Sunday, June 15, 2014

1 Sem 2014 - Part Twelve

Ellis Marsalis & Makoto Ozone
Pure Pleasure For The Piano

By J. Key
This is an excellent album, a merge of an old New Orleans jazz icon and a modern, technically outstanding, newcomer to our shores. Makoto has an extensive discography starting in 1984 but is new to me. According to my favorite Piano Teacher, Mr. Ozone has outstanding technique. I met a technician who sat in while the session was recorded. He said the two players, whom had never played together before, would hear each for a few bars on a new song, then jump right in. Often the second take was final. I love this music. One particular piece, "Longing For The Past, has digital noise when played on MediaMonkey. There are loud passages in 4:30 to 5:00 areas that distort on MM. I checked on two different system with different speakers. The piece plays fine on iTunes and VLC so I'll have to report this to MM. Buy the album and hear a great blending of old and modern.

Natalie Dessay & Michel Legrand
Entre Elle Et Lui

By HollyNYC
When an opera fan sees that an opera star has released a non-operatic, or "cross-over" album, more red flags go up than at a May Day Parade. Typically a cross-over album means a singer has exhausted his or her repertory or else has a record company contractual obligation to fill or is going through some sort of mid-life or mid-career crisis. In the case of Natalie Dessay, it's been an open secret in the opera world that she's been looking to expand her artistic horizons beyond the opera stage, leading to a very public break-up with opera last year (they since seem to have reconciled somewhat). Although Ms. Dessay in interviews has said she does not consider her pop music voice to be very interesting, for several years she has appeared in concert with composer Michel Legrand. So, it wasn't a real surprise that they teamed up for "Entre Elle Et Lui" ("Between Her and Him"). The result is an album that is enjoyable to listen to and features some real shining moments of musicianship. There is no way artists of the quality of Legrand and Ms. Dessay would ever let anything slipshod or below-professional standard go out under their names.
Legrand is known mainly as a film composer, perhaps best known in this country for his work on such films as "Thomas Crown Affair" (the 1968 Steve McQueen Faye Dunaway version), "Summer of '42," and "Yentl." Listening to the music on this album, it's clear that he belongs in the upper Pantheon of great film composers as Williams, Hermann, Jarre, Morricone, and Goldsmith, capable of compositions that both convey the fullness of the movie screen while capable of stirring the individual heart. The songs here are a good mix of fast, up-beat numbers and slower songs and ballads. The arrangements are superb, and run the gamut from jazz, classic Hollywood scores, and Euro-pop.
As for the vocals, Ms. Dessay overall acquits herself quite well here. The vocal performances do not feature Ms. Dessay, the opera singer; these are performances to be heard in Joe's Pub, not the Met. Neither do we ever sense, as in her opera recordings, that Ms. Dessay is playing an iconic part, such as Lucia De Lammermoor or There are no soaring instances of coloratura singing that Ms. Dessay alone in the world is capable of delivering, no sense, either, that she has driven so deep into her characters that satellite imagery will be necessary to find her again. To be fair, most of the songs are sung in French, a language in which I am most definitely not bilingual, so it is quite possible I'm missing out on some of the nuances and subtleties of her vocal deliveries.
Three of the songs -- "Papa, Can You Hear Me?" "What Are You Doing The Rest of Your life?" and "The Summer Knows," are in English, Ms. Dessay gives them the full college try, and with "Summer Knows" delivers a performance that stirs the soul and touches the heart. Other highlights include "Le Cinema," "Le Rouge Es Le Noir," "Conseils De La Fee Des Lilas," "Chanson Des Jumelles," (a duet with Patricia Petibon), and "Duo De Guy Et Genevieve" (a duet with her husband,. French tenor Laurent Naouri). "Windmills of Your Mind" ("Les Moulins De Mon Coeur") also appears here, as a duet between Ms. Dessay and Legrand, it's arranged at a slower pace than normal, and the arrangement seems to drain the song of some of its effectiveness.
"Entre Elle Et Lui" is a must-have for Natalie Dessay and Michel Legrand completists, a labor of love on their part to delivers some truly enjoyable music that lingers with you afterward and which provides some variety on an iPod shuffle. The more merely curious may want to sample the music first (performances of many of the songs are now on YouTube) before diving in.

Stacey Kent
The Changing Lights

By Bruce Lindsay
Stacey Kent is a jazz success story—not just in terms of her talent, but also in terms of her international popularity, with her previous three albums clocking up a total of over 500,000 sales. What makes her so successful? The Changing Lights, her tenth album, demonstrates all of the qualities.
There's the material, a mix of originals and standards: the arrangements, all but one by Jim Tomlinson, which act to highlight Kent's vocal qualities: the musicians, a veritable who's who of the best in UK jazz. Above all, there's her voice—light but expressive, engaging and evocative, whether she's singing in English, French or Portuguese.
Kent has a history of working with excellent musicians and The Changing Lights continues this fine tradition. Tomlinson is superb throughout—his tenor saxophone sound is one of the warmest and most expressive in jazz, as evidenced by his solo on "O Barquinho," which also features the gentle guitar of its co-writer Roberto Menescal. Bassist Jeremy Brown and pianist Graham Harvey form a swinging rhythm section, partnered by Matt Home or Joshua Morrison on drums, while John Parricelli's electric guitar enriches the sound whether he's playing rhythm or lead.
The standards on The Changing Lights include Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," Tom Jobim, Vinicius De Moraes and Gene Lees' "This Happy Madness" and Jobim and Newton Mendonca's "One Note Samba," which features Tomlinson on flute. Kent and Tomlinson treat each one with respect, crafting versions that are easily recognisable. Yet Kent still manages to take hold of the lyrics and persuade us that the words and their attendant emotions tell of her own experiences. Kent and the musicians approach Jobim, De Moraes and Norman Gimbel's "How Insensitive" with terrific control and restraint, yet they create an atmosphere that's charged with the singer's regret at the end of an affair. No fripperies, not a single musical or lyrical extravagance, just a performance of sheer beauty.
Tomlinson co-wrote six of the songs on The Changing Lights. Three songs continue the relationship with novelist and lyricist Kashuo Ishiguro that began on Breakfast On The Morning Tram (Blue Note, 2007). Two of them create narratives around the idea of travel with a loved one—around a continent on "The Summer We Crossed Europe In The Rain," across a city on "The Changing Lights."
The third of Ishiguro's contributions, "Waiter, Oh Waiter," showcases Kent's talent for stories of the lighter side of life as she pleads with the titular employee to help her come to terms with the nightmare scenario of a menu she doesn't understand. It doesn't quite grab at the heartstrings like "How Sensitive" or "This Happy Madness" but the gently humorous tale adds another dimension to the experiences Kent brings to life on The Changing Lights.
Track Listing: 
This Happy Madness; The Summer We Crossed Europe In The Rain; One Note Samba; Mais Uma Vez; Waiter, Oh Waiter; O Barquinho; The Changing Lights; How Insensitive; O Bêbado E A Equilibrista / Smile; Like A Lover; The Face I Love; A Tarde; Chanson Légère.
Stacey Kent: vocals, guitar (8); Jim Tomlinson: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; Graham Harvey: piano, Fender Rhodes; Jeremy Brown: double bass; Roberto Mensecal: guitar (6, 12); John Parricelli: guitar (2-5, 10, 13); Matt Home: drums (1, 7, 8, 11); Joshua Morrison: drums (2-5, 10, 13); Raymundo Bittencourt: ganza (6).

Bruno Marques

By Delira
Gravado entre os anos de 2005 e 2006, o disco de estreia do saxofonista, flautista, compositor e aranjador Bruno Marques transita com consistência por diversos ritmos e atmosferas. Da bossa nova ao frevo, do ijexá ao samba, as faixas são ainda cercadas por abertura, interlúdio e encerramento, conceitualmente sinfônicos. O que no papel talvez soe uma mistura exagerada, na realização é um trabalho muito bem delineado. A história contada através dos 42 minutos de música tem muita definição em cada capítulo, unidos pela individualidade instrumentística do solista e, principalmente, pela ousadia dos arranjos.
Das composições, sete são inéditas (sendo quatro do próprio solista), juntando-se a versões bastante particulares de “Obsession” de Gilson Peranzzetta e Dori Caymmi, “Coisa nº10” de Moacir Santos, “De Bem com a Vida” de Alberto Rosenblit e “Renovando as Considerações” de Ian Guest.
O repertório eclético é atendido por formações também variadas, desde um trio até uma pequena orquestra. Cordas acústicas (violinos, violas, cellos e contrabaixo), sopros diversos (flautas, saxofones, trombones, trompetes, clarinetas, fagotes, oboés e corne inglês) e muitos instrumentos de percussão permeiam as onze faixas do disco.
A participação dos 35 músicos convidados engrandece o trabalho. Entre eles, estão grandes nomes da música instrumental como o baterista/percussionista Márcio Bahia, o sax/flautista Marcelo Martins, o violinista Ricardo Amado, os clarinetistas Cristiano Alves e Dirceu Leite, o saxofonista Idriss Boudrioua, os violonistas Nelson Faria, Lula Galvão, Gabriel Improta e Fernando Clark, o pianista Vitor Gonçalves, o produtor/compositor/arranjador/pianista Alberto Rosenblit, o oboísta chileno Jorge Postel-Pavic, e muitos outros.
A produção e direção artística são assinadas pelo maestro, arranjador e trombonista Vittor Santos, que também assina duas composições, a maioria dos arranjos e toca em duas faixas.
No mais, é um disco bem brasileiro que encaixa-se na estreita e interessante fronteira entre as chamadas “música erudita” e “popular”, com seus momentos de alegria, grandiosidade, virtuosismo, maturidade e reflexão.

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