Alessandro Scarlatti – Con voce festiva (2006)

FrontCover1During the course of his long life, Alessandro Scarlatti was not only a prolific composer of opera, he wrote more than 700 cantatas, many of which consisted of miniature scenes and often incorporated solo instruments to set off the voice. These works demonstrate the utility of the Neapolitan/Roman cantata for smaller chamber venues, and the composer was certainly much in demand for his expressive music of a more intimate sort. That being said, this group incorporates several pieces with a trumpet, so one supposes that the concept of “intimacy” must have been quite flexible, given its often high tessitura and virtuoso line. This disc contains a selection of pieces that could have been used in the various venues in Rome he haunted during the period around 1700, and thus it is a sort of grouping that works well.

It is clear from the notes that Jean-Marc Andrieu, the conductor of the home-grown early music ensemble in Lyon, Les Passions Baroque orchestra, was responsible for putting together the selections on the disc, driven partly, one suspects, by the availability of the soprano soloist, Isabelle Poulenard, and a guest trumpeter, Serge Tizac. In any case, the selections do go well together, and the range of tone provides considerable variety, from a recorder concerto to a rousing soprano-and-trumpet tour de force battle aria that concludes the disc. The vocal and instrumental pieces are generally (though not always) alternated, even further demonstrating Scarlatti’s versatility as a composer.

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The orchestra is typical for Italy during this period, generally restricted to a pair of violins and basso continuo. For the latter, Andrieu uses combinations of theorbo, Baroque harp, and the usual lower strings plus harpsichord, which result in a rather varied sound anchoring the various movements. The Sonata a 4, for example, is marked by the composer “senza cembalo al tavolino” (in this case, probably best translated as “without a keyboard on the little stand or table”), which means that some other instrument is required to provide the inner harmonies. For this, the harp/theorbo combination works quite well. In the concerto, really a five-movement da chiesa style suite of alternating contrapuntal and slow movements in which the recorder is integrated and really has few solo moments of the sort one associates typically with a concerto, the continuo texture varies. Indeed, often the violins are there solely for use in the ritornellos , a remnant of the old Italian Baroque practice that makes the pieces, especially the cantatas, sound a bit old-fashioned. Still, the blend is generally well considered, and Scarlatti was certainly able to use his textures effectively. As for the works with the trumpet, from the florid “Mio tesoro” to the rousing “A battaglia, pensieri battaglia,” the competition between the voice and brass is omnipresent, and one is reminded of the famed battle between a clarion player and the castrato Farinelli that took place in Naples not too many years later (and in case you are interested, Farinelli won!).

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As for the performances themselves, I’ll confess to having mixed feelings. Andrieu’s recorder playing is superb, with a full, rounded tone and nice phrasing. He also blends much better with Poulenard in their duo cantata, in particular the delicate “Onde ciare che spargete.” His tempo for the fugue of the concerto in the third movement is rollicking, giving the counterpoint additional interest in the way he weaves in and out of the violin parts. On the other hand, Poulenard’s soprano is variable. In La Fenice , she floats with subtle ornamentation and clear voice in the second aria pastoral “Ogn’or cantando passare il giorno,” indicating that she is fully aware of the demands of Baroque singing style. On the other hand, in much of the rest she sings with lots of vibrato. This is most apparent in those arias that include the trumpet, as if she is afraid that a straight tone might be lost. The result is a sound that is often far too modern and operatic for the delicacy of the pieces, and she doesn’t blend well with the clarion sounds of the trumpet. Tizac’s playing also tends to be technically adept but sometimes without too much finesse.

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Finally, the recording venue seems to have produced an annoying reverberation that makes it seem like certain numbers were recorded in an echo chamber. The less said about the accompanying notes, the better; these lack any sort of real context for the works on the recording and are difficult to follow. Can one really be interested in “micro-modifications” of formal structure, not to mention the really awkward translation into English? (My favorite howler: “From a musical point of view, cantatas are of variable geometric genre.” Say what?) Moreover, the texts are translated into French only. Still, if one is able to put up with these annoyances, some of which are petty, then one will find some interesting and unusual music by one of the period’s greatest composers. (by Bertil van Boer)

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Personnel:
Jean-Marc Andrieu (recorder)
Isabelle Poulenard (soprano)
Serge Tizac (trumpet)
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Les Passions Orchestra conducted by Jean-Marc Andrieu

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Tracklist:
01. Con voce festiva (Aria con tromba sola) 1.33
02. Il giardino dAmore (Sinfonia): I. [Allegro] 2.20
03. II. Largo e piano 1.03
04. III. Allegro 1.26
05. La Fenice (Cantate pour soprano, 2 violons et b.c.): Introduzione 0.59
06. Recitativo: Su lhora appunto che colcaro dOro 0.54
07. Aria: Se disciolti son quel nodi che rendevan 3.11
08. Recitativo: Gradita liberta quanto sei cara 1.04
09. Aria – Ritornello: Ognor cantando passare il giorno 3.11
10. Recitativo: Oh quanto piu gioisce allor chesposto 1.04
11. Aria: Che tal volta cupido tiranno 2.07
12. Recitativo: O come piu felice tra le selve dArabia 0.51
13. Aria: Dunque mio cor 1.47
14. Arioso: Al ciel donde discese 0.44
15. Mio tesoro (Aria pour soprano, trompette, 2 violons et b.c.) 3.38
16. Concerto en la mineur pour flite a bec, 2 violons et b.c.: I. Allegro 1.49
17. II. Largo 1.43
18. III. Fuga 2.14
19. IV. Piano 1.56
20. V. Allegro 1.53
21. Su le sponde del Terbo (Cantate pour soprano): Sinfonia [Grave] 1.48
22. Recitativo: Su le sponde del Terbo 0.49
24. Recitativo ed Arioso: Mesto, stanco… Infelici miei lumi 4.33
25. Aria e Ritornello: Dite almeno, astri crudeli 1.41
26. Recitativo ed Aria: Allaura, al cielo… Tra lascia pur di piangere 2.19
27. Sonata 3 a 4, senza cembalo al tavolino: I. Sinfonia 2.11
28. II. Grave 1.38
29. III. [Allegro] 2.10
30. IV. Minuet 1.23
31. Clori mia, Clori bella. Recitativo: Clori mia… 1.01
32. Aria. Adagio: Onde chiare che spargete 4.55
33. Recitativo: Si, si narrate gli pur bell onde 0.50
34. Aria: Parla, parla il cor 2.38
35. A battaglia (Aria pour soprano): Sinfonia [Grave-Allegro] 1.27
36. Aria. Allegro: A battaglia, pensieri battaglia 2.10

Music composed by Alessandro Scarlatti

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Blackmore’s Night – Winter Carols (2006)

FrontCover1Winter Carols is the sixth studio album by the group Blackmore’s Night, released in the United Kingdom on October, 2006, and in the United States on November 7, 2006. It is a Christmas themed album. The cover artwork for this album, painted by Karsten Topelmann, is an adaptation of a street in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, in line with the band’s heavy Renaissance influence. The same street is portrayed in the cover of Blackmore’s Night’s second studio album, Under a Violet Moon. In the cover of “Winter Carols” the street is painted as winter time, whereas Under a Violet Moon’s cover takes place on apparently a summer night. While the selections “Winter (Basse Dance)” is credited to Ritchie Blackmore as composer, it is an adaptation of the second section of Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Fantasía para un gentilhombre,” which Rodrigo composed for classical guitar virtuoso Andres Segovia in 1954.

On December 2006, Winter Carols entered at #7 on USA Billboard New Age Charts.

The album won the New Age Reporter Lifestyle Music Award as the Best Holiday Album.(by wikipedia)

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Ever wonder what Christmas carols sounded like back in time when the finest form of transportation was by horse and wearing armor was a hip fashion statement? Well then, the second release of 2006 by Blackmore’s Night, Winter Carols, may offer some insight. As with their previous efforts, the music on Winter Carols is of the Renaissance-inspired folk variety. And while the majority of the songs are traditional compositions, there are also a few originals, including “Winter (Basse Dance),” which includes some simply gorgeous acoustic guitar doodling by once Fender Strat/Marshall amp abuser Blackmore. Elsewhere, songs such as “Hark the Herald Angels Sing/Come All Ye Faithful” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” would sound splendid sung around the campfire — if it were still the 15th century. Unfortunately, a rendition of the Chipmunks’ “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” is not included. (by Greg Prato)

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This is one of the most refreshing albums of Christmas music released in many years! There are no Santa Clauses, Rudolphs, or Sleigh Rides here. Candice Night (vocals) and Ritchie Blackmore celebrate Christmas without all the commercialism that saturates most Christmas albums and tastefully interpret carols with a few original compositions added for flavor. Of the originals, “Christmas Eve” and “Winter (Basse Dance) are most notable, although the latter is an adaptation of a classical guitar piece written for Andres Segovia by Joaquin Rodrigo (“Fantasia Para Un Gentilhombre”). Candice Night’s vocals are perfectly suited to the music on the album, and if you want to celebrate the season by listening instead of partying, WINTER CAROLS comes highly recommended! (by Tom Daly)

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Personnel:
Ritchie Blackmore (guitar, mandola, nyckelharpa, hurdy-gurdy, percussion)
Robert Curiano (Sir Robert of Normandie) (bass)
Candice Night (vocals, shawm, pennywhistle)
Pat Regan (keyboards)
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David Baranowski (Bard David of Larchmont) (keyboards)
Albert Dannemann (bagpipes, background vocals)
Anton Fig (drums)
Sarah Steiding (violin)
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Sisters of the Moon:
Lady Madeline and Lady Nancy (Madeline and Nancy Posner) (harmony vocals)
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background vocals:
Ian Robertson and Jim Manngard

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Hark the Herald Angels Sing / Come All Ye Faithful (Traditional) 3.50
02. I Saw Three Ships (Traditional) 2.40
03. Winter (Basse Dance) (Blackmore) 3.07
04. Ding Dong Merrily On High (Traditional) 3.16
05. Ma-O-Tzur (Traditional) 2.19
06. Good King Wenceslas (Traditional) 4.44
07. Lord Of The Dance / Simple Gifts (Carter/Brackett) 3.34
08. We Three Kings (Traditional) 4.48
09. Wish You Were Here (Teijo) 5.02
10. Emmanuel (Traditional) 3.32
11. Christmas Eve (Blackmore/Night) 4.20
12. We Wish You A Merry Christmas (Traditional) 1.21

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The cover artwork for this album, painted by Karsten Topelmann, is an adaptation of a street in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, in line with the band’s heavy Renaissance influence. The same street is portrayed in the cover of Blackmore’s Night’s second studio album, Under a Violet Moon. In the cover of “Winter Carols” the street is painted as winter time, whereas Under a Violet Moon’s cover takes place on apparently a summer night.

And here´s the same scene … in our time:

Rothenburg

Percy Sledge – Live In Kentucky (2006)

FrontCover1Percy Tyrone Sledge (November 25, 1940 – April 14, 2015) was an American R&B, soul and gospel singer. He is best known for the song “When a Man Loves a Woman”, a No. 1 hit on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B singles charts in 1966. It was awarded a million-selling, Gold-certified disc from the RIAA.

Having previously worked as a hospital orderly in the early 1960s, Sledge achieved his strongest success in the late 1960s and early 1970s with a series of emotional soul songs. In later years, Sledge received the Rhythm and Blues Foundation’s Career Achievement Award. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

Sledge was born on November 25, 1940, in Leighton, Alabama. He worked in a series of agricultural jobs in the fields in Leighton before taking a job as an orderly at Colbert County Hospital in Sheffield, Alabama. Through the mid-1960s, he toured the Southeast with the Esquires Combo on weekends, while working at the hospital during the week. A former patient and mutual friend of Sledge and record producer Quin Ivy introduced the two. An audition followed, and Sledge was signed to a recording contract.

Sledge’s soulful voice was perfect for the series of soul ballads produced by Ivy and Marlin Greene, which rock critic Dave Marsh called “emotional classics for romantics of all ages”. “When a Man Loves a Woman” was Sledge’s first song recorded under the contract, and was released in March 1966. According to Sledge, the inspiration for the PercySledge03song came when his girlfriend left him for a modelling career after he was laid off from a construction job in late 1965, and, because bassist Calvin Lewis and organist Andrew Wright helped him with the song, he gave all the songwriting credits to them. It reached No. 1 in the US and went on to become an international hit. “When a Man Loves a Woman” was a hit twice in the UK, reaching No. 4 in 1966 and, on reissue, peaked at No. 2 in 1987. The song was also the first gold record released by Atlantic Records. The soul anthem became the cornerstone of Sledge’s career, and was followed by “Warm and Tender Love” (covered by British singer Elkie Brooks in 1981), “It Tears Me Up”, “Take Time to Know Her” (his second biggest US hit, reaching No. 11; the song’s lyric was written by Steve Davis), “Love Me Tender”, and “Cover Me”.

Sledge charted with “I’ll Be Your Everything” and “Sunshine” during the 1970s, and became an international concert favorite throughout the world, especially in the Netherlands, Germany, and on the African continent; he averaged 100 concerts a year in South Africa.

Sledge’s career enjoyed a renaissance in the 1980s when “When a Man Loves a Woman” re-entered the UK Singles Chart, peaking at No. 2 behind the reissued Ben E. King classic “Stand by Me”, after being used in a Levi’s commercial.[3] In the early 1990s, Michael Bolton brought “When a Man Loves a Woman” back into the limelight again on his hit album Time, Love, & Tenderness. On the week of November 17 to November 23, 1991, Bolton’s version also hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, exactly 25½ years to the week after Percy’s did in 1966.

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In 1994, Saul Davis and Barry Goldberg produced Sledge’s album, Blue Night, for Philippe Le Bras’ Sky Ranch label and Virgin Records. It featured Bobby Womack, Steve Cropper, and Mick Taylor among others. Blue Night received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album, Vocal or Instrumental, and in 1996 it won the W.C. Handy Award for best soul or blues album.

In 2004, Davis and Goldberg also produced the Shining Through the Rain album, which preceded his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Songs on the CD were written by Mikael Rickfors, Steve Earle, the Bee Gees, Carla Olson, Denny Freeman, Allan Clarke and Jackie Lomax. The same year Percy recorded a live album with his band Sunset Drive entitled Percy Sledge and Sunset Drive – Live in Virginia on WRM Records produced by Warren Rodgers.

In May 2007, Percy was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame in his home city of Baton Rouge, LA.

In December 2010, Rhino Handmade issued a four-CD retrospective, The Atlantic Recordings, which covers all of the issued Atlantic masters, as well as many of the tracks unissued in the United States (although some were simply the mono versions of songs originally issued in stereo; Disc 1 comprises Sledge’s first two LPs which were not recorded on stereo equipment). In 2011 Sledge toured with Sir Cliff Richard during his Soulicious tour, performing “I’m Your Puppet” (by wikipedia)

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And here´s a very rare live album …orginal released as a DVD … a perfect show with all these soul music from the Sixties …  what a night !

Recorded live at the Mountain Arts Center, Prestenburg, Kentucky,
July 2006

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Personnel:
Percy Sledge (vocals)
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a bunch of unknown musicians

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Tracklist:
01. My Special Prayer (Simon/Scott) 4.44
02. Cover Me (Greene/Hinton) 4.05
03. Take Time To Know Her (Davis) 3.44
04. My Girl (Robinson/White) 4.34
05. Warm And Tender Love (Robinson) 5.13
06. Bring It Home To Me (Cooke) 4.39
07. At The Dark End Of The Street (Penn/Moman) 3.02
08. Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay (Cropper/Redding) 3.39
09. 24-7-365 (Herron/Sutton) 3.45
10. It Tears Me Up (Oldham/Penn) 2.54
11. I’ll Be Your Everything (Souke) 3.29
12. Blue Water (James) 4.12
13. Out Of Left Field (Oldham/Penn) 4.13
14. Big Blue Diamonds (Carson) 3.37
15. A Whiter Shade Of Pale (Brooker/Reid) 5.05
16. Sudden Stop (Russell 3.16
17. Going Home Tomorrow (Domino/Young 3.53
18. When A Man Loves A Woman (Lewis/Wright) 5.52

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Percy Sledge (November 25, 1940 – April 14, 2015

Larry Coryell – Laid Back & Blues (Live at the Sky Church in Seattle) (2006)

FrontCover1Here´s a very rare album by Larry Coryell:

Laid Back & Blues finds journeyman jazz guitarist Larry Coryell performing live with his quartet at the Sky Church in Seattle, WA. Backing Coryell here are pianist Mark Seales, bassist Chuck Deardorf, and drummer Dean Hodges. Also joining in for an inspired off-the-cuff take on Tracy Chapman’s “Gimme One Reason” is vocalist Tracey Piergross. Throughout, Coryell does a nice job of mixing in such jazz standards as “Body and Soul” and “Straight No Chaser” alongside his more contemporary and challenging compositions including “The Dragon’s Grate” and the pretty midtempo ballad “Tracy.” This is an intimate-sounding album that truly showcases Coryell’s superb post-bop style and deft guitar technique. (by Matt Collar)

True, Larry has been playing utterly fantastic guitar for years and years, but this release showcases his many sides in a manner somewhat lacking in recent projects. Included are some very nice renditions of Coryell “standards” plus a standout vocal performance by Tracey Piergross. Keep an ear out for this new talent! Highlights include Larry’s solo, “Denver in April”, a return to a slightly phased acoustic sound that suits Larry so well. Also exceptional is his closing blues statement on the final track. Highly recommended!!! (by Andy)

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Personnel:
Larry Coryell (guitar, vocals)
Chuck Deardorf (bass)
Dean Hodges (drums)
Mark Seales (piano)
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Tracy Chapman (vocals on 04.)

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Tracklist:
01. No More Booze Minor Blues (Coryell) 8.27
02. Intro To Tracey (Coryell) 1.28
03. Tracey (Coryell) 7.34
04. Gimme One Reason/Rock Me Baby (Josea/King) 4.36
05. Body & Soul (Coryell) 8.28
06. Intro to Straight No Chaser 0.32
07. Straight No Chaser (Monk) 8.17
08. Denver In April (Coryell) 5.03
09. The Dragon’s Gate (Coryell) 8.14
10. Not Exactly Like BB (Coryell) 7.17

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Larry Coryell
(* 2. April 1943 in Galveston, Texas; † 19. Februar 2017 in New York City)

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David Gilmour – On An Island (2006)

FrontCover1On An Island is the third solo album by Pink Floyd member David Gilmour. It was released in the UK on 6 March 2006, Gilmour’s 60th birthday, and in the US the following day. It was his first solo album in twenty two years since 1984’s About Face and twelve years since 1994’s Pink Floyd album The Division Bell.On an Island is the third solo album by Pink Floyd member David Gilmour. It was released in the UK on 6 March 2006, Gilmour’s 60th birthday, and in the US the following day. It was his first solo album in twenty two years since 1984’s About Face and twelve years since 1994’s Pink Floyd album The Division Bell.

The album features Robert Wyatt, Jools Holland, Georgie Fame, David Crosby, Graham Nash, late Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright, early Pink Floyd member Bob Klose and Pink Floyd session and touring musician Guy Pratt. Chris Thomas and Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera assisted with production. The lyrics were principally written by Gilmour’s wife, Polly Samson.

Much of the album was recorded in Gilmour’s private studio aboard his houseboat Astoria. The track “Smile” was heard briefly in an unmastered form on the BBC2 show Three Men in a Boat which retraced a trip on the River Thames that passed the houseboat. Other sections were recorded at David’s farm in Sussex and Mark Knopfler’s British Grove Studios
Orchestrations on the album were arranged by noted Polish film composer Zbigniew Preisner and conducted by Robert Ziegler. The orchestra was recorded at Abbey Road Studios by Simon Rhodes.

Singles

The album also produced two singles; the title track “On an Island” and “Smile”, the latter peaking at #72 on the UK Singles Chart. “On an Island” also peaked at #27 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
Promo Single edits of “Take a Breath” and “This Heaven” were issued to coincide with the US leg of the tour, while “Smile” was the second single in the UK.

On an Island entered the UK charts at #1, giving Gilmour his first ever chart-topping album outside of Pink Floyd. It reached #1 on the European Chart, and #2 in Canada, Portugal and Iceland. It has also provided Gilmour with his first US Top 10 album, reaching #6. The album has achieved platinum status in Canada and has sold over 1,000,000 copies worldwide.

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Gilmour toured the album with Richard Wright, Phil Manzanera and long-time members of the live Pink Floyd band, Guy Pratt and Jon Carin. Steve DiStanislao was brought in as drummer. The shows included the entire On an Island album plus Pink Floyd songs such as “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, “Echoes”, “Arnold Layne”, “High Hopes”, “Wish You Were Here” and “Comfortably Numb” among others. No songs from Gilmour’s two previous solo albums were played. The tour is documented on the DVD/Blu-ray Remember That Night and the live album & DVD Live in Gdansk. (by wikipedia)

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To think that David Gilmour waited 22 years to record his third solo album is a pretty solid indicator that he’s not the kind of bloke to merely cash in on his name. After all, he’s the guy who sold his house for four million English pounds and gave the money to charity. Perhaps now that the Pink Floyd reunion happened and he and Roger Waters are at least civil to one another, the Floyd enigma can finally find its way into the annals of history and rock legend. This catches listeners up to On an Island. Those desiring something edgy and dramatic will have to wait. Gilmour wrote six of these ten tunes with his wife, Polly Samson, who also plays a bit of piano and sings. Musically, On An Island is mostly a laid-back, utterly elegant English record. It has the feel of taking place between twilight and dawn. There are a few rumblers to upset the overall balance of tranquility and stillness, like flashes of heat lightning across the dark skies; they add dimension and a quiet power to these proceedings. Produced by Gilmour, Phil Manzanera (who appears on keyboards), and Chris Thomas, the album features guest spots from the likes of Richard Wright, Robert Wyatt, B.J. Cole, Floyd/Sly Stone drummer Andy Newmark, Georgie Fame, David Crosby and Graham Nash, Jools Holland, Willie Wilson, and many others.

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The set opens with “Castellorizon,” a moody showcase with Gilmour’s guitars backed by the orchestral arrangements of Zbigniew Preisner as conducted by Robert Zeigler. Preisner’s arrangements throughout are wonderful and not quite as dark as one might expect, given his track record. Atmospheric and dramatic, it offers a lovely if off impression of the album. The title track, which follows, is all breezy strummed chords, keyboards by Wright, and dreamy vocals with Gilmour backed by Crosby and Nash. It’s a slow, textured, and spacy love song. “The Blue” follows suit; it too is so utterly full of air that one can hear the wind rustling through the palms. Wright’s backing vocals lend a slight PF “Echoes” slant (as does the Hammond organ); the instrumentation just shimmers, hovers, and floats the track along. There are rockers here, though — “Take a Breath” features chunky razor-wire chords, Leszek Mozdzer’s piano, and Manzanera’s synth work winding around one another, and the mood is wonderfully plodding, dramatic, and futuristically “heavy.” On the gauzy wee-hours instrumental “Red Sky at Night,” Gilmour plays sax as well as guitars, and it gives way to “This Heaven,” a bluesy stroller that’s given deluxe organ treatment by Fame.

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There’s a delightfully nocturnal feel that makes the track feel a bit sinister, but really it’s the sound of eros making itself heard, and Gilmour contributes a biting solo and fills amid the drum samples and strings. Wyatt appears on the back-porch spacehead soundtrack-like tripnotica of “Then I Close My Eyes.” His and Gilmour’s wordless voices slip under and around the considerable space between instruments — which include Wyatt on cornet and percussion as well as Cole playing a Weissenborn guitar, Caroline Dale’s cello, a pair of harmonicas, and of course Gilmour’s high-register blues twang. The set ends on a gentle note in “Where We Start” — so much so that it may make some scratch their heads and wonder where the cranky, diffident Gilmour has wandered off to, but others will be drawn into this seductive, romantic new place where musical subtlety, spacious textures, and quietly lyrical optimism hold sway. (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
BJ Cole (guitar on 07.)
David Crosby (vocals on 02.)
Caroline Dale (cello on 04., 05. + 07.)
Ilan Eshkeri (programming on 05. + 09.)
Georgie Fame (organ on 06.)
David Gilmour (guitar, vocals, lap steel guitar, keyboards, percussion, bass, saxophone, cümbüş, harmonica)
Jooly Holland (piano on 03.)
Rado Klose (guitar on 02, +  03.)
Chris Laurence (bass on 05. + 09.)
Alasdair Malloy (glass harmonica on 07. + 09.)
Phil Manzanera (guitar on 04., 06. + 07.)
Leszek Możdżer (piano on 04. + 09.)
Graham Nash (vocals on 02.)
Andy Newmark (drums on 02.,03., 96. + 10., percussion on 07.)
Guy Pratt (bass on 02. + 04.)
Polly Samson (piano on 03., background vocals on 08.)
Chris Stainton (organ on 03.)
Chris Thomas (keyboards on 09.)
Lucy Wakeford (harp on 09.)
Willie Wilson (drums on 08.)
Richard Wright (organ on 02., vocals on 03.)
Robert Wyatt (cornet, percussion, vocals on 07.)
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Zbigniew Preisner (orchestration)

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Tracklist:
01. Castellorizon (Gilmour) 3.54
02. On An Island (Gilmour/Samson) 6.47
03. The Blue (Gilmour/Samson) 5.26
04. Take A Breath (Gilmour/Samson) 5.46
05. Red Sky At Night (Gilmour) 2.51
06. This Heaven (Gilmour/Samson) 4.24
07. Then I Close My Eyes (Gilmour/Samson) 5.26
08. Smile (Gilmour/Samson) 4.03
09. A Pocketful Of Stones (Gilmour/Samson) 6.17
10. Where We Start (Gilmour) 6.45

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Jacinta – Day Dream (2006)

JacintaFrontCover1Day Dream of the Portugal jazz singer Jacinta is her second album, after a disc with blues pieces. On the new disc Jacinta presents songs of the jazz classics from the American continent – among others pieces from Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Herbert Martin, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Thelenious Monk. The CD was produced by Greg Osby, a known American saxophonist, jazzmen. Although the name of the vocalist from the beautiful Portugal sounds similar to Jacintha, recording for years for the American publisher Groove Note, this are in reality two different worlds. I have the feeling, that Jacintha fell in the trap of “audiophilism”, where the sound “candy”counts more, slow songs, where you can place a triangle with a reverb that sounds for 2 minutes, the percussion whisks murmur in a soporific way, and similar. On the disc of Jacinta (without the “h”) we have a refreshing amount of real music, presented in a very good, balanced way. The sound is very suggestive – the cymbals have a resonant, a bit “atmospheric” character, they murmur, but also hit when it is necessary. They lack a bit “substance”, heaviness, but this is really a small shortcoming. The voice is presented nicely, but without a special resolution – here the recordings of Jacintha, although not without problems, show the vocalist in a clearer, more natural way. On the disc Day Dream it can be heard, that the vocal was a bit too compressed. It comes exactly from the middle, and lacks some “breath”. And, as the sound of the contrabass shows, it is possible to record the sound in a natural way, coming from many sides, and not condensed in one point. The timbre of this instrument is a bit too hard, in reality the contrabass sounds in a bit softer way, without a clear center. Sound presented in the mentioned way will seem better to the audiophiles. Some kind of precognitions how it could sound is given by the cymbals. This is not an audiophile recording, but it keeps a high, good level, and brings much good music. (by highfidelity.pl)

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Personnel:
Matt Brewer (bass)
Rodney Green (drums, percussion)
Jacinta (vocals)
James Weidman – piano
Greg Osby (saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. Enfim (Day Dream) (Ellington/Strayhorn/Latouche) 5.49
02. Decide Lá (I’m Beginning To See The Light) (Ellington/George/Hodges/James) 3.12
03. My Heart Belongs To Daddy (Porter) 4.42
04. I’m All Smiles (Martin/Leonard) 4.33
05. In A Sentimental Mood (Ellington/Mills/Kurtz) 4.25
06. Alma Confusa (Azure) (Ellington/Mills) 4.31
07. Jogral (Djavan/Filó/Neto) 4.32
08. Canção de Embalar (Afonso) 3.30
09. Luiza (Jobim) 3.13
10. How I Wish (Monk/Hendricks) 6.09
11. Day Dream (Ellington/Strayhorn/Latouche) 5.17
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12. I’m Beginning To See the Light (bonus track) (Ellington/George/Hodges/James) 3.11
13. Eternamente Assim (In a Sentimental Mood) (bonus track) (Ellington/Mills/Kurtz) 4.26

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Loreena McKennitt – An Ancient Muse (2006)

FrontCover1An Ancient Muse is the seventh full-length studio album of the Canadian singer, songwriter, accordionist, harpist, and pianist, Loreena McKennitt. It was released on November 20, 2006 internationally, and November 21, 2006 in the United States and Canada. It was her first studio album after a 9-year gap. It has now sold more than one million one copies worldwide.

Work on An Ancient Muse started in 2005. According to reports on McKennitt’s Quinlan Road website, most of the inspiration for the tracks of the album came from the music of Greece, Turkey, the Middle East and the Far East. Most of the tracks, with the exception of three revealed at the mid-September concerts in the Alhambra of Granada in Spain, were completely unknown until the release.

An Ancient Muse debuted on the U.S. Billboard 200 at number 83, with about 19,000 copies sold in its first week. This was also its peak position on the chart. (by wikipedia)

Canadian Celtic/new age/worldbeat architect Loreena McKennitt may be an odd choice for the legendary jazz label that released benchmark albums from Charlie Parker and Miles LoreenaMcKennitt01Davis, but Verve may have been moved by the undeniably talented harpist/composer/vocalist’s large collection of globe-spanning gold, platinum, and multi-platinum sales awards. McKennitt’s records (this is her first set of new material since 1997’s Book of Secrets) tend to play like independent soundtracks to National Geographic documentaries — kind of like a more ornate, expensive version of Dead Can Dance. An Ancient Muse may break little new ground for McKennitt, but it won’t disappoint longtime fans. Her fascination with Celtic, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern instrumentation (hurdy-gurdy, nyckelharpa, kanoun, uilleann pipes, bouzouki, lyra, and oud) and her preoccupation with mythology and poetry have won her great favor with the new age/adult alternative crowd, and rightly so, as Irish-tinged ballads such as “Never-Ending Road (Amhrán Duit)” and “Penelope’s Song” are just Enya songs with more instruments than vocal tracks. Her penchant for quality instrumentals, in this case “Kecharitomene” and “Sacred Shabbat,” sets her apart from the more stereotypical new age artists like David Arkenstone and John Tesh, and her extensive, diary-like liner notes invoke ancient archeological sites and obscure Rumi poetry without coming off as too self-absorbed. This CD was nominated for a Grammy award in 2007 for Best Contemporary World Music Album. (by James Christopher Monger)

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Personnel:
Tal Bergman (drums on 02. + 03, percussion on 05. + 08.)
Stuart Bruce (vocal drone on 01. + 08,, percussion on 05.)
Clive Deamer (drums on 08.)
Panos Dimitrakopoulos (kanoun on 02., 03., 05, 07. + 09.)
Nigel Eaton (hurdy-gurdy pn 03. + 05.)
Ben Grossman (hurdy-gurdy on 05.)
Ed Hanley (tabla, ui drum on 05)
Jason Hann (percussion on 08.)
Steáfán Hannigan (turkish clarinet on 01., 05. + 08. vocal drone on 01. + 08., uilleann pipes on 08. + 09.)
Brian Hughes (guitar on 01. – 03., 05., 08. + 09., guitar synthesizer on 01. – 03., 05., 08. + 09.,  vocal drone on 01. + 08., oud on 02., 03. + 05., celtic bouzouki on 02., 03., 05. + 08.)
Charlie Jones (bass on 05. + 06.)
Manu Katché (drums on 05.)
Georgios Kontogiannis (greek bouzouki on 02. + 03.)
Tim Landers (bass on 02., 03. + 08.)
Caroline Lavelle (cello on 02., 03., 05. – 09.)
Rick Lazar (percussion on 01., 05. + 08.)
Annbjørg Lien (nyckelharpa on 06.)
Hugh Marsh (violin on 03., 05. + 06.)
Loreena McKennitt (vocals, keyboards, accordion, harp, percussion, piano)
Marco Migliari (vocal drone on 01. + 08.)
Donald Quan (viola on 01. – 03., 05., 06., 08. + 09.,  vocal drone on 01. + 08.)
Hossam Ramzay (percussion on 02. + 05.)
Sokratis Sinopoulos – lyra (2, 3, 7, 8)
Haig Yazdjian (oud on 02., 03., 05. – 07.)
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Choristers of Westminster Abbey (on 04.):
Alex Pott – Elliot Thompson – Nicholas Morris

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Tracklist:
01. Incantation (McKennitt) 2.35
02. The Gates Of Istanbul (McKennitt) 6.59
03. Caravanserai (McKennitt) 7.36
04. The English Ladye And The Knight (McKennitt/Scott) 6.49
05. Kecharitomene (McKennitt) 6.34
06. Penelope’s Song (McKennitt) 4.21
07. Sacred Shabbat (Kâtibim) 3.59
08. Beneath A Phrygian Sky (McKennitt) 9.32
09. Never-Ending Road (Amhrán Duit) (McKennitt) 5.54

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