Julian Bream was born in London and brought up in a musical environment. His father played jazz guitar and the young Bream was impressed by hearing the playing of Django Reinhardt.
Bream began his lifelong association with the guitar by strumming along on a small gut-string Spanish guitar at a very young age to dance music on the radio. The president of the Philharmonic Society of Guitars, Dr Boris Perott, gave Bream lessons, while Bream's father became the society librarian, giving Bream access to a large collection of rare music.
Born in the Japanese port city of Nagasaki, in 1961, Kazuhito Yamashita is widely recognized as one of the world's most premier virtuoso guitarists. His dazzling technique and powerful expression has received accolades throughout the musical world. With an impressive list of almost 80 recordings and numerous original arrangements of such works as Mussorgski's Pictures at an Exhibition.
This was Alicia de Larrocha’s finest account of Nights in the Gardens of Spain, fully capturing the Andalusian atmosphere of this evocative score. After all, it’s not a work about landscapes and flowers – it’s about love. Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos does a superb job of drawing perfume and color out of an English orchestra.
Producer Bob Belden has turned reinventing the music of Miles Davis into a cottage industry, taking Davis to India for 2008’s Miles from India, and more recently Belden has given us Asiento, which re-imagined Bitches Brew as a slice of electronica. Now he gives us Miles Español, which finds Belden pairing veterans of Davis' various bands with musicians from Spain, Morocco, and Latin America on classic tracks from Davis' Sketches of Spain and Kind of Blue albums. Hearing Davis compositions with oud, bassoon, accordion, and bongos is certainly exotic and interesting, but one longs for the elegant, stately grace of the original albums.
…So for most of us, just listening to the lively, polished performances by male and female singers, accompanied by various period instruments will be enjoyment enough–but for the more curious, the extensive and very well written liner notes offer a fine introduction to the deeper meaning of the texts and provide important context for each song. Four instrumental selections round out this flawlessly recorded program, enhanced by the ambience of the Spanish monastery venue.
I was looking for Ginastera’s Hieremiae Prophetae Lamentationes, which was completely new for me; but this is by no means the only work worthwhile on this album. The record is full of surprises.