Since John Hiatt and the major labels decided to go their separate ways around the turn of the century, his approach to record making has been direct and organic; most of his albums have sounded as if Hiatt and his sidemen put them together without a lot of fuss, placing the emphasis squarely on Hiatt's dependably strong material and tough, flinty vocal style. But 2011's Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns is a more polished and ambitious affair than Hiatt has delivered in years. The sessions were produced by Kevin Shirley, who has previously worked with Aerosmith, the Black Crowes, Dream Theater, and Journey, and though his approach isn't especially intrusive, the sound of this record is certainly more luxurious, with the guitars sounding bigger, the drums booming a bit louder, and strings and keyboards decorating several tracks and the arrangements, gaining a greater sense of drama along the way.
Music for two pianos as a genre has gained reputation and momentum among composers and performers in the academic piano world. Piano Duo is a relatively new phenomenon that began in the late Romantic period. The Piano Duo project began in 2008 with composers Paul Reller, Eun-Hye Park, Gerald Chenoweth and pianist Min Kwon.
The name of Martha Argerich on any label always means fire, and so it is here. She and Gidon Kremer play with quite exceptional urgency and temperament, and the bright, clear recording brings up both instruments with a sheen. In fact the music springs at you with such immediacy that anyone previously of the opinion that Schumann was showing signs of tiredness in these latish works will be compelled to think again.