If Mostly Other People Do the Killing seems to be all about cleverness –mysterious band name, calling their fourth album Forty Fort, Impulse!-like cover art, pseudo-brainiac liner notes by "Leonardo Featherweight," a goof on jazz critic of renown Leonard Feather – well, there is that. Even those who profess to disdain jazz's avant-garde, into which school this certainly falls, may very well be sucked in by the sheer fun of it all. From the first track, "Pen Argyl," the quartet – Moppa Elliott (bass), Peter Evans (trumpet), Jon Irabagon (alto and tenor saxophone), and Kevin Shea (drums, elecronics) – makes it clear that as serious as they are, they're not all that serious.
This much-awaited recording, where Canadian singers Marie-Nicole Lemieux and Karina Gauvin perform some of the most beautiful arias composed by Handel showcases outstanding and conniving talent. This project was born from a collaboration with Alan Curtis and his Complesso Barocco, one of the most famous and renowned ensembles in the baroque music field. The 15 arias, performed in solo or in duet, are jewels from 9 oratorios that use material from the Bible and provide a large overview of Handel's genius to depict each emotion, from tenderness to fury.
Unfortunately, Alan Shorter didn't get the chance to lead very many sessions. The limited commercial potential of his music – coupled with a rather unhealthy lifestyle – limited him to only a couple of titles under his own name and a dozen or so as a sideman. Like perhaps Eric Dolphy or Albert Ayler, though, the dates upon which he only played a supporting role still heavily bear his stylistic stamp. On this, the last of his leader dates, Shorter's compositions employ relatively vague stutter-step heads and then quickly dive right into free improvisation without looking back. What follows is free jazz along the lines of many BYG or ESP releases from the same era.
This program brings together a wide variety of Alan Hovhaness’ works including numerous world premiere recordings. These range from the earliest of his band compositions, the processional Tapor No. 1, to more recent chamber pieces such as the gentle barcarole of Vision on a Starry Night. The Ruins of Ani returns us to the tragic location also explored in Hovhaness’ Symphony No. 23 ‘Ani’ (available on Naxos 8.559385), while the Three Improvisations on Folk Tunes evoke dances from the Indian subcontinent. Newly discovered works with percussion include the Japanese-influenced overture to Hovhaness’ opera The Burning House alongside October Mountain, now a classic in its genre.
Motezuma is Vivaldi’s only opera set in the New World. The manuscripts for this rarely performed and rarely heard opera were only rediscovered in 2002 and currently only one CD version exists recorded by Alan Curtis and Il Complesso Barocco. Of the CD recording, BBC Music Magazine wrote: “The instrumentalists of Il Complesso Barocco are on excellent form as indeed is Vivaldi himself in a rewarding score”.