Recommended recordings, new and old:
Jerome Sabbagh, Plugged In, on the Bee Jazz label, is packed full of great thinking and playing, it touches on many styles but subverts them all into the Sabbagh’s overall conception, which has grown in both focus and expansiveness. Jozef Dumoulin’s keyboard work, from both the hard-bop tradition and Joe Zawinul’s legacy, is an enormous asset. One of the most satisfying jazz discs so far this year (more album info here).
Beethoven: Complete Symphonies, Daniel Barenboim, Staatskapelle Berlin
Billy Bragg and Wilco, Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions
Simeon ten Holt: Canto Ostinato, Jeroen van Veen, Sandra van Veen
Elvis Costello, The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook
Ysaye: 6 Sonatas Op. 27, Tai Murray, a powerful, involving disc. These are great and unusual pieces, bravura and thus extroverted but built of of Ysaye’s very personal memories and sensations of violinists he knew and fragments of music they played and he loved. Murray handles to the technical demands with seeming ease, and plays with a gorgeously full, woody sound. What makes the playing special, though, is that she trusts the sonic beauty of her instrument to reach the audience as she digs deep down into the interior of the music, and herself. She seems to disappear, leaving a direct path to the music. As good as it gets.