophelia’, effectively a dramatic scena. Its soprano soloist is no mere extra voice (as in Schoenberg’s Second Quartet) but the leading protagonist. Allison Bell’s genuinely affecting performance is backed by the Doric Quartet’s expressionist scampering and sustained harmonies, the strings occasionally coming to the fore in the manner of a Schumann-style song postlude.
Brahms (1833-97) devoted much of the 1880s to his three Piano Trios, having decided, as he told a friend, that there was “no further point in attempting an opera or a marriage”. They are among his less familiar chamber works. He originally wrote No 1 as a young man, overhauling it more than three decades later in 1889. All three works – the B major Op 8, C major Op 87 and C minor Op 101 – have a tender, shadowy intensity, without quite the same heart-on-sleeve fervour of the bigger chamber works. The string players here – brother and sister Christian and Tanja Tetzlaff – are regular quartet partners. Together with sensitive pianism from Lars Vogt, ensemble is alert, accurate, never forced: already a favourite CD.
"I'm Going Home" from Ten Years After's previous release put them on the charts, at least in the U.K. (the band's U.S. breakthrough was at Woodstock a year after its release), but the four-piece was already experimenting with ways to expand their basic boogie rock template. Stonedhenge was the result, as producer Mike Vernon helped steer the band into a more jazz- and blues-oriented direction. That's especially evident in the swinging "Woman Trouble," but this set is generally more prone to broadening the sound without losing TYA's basic concept. It doesn't always gel – the four short pieces that feature each musician alone on their instrument is an interesting idea that ends up as a distraction – yet the album boasts some terrific performances by a group that was hitting its peak. Canned Heat, who TYA supported in America and who were also trying to push their own boogie envelope, were a big influence, born out by the very Heat-sounding "Hear Me Calling." Alvin Lee keeps his fleet fingers in check, preferring to work his style into a more organic fusion.
An incredible tribute to German pianist Jutta Hipp – one of the few female players in the postwar European jazz scene, and one of the few who managed to make a splash on this side of the Atlantic too! Jutta's best known to American audiences for a handful of records she cut for Blue Note – and this set takes those records, and moves way way past them – to including a huge range of material that really opens up our understanding of Hipp's music in her all-too-short career! The CDs feature early German recordings – in a number of sessions with small groups that include a quintet with Emil Mangelsdorff on alto and Joki Freeund on tenor, a number of performances in the New Jazz Stars group of tenorist Hans Koller, work in a quintet with Attila Zoller on guitar, another sextet with Albert Mangelsdorff on trombone, and a group co-led with baritone saxoponist Lars Gullin.
Broer’s (b.1942) three-movement Symphony for String Orchestra illustrates his intense and expressive style, contrasted with passages of soulful lamentation, whirling structures, and whimsical rhythms. The angular, dark, and fluid qualities of the strings showcase his bold and often frenzied composition. In Zephyr, Coble (b. 1959) uses a multi-layered narrative to emphasize his management of tension, resulting in passages of mounting and waning intensities as well as moments that suggest rolling clouds forming into an unexpected storm. Written for solo violin and orchestra, The Luminous Mystery by Yip (b. 1971) draws inspiration from five mysteries of Catholicism. This single-movement secular piece explores these mysteries by creating a variety of tone colors and textures that culminate with a radiant intensity.
A few years ago the trumpeter-composer Dave Douglas released “Be Still,” a beautifully poignant album made in response to the loss of his mother. The album also formally unveiled his new band, a young quintet with the creative resources to hit the ground running. “Brazen Heart,” Mr. Douglas’s assured new release, showcases the same group at a more advanced stage in its evolution, as he again tries to transcend grief with art.