• Recording of the Week: Ches Smith, The Bell

    This entry is part of 5 in the series Recording of the Week

    The Bell Ches Smith, percussion Craig Taborn, piano Mat Maneri, viola The first sound is a bell, to which the piano responds subtly. The immediate feeling is ritualistic, an event that will take place outside of the normal flow of time, whether from one point to the next during the day, or from beginning to(…)

  • A Month of Listening: January 2016

    This entry is part of 11 in the series Best Of

    This is a record, embedded below (or downloadable here), of my January month of listening. It’s not everything I heard, but it is all the new and recently released recordings that I listened to. Everything on this list passed by my ears at least once, and there are several things I listened to many times;(…)

  • Recording of the Week: Spektral Quartet, Serious Business

    This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Recording of the Week

    Spektral Quartet; Serious Business Clara Lyon & Austin Wulliman, violins, Doyle Armbrust, viola, Russell Rolen, cello Comedy isn’t pretty. Nor is it easy. And humor in music might be the hardest of all. I’m not introducing Serious Business (release date January 29) this way to dismiss it or say it’s bad, but to begin to(…)

  • Recording of the Week: Daniel Wohl, Holographic

    This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Recording of the Week

    Daniel Wohl, Holographic Daniel Wohl, composer, with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Iktus Percussion, Mantra Percussion, Mivos Quartet, Olga Bell, Caroline Shaw Amidst a generation of composers in contemporary classical music who are striving for pop accessiblity and incorporating electronics into their work, Daniel Wohl stands out. While most composers think in terms of(…)

  • Recording of the Week: Florian Hoefner, Luminosity

    This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Recording of the Week

      Florian Heofner Group: Luminosity Seamus Blake, saxophones Florian Hoefner, piano Sam Anning, bass Peter Kronreif, drums *Luminosity* (release date January 15), is the third album from German jazz pianist Hoefner. This is finely made jazz that sits right in the pocket of the mainstream of contemporary style—a prevalent minor key feel, driving rhythms with(…)

  • I’m a Bandcamp-er

    This entry is part of 20 in the series Consumer Reports

    Industries may be dying (if they’re cultural) or left for robots (if they’re manufacturing), but people are still making things. Musicians, writers, composers, none of us make money on a level to sustain life. (the other side of the coin may be the obsession that glossy magazines and leading newspapers have with the prices at(…)

  • Personal Best: 2015

    This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Best Of

    I’ve done my official list of the best classical and jazz recordings of 2015, and now here’s my personal one—the records that as a non-critical listener I simply enjoyed the most. That’s out of 600 or so new recordings I listened to in 2015. 600. Actually more … There’s an arbitrary, top-12 separation, one for(…)

Recording of the Week: Ches Smith, The Bell

This entry is part of 5 in the series Recording of the Week

The Bell Ches Smith, percussion Craig Taborn, piano Mat Maneri, viola The first sound is a bell, to which the piano responds subtly. The immediate feeling is ritualistic, an event that will take place outside of the normal flow of time, whether from one point to the next during the day, or from beginning to(…)

A Month of Listening: January 2016

This entry is part of 11 in the series Best Of

This is a record, embedded below (or downloadable here), of my January month of listening. It’s not everything I heard, but it is all the new and recently released recordings that I listened to. Everything on this list passed by my ears at least once, and there are several things I listened to many times;(…)

Recording of the Week: Spektral Quartet, Serious Business

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Recording of the Week

Spektral Quartet; Serious Business Clara Lyon & Austin Wulliman, violins, Doyle Armbrust, viola, Russell Rolen, cello Comedy isn’t pretty. Nor is it easy. And humor in music might be the hardest of all. I’m not introducing Serious Business (release date January 29) this way to dismiss it or say it’s bad, but to begin to(…)

Recording of the Week: Daniel Wohl, Holographic

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Recording of the Week

Daniel Wohl, Holographic Daniel Wohl, composer, with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Iktus Percussion, Mantra Percussion, Mivos Quartet, Olga Bell, Caroline Shaw Amidst a generation of composers in contemporary classical music who are striving for pop accessiblity and incorporating electronics into their work, Daniel Wohl stands out. While most composers think in terms of(…)

Recording of the Week: Florian Hoefner, Luminosity

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Recording of the Week

  Florian Heofner Group: Luminosity Seamus Blake, saxophones Florian Hoefner, piano Sam Anning, bass Peter Kronreif, drums *Luminosity* (release date January 15), is the third album from German jazz pianist Hoefner. This is finely made jazz that sits right in the pocket of the mainstream of contemporary style—a prevalent minor key feel, driving rhythms with(…)

I’m a Bandcamp-er

This entry is part of 20 in the series Consumer Reports

Industries may be dying (if they’re cultural) or left for robots (if they’re manufacturing), but people are still making things. Musicians, writers, composers, none of us make money on a level to sustain life. (the other side of the coin may be the obsession that glossy magazines and leading newspapers have with the prices at(…)

Personal Best: 2015

This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Best Of

I’ve done my official list of the best classical and jazz recordings of 2015, and now here’s my personal one—the records that as a non-critical listener I simply enjoyed the most. That’s out of 600 or so new recordings I listened to in 2015. 600. Actually more … There’s an arbitrary, top-12 separation, one for(…)

Deaths in Winter

Deaths come disproportionally in winter (in the northern hemisphere). There’s no sure explanation, but it seems to me the combination of cold and diminished sunlight direct the body towards a natural cessation of activity, and for one already approaching the end of life, it may be perhaps one subtle step to slip away. Some important,(…)

Recording of the Week: Robin Eubanks Mass Line Big Band, More Than Meets the Eye

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Recording of the Week

This album, the debut of Robin Eubanks’ Mass Line Big Band, was released in late November of last year, too late for me to give it a sufficient listen for inclusion in my best of the year jazz picks. But it is one of the best jazz releases I’ve heard from 2015, and certainly the(…)

Best Classical Recordings 2015

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Best Of

Another year in which classical music didn’t die, was not dying, was not suffering, etc, just like every other year. I attended easily over 100 classical music performances, spanning music from the Renaissance to something like last Thursday, and listened to over 200 recordings that were issued just this year—and one important caveat is that(…)