8 years ago

Volume 16 Issue 7 - April 2011

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  • April
  • Toronto
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  • Jazz
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  • Vocal

POT POURRISentirYasmin

POT POURRISentirYasmin Levy4QRecords FQT-CD-1821Israeli singerYasmin Levy hasbeen performingsince 2002 and forher latest release,“Sentir,” has somewhatcast herself inthe role of musicologist.Taking upthe mantle of her father, whowasacantorwas a and Ladino preservationist who died whenshe was just a baby, Levy has collectedand reinterpreted a handful of folk songsfrom that ancient culture. Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish language dating back to the 1492diaspora, is enjoying a bit of a renaissance asyoung musicians, such as Israeli jazz bassist,Avishai Cohen, and local singer AvivaChernick integrate these songs into theirmodern repertoire. Historical stuff aside,this album can be enjoyed purely from amusical standpoint. And since the liner noteshave the lyrics translated into English andFrench, we even get to understand what thesongs are about, which, for the most part, islove and loss. The album has a pan-Latino/Middle Eastern feel to it as Levy and producerJavier Limon have fused many of thea lilt to much of the music that reminds meof Argentinean tango and the more passionatemoments veer into Portuguese fado territory.There’s even a Canadian component on“Sentir.” Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah getsesque touches, which, rather than addinggeneral, the instrumental work on the albumis precise and pretty. What gutsiness thereis comes from Levy as her warm, emotivevoice alternates between a purr and a plea.—Cathy RichesThe GateKurt EllingConcord CJA-31230-02A crooner KurtElling is not. Whena musician with thefertile imaginationand daring thatElling possessescommits to an idea,sometimes whatcomes out isn’t sopretty. And not everyone onewillagreewithallwith allof his choices. But Elling has the skills andrange to pull off incredible musical feats.He and the band can take a song – likeNorwegian Wood on his latest album “TheGate” – and start it off on familiar Beatles’ground and move it to a place that is wayoff the original path into fresh, interestingterritory. But Elling isn’t all cerebral, coldbloodedimprovisation. He has a big ol’mushy side too, and can rip your heart rightout of your chest when he wants to, as hedoes on an ultra slowed-down version ofEarth, Wind & Fire’s After the Love Is Gone.And on Herbie Hancock’s Come RunningTo Me, he gets up in his high register andTHE DESERVEDLY HONOUREDHungarian conductor Ferenc Fricsay(1914-1973) led the RIAS SymphonyOrchestra from its inception in 1949 until1963. In 1950 he signed an exclusive contractwith DG and although he made a fewrecordings with the Berlin andVienna Philharmonics, it iswith the RIAS that his recordedlegacy rests. At the Franz LisztAcademy in Budapest he hadstudied with Bartok, Kodaly andDohnanyi all of whom he acknowledgedas having the great-of his county’s music and, ofcourse, on the entire repertoire,orchestral music, concerti, andcertainly opera. Audite has releaseda three CD set containingthe complete RIAS recordingsof Bartok performances from1951 through 1953 (Audite21.407, 3 mono CDs). There areno duplications of any performancesissued by DG. Included areconcerto performances with hislandsmen violinist Tibor Vargaand pianists Géza Anda, LouisKentner and Andor Földes, each… they shared the same musicalCDs contain the Violin Concerto No.2;Piano Concertos 2 & 3 and Rhapsody forPiano and Orchestra; Two Portraits, op.5;Cantata Profana (Fischer-Dieskau, RIASKammerchor & St. Hedwig’s CathedralChoir); Music for Strings, Percussionand Celesta; Dance Suite BB86; and theDivertimento for String Orchestra. Thesecomplete understanding and verve, heardin excellent sound from the archives ofDeutschlandradio.Another conductor of note from aboutthe same time was German Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt (1900-1973), who, in 1945 wasinvited by the military authorities to forman orchestra for the North German Radioin Hamburg. In six months the NWDRSymphony Orchestra was a reality andcertin November 1945. The next year hemade a series of LPs released by Capitol andproduces some of the sweetest sounds thatever came out of a man. Of course a singeron a journey like this can’t do what hedoes without solid yet boundary-pushingmusicians with him, most notably pianistand arranger Laurence Hobgood, guitaristJohn McLean, saxophonist Bob Mintzer andGrammy-winning alpha producer, Don Was.—Cathy RichesOld Wine, New Bottles | Fine Old Recordings Re-ReleasedBRUCE SURTEESreferred to as The Capitol Recordings. Thesediscs have virtually disappeared but TAHRAhas unexpectedly issued them on three CDs(TAH 694-696, mono). Mozart, we are told,was the conductor’s favourite composer andEine Kleine Nachtmusikmany times we have heard thislittle serenade it doesn’t becomeho-hum. This sparkling performanceis freshly appealing,making. Noticeable immediatelyis the very high quality of thesound, articulate and dynamicin a very suitable acoustic (possiblythe Musikhalle, the linernotes mention no venue). TheHaydn Symphony No.94 followsand then the Schubert 5th.Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto,again we are told, was the conductor’sfavourite and manysoloists enjoyed playing it withhim. Here Ventsislav Yankov isthe soloist in a pensive performanceof unusual beauty,althoughmovement cadenza when thepiano disappears and fades up asecond or two later. The tempiin Brahms Second Symphonyare well judged in a performancethat is lyrical above all and never ponderous.I put this recording right behind BrunoWalter’s 1953 New York Philharmonic recordingas my preferred version. Extendedexcerpts from Rosamunde are followed bysix extracts from The Ring. The playingthroughout is of the very highest calibre butthe strings are exceptionally sonorous as arethe brass. Not a set for everyone but I ampleased with it.With his seductive, smooth sound andinnate sense of phrasing tenor sax manStan Getzin the forefront of the Cool Jazz era. Hiscareer took off and he recorded extensively.Norman Granz of Jazz at the Philharmonicfame recorded the Stan Getz Quintets in ninesessions from 1952 through 1955.A detailed review of the re-release ofthese sessions can be found in an expandedversion of this issue’s Old Wine, New Bottleson our website: 68 thewholenote.comApril 1 - May 7, 2011

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