Swiss Coplanar

I have to admit that I’m not particularly fond of vocal music, or tubas either for that matter, which doesn’t quite explain why I immediately skipped to seventh track of this CD of music by Guillermo Gregorio. According to the track listing, Irish composer Jennifer Walshe—I’ve been a fan of hers for years—was the vocalist […]

Ballad for a Future Day

Nearly fifteen years ago, jazz producer Helen Keane who had been Bill Evans manager for decades, produced a demo of a jazz piano trio featuring Roger Davidson, who is also known as a composer of large scale orchestral and choral works. This recording, Davidson’s first as a jazzer and a rubric for subsequent forays such […]


More than a year after their final concert, The Dale Warland Singers are letting their fans down easy by releasing a few last CDs, and the Twin Cities-based a cappella choral group is in characteristically fine form on this outing. I was prepared for a slightly drippy, sentimental effort based on the album’s title, but […]

Elizabeth Chooses a Career

The enfants terribles of Juilliard who sowed the seeds of the minimalist movement (a.k.a. Steve Reich and Philip Glass) are both represented here by works for two pianos, performed by Dennis Russell Davies and Maki Namekawa. Reich’s early work, Piano Phase, displays the composer’s thrilling formalistic rigor, which then gets contrasted by Glass’s keen dramatic […]

The Dancer

Ezra Weiss, piano; Michael Philip Mossman, trumpet and fluegelhorn; Antonio Hart-alto sax and flute; Kelly Roberge-tenor sax, clarinet and bass clarinet; Leon Lee Dorsey, bass; Billy Hart or Jason Brown, drums. Pianist Ezra Weiss’s new album of all originals for jazz sextet shares much in common with classic early 1960s Blue Note albums featuring similar […]

Mañanita De San Juan

Dawn Upshaw throws herself at the text she’s been given here with such force, you’ll be forgiven if for the first minute of Golijov’s Ayre you become disoriented—I found myself wondering if I was listening to a Roma woman captured on tape by an enterprising ethnomusicologist. But then the klezmer line weaves its way into […]

Long Walk

Stephen Vitielio lets his cerebral hair down so to speak on the latest New Albion release Scratchy Monsters, Laughing Ghosts. Gone are the carefully plotted conceptual ideas that typically form the foundation of the sound artist’s sonic explorations. Instead, Vitielio teams up with slide guitarist extraordinaire, David Tronzo. The result is a roaming textural journey […]

Uncle Jard

ARTE Quartett Put together a saxophone quartet, harpsichord, and Indian vocal techniques. The sax quartet should drown out the harpsichord and the harpsichord’s slight delay ought to sound too exposed in music which is essentially monophonic, right? It shouldn’t work, but it does! The saxes sometimes sound like tamburas, at other times like a choir […]


Lean in close, kids, I have two guilty confessions to make. My ears have been stretched and turned inside out by all sorts of new sounds and compositions, but sometimes I just long for a good groove to fall in and dance around a bit. But after all this new music yoga, the average dancehall […]

Celestial Excursions

Robert Ashley’s latest opera, Celestial Excursions, is partially set in an “assisted living facility.” At one point during a counseling session, the patients inform us “the only thing that counts is what people don’t understand. If you make it so they can understand it, you are a fool and it’s not going to be any […]