The Piano Quintet in A minor is "grand" in more ways than one. It lasts more than 37 minutes. Each movement possesses its own fascination. The first offers heaving, swelling romantic music and engages all the instruments in daunting fashion. The second is a haunting, relentless scherzo that starts off with a lighter sound to build suspense. The slow third, major key movement starts off in rather saccharine style but turns persuasive in its own way.
From the 19th century African music gatherings in Congo Square to the birth of jazz and its offshoots, New Orleans is one of America's most important music cities, and with the Rough Guide to the Music of New Orleans collection, listeners get a well-rounded taste of the Crescent City's musical gumbo. The collection touches on traditional jazz torchbearers (Dr. Michael White), classic R&B (Jessie Hill, Earl King), down-home funk (the Meters), Mardi Gras-ready brass players (Kermit Ruffins, Hot 8 Brass Band), global-influenced groovers (Los Hombres Calientes), and artists on the rise (Papa Grows Funk). While it's impossible to capture the full spectrum of New Orleans music on a single disc – women artists are underrepresented, and the NOLA hip-hop scene that's emerged since the 1990s is skipped entirely – this Rough Guide is a spirited introduction, and as a bonus is accompanied by a second disc featuring emerging heavy funk purveyors Dumpstaphunk.