Despite his failing health, Blackwell's skills on his drum kit were razor-sharp when he got on the bandstand for this headliner's gig at the third annual Eddie Moore Memorial Jazz Festival, recorded at Yoshi's in Oakland, CA. just two months before he passed away. Everything clicks – the band is tight, powered by the supple bass of Mark Helias, while saxophonist/flutist Carlos Ward and trumpeter Graham Haynes play inspired, almost possessed improvs and written lines, bent on giving the audience their best, and Blackwell the proper setting to weave his percussive wizardry. First up are pieces written by Ward. "'Nette," sporting a bright unison horn line, suggests Monk's angularity and Ornette Coleman's interval-leaping vision of expansion.
This is the première release of Julius Eastman’s Femenine, for chamber ensemble. It is also the work’s only known recording, documenting a 1974 performance by the S.E.M. Ensemble (with the composer on piano) which has lain unheard for decades. The music of Julius Eastman (1940-1990) is enjoying an on-going period of rediscovery. Known best in the past for his work with figures like Peter Maxwell Davies, Arthur Russell and Meredith Monk, today his own formidable compositions draw increasing admiration. Joyous, insistent, and immersive, Femenine bathes the listener in surges of tonal colour from intertwining winds, piano, violin, pitched percussion, synthesizer and – uniquely – the composer’s own invention of mechanised sleigh bells, which provide the 72-minute piece with its characteristic pulse. Illuminating sleeve notes are provided by composer and author Mary Jane Leach, who is co-editor of Gay Guerrilla, the recently released collection of essays on Eastman’s life and music.
Unchained unites the work of two, at-first, seemingly disparate composers, Polands Tomasz Sikorski and the African-American Julius Eastman. However, both died age 49, Sikorski in 1988, Eastman in 1990, both led troubled lives that spiraled out of control, both are experiencing posthumous rediscovery and, most importantly, musically both can placed, albeit with different methodologies, in the minimalist camp. The titling of the works in Eastmans case are confronting, the music less so. Played by the Lutosawski Piano Duo (Emilia Sitarz and Bartek Wasik), Joanna Duda and Mischa Kozlowski.
A genius signed to Decca in 1946 who defined Deccas piano sound in the 1950s and 1960s with ravishing cantabile and depth of sonority borne of matchless technique. Complete Decca Recordings on 35CDs, including new-to-CD early recordings remastered from 78s, plus some of Deccas first-ever LPs.
In a fictional version of true events at the New York prison of Blackwell's Island in 1934, reporter Tim Haydon breaks up a crime organization run by racketeer Bull Bransom from within the prison.