Classical music for children has been an underserved genre, even though nothing could be more beneficial to the cause of bringing the music to future generations. Any such release is worthy of note, but one like this, charming and original, is cause for celebration. Pianist Jenny Lin organizes for children some favorite compositions and a few delightful rarities along a timeline "from breakfast to bedtime." There are 26 short pieces, enough to give a feel for the variety and importance of this tradition in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Along the way you get Chopsticks, which you may not have known was an actual composition with an actual composer (female, at that), former chestnuts like Grieg's Grandmother's Minuet, the utterly charming I Danced with a Mosquito by Anatoly Liadov, ragtime and jazz works, and, to end, starlight familiar (Mozart) and more rare (Selim Palmgren), plus the famed cradle songs of Brahms and Chopin. Lin and the engineers from the Steinway label create a magical atmosphere, amplified by excellent children's illustrations in the booklet by Mikela Prevost. An ideal holiday, or anytime, gift item.
Música Callada (Music of Silence) is a very special work, one of the most beautiful and elusive in the entire piano repertoire. It is extremely difficult to perform. On the one hand, there’s the temptation to stretch each piece out hypnotically, if monotonously, while quicker speeds preserve the music’s melodic essence at the expense of much of its atmosphere and harmonic richness. For although much of the music is indeed quiet, and none of it moves quickly, it is all meaningful.
Matt Bianco was the second album by the British jazz/pop/soul band Matt Bianco, released in 1986 for WEA. For this album, the band's line-up was made up of vocalists Mark Reilly and Jenny Evans, and musician Mark Fisher. Jenny Evans and Mark Fisher were brought in after the departure of Polish singer Basia Trzetrzelewska and keyboard player Danny White, who left the original trio to establish a solo career for the female singer under the name of Basia.
The second of two Gil Evans LPs originally recorded for the Japanese Trio label and put out in the United States on the now-defunct Black-Hawk company features the veteran arranger leading a 14-piece group at a pair of 1980 concerts. The five selections (which include Jimi Hendrix's "Stone Free," Charles Mingus' "Orange Was the Color of Her Dress" and Evans's "Zee Zee") are given colorful treatment by the unique band, which consists of three keyboardists, a rhythm section propelled by drummer Billy Cobham, three trumpets (Lew Soloff, Jon Faddis and Hannibal Marvin Peterson), two trombones (including George Lewis), John Clark on French horn, baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett and altoist Arthur Blythe. Although the end results do not quite live up to the potential of this unique ensemble, there are plenty of colorful moments.
One of arranger Gil Evans's main talents was his ability to fuse diverse, unique performers into a unified ensemble. He accomplishes that on the first of two LPs taken from a pair of 1980 concerts, even if his presence is felt more than heard. Although Evans is on electric piano, he also employed two other synthesizer players (Masabumi Kikuchi and Pete Levin) in his eclectic band, which at the time included such notables as Lew Soloff, Jon Faddis and Hannibal Marvin Peterson on trumpets, altoist Arthur Blythe, trombonist George Lewis, baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett and drummer Billy Cobham, among others. A lengthy "Anita's Dance" and a remake of "Gone, Gone, Gone" are the more memorable selections.