Monday, October 5, 2015

Nuggets! October 2015 Edition

This past weekend I found myself hunkering down again to catch up on correspondence and prepare for our upcoming European recording sessions next week. As I was stacking up the tunes (cuts from artists as wide-ranging as the Chicago Arts Orchestra, Tom Waits, Alan Beeler, Gentle Giant, St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, Marty Regan, The Bad Plus, Meira Warshauer, and more) I realized it was time for another jaunt through the catalog and beyond.

So without further ado here's the latest "Nuggets!" Spotify playlist with detailed notes and info below.

Enjoy!

Bob Lord
CEO, PARMA Recordings




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1) "Sirius" 
Composed by Jan van der Roost
Performed by the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra (Vladimir Lande, conductor)
From SIRIUS AND OTHER WORKS FOR ORCHESTRA (Navona Records, 2013)

A spine-chillingly audacious work from a true living master. Check out the last minute of the piece and its transmogrified recapitulation, featuring a cavalcade of sparring between frantic brass and insouciant percussion.

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2) "Chat" 
Composed by Christina Rusnak
Big band jazz arranged by David Richards
From CHAT CHILL HIGHLINE (Big Round Records, 2014)

Impeccably constructed and performed. Each track from this album is a winner but this is my favorite. Exceedingly funky drumming from 3:52 to 4:40, reminds me of Garibaldi.

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3) "Seans Dancer" 
Traditional, arranged and performed by La Mandragore
From MIDGARD (Big Round Records, 2015)

What a wild album this is, haunting and beautiful at every turn. How has this track not been used in a film or television program yet?  

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4) "Naked In Baghdad" 
Composed by Kim Scharnberg
Performed by Allen Savedoff, featuring NPR's Anne Garrels
From STANDING ON CHAIRS (Big Round Records, 2010)

Five years later, this remains one of my favorite releases from our entire catalog. Tighter than a Drell.

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5) "Suite for Alto Saxophone and Wind Orchestra: V. Finale" 
Composed by Howard Quilling
Performed by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (Jan Kucera, conductor)
From DEDICATION (Navona Records, 2013)

The audio equivalent of eating a tablespoon of freshly grated horseradish and chasing it with a nice fat clove of garlic. This is among the highest compliments I can give.

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6) "On Reflection"
Composed by Minnear/Shulman/Shulman
Performed by Gentle Giant
From FREE HAND (Chrysalis, 1975)

This is not studio sorcery. They actually did this live, and in this particular case, did it while looking like each year of the 1970s had separately assaulted every member of the band and come out the victor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6WSLG5r-wE

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7) "Autumn Sky: Part 1, 'After The Rain': Prelude" 
Composed by Robert Dusek
Performed by Bryan Pezzone
From RUNES (Ravello Records, 2013)

An intense yet restrained piece interpreted by one of new music's finest pianists. Dusek seems to conceive of the whole album as being a single piece, and that's exactly what it sounds like. A damn impressive achievement. Caveat: do not watch "Old Yeller" or read any Shakespeare within 48 hours of listening to this album, it'd just be too much. Might want to avoid any of the Charlie Brown specials too.

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8) "Variations and Finale on Mood Indigo: Finale: molto vivace"
Composed by Erik Lotichius
Performed by the St. Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestra (Vladimir Lande, conductor)
From MOOD INDIGO (Navona Records, 2013)

Symphonic jazz inspired by the Duke. The story of Lotichius is an incredibly compelling one, and he has never wavered in his vision of a communicative, accessible music.

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9) "Tagrango"
Composed by Hayes Biggs
Performed by Amy Briggs
From TANGOS FOR PIANO (Ravello Records, 2010)

Utterly perfect title for this concise tour-de-force. Every cut on this record by Amy Briggs is memorable, with this, the Stravinsky, and the Rzewski being standouts for me.


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10) "A La Ahmad"
Composed by Gay Pearson
Performed by the Gay Pearson Quintet
From A SINISTER ENDEAVOR (Big Round Records, 2015)

An atmospheric piece from an atmospheric live album. 


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11) "Gone Playin': III: Gone Dancin'"
Composed by Henry Wolking
Performed by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (Petr Vronsky, conductor)
With Robert Walzel (clarinet)
From CROSS CONNECTION (Navona Records, 2013)

Wolking's material percolates with a jazz-infused aroma viewed through the prism of the Western classical tradition. It's fun and moving and sounds damn good, who can ask for more?


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12) "Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark"
Composed by Marga Richter
Performed by the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra (Vladimir Valek, conductor)
From POETIC IMAGES BEYOND POETRY (Ravello Records, 2013)

A super-kinetic work for large orchestra by a true trailblazer.


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13) "Al Combate: Andante"
Composed by Ignacio Jerusalem
Performed by the Chicago Arts Orchestra (Javier Mendoza, conductor)
From AL COMBATE (Navona Records, 2013)

The fallacy of the "test of time" argument becomes apparent when one begins to look just a bit below the surface. In the past, circumstances and society and culture (as well as kings and queens and dictators) determined what was remembered, and indeed created, but we live in a new time where artistic memory and expression hopefully won't be so fleeting. Kudos to Mendoza and CAO for bringing this amazing, forgotten, and unforgettable music to light.


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14) "The 'Saint Gaudens' In Boston Common (Excerpt 1)"
Composed by Charles Ives
Performed and arranged by Bill Frisell
From HAVE A LITTLE FAITH (Nonesuch/Elektra, 1992)

As close to a perfect album as could possibly exist. Who else has the guts to cover Copland, Ives, Madonna, Dylan, and Foster, and to bring something completely new to each of them? Frisell is a treasure.


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15) "The Maids of Cadiz"
Composed by Leo Delibes
Performed by Miles Davis/Gil Evans & His Orchestra
Arranged by Gil Evans
From MILES AHEAD (Columbia Records, 1957)

A true high water mark for 20th century jazz and for all of the participants involved. Is this not the ultimate blend of music? Not a seam or stitch in sight, just pure sound. A magical listening experience and master class in arranging.


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16) "Madam Madam"
Traditional, arranged by Robert Turner
Performed by Mel Braun & Laura Loewen
From BY THE RED (Big Round Records, 2015)

Delightfully playful tune from way back. Compelling reading by Braun, and clearly executed with a twinkle in his eye the whole time.


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17) "My Soul's Been Anchored In The Lord"
Traditional, arranged by Carol Barnett
Performed by the Dale Warland Singers
From TREASURES FROM THE ARCHIVES (Navona Records, 2014)

Fist-pumpingly good opening cut from Barnett's 2014 collection. Is OK to use 'fist-pumpingly' when discussing the Lord? This is a loaded line of debate, I'll stop now. Regardless, this makes me want to hear Barnett do a radical re-arrangement of the aforementioned "On Reflection" by GG.


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18) "Symphony No. 1, 'Living Breath Earth': 1. Call of the Cicadas"
Composed by Meira Warshauer
Performed by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (Petr Vronsky, conductor)
From LIVING BREATHING EARTH (Navona Records, 2011)

Warshauer's music is not easily categorized - but what truly new, interesting works of art are? Hers is a language of synthesis and expression, consistently utilizing unconventional orchestration solutions to create sounds both unfamiliar and immediately engaging.  


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19) "Sonata for the Piano: III. Presto con fuoco"
Composed by Gheorghe Costinescu
Performed by Stephen Gosling (piano)
From AN EVOLVING CYCLE (Ravello Records, 2013)

Dance music from the Andromeda galaxy. Virtuoso playing and composing - and an interesting counterpoint to the music of Dusek heard earlier on this playlist. 


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20) "San Francisco Stopover: There (aggressively unhurried)"
Composed by Mark Winges
Performed by the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble
From NIGHT VOICED (Ravello Records, 2013)

The viola plays a central role in Winges' 2013 release, but his writing gives all the performers plenty of time to shine. This track is a crackerjack, sharp and steely, and painting a vivid image of the city mentioned in its title.


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21) "Symphony No. 1: Allegro con fuoco"
Composed by Roy Harris
Performed by the Louisville Symphony Orchestra (Jorge Mester, conductor)
From the FIRST EDITION series (2001)

Harris' 3rd is certainly more widely know than this symphony, but one can hear a great many of the composer's unique charms in this excellent track. 


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22) "Please Don't Feed The Bear"
Composed and performed by Edgar Meyer
From EDGAR MEYER (Sony Classical, 2006)

One of the most astonishing bassists to ever walk the earth, a consummate musician through and through. All instruments on this track, and the entirety of this full-length solo release, are played by the composer himself.


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23) "Trouble At The Henhouse"
Composed by Joey Spampinato
Performed by NRBQ
From TAPDANCIN' BATS (Rounder Records, 1983)

This band's influence has been huge, far-reaching, and lasting since their debut nearly 50 years ago, yet they continue to fly under the radar of most listeners. The Q's stuff isn't all as oddball as this cut... but a healthy chunk of it sure is. 


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24) "Marimba Concerto No. 2, 'Da Chiesa': IV. Allegro vivace"
Composed by Alan Beeler
Performed by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (Petr Vronsky, conductor)
With Ladislav Bilan (marimba)
From THE REAL BEELER (Navona Records, 2014)

Not a conventional concerto by any means, Beeler's piece is a pointillist, enigmatic work, contemplative and deep but filled with wit and humor - like the composer himself. 


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25) "Evanescent Yearning: I. quarter note = 92"
Composed by Marty Regan
Performed by Tetsuya Nozawa (shamisen) and Sahoko Nozawa (13-string koto)
From FOREST WHISPERS (Navona Records, 2010)

Music for Japanese instruments, and first in a series of albums by the composer on the Navona label. Sterling, sparkling sound and highly engaging performances, with this movement being a particular highlight of the record.


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26) "How Time Passes"
Composed by Don Ellis
Performed by Don Ellis, Jaki Byard, Ron Carter, and Charlie Persip
From HOW TIME PASSES (Candid Records, 1961)

Before he established a reputation as a manic, brilliant big band leader hellbent on destroying convention, Ellis led several small combos in recordings for small jazz labels. This composition is representative of his early style, and features the great bassist Ron Carter on cello.


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27) "En Tren Va Chango"
Composed by Ricardo Lorenz
Performed by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (Raphael Jimenez, conductor)
From DESTINATIONS (Navona Records, 2010)

So many great rhythms, so many great melodies. Bold, brash, and filled with locomotive energy. 


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28) "String Quartet No. 2: III"
Composed by Amos Elkana
Performed by the Israel Contemporary String Quartet
From CASINO UMBRO (Ravello Records, 2012)

Tension tension pressure pressure! This is not wine-sipping music, and that's what I love about it. In this movement of Elkana's 2nd quartet, the ensemble acts as a unified entity, with precisely calibrated dynamics.


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29) "Concerning Hobbits"
Composed by Howard Shore
Performed by Joe Porter (percussion) and Joel Goodfellow (piano)
From DETOURS (Big Round Records, 2015)

Delightful arrangement of music from "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring." One of my favorite albums front to back that we've released this year.


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30) "First Part: Adoration of the Earth: Games of the Two Rival Tribes / Procession of the Sage"
Composed by Igor Stravinsky
Performed and arranged by The Bad Plus
From THE RITE OF SPRING (Sony Music Masterworks, 2014)

The Bad Plus continue to defy any and every convention.  Their version of Stravinsky's "Rite" is a must-listen, as is their excellent cover of "Tom Sawyer" by Rush.


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31) "Just Another Sucker On The Vine"
Composed by Tom Waits
From SWORDFISHTROMBONES (Island Records, 1983)

Say goodnight, Gracie...







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