Show #206: Spring’s New Musical Gems

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This week we check out a crop of new releases that caught my ear. We begin with Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian‘s Requiem, a new mass to commemorate the Armenian genocide of 1915. Armenians worldwide observe a day in remembrance of the victims every April 24th. We continue with an art song by Gustav Mahler, beautifully rendered by mezzo soprano Sasha Cooke and The Colburn Orchestra from Los Angeles. The album is on Yarlung Records, an audiophile label known for pristine sound quality. We conclude the classical triad with Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson‘s reading of Philip Glass’s opening piece on the 1981 album Glassworks, a lovely album of the Glass’s piano music.


Philippe Baden Powell, pianist son of the late, great Brazilian guitar genius Baden Powell, begins the next set with a cut from his new Far Out CD, Notes Over Poetry. We hear an uplifting song called “State of Music,” with terrific vocals by Hanna Kay. Neuk Wight Delhi All-Stars is a new CD from a trio of artists with different backgrounds—Yorkston-Thorne-Khan. They cover the A.R. Rahman classic “Chori Chori” from the epic film Lagaan. (By the way, Lagaan is a must see for anybody who loves Bollywood films.) Next up is Azerbaijani jazz pianist Shahin Novrasli, whose new album Emanation was co-produced by Ahmad Jamal. The cut I chose reminds me of Lennie Tristano’s piano style, a very smooth and even run of right-hand notes. We change gears to sample some Turkish pop from the 1970’s—it’s Anatolian psychedelia for your ears.


In the final set of songs, Greek bassist Petros Klampanis first plays a pretty ballad with an orchestra, followed by alto sax veteran Bobby Watson. The show concludes with Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet, comprised of Polish trumpeter Stanko along with Cuban-born pianist David Virelles, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Gerald Cleaver. It’s a fabulous group. Stanko is a jazz veteran who cut his teeth when the Eastern bloc thawed a bit after the 1953 death of Josef Stalin. Jazz was reborn in Poland and in other nations that were formerly ruled by the U.S.S.R. and Stalin’s iron hand.

I hope you enjoy this mixed bag of new musical delights.

Rhythm Planet Playlist for 4/14/17

  1. Tigran Mansurian performed by Münchener Kammerorchester / “Agnus Dei” / Tigran Mansurian: Requiem / ECM
  2. Sasha Cooke & The Colburn Orchestra / “Mahler: Ruckert-Lieder” / If You Love for Beauty / Yarlung Records
  3. Philip Glass performed by Víkingur Ólafsson / “Opening from Glassworks” / Philip Glass: Piano Works / Deutsche Grammophon
  4. Philippe Baden Powell featuring Hannah Kay / “State of Music” / Notes Over Poetry / Far Out Recordings
  5. Yorkston-Thorne-Khan / “Chori Chori” / Neuk Wight Delhi All-Stars / Domino Recording Co.
  6. Shahin Novrasli / “Misri Blues” / Emanation / Jazz Village
  7. Nese Alkan / “Kaçma Güzel” / Uzelli Psychedelic Anadolu / Uzelli
  8. Petros Klampanis / “Shadows” / Chroma / Motema Music
  9. Bobby Watson / “The Guitarist” / Made in America / Smoke Sessions
  10. Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet / “Yankiels Lid” / December Avenue / ECM