Swarthy Paul Yeager arrives in New Orleans, and promptly gets a job bartending at La Cage du Verre, a show bar where his former girlfriend Jacqueline is a dancer and the moll of its sadistic owner, Marko. He and Jacqueline smuggle diamonds and drugs, with the local police detective in on the take. Even though Paul is ex-CIA, he's not undercover, he just wants to win Jacqueline back. His CIA pals from black ops are on hand hoping to arrest Marko's boss. Detective Montrachet finds out Paul's past and sets up a double cross. Her aims are less clear: to get back with Paul, to stay with Marko, or to run her own scam and scamper away?
Though he may not be a piano superstar, Bruce Brubaker is clearly a musician to watch. On this recording of solo piano works by Philip Glass and John Cage, Brubaker somehow shifts between these two very different modernist composers to create a seamless disc of mesmerizing keyboard music. While Glass's own playing is often precise and austere, Brubaker is a different beast altogether. With him, we get a hint of Impressionism and a sense of contemplation with each note. The five parts of Metamorphosis are given shades of melancholy, along with frenzy; on the expansive "Mad Rush," Brubaker goes wild where he has to, but always returns to the piece's calming, sweet center. The piano music of John Cage is limited to just two cuts–"A Room" and "Dream"–but they, too, are hauntingly beautiful (especially the latter, longer piece). For anyone who has grown tired of Philip Glass's recent electronic keyboard forays or the ubiquitous prepared-piano CDs of John Cage, Glass Cage will sound like a fresh and sublime homecoming to two musical mavericks. Recommended.
An album the majority of whose contents consists of harp arrangements of music by Philip Glass might seem a bit arcane for a major label, but it seems that Sony knows what it is doing here. The Glass Effect double album is one of those releases that succeed on two different levels, an explicit one and one that, although not mentioned, is perhaps even more important. The former level here is the one denoted by the title, as Meijer picks up the rather neglected theme of Philip Glass' influence by offering, on disc two, a group of works by younger composers who follow Glass in varying degrees but who, it's safe to say, wouldn't have the styles they do without Glass having gone before. Much of the album consists of arrangements by Meijer herself, and these include, at the end, a remix of music from Koyaanisqatsi that's delightful and would be spoiled by description. But there's also solo harp music: sample the Suite for Harp by progressive rock musician Bryce Dessner, who certainly seems to have absorbed Glass' style far enough to make it his own.