This absorbing project finds Australian composer Brett Dean and Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür drawing inspiration in very different ways from the music, life and times of Carlo Gesualdo and juxtaposes these reflections with Gesualdo’s own music. The music of Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa (1566-1613) has exerted a powerful influence on composers down the ages. His highly-charged, mannerist, idiosyncratic vocal music constitutes “a gallery of dramatically-lit portraits of human emotions with a heavy emphasis on the extremes of joy and despair” (to quote former Hilliard Ensemble singer Gordon Jones).
In the liner notes of YOU CALL THIS A LIVING? Arturo Sandoval recalls the first time he heard Wayne Bergeron play. "What a hell of a lead player," Sandoval remembers thinking, and then goes on to attest to the trumpeter's continued high standard of performance, recommending the album wholeheartedly. With kudos like these from the one and only Sandoval, it's hard not to give Bergeron the benefit of the doubt. As a musician, Bergeron does not disappoint. His high, bright tone recalls Dizzy Gillespie, and his flawless articulation and phrasing serve him equally well during quick, chromatic runs or sweeping lyrical passages.
Atlantis is the sixteenth album by Wayne Shorter. It was released on the Columbia label in 1985 and was Shorter's first solo album since 1974. The recording is notable in Shorter's body of work both for its relative lack of improvisation and for the high level of its compositions and group arrangements. Brazilian and Funk rhythms are featured on several tracks, as is a mixture of electric and acoustic instrumentation.
Listening to Sketches of Life is something like finding a diamond midway through a box of Cracker Jack. It starts off with some typically easygoing midtempo quiet storm action that offers more cinders than real fire, but then it suddenly explodes with soul, jazz, and fusion – and some of the leader's finest performances this side of the old Crusaders. Henderson's trombone turbulence finds willing support from friends old (saxman Wilton Felder) and new (Rob Mullins, Dwight Sills), and these all-stars stretch the limits of the pop side of jazz. Especially impressive is Lee Oskar's bluesy, Toots Thielemans-styled harmonica playing. Henderson could do just fine without the rap and chant, but otherwise, he leads a fun-filled cruise through adventureland.