This is the second album emanating from celebrated British saxophonist, Paul Dunmall's 2012 visit to New York City, performing at the Vision Festival, and follows his initial 2013 appearance for New Atlantis Records on a date led by guitarist Edward Ricart, titled Chameleon. Hence, top New York City-based improvisers, drummer Andrew Barker and bassist Tim Dahl—the latter appearing on three tracks, lend their faculties for a set that poses a myriad of irregular rhythmic explorations. And while Dunmall's explosive tenor sax lines emphasize the group's power-packed tactics, the musicians' remain agile amid a host of changeable motifs, including areas where gruff, microtonal idiosyncrasies alter the flows and perspectives.
The members of the Zurich Ensemble are Fabio di Càsola (clarinet), Kamilla Schatz (violin), Pi-Chin Chien (cello), and Benjamin Engeli (piano). The ensemble’s web site doesn’t indicate when it was founded or even whether this is its first CD. (This is, however, the only CD listed on ArkivMusic’s site, so draw your own conclusions.) Be that as it may, this is a thoroughly delightful CD, headlined by a clever arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov’s enduring warhorse, and complemented by the less familiar works by Khachaturian and Sergei Bortkiewicz.
Stephen Paulus was an astonishingly prolific fixture of the American music scene, with some 600 works to his credit. His sudden death in 2014 left classical music—particularly the worlds of opera and choral music—significantly the poorer, so it’s inevitable that we should see his legacy memorialised with new additions to the catalogue. Royal Holloway’s ‘Calm on the Listening Ear of Night’ sets Paulus’s music in dialogue with another Midwestern composer, René Clausen. It’s Clausen whose musical personality emerges most strongly here in these precise performances. His works offer a distinctively American spin on the fashionable Baltic sound world of Ešenvalds and Vasks that is as appealing as it is generous. In pace, which opens the disc, offers eight minutes of lushly filmic excess.
If your Latin jazz collection centers mainly around styles from Cuba and Brazil, pianist Edward Simon would like you to consider expanding your library to include musical influences from a culturally diverse land geographically situated between those two countries – namely Venezuela, where he was born and lived until the age of 12. Simon is an acclaimed post-bop and modern creative jazz pianist in his adopted country of the United States, and while Latin American elements have certainly seasoned his recorded output to date, this 2014 Sunnyside release finds him focusing more intently than ever on the nexus between creative jazz and the folk music of his home country. The album's title is derived from "Venezuelan Suite," whose four parts fill over 28 minutes of the disc's concise 38-minute duration. Simon composed the suite for his Ensemble Venezuela, and the ten-member version of the group heard here – including musicians from the U.S., Venezuela, and Colombia – is wonderfully vibrant, ably fulfilling the pianist's creative intent. Chamber Music America commissioned Simon to write this work, and he rose to the challenge with music that is suitably rich with timbral and textural variety.
An R&B band that only played pop to get on the charts, Manfred Mann and its various permutations ranked among the most adept British Invasion acts in both styles. South African-born keyboardist Manfred Mann was originally an aspiring jazz player, moving toward R&B when more blues-oriented sounds became in vogue in England in the early '60s. Original Manfred Mann singer Paul Jones was one of the best British Invasion singers, and his resonant vocals were the best feature of their early R&B sides, which had a slightly jazzier and smoother touch than the early work of the Rolling Stones and Animals…