Unraveled features works written for the group through their ongoing commissioning project. The album is filled from stem to stern with tight writing by young composers, and the spectacular playing engages both intellect and emotion throughout.
Andy Biskin’s quartet Ibid contains clarinet, cornet, trombone, and drums; it’s a quirky group, playing some appropriately zany tunes, to the point where, if you close your eyes for certain tracks, it’s easy to picture a tiny cartoon marching band dancing its way across your field of vision.
In the alternate universe I often wish I lived in, Azure Carter and Alan Sondheim’s “Making Boys” (from their new album Avatar Woman) would be a Top 40 hit. In the real one I do live in, it sounds like what might have happened if Jacqueline Humbert sang Robert Ashley’s songs with Eugene Chadbourne.
Composers Jefferson Friedman and Craig Wedren have joined forces to shove their different-yet-connected musical worlds successfully closer together into the album On In Love. With the ensemble ACME, the two have constructed a group of songs that are dramatic, unpredictable, and beautifully crafted, serving up both both punch and substance.
Meredith Monk: Piano Songs, a new compilation performed by Ursula Oppens and Bruce Brubaker, features music that finds expressive possibilities in the act of moderating between extremes. Old and new, traditional and experimental, memory and transformation–within all those competing forces, Monk’s music seems to hover at a point of balance.
Neuma catalog items 450-108 and 450-201 are, respectively, a CD and a DVD (whose job is mostly to support multichannel audio; only one piece includes a video component) that together represent a 22-year retrospective of the music of Thomas DeLio.
Two pianists who recently caught my attention with new releases devoted exclusively to American music composed within the last quarter century are Nicholas Phillips and Mary Kathleen Ernst. All in all, 17 composers are represented on these discs, showing that the instrument that once was a mainstay in households all across the land still has a home in the 21st century.
The albums featured this week include Glenn Kotche’s Adventureland, Troubadour Blue by Nils Bultmann, and Ryonen by Man Forever with So Percussion. Come have a listen!
Both in terms of Douglas Detrick’s compositions and the performances by his trumpet/sax/cello/bassoon/drums quintet, The Bright and Rushing World is a true hybrid of the aesthetics and sensibilities of jazz and contemporary classical music.
This week features three hot off the press releases by Puppet’s Records, Cantaloupe, and New World Records.