This self-titled album is a fitting tribute to Touré’s and Diabaté’s genius and friendship, and is a beautiful farewell.
Chucho Valdes is easily the living king of Cuban jazz piano. This anthology, issued by the premier Bele Bele Jazz Club label from Spain, is an overview of the roots of the pianist's development as both an interpreter of classic Cuban material and as an improviser. The first 12 tracks on the set, recorded in 1970, borrow heavily from the "feelings" movement of Cuban dancehall music from the late '40s and early '50s, with numerous compositions by Jose Mendez and Cesar Portillo de la Luz. There are also trademark Valdes originals such as his own "Preludio No. 1," based on Debussy's. Other tracks here, from 1982, borrow from the later dancehall traditions and lineages such as the "Evocations" series written by Jesus Valdez including one for Josh White! The first 12 cuts features Valdes with a stellar rhythm section that included bassist Orlando Lopez (Cachaito) and drummer Enrique Pla, and the last eight are solo.
Trinidad "Trini" López III is an American singer, guitarist, and actor. Initially receiving very little success, Lopez landed a steady engagement at the nightclub PJ's. He was heard there by Frank Sinatra, who had started his own label, Reprise Records, and who subsequently signed Lopez. His debut live album, Trini Lopez At PJ's, was released in 1963, & his career took off from that point. Many of the tracks are folk music songs. The cover shows Lopez with his Barney Kessel guitar, outside the nightclub. The album includes a cover of "If I Had a Hammer", which reached number one in 36 countries (No. 3 in the United States). It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Lopez also performs a version of the traditional Mexican song "La Bamba". This version was later re-issued as a single in 1966.
Moving to Capitol/EMI after a one-off record at Island/Universal, Jennifer Lopez seizes the opportunity of a new label to jump-start her career with A.K.A. It isn't quite a complete reboot, however. Its executive producer is RedOne, who worked on 2011's Love?, but this record attempts to push J-Lo further into modern dance, by having her duet with T.I., Pitbull, and Rick Ross, not to mention Iggy Azalea, who was the hottest rapper in the U.S. upon the June release of A.K.A. Iggy's showcase arrives on "Acting Like That," one of several tracks produced by Leon Youngblood, and his contributions – which also include the title track and "So Good" – are the moments on the record that get it right, balancing the heavy club throb with pop hooks that rely on feel as much as Lopez's vocals…
Celebrated Handelian René Jacobs, 'the most exciting opera conductor of the day' (Münchner Merkur), leads the dynamic, exquisitely honed Ghent ensemble and an outstanding cast in one of the composer's most spectacular and ravishingly beautiful creations. The title role, written for the legendary Senesino, is sung by its finest modern exponent, Bejun Mehta, 'one of the most commanding, exhilarating countertenors of the modern era' (New York Times).
The Sicilian nobleman Sigismondo d'India was roughly contemporary with Monteverdi (both began their careers around 1600); the musical ferment of that period led, in d'India's case, to a very heady brew. His madrigals–duets, solos and five-voice works–are like inebriated Monteverdi: d'India set the Italian poetic texts (usually dealing with a lover's pain) with even less regard for academic counterpoint and even more surprising twists of harmony than did his more-famous colleague, yet the music never veers into the disorienting, seemingly willful weirdness of Gesualdo.