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.
Agricola was praised by his contemporaries for the bizarre turn of his inspiration, and his music likened to quicksilver. By the standards of the period this is a highly unusual turn of phrase, but remains spot-on. The Ferrara Ensemble anthology, the first ever devoted to the composer, focused on the secular music, both instrumental and vocal, precisely the area covered by Michael Posch and Ensemble Unicorn in this most satisfying disc. Where there's duplication (surprisingly little, in fact) the performances compare with those of the Ferrara Ensemble, although the style of singing is very different. The voices are more up front and less inflected, perhaps the better to match the high instruments with which they're sometimes doubled. But the tensile quality of Agricola's lines comes through none the less, as does the miraculous inventiveness and charm of his music. Further, much of what's new to the catalogue really is indispensible, for example Agricola's most famous song, Allez, regretz. Unicorn keeps its improvisations and excursions to a minimum, and the music is the better for it. It really is a must-have.
“Three years ago, Boris Blacher’s piano music was a new discovery for me,” says Swiss pianist and composer Manuela Keller. “Its lean style, its unconventional rhythm and barren beauty appealed to me immediately and inspired me to dedicate the second Idee manu [album] to him. He left a large oeuvre comprising almost all musical genres and also had an interest in jazz all his life. He developed a ‘system of variable metres’ to berak musical form and rhythmic symmetry with numerous, arithmetically structured metre changes. Krebs, Sberk, Dugong and Prelude 16 are typical examples of this technique.” Those are four out of 16 compositions that Manuela Keller got her teeth into, both as a soloist and in a quartet. Three are written by Keller, the other ten are adaptations, some more subtle, others more extensive, of models from Blachers late 24 Preludes for piano, his piano cycle Ornamente, and his Second Sonatina. Thus, Idee manu’s second album fits perfectly into the programmatic line of Between the Lines, focusing on sound projects crossing styles and genres between improvisation and composition.
Timothy Lee Miller presents SOMETHING MORE, eight original jazz compositions that explore the unique relationships that the composer has with his family. Expanding upon something as simple as a photograph or a memory, Miller's noir-influenced jazz expands his reflections beyond words, and instead creates story through moods. The album features both contemporary compositions, as late as 2017, as well as some that Miller had written back in the 1980s.