The Last Tycoon – Same (The Dry Law) (2010)

FrontCover1.jpgBorn 13 days apart, band members Steve and Dan grew up on the same street and began making music together at the age of 10. A couple of years later they played their first gig, performing 50’s rock n’ roll songs to a somewhat bemused audience in a Sligo bar, being several years too young to get a gig in any licensed premises in Dublin. At 17 they united with schoolmates Matt and The Hog, formed the band Porn Trauma and released ‘Sunrise’ EP in 2005 which entered the Irish charts at No. 21 and spent several weeks in the Top 30 OFFICIAL IRISH CHARTS. Over the years, The Last Tycoons have developed a reputation for their live performances, and have opened for and supported various luminaries such as: Babyshambles, Ian Brown, The Coral, The Felice Brothers and Alex Chilton.

Porn Trauma released a limited edition 7″ single ‘Casanova Blues’ before taking a break from the road. In 2007, they then changed their stage name to The Last Tycoons (inspired by F Scott Fitzgerald’s book) and added an extra member (Aoife) on piano/organ and backing vocals. This completed the current line-up and their sound, now defined by their 2 lead instrumentalists (Dan and Aoife), lead vocalist Steve, and rock-solid rhythm section of Matt and The Hog. The band’s sound is also complemented by four vocals which at times play off each other intricately and at other times harmonize effortlessly.

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The band’s first collective release was their single ‘Loving Arms’, which was supported by an Irish tour. In 2008, three members of the Tycoons (Dan, Steve & Hog) were enlisted in The Mighty Stef’s backing band, and since then have been involved in the recording of his 2nd album ‘100 Midnights’ as well as three tours of the US and have played festivals all over Ireland and Europe including Oxegen, Electric Picnic and Benicassim festival in Spain.

The Last Tycoons began recording their debut album in 2008, sporadically going into a studio deep in the Wicklow mountains, and often paying for studio time by completing chores for the owner, like moving pianos and unplugging his drains when the studio flooded. The album was completed in 2009 and the band released ‘The Dry Law’ as a taste of the material recorded for their first LP.

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The Last Tycoons music is rock n’ roll in a style embraced by few other bands around today. From old style R’n’B to narrative ballads, fiery rock n’ roll to dark boozy tunes reminiscent of Tom Waits, the band centres around strong lyrics and a raucous live show worthy of the Pogues. They have toured relentlessly over the last few years, and whether playing live, recording or drinking through the early hours playing old country tunes, this is a band that lives the music they make.

Formed in 2007 after a change of personnel, The Last Tycoons evolved from highly acclaimed Dublin band Porn Trauma. Their self-titled debut album was released in April, 2010.
‘Replete with vintage sounding guitars, liberal use of harmonica and soulful backing vocals, they certainly offer a refreshing alternative to the raft of copycat, post-punk pretenders doing the rounds…. They are a revelation’ (Hotpress).

‘Their ability is obvious and their hard work in improving every area of their performance is acredit to them. Cracking stuff; watch this space’ (InDUBLIN).
The music of The Last Tycoons has a definite southern American roots undertone, yet is
triumphantly Irish in its origin. Tracks from their debut album certainly grab the listener’s attention, such as debut single ‘The Dry Law’, which was written by lead singer Stephen Fanning while experimenting with sobriety for a month, but is set during American Prohibition and the Great Depression, when alcohol was banned.

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‘The eminently watchable front man Steve Fanning is tall and imposing, like a good
looking Richard Ashcroft, with a distinctive twang to his voice that lifts even the darkest corners of their songs to the light.’ -(InDUBLIN). He also sounds, at times, like the love child of Mick Jagger and Nick Cave, which makes for easy comparisons however, this is a band that is not led by any one or two persons but rather a collaboration of ideas with instrumentation such as accordion, piano, banjo, harmonica, trumpet, guitar, bass and drums lending to the bands overall sound.

Known widely for their explosive and raucous live shows, the band have been touring
in Ireland, The UK, Germany and the USA since March, and are due to appear at this year’s Glasgowbury festival in Derry, and Temple House festival in Sligo, before returning to the continent in the Autumn to support the album’s release on German label ToneToaster.

“In short these are the real deal…. An undeniable honorary fine debut album.” (The Mutation)

“If Jack L and Led Zeppelin moved to the deep south and had a love child, they might sound a little like this…. The Last Tycoons is an excellent debut effort from this truly unique band.” (The Star) (www.breakingtunes.com)

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Personnel:
Steve Fanning (guitar, vocals)
Daniel Fitzpatrick (guitar, piano, accordion, banjo, trumpet, vocals)
Michiel Hogerziel (drums, percussion)
Matt Roddy (bass, violin, vocals)
Aoife Ruth (keyboards, fiddle, glockenspiel, vocals)
+
Claire Fitzgerald (background vocals on 02. + 10.)
N.C. Lawlor (pedal steel-guitar on 04.)
Gavin Ralston (guitar, mandolin on 04. + 10.)

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Tracklist:
01. Speed (Fanning) 3.39
02. Who Needs Radio (Part III) (Fanning) 3.06
03. Not At All (Fanning) 4.21
04. The Dry Law (Fanning) 4.49
05. Don’t Let Me Catch You (D.Fitzpatrick) 4.53
06. Seven Days (Off The Road) 3.30
07. Alaska Hotel (D.Fitzpatrick) 4.40
08. The Love Song (Fanning) 3.24
09. Good Times (D.Fitzpatrick) 4.05
10. Who Needs Radio (Part III) (Fanning) 9.14

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Jon Lord – To Notice Such Things (2010)

FrontCover1To Notice Such Things is a studio album by former Deep Purple keyboard player Jon Lord, released in 2010. It is titled after the main work, a six-movement suite for solo flute, piano and string orchestra, composed by Lord in memory of his close friend the late Sir John Mortimer, CBE, QC. The music emanates from that which Lord composed for the stage show, Mortimer’s Miscellany, which he also occasionally accompanied. To Notice Such Things is the last line of the Thomas Hardy poem “Afterwards”, which ended the show.

Jon says of the piece, “I wanted to give the flute the job of speaking for John throughout the Suite; his laughter and his sighs, his wistfulness and occasional mild cantankerousness, his playfulness, and also the anguish and then the acceptance of his final days.” The flute solo in the recording of To Notice Such Things, is performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s principal flautist Cormac Henry, who throughout the work engages in dexterous musical dialogue with Lord’s solo piano.

Jon Lord performed three movements from To Notice Such Things at Mortimer’s memorial service at Southwark Cathedral in November 2009, in front of an audience that included the Duchess of Cornwall, members of the Mortimer family, Lord Mandelson, Lord Kinnock, Jeremy Paxman, Alan Rickman, Peter O’Toole, Sir Tom Stoppard and Jeremy Irons, whose noble reading of “Afterwards” closes the recording of To Notice Such Things.

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To Notice Such Things has been performed live a few times, most notably on June 16, 2010 at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Clark Rundell. (by wikipedia)

Jon Lord, ex-Deep Purple, has written a classical tribute to his friend, the late Sir John Mortimer:

Although Deep Purple’s former keyboard ace Jon Lord featured in BBC Four’s recent documentary Heavy Metal Britannia, he didn’t quite fit. While members of Black Sabbath and Saxon discussed steel mills and Satanism, Lord offered scholarly aperçus about vocal technique and instrumental arrangements. A musical score lay open on the grand piano behind him, next to a bust of Beethoven.

That’s because Lord, 68, is now in the middle of a flourishing second career as a classical composer, even if some will always associate him with Deep Purple epics like Smoke on the Water.

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His Durham Concerto has been a smash hit in Classic FM’s Hall of Fame, hotly pursued by his piano concerto Boom of the Tingling Strings. His latest composition, To Notice Such Things, is a six-part suite in memory of Sir John Mortimer, the barrister, playwright and raconteur who died in January last year.

“He was a huge pal of mine, and I wanted to extol him and paint a positive picture of him in the music,” Lord explains. “My wife adored him, my daughters adored him, and he certainly had an aura about him. John could be cantankerous, of course, but he had the ability to take people’s legs from under them with wit rather than with a cudgel.”

Lord and Mortimer first met in 1987, when they were both protesting against the demolition of the old Regal cinema in Henley-on-Thames. “John told me at the time that the only real reason for saving it was that it always had an interval in the film, in which they opened the bar for 20 minutes,” Lord recalls. “We both took part in a fund-raising revue at the Kenton Theatre in Henley a few weeks later. We said hello to each other on various occasions after that, including a memorable encounter in the frozen food aisle at Waitrose – built over the demolished remains of the Regal cinema.”

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Their friendship blossomed when Mortimer invited Lord to play piano in his Mortimer’s Miscellany performances, theatrical evenings which afforded Mortimer scope to expatiate upon “life, love and the law”. The juxtaposition of the creator of Rumpole of the Bailey with that bloke out of Deep Purple must have been disorientating for audiences, surely?

“People usually didn’t realise,” chortles Lord. “I was just some guy with a ponytail playing piano. But every now and again, someone would come up and say ’You’re… aren’t you? What on earth are you doing here?’ I’d say, ‘Well I love the man, I love the show, and I wasn’t doing anything tonight’.”

Three of the six pieces in To Notice Such Things were originally written for the Miscellany shows, though they’ve been expanded and orchestrated. Lord studied classical music from the age of five and taught himself orchestration from Cecil Forsyth’s book on the topic, and his composing style leans towards a melodic, wistful pastoralism.

“I had four or five minutes of music written, and I added an extra 23 minutes to complete the suite as it now is,” he explains. “If I hadn’t had those three little pieces I would have been far too daunted by the short time frame, because I was asked in February 2009 for a piece to be played at the beginning of July.”

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The piece was commissioned by the Shipley Arts Festival, where it premiered last July with Mortimer’s widow Penelope and daughter Rosie in the audience.

The original plan called for a flute concerto, but Lord settled on “a suite of music based on chapters in John’s life as I saw them. The flute would be his voice, because John had quite a light tenor voice, he wasn’t a great booming baritone. Having only just lost him, he felt very close by while I was composing, and the music came very quickly.”

The pieces loosely cover Mortimer’s life, from the aspiring young lawyer depicted in As I Walked Out One Evening, through his professional heyday at the Old Bailey, his home life in the Chilterns, and his decline into old age. The elegiac concluding section, Afterwards, takes its title from Thomas Hardy’s poem (which is also the source of the line “to notice such things”).

Lord found the trickiest segment to write was The Winter of a Dormouse, an evocation of Mortimer’s final illness. “I was able to visit him a few times during that period, and I didn’t want to come over as some sort of musical voyeur. I’m happy with the result, I don’t think it’s too overwrought. I was tremendously moved by being part of his passing.”

Looking forward, Lord has a pile of composing projects on his plate, including a cello concerto for Matthew Barley and a concerto for Hammond organ for the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. He’s even contemplating another concerto for rock group and orchestra, like the one he wrote for Deep Purple in 1969.

“It would be fascinating, but that’s a little way down the list of priorities at the moment,” he admits. “There just aren’t enough hours in the day.” (by Adam Sweeting, The Telegraph)

This was the last album, that Jon Lord recorded …

Mortimer


Personnel:

Cormac Henry (flute )
Jon Lord (piano)
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Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted b< Clark Rundell
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Jeremy Irons (poem on 10.)

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Tracklist:
01. As I Walked Out One Evening 4.15
02. At Court 5.33
03. Turville Heath 3.01
04. The Stick Dance 4.45
05. The Winter Of A Dormouse 5.33
06. Afterwards 3.56
07. Evening Song 8.16
08. For Example 9.12
09. Air On The Blue String 6.33
10. “Afterwards” (Poem by Thomas Hardy) (3:01)

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John Lord (9 June 1941 – 16 July 2012)

 

Twelve Bar Blues Band – Key To Your Heart (2010)

FrontCover1From the moment the TBBB started in 2005, they have been considered the surprise of the Dutch blues scene. In fact, they won many “Blues CD of The Month” and “Blues CD of The Year” awards with their first two CDs.

This CD consists of eight originals and two covers, which starts by getting the heart of this blues fan pounding. There’s plenty of “edge” here with quieter moments too. The vocals of J.J. Scherpenzeel are very soulful and rich, while the guitar of Kees Dusink is tasteful beyond question, demonstrating a clear understanding of blues stylings and a rare ability to pull the listener into the song.

Add a cool harp and you’ve got a strong blues CD. (by dwmmusic.com)

I love this blues since the late Sixities … and it´s such a great feeling … that this kind of music is still live and well …

The Blues will never die …

Lisen and enjoy !

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Personnel:
Marcel Bakker (drums)
Kees Dusink (leadguitar)
Patrick Obrist (bass)
Randy Pears (guitar)
Jan J. Scherpenzeel (vocals, harmonica)

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Tracklist:
01. Can You Hear Me Howlin’ (Scherpenzeel/Dusink) 5.11
02. Love That Burns (Green) 7.01
03. Let’s Talk About It (Scherpenzeel/Dusink) 6.11
04 I’m Losing You (Scherpenzeel/Dusink) 6.26
05. Talk Of The Town (Scherpenzeel/Dusink) 5.15
06. Key To You Heart (Scherpenzeel) 6.55
07. Saturday Night (Scherpenzeel/Dusink) 4.32
08. Marian (Scherpenzeel/Dusink) 5.51
09. I Ain’t Born In Chicago (Scherpenzeel/Dusink) 8.44
10. Big Legged Woman (Tolbert) 4.44

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David Garrett – Rock Symphonies (2010)

FrontCover1After a self-titled release that flirted with pop crossover, violinist David Garrett dives deep into that world with his 2010 effort, an album that rocks like its 1766. Most arrangements are simple as Garrett takes the melodies from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” and plays them furiously in front of an equally aggressive orchestra that’s augmented by electric guitars and a standard rock kit drummer. No great revelations to be had, but the tracks work well enough, recasting some of rock’s classics as Romantic-era works that are prime for television commercials designed to sell diamonds or wine to the post-Woodstock set. Rock symphonies exceeds its predecessor when it comes to the more clever cuts, such as the “Vivaldi vs. Vertigo,” a mash-up of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and U2’s “Vertigo.” And it’s fun how “The 5th” messes with Beethoven’s — heck, classical music’s — most famous piece and how his take on “Walk This Way” references the Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C. version before turning into a fiddle-led hoedown. Keep in mind, the showy Garrett is a polarizing figure in the classical community, so don’t expect your snootier friends to agree, but if your kids spend way too much time behind the violin, this just might turn them on to rock & roll. (by David Jeffries)

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Personnel:
Jeff Allen (bass)
David Garrett (violin)
John Haywood (piano)
Franck van der Heijden
Jeff Lipstein (drums)
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Orianthi (guitar on 04.)
Marcus Wolf (guitar on 02., 08, 10. – 14.)
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City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

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Tracklist:
01. Smells Like Teen Spirit (Grohl/Novoselic/Cobain) 4.06
02. November Rain (Rose/McKagan/Stradlin/Sorum) 3.59
03. The 5th (v.Beethoven) 3.33
04. Walk This Way (Perry/Tyler) 2.57
05. Live And Let Die (McCartney) 3.25
06. Vivaldi vs. Vertigo (Clayton/Vivaldi/Evans/Mullen/Hewson) 3.15
07. Masters Of Puppets (Burton/Hammett/Ulrich) 3.47
08. 80’s Anthem (Bongartz/Garrett/v.d.Heijden) 3.33
09. Toccata (Bach) 3.52
10. Asturias (Albéniz) 2.57
11. Kashmir (Page/Bonham/Plant) 3.36
12. Rock Symphony (Garrett/Haywood) 4.31
13. Peer Gynt (Grieg) 2.33
14. Mission Impossible (Schifrin) 3.16
15. Rocking All Over The World (Fogerty) 3.45

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Daniel Merryweather – Love & War (2009)

FrontCover1Daniel Paul Merriweather (born 17 February 1982) is an Australian R&B recording artist. Merriweather’s debut solo album, Love & War, was released in June 2009. It entered the UK Albums Chart at number two. It was preceded by two singles, “Change” and “Red”, which both made the top 10 on the related singles chart. Merriweather has won two ARIA Music Awards, Best Urban Release in 2005 for “She’s Got Me” and Best Male Artist in 2009 for Love & War.

In addition to his solo career, he has worked as a featured vocalist for other well-known artists. His guest vocals are included on album tracks by Disco Montego, Mark Ronson and Phrase. His collaborations with Ronson led to working in the United Kingdom including lead vocals on Ronson’s cover version of The Smiths’ song “Stop Me” in 2007.

Daniel Paul Merriweather grew up in the Melbourne suburb of Sassafras in the Dandenong Ranges. Both his parents are teachers and he has two brothers.s Merriweather described his family, “My mum’s lot are working-class – my granddad was a boxer and fireman, a real man’s man – while my dad’s parents were missionaries, and he grew up with a tribe in Papua New Guinea.”. His maternal grandfather, Ted Ellis, was also an Australian rules footballer for North Melbourne and Footscray, while Daniel is an Essendon supporter.

Merryweather01Merriweather attended The Patch Primary School,  Billanook College,[citation needed] Blackburn High School and Swinburne Senior Secondary College (for year 11) and left school when he was aged 17. His musical education began with violin lessons at the age of four;[6] he started guitar at age 13; his music grades at Blackburn High were average.As a teen, he was in a social environment that cultivated violent tendencies and on one occasion was charged with assault. After dropping out of school, he focused his attention on music, taking vocal lessons and performing in clubs around Melbourne. In a September 2009 article in The Sun, he indicated that he liked reading about philosophy and “was thinking of studying it at a higher level” but would not forgo his musical career.

Merriweather spent much of his time between New York and London, and as from 2009 resided in East Harlem. Since the age of 18, Merriweather has had a tattoo on his inside-right forearm bearing the Latin phrase for “love or money”. Merriweather indicated in 2009 that he planned another tattoo for his back – a 100-word excerpt from the last verse of the poem “Jim Jones”, quoted in Robert Hughes’ book The Fatal Shore, which includes “For night and day … we toil and toil”.

Daniel Merriweather’s first commercially released recording was a guest appearance on the track “All I Want” for Australian dance act Disco Montego’s self-titled album in September 2002. The album peaked at No.17 on the ARIA Albums Chart.He signed with the local label, Marlin Records, which led to work with Mark Ronson, a United Kingdom DJ and guitarist, on the latter’s debut album, Here Comes the Fuzz, (“She’s Got Me” and “NYC Rules”) in September 2003. Merriweather signed with Ronson’s label, Allido Records, and worked on his debut solo single, “City Rules”, as a revised version of “NYC Rules”. It was produced by Ronson and featured raps from New York MC Saigon and was issued in early 2004. Other musicians on the single are ?uestlove, The Black Eyed Peas’ horn section and members of Beck’s backing band. He received an ARIA Award nomination for “City Rules” in the Best Urban Release category at the 2004 ceremony.

Merryweather02“She’s Got Me” was released as Merriweather’s second single. While neither charted on the ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart, both became favourites in clubs and urban music circles. “City Rules” won the Most Performed Dance Work category at the APRA Awards of 2005 and “She’s Got Me” won the Best Urban Release category at the ARIA Music Awards of 2005. “City Rules” obtained some airplay on the major Australian commercial radio stations FOX FM (Melbourne)/2Day FM and B105.

In 2005, he co-wrote and co-produced much of Phrase’s debut album Talk with Force, also lending vocals to three tracks including the single “Catch Phrase”. In March 2006, Undercover News reported that Merriweather was recording his debut album, The Fifth Season, with Ronson producing. However, in August 2011, Merriweather recalled: “It was 12 songs out of a whole bunch of songs that I’d written. I came up with the idea of calling it The Fifth Season and someone put it on Wikipedia. But it wasn’t really an album – it was just a collection of songs. There’s a difference”.

Merryweather04In early 2007, Ronson featured Merriweather’s lead vocals on a cover version of The Smiths’ song “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” released as “Stop Me”. It was re-composed with additional lyrics from the song “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by The Supremes. Merriweather admitted in an interview with The Guardian that he was not familiar with the Smiths song prior to recording the revised version: “Mark said, ‘I want you to sing on this – it’s my favourite Smiths song’, so I listened to it. I’d heard it once before, but I was never a Smiths fan. But I thought it was beautiful”. It was issued as a single in April on Columbia Records and appeared on Ronson’s compilation album Version that same month. It was a commercial success in the United Kingdom where it reached number two on the Singles Chart. It peaked in the top 40 on the Swiss and Italian Singles Charts.

Merriweather’s debut solo album, Love & War, also produced by Ronson, was released in June 2009, which reached number two on the UK Albums Chart and peaked in the top 10 on the Swiss Albums Chart. It was preceded by the singles “Change” (February) and “Red” (May), which both made the top 10 on the UK Singles Chart. “Change” appeared in the top 10 on the Swiss Singles Top 75. While “Red” was a top 10 hit on the Danish and Irish Singles Charts. On the ARIA Albums Chart, Love & War reached the top 40 and “Change” peaked in the top 50 on the related singles chart. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2009, he won the Best Male Artist category for Love & War

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Merriweather was featured on Australian hip-hop artist Urthboy’s single, “Naive Bravado”, in 2012. In that same year, Merriweather featured on hip-hop outfit Diafrix’s single, “Simple Man”. In 2013, Australian-American rap group Bliss N Eso worked with Merriweather on the track “Can’t Get Rid of This Feeling”.

Merriweather cites Stevie Wonder, Prince, Jeff Buckley and Herbie Hancock as his major influences.

In January 2004, Merriweather headlined the City Rules Tour of Australia with Mark Ronson, Scribe and P-Money. In March 2006, Merriweather supported Kanye West on his Australian tour. He opened for Biz Markie in Brooklyn and Justin Timberlake in London;He has performed live on various radio and television programs, including Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Triple J’s Hip Hop Show, Radio 1’s Live Lounge show, and Australian TV show, Sunrise.

He has performed at various festivals and events including the Montreux Jazz Festival (alongside Erick Sermon), the 2004 St Kilda Festival and 2004 Melbourne World AIDS Day Concert.

Merryweather05During 2007, he toured the UK with Mark Ronson (as well as performing several solo shows). He also performed with Ronson and the BBC Concert Orchestra at the 2007 BBC Electric Proms. He also performed at the MTV Video Music Awards on 9 September 2007 alongside Ronson who acted as the official DJ for the proceedings. On 22 February 2008, he appeared on BBC Radio One with Ronson to perform a special version of his track “Stop Me”, as part of the Chris Moyles breakfast show.

He also played at the 2008 Brit Awards alongside Ronson. Also, he sang “Stop Me” on stage during Ronson’s Glastonbury 2008 set. Merriweather performed in Australia for the first time since 2006 at the Global Gathering shows in November 2008 with Mark Ronson’s Version Players.

At the 2009 O2 Wireless Festival in Hyde Park London, Merriweather headlined the second stage where Ronson supported him for half a set on guitar. Merriweather is set to play at this year’s Oxegen festival in Punchestown Racecourse, Co. Kildare, Ireland. He has appeared on television programmes such as The Justin Lee Collins Show and Britain’s Got More Talent. He performed his single “Red” on T4 On The Beach 2009 in Weston-super-Mare.

Merriweather appeared as the musical guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on 14 July 2009, performing “Change”, and Letterman on 18 February 2010 when he performed “Red”.

In spring 2010, Merriweather toured as the opening act for British light jazz and R&B singer Corinne Bailey Rae. (by wikipedia)

Merryweather06If you wanted to insult Daniel Merriweather’s debut album, you could call it Back to Black without all the personality. Like Winehouse’s game-changing album, Merriweather’s is also drenched in Mark Ronson’s nostalgic production with all its Sam Cooke spirit and ’60s R&B sophistication. The big difference here is that the Australian, twenty-something Merriweather comes with no punkish attitude, and once you take away the appearance from rapper Wale, plus the slacker heartbreak number “Getting Out” (“And now I can’t get my ass off the couch because of you”) you’re left with a retro-soul effort that won’t disrupt mom and dad’s date night. This more traditional throwback is more rewarding than it may seem, as Ronson’s borrowing from the past is respectfully crafted here with warm strings and easy, swaying beats perfectly complementing this singer’s full-bodied voice. The key track, “Impossible,” is somewhere between a Bond theme and a deep cut from Terence Trent D’Arby, while the infectious “Change” gives the album just enough flash and punch with its easy hip-hop flavor. Big ballad “Red” sounds like the best number found on any given Hugh Grant rom-com soundtrack while “Not Giving Up” is a well-executed, uptempo fingersnapper that should make Jamiroquai jealous. If you’re looking for a non-confessional alternative to Back to Black that won’t take over the room, Love & War will serve that soulful purpose. (by David Jeffries)

One question left: where´s Daniel Merryweather today ? His website is offline ! ? ! ?

Booklet06APersonnel:
Raymond Angry (organ)
Victor Axelrod (piano)
Jacqueline Brand (violin)
Thomas Brenneck (guitar)
Larry Corbett (cello)
Andrew Duckles (iola)
Matthew Funes     Viola)
Jordan Galland     Composer
Armen Garabedian (violin)
Binky Griptite (guitar, sitar)
Alan Grunfeld (violin)
Dave Guy (trumpet)
Ian Hendrixson-Smith (saxophone)
Gerardo Hilera (violin)
Sam Koppelman (ercussion)
Sean Lennon (clavinet, guitar)
Bosco Mann (bass)
Daniel Merryweather (vocals)
Leon Michaels (organ)
Nick Movshon (ass)
Alyssa Park (violin)
Sara Parkins (violin)
Toby Pazner (vibraphone)
James Poyser (piano)
Steve Richards (cello)
Gabriel Roth (bass)
Adam Scone (piano)
Harper Simon (guitar)
Homer Steinweiss (rums)
Neal Sugarman (saxophone)
Fernando Velez (percussion)
Josefina Vergara (violin)
Eg White (bass, drums, guitar percussion, keyboards)
John Wittenberg (violin)
Steve Wolf (drums)
Andrew Wyatt (piano synthesizer)
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Adele (vocals on 10.)
Wale (vocals on 03.)

Booklet01ATracklist:
01. For Your Money (Merryweather) 4.53
02. Impossible (Merryweather)  4.07
03. Change (feat. Wale) (Merryweather) 3.21
04. Chainsaw (Merryweather) 4.05
05. Cigarettes (Merryweather/Galland) 3.23
06. Red (Merryweather) 3.53
07. Could You (Merryweather) 3.36
08. Not Giving Up (Merryweather) 3.14
09. Getting Out (Merryweather) 3.17
10. Water And A Flame (feat. Adele) (Merryweather) 3.40
11. Live By Night (Merryweather/Galland) 2.53
12. Giving Everything Away For Free (Merryweather) 3.30

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Loreena McKennitt – The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2010)

FrontCover1The Wind That Shakes The Barley is the 9th studio album by the Canadian singer, songwriter, accordionist, harpist, and pianist Loreena McKennitt, which was released on November 12, 2010

Canadian singer/harpist Loreena McKennitt returns to her roots on The Wind That Shakes the Barley, making an album more in the traditional style of her 25-year-old debut, Elemental, than the more adult alternative hybrid efforts that have been more typical of her work since. Thus, the Celtic side of her music is emphasized in the inclusion of Scottish and Irish traditional songs like the title track, “The Star of the County Down,” and “On a Bright May Morning.” The last song prominently features her harp, as does the instrumental “Brian Boru’s March,” and she is accompanied by her usual backup musicians, including Ben Grossman (hurdy-gurdy), Brian Hughes (guitar), Caroline LaVelle (cello), and Hugh Marsh (violin). The chief attraction continues to be her haunting voice, which she employs to ethereal effect much of the time, although “The Star of the County Down” finds her taking a livelier, more direct approach, while in “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” her vocal is not so much ethereal as eerie. For many of McKennitt’s fans, this will be an album they have been waiting to hear for a long time. For others, it may be a change of pace in which an artist reveals the sources of her individual style. (by William Ruhlmann)

Booklet02APersonnel:
Ben Grossman (hurdy-gurdy drone, bodhrán, frame drum, taber, triangle, bells, shaker)
Ian Harper (pipes, whistle)
Brian Hughes (irish bouzouki, drone, guitar)
Caroline Lavelle (cello)
Hugh Marsh (violin)
Loreena McKennitt (vocals, keyboards, accordion, harp)
Pat Simmonds (guitar, button accordion)
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Jeff Bird (mandola on 01. + 05., mandolin on 03., 06. + 08., bass on 01. + 08.)
Andrew Collins (mandolin 0n 02. + 07., mandocello on 07.)
Andrew Downing (bass on 05.)
Jason Fowler (guitar on 05.)
Chris Gartner (bass on 04.)
Tony McManus (guitar on 02., 04., 07. + 09.)
Brian Taheny (mandolin on 04.)

Booklet01A

Tracklist:
01. As I Roved Out (Traditional) 4.59
02. On A Bright May Morning (Traditional) 5.08
03. Brian Boru’s March (Traditional) 3.51
04. Down By The Sally Gardens (Traditional/Yeats) 5.39
05. The Star Of The County Down (Traditional) 3.34
06. The Wind That Shakes The Barley (Traditional/Joyce) 6.01
07. The Death Of Queen Jane (Traditional) 6.04
08. The Emigration Tunes (McKennitt) 4.42
09. The Parting Glass (Traditional) 5.13

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Booklet03A

Masumi Nagasawa + Kölner Akadamie – French Harp Concertos (2012)

FrontCover1Discs with music for harp don’t often land on my desk. The repertoire for the instrument is not that large and many pieces remain to be discovered. In European ‘classical’ music the harp’s appeal different by time and country. In the 16th and 17th centuries it played quite an important role in musical life in Spain and Italy. In Spain it was often used to accompany a singer in solo songs, whereas in Italy it was used as a basso continuo in dramatic works such as operas and oratorios. Composers also wrote solo pieces for the harp. However, in these different roles the harp was mostly interchangeable with keyboard and plucked instruments. Various collections of music were printed in which these options were presented as alternatives. It was with the further development of the harp around 1700 that a more independent repertoire came into existence.

Martin-Pierre D´Alvimare

In the period of the late baroque – roughly speaking the first third of the 18th century – the harp barely played any role across Europe. There is no hint of its use in Bach’s oeuvre, for instance. Even Telemann and Vivaldi, who composed for almost any instrument in vogue at the time, wrote nothing for it. The harp experienced great popularity in France in the second half of the 18th century. Marie-Antoinette was an avid player, and in her salons music for harp, sometimes in combination with other instruments, was often performed.

Two people played a key role in the development and popularisation of the harp. The first was Sébastien Érard (1752-1831) who replaced hooks with forks. Érard built more solid harps with more reliable actions. The second person was Jean-Baptiste Krumpholtz, born in Bohemia, and for a number of years harpist in the Esterházy orchestra under Haydn. In 1777 he arrived in Paris where he met Érard. He was considered the most brilliant harpist of his time. Another Bohemian-born composer stayed in Paris for while: Jan Ladislav Dussek. He was first and foremost a keyboard player but also played the harp. In Paris he moved in the highest circles and became acquainted with Marie Antoinette. Some of his music for harp was written during his time in France.

Francesco Petrini

Francesco Petrini

The music on the present disc is from this period – the classical era – to the early romantic period. Masumi Nagasawa is a specialist on historical harps and here plays a single-action harp by François-Joseph Naderman, built in 1815. The earliest concerto is the Premier concert op. 25 by Francesco Petrini. He was the son of the harpist with that name – Christian name unknown – who was a member of Frederick the Great’s chapel and for whom Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach composed his only work for the harp. He went to Paris and made his first appearance at the Concert Spirituel in 1770. He also started to publish his own compositions for harp. The Concerto op. 25 dates from 1786 and is in three movements. The first is as long as the two other movements put together. The harp here plays the role which the keyboard had in concertos of that time: it acts as a solo instrument, but also takes the bass role in the tutti episodes. The first movement includes a written-out cadenza which Ms Nagasawa plays here, and which gives some idea of the kind of cadenzas played at the time. Despite the harp’s growing ascendancy there was still some music written which could be played either on the harp or the keyboard, for instance by Dussek. In her liner-notes Masumi Nagasawa compares Petrini’s concerto with the famous concerto for flute and harp by Mozart and observes a clear difference. “The figures, patterns, chords and passagework in Petrini’s lie comfortably in the hands of a harpist as opposed to Mozart’s, which seem to be written by a keyboard player”.

Daniel Steibelt

Daniel Steibelt

The next composer is Daniel Steibelt, born, like Petrini, in Berlin. His father was in the Prussian army and was a maker of harpsichords. He studied with Johann Philipp Kirnberger and then left home in order to avoid being forced to join the Prussian army by his father. He worked as a travelling keyboard virtuoso, and made his appearance in places like Munich and Hanover and then settled in Paris. He performed there but also in London, and composed his first opera. Around 1800 he travelled across Europe and gave many concerts. At the same time he was active as a composer. His output is considerable and includes music for the stage, orchestral and chamber music and a large quantity of pieces for the keyboard and the harp. The Concerto in E flat is his only harp concerto. Ms Nagasawa writes that it is in the style of his keyboard concertos. I am sure she is right, but I have to take her word for it as I have never heard any of these concertos. Steibelt is one of the many forgotten composers from the late-classical/early-romantic period. For the first movement Steibelt made use of his ballet Le retour de Zephyre which was well received. The orchestra is considerably larger than in Petrini’s concerto, with pairs of flutes, oboes, horns and bassoons in addition to the strings.

Masumi Nagasawa

Masumi Nagasawa

Martin-Pierre d’Alvimare was a harpist by profession. He was from a wealthy family and only survived the Revolution by hiding his true identity. He joined the Opéra as harpist in 1800 and became a member of Napoleon’s private orchestra in 1806. As a composer he concentrated on the writing of songs. His output is rather small and includes just two works with orchestra. The Concerto in c minor, op. 30 is called the “deuxième concert”. The first concerto was the Symphonie concertante for harp and horn which dates from 1798. The orchestra is again larger than in Steibelt’s concerto and includes a pair of clarinets and timpani. The opening of the first movement is quite dramatic with some chords for the full orchestra. These are repeated a couple of times after episodes taken by various solo instruments but supported by strings. Masumi Nagasawa plays a cadenza of her own which reflects the dramatic character of the opening statement. The role of the harp is confined to that of a solo instrument; it doesn’t participate in the tutti. As in all three concertos the last movement is a rondo; it opens with a solo for the harp.

InTheStudio01The three composers on this disc are all unknown quantities, and that makes this disc a most welcome addition to the discography. Ms Nagasawa states that one of the reasons that their music is forgotten has to do with the further development of the harp. The modern harp with its many technical possibilities may make the music written for older instruments rather superficial and uninteresting. This only underlines the importance of using of period instruments. I can imagine that if this music were to be played on a modern instrument one wouldn’t get a true impression of its qualities. The harp played here is perfectly suited to this repertoire, although maybe an older instrument would have been preferable for the Petrini. Ms Nagasawa delivers technically impressive and musically inspired interpretations. I am less enthusiastic about the orchestra whose playing I sometimes found rather dull, dynamically a bit flat and not very colourful.

Tray1Even so, this disc deserves a positive reception because of the quality of the music and the performances by Masumi Nagasawa on a beautiful historical harp. (by Johan van Veen)

Reorded 2-5 January 2010, Immanuelskirche, Wuppertal, Germany

InTheStudio02Personnel:
Masumi Nagasawa (harp)
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Kölner Akademie under the direction of Michael Alexander Willens

Michael Alexander Willens

Michael Alexander Willens

Tracklist:

Martin-Pierre D´Alvimare: Deuxième Concert pour la harpe in c minor, op. 30 [23:58]
01. Allegro 13.46
02. Romance – Andantino 4.26
03. Rondo – Allegro 5.46

Francesco Petrini: Premier concert pour la harpe op. 25 [24:39]
04. Andante grazioso 12.10
05. Romance 5.48
06. Rondo – Allegro 6.41

Daniel Steibelt: Grand concert pour la harpe in E flat [26:35]
07. Ohne Tempobezeichnung 16.43
08. Adagio 3.07
09. Rondo – Allegretto 6.46

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Painting