British countertenor Iestyn Davies is one of the fastest rising stars on the concert and opera circuit. Following his highly acclaimed recording of Porpora cantatas, he returns for a second solo album with Hyperion, a selection of arias written for Gaetano Guadagni. Italian-born Guadagni was the first ‘modern’ castrato, famed all over Europe for the lyric purity of his voice and his powerful, naturalistic acting style. Not only did he enjoy a close artistic relationship with Handel, who nurtured Guadagni’s voice to fit the alto roles in his English oratorios, but he effectively created the role of Orpheus in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, an opera he thoroughly made his own. Here, Iestyn Davies is joined again by the renowned period-instrument band Arcangelo, directed by Jonathan Cohen.
Debbie Davies doesn't play straight blues on All I Found, her eighth release as a bandleader and her first for Telarc Records, so much as a kind of blues-inflected country-pop somewhat reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt, only without Raitt's distinctive, drop-dead slide guitar technique. Make no mistake, Davies plays some solid guitar on this album (she got her start playing in Albert Collins' Icebreakers, after all), and she has Arthur Neilson on loan from Shemekia Copeland on second guitar to keep things sizzling on three cuts, but somehow under all that stellar guitar work, several of these songs seem a little tired, and "Troughin'," a humorous ditty about overeating, is downright irritating…
Any blues fan dedicated to live music will testify that when musicians play with their peers, the energy rises a few notches. That's the concept behind this meeting of the minds hosted by guitarist Debbie Davies. Fellow string-benders Tab Benoit and Coco Montoya (both have worked with her previously) join harmonica veteran Charlie Musselwhite and let the resulting fireworks naturally explode. Typically, these projects wind up being overdubbed affairs, a process that dilutes and often negates the concept. But except for a few instances, largely with Benoit, Davies and her musical friends assembled in the studio, resulting in the titular explosion. Both Montoya and Davies apprenticed under Albert Collins, and the opening "A.C. Strut" captures the Texas blues legend's loose shuffle style as the guitarists trade sizzling licks.
This disc of Philip Glass' Tirol Concerto for piano and orchestra is among the first wave of releases from Orange Mountain Music, a label started by Kurt Munkacsi and Don Christensen out of their attempt to archive the master tapes of Glass' music. Most of the releases slated to appear are of older recordings, including many that have not been heard before. But the Tirol Concerto for piano and orchestra dates only from 2000 and was recorded in 2002.