Well known for the intensity and profundity of its interpretations, the Quatuor Danel has made a name for itself on the international classical scene (winning such awards as the Diapason d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, and CD of the Month in BBC Music Magazine) in the great cycles that form the basis of the quartet literature, from Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert to Weinberg. Since Russian composers occupy a key position in the Danels’ repertory, it was logical for them to champion the quartets of Shostakovich by recording them complete in 2005. Today Alpha Classics reissues this boxed set, which is among the reference recordings of the composer’s works.
Named after The Muffins' 1978 debut album - one of the essential Canterbury-related releases - Manna/Mirage is the newest project by founding member Dave Newhouse (one of the band's two woodwind players). Not surprisingly, fellow Muffins Billy Swann and Paul Sears are also on board, as well as Newhouse’s son George, guitarist Mark Stanley (of Chainsaw Jazz and Thee Maximalists), and newest recruit, Steve Pastena, on French horn. The ensemble's debut, released in the autumn of 2015, bears the title of Blue Dogs - a title inspired by a painting by artist and RIO/Canterbury fan Gonzalo Fuentes Riquelme (aka Guerrilla Graphics), which graces the CD cover. The album was mixed and produced by none other than Mike Potter of Orion Studios - probably the most important venue for progressive music in the US, and the setting of The Muffins' most recent performance to date, in May 2015.