Philip Glass’ Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra, composed in 2000 and transcribed for wind ensemble by Mark Lortz in 2004, is a significant addition to the repertoire of large-scale works for timpani. The work is rhythmically galvanizing, sonically alluring, and features virtuoso cadenzas for both soloists. Symphony No 4 ‘In the Shadow of No Towers’ is Mohammed Fairouz’s first major work for wind ensemble, and its inspiration is the provocative comic book by Art Spiegelman, written shortly after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Spiegelman himself has commented: “I’m moved by [this] scary, somber, and seriously silly symphony…I’m honored that the composer found an echo in my work that allowed him to strike a responsive chord and express his own complex responses to post 9/11 America. He emerges from the rubble with a very tony piece of high-brow cartoon music.”
In the course of an astonishing long life, Leo Ornstein (1893 - 2002) had many shifts of fortune. Recognized as a child prodigy on the piano, Ornstein's family fled the Russian pogroms and moved to New York City in 1906. Ornstein studied piano and composition and graduated from what would become the Juilliard School of Music. From 1915 through the mid 1920's, Ornstein was famous as a concert pianist and notorious as a composer of highly dissonant, futurist works of avant-garde music. Coming from a poor Russian Jewish family, Ornstein married a wealthy heiress, Pauline Mallet-Provost. In the 1920s, Ornstein abruptly retired from the concert stage and founded a music school in Philadelphia.
The Blackbyrds were a jazz-funk group with thick R&B streaks running down their backs. Assembled by Donald Byrd in 1974, the group's original members – percussionist Pericles "Perk" Jacobs, Jr., drummer Keith Killgo, keyboardist Kevin Toney, reeds player Allan Barnes, bassist Joe Hall, guitarist Barney Perry – were mined from Howard University's music department, where the doctor and jazz legend was an instructor. (Other key players included guitarist Orville Saunders and saxophonist/flautist Steve Johnson.)
Yosi Shamay aka Capsula is a young producer from Israel releasing his debut CD on Ajana Records. This album is filled with trippy chillout, dub drenched music with acidic-patterns and alive sounding synths. 'Synthesis of Reality' is a story containing 11 tracks starting of with dubby sounds, developing it's own style into the next tracks with voice samples and acoustic instruments. More landscaped patterns of sound layers and voice samples bringing it to a climax in 'Second Attention' and 'Ride the Wave'.
The one unreleased item among Apple/EMI's exhaustive 2010 John Lennon reissue campaign was Double Fantasy Stripped Down, a revision of the original 1980 album supervised by Yoko Ono and producer Jack Douglas. The intent of this new mix is to give the recording a greater sense of intimacy, but Double Fantasy isn’t Let It Be: it doesn’t have a heavily bootlegged original early incarnation, it only exists in its final form; it’s not an album that was designed as a raw back-to-basics record, it was constructed as a slick studio affair…
A Japanese promising unit Stella Lee Jones were founded as a progressive rock septet by Satoshi HIRATA (guitar) who was one of the founders of FLAT 122, soon after their disbandment in 2009. They have highlighted their originality under Satoshi's soundscape mixed with jazz, avantgarde, and art rock. Thie debut album "A Floating Place", released in late 2011, came out as a gem crystallized rigidly with their innovative eclecticism. Escape From Reality is the second album by Stella Lee Jones, released 2016.11.16 by Dizziness Records.
This is not such a bizarre cross-over as one might imagine for in the 18th century the great Irish musician Turlough O’Carolan, a blind harpist, met the Italian musician Geminiani in Dublin, and through him encountered the music of, yes, guess who, Antonio Vivaldi. So here we have a case of substituting Irish instruments for baroque ones, using baroque instruments to accompany Irish themes, by creating dialogues between Celtic and baroque instruments, or by letting all the musicians improvise. One moment we appear to be listening to a ‘straight’ baroque concerto, then all of a sudden the conventional string continuo/ripieno of the baroque ensemble (Le Orfanelle della Pieta) gives way to celtic musicians playing a jig or reel on anything from a Irish bouzouki to a fiddle. The baroque group consists of three each of first and second violins, one viola, two cellos, a bass and harpsichord while the Irish musicians play Irish fiddle, an Irish flute (like a baroque flute), tin and low whistles, Uileann pipes, Irish bouzouki, mandolins, bodhran, bones, and the Celtic harp (played here with metal strings to resemble its harpsichord counterpart in the other group).
Shawn Colvin has landed a few tunes on the pop charts over the course of her career, and Steve Earle was briefly a legitimate country star. But in 2016, as the two team up for their first album as a duo, Colvin & Earle are folkies – hip folkies, to be sure, but at heart two singer/songwriters on the far side of 50 who like swapping harmonies and strumming their acoustic guitars. Colvin & Earle sound like good friends who enjoy singing together, and this album has a lively and spontaneous atmosphere, especially when the two are singing old covers.