New and Noteworthy Releases to Begin 2016

Happy New Year from Rhythm Planet! We start the new year with a few more wonderful recent releases.

First we have a terrific new recording of the Bach Goldberg Variations with French pianist Alexandre Tharaud. There have been many recordings of this iconic work, originally penned by J.S. Bach as a soporific for a nobleman. Glenn Gould recorded the most popular version, first in 1955 as an unknown 22-year old Canadian pianist, later a more measured version in 1981, the last recording made at Columbia’s legendary 30th Street studios…which is now a parking lot. Tharaud’s version is a standout recording, beautifully executed. If you like it you might want to check out his Ravel recordings.

Countertenors – the highest male voices – are not everybody’s cup of tea, but I was taken by this recording of baroque Neapolitan classics. There is just something uplifting and glorious about them. Cencic is a colorful character as well; in the CD booklet he is pictured dressed in silk on a luxurious divan, Liberace-like.

The smooth sound of veteran tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton’s version of “September in the Rain”, with the super-finessed drumming of Jeff Hamilton (no relation btw), and Tamir Hendelman’s piano stylings. This is what smooth jazz should be all about. Tried, true, musical comfort food.

Finally, Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia’s tribute to songwriter Alec Wilder, on his beautiful ballad “Moon and Sand”.  I haven’t heard a lot of versions of this gorgeous song since Keith Jarrett recorded it so long ago.

Hope you enjoy starting 2016 with this quartet of new releases. Much more to come this year on Rhythm Planet.

Rhythm Planet Playlist for 1/1/16

  1. J. S. Bach / Aria, Variations 24 & 30 / “Alexandre Tharaud Plays Goldberg” / Erato/Warner Classics
  2. Max Emanuel Cencic / Leo / “Arie Napoletane” / Decca
  3. Scott Hamilton & Jeff Hamilton / September In The Rain / “Hamilton & Hamilton Live In Bern” / Capri Records
  4. Stefano Battaglia / Moon And Sand / “In The Morning: Music of Alec Wilder” / ECM





Tom Schnabel