C.P.E. Bach, Sonatas and Rondos ; Mikhail Pletnev
This is a Dig This title, absolutely dazzling, unique, powerful. I love C.P.E., and these pieces are some of his most improvised/least edited keyboard works. They alternate between gorgeous, gracefully long lines, unexpected modulations and virtuosic, highly modern deconstructed writing. Imagine Keith Jarrett with an impish, irreverent wit about his genre, a light-heartedness to balance the sobriety, and far more harmonic/melodic invention. This is also some of the finest piano playing by one of the finest pianists you’ll ever hear; Pletnev is also a fascinating example of the profound artist and the profoundly flawed/arrogant human being. Back in the day, I used to like wandering through the cavernous Tower Classical Annex in North Beach, San Francisco, and will always remember the late afternoon California light coming through the windows as the transporting music resonated through the store.
The Sidewalks of New York ; Uri Caine
Do you want to know what Tin Pan Alley really was? It was America . . .
Count Basie Swings, Joe Williams Sings ; Count Basie & Joe Williams
Waa-waa-Wah, Bam! Waa-waa-Wah, Bam! Waa-waa-Wah, Bam! Waa-waa-Wah, Bam! . . . Ev’ry day . . . Ev’ry day, I have the blues . . .
This is some of the greatest American music ever made, dig it:
Americans Swinging in Paris ; Art Ensemble of Chicago
I think the best AEC record, a combine of their classics Les Stances a Sophie and People in Sorrow, the perfect balance between free, funk, blues and swing, with Fontella Bass adding soulful ballsiness to the Marx Brother’s like antics. Dig this:
African Rhythms ; Pierre-Laurent Aimard
Go for the argument, stay for the hypnotic, universal music