Bruce Lundvall, the longtime President of Blue Note Records who supported many top jazz artists over the last four decades, died yesterday, May 19. The cause was complications of Parkinson's Disease, according to a Blue Note statement. He was 79.
The late Kenny Wheeler's stunning compositions and imaginative improvisations on trumpet and flugelhorn left deep impressions on generations of musicians. Two such devotees — trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and saxophonist Steve Treseler — revisited Wheeler's compositions after his death in 2014 at age 84. And in doing so, they realized they wanted to record their arrangements, paying tribute to the man who catalyzed their own careers.
Is Amy Helm's new song, "Rescue Me," about what it means to be in love? Maybe. Is it a song that acknowledges that we need to hang on to the people who are most important to us? Most assuredly. It's also a song that lets Helm's glorious, soulful voice soar over a gentle piano and thrumming electric bass.
When Mary Gauthier first began to make a name for herself as a musician in the late '90s, she was heralded as one of the most poignant and powerful songwriters of her generation — an amazing accomplishment for someone who wrote her first song at 35. Originally from New Orleans and currently based in Nashville, Gauthier has battled back from hard knocks and bad habits, bouncing between rehab centers and homeless shelters throughout her teens.
Marking their 12th anniversary season the Brightmusic Society of Oklahoma presented their fifth series of concerts on Monday, April 20th at All Soul’s Episcopal Church and Tuesday, April 21st at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Oklahoma City. Featuring pianist Stephen Beus and three quartets for piano and strings, the program opens with Mozart’s Quartet for Piano and Strings No. 2 in E-flat Major, K493, the work among the first written in the genre. The Piano Quartet in a minor, Op 67 of Joaquin Turina, completed in 1931, is suffused with the characteristic grace of Spanish folk music.
In his new memoir, Words Without Music, Philip Glass tells the story of how he slugged a man in the jaw in Amsterdam. At a concert, a quarrelsome audience member climbed onto the stage and began banging on the composer's keyboard. That was in 1969, when Glass' repetitious, slowly evolving music fell on many ears like a needle stuck in the groove of a record.
The Juilliard String Quartet was established in 1946 as an all-purpose quartet that would embrace music from every era. Its founders' intent was to "play new works as if they were established masterpieces and established masterpieces as if they were new."
Although they share the same last name, it's hard to imagine a less likely pairing than Luz Elena Mendoza and Sergio Mendoza.
While both have roots in Mexico, Luz Elena makes her home in the Pacific Northwest and has fronted a band called Y La Bamba. That group sets Luz Elena's deep, evocative voice against backing vocals so rich, I once described Y La Bamba's other singing members as bearded choirboys. There were direct Mexican influences in the music, but not many.
For the last two years, pianist Ethan Iverson has been at the center of what looks, in hindsight, like a serious creative whirlwind. He re-conceptualized Stravinsky's ballet The Rite Of Spring in its entirety (!) for his trio The Bad Plus, and then, for good measure, recorded an album of all-original Bad Plus music (Inevitable Western).