Wadada Leo Smith Interview

Wadada Leo Smith
Wadada Leo Smith (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From NewMusicBox:

Wadada Leo Smith has been celebrating his 70th birthday throughout the entire 2011-2012 concert season by performing all over the world. Though his actual birthday fell on December 18, which he ushered in with a two-night stint at Brooklyn’s new music venue Roulette appearing on stage with all four of his current working bands, the momentum has not let up thus far in 2012. Last month he appeared in Buffalo and Minneapolis after just returning from a tour through Italy, France, Sweden, Finland, and Switzerland. Later this month, Cuneiform Records will issue his massive composition Ten Freedom Summers on a 4-CD set and he will perform generous portions of the five-hour work in Quebec.

AMN Reviews: Julia Rovinsky – Dark (EnT-T)

Born in St. Petersburg, celebrated in Moscow, Julia Rovinsky is currently principal harpist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, after making aliyah in 2003.

Her first two solo albums, released two years apart, are “close up” versions of often-ingeniously selected minimalist composers, both sacred and profane, few of which were ever intended to be played on her instrument. “Dusk”, the first album, opens with Philip Glass´ “Metamorphosis I”, a natural for transcription from solo piano. Bach´s “Goldberg Variations” – gentle and distinct as teardrops on a satin handkerchief – and Ryuichi Sakamoto´s popular theme from “The Last Emperor” lend an air of genteel cosmopolitanism. Twentieth-century Romantic Nicolas Flagello´s “Maestuso Quasi Allegro” was in fact written for harp and is a kind of dramatic high point, though it is her rendition of “An Arc of Doves” by Harold Budd and Brian Eno that is the most memorable moment on “Dusk”. The transcription of a classic ambient recording in which texture was so important shows off Budd´s melodic skills and Rovinsky´s grand talent.

“Dark” is its slightly more meditative sequel, with Glass and Budd revisited along with Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich and Assyrian-Iraqi oudist Munir Bashir. Her version of “Étude for Piano No. 2” is gentler than Glass´ original, youthful recording but otherwise faithful; so is her “Für Alina”, but what was utterly profound when played by Alexander Malter on the ECM premiere recording sounds moribund on the harp. Sometimes you just can´t beat a piano for resonance.

The jewel in this lotus is “Du´a – Invocation”, transcribed, like the Budd/Eno track, by one John Eidsvoog; a glimpse of genius from one of Middle East´s most influential twentieth-century composers. The closing cover of Steve Reich´s “Piano Phase” is a fifteen-minute tour-de-force, Rovinsky´s able fingers fervently replicating what Reich needed dual pianos to achieve. It´s fascinating listening to her go in and out of phase with herself.

A trilogy in the making? Because after the dark always comes the dawn.


Stephen Fruitman

Vijay Iyer: the scientist who turned to jazz

From the Telegraph:

Iyer’s other passion was science, which he studied first at Yale and then at Berkeley. “I was given this incredible freedom to create my own research programme, so I invented one in the field of music cognition, what they call ‘music and the brain’.’’ By then he was already playing with luminaries such as Steve Coleman, and making a name for himself as an improviser of remarkable daring. Having finished his doctorate in 1998, he took the plunge and became a full-time musician.

Australian Chamber Orchestra Performing Webern and Crumb in NY Reviewed

Anton Webern in Stettin, October 1912

From NYTimes.com:

Webern was an early influence on Crumb, who wrote “Black Angels” for amplified string quartet during the Vietnam War and used various avant-garde techniques. In the haunting “God-music,” for example, three musicians bow water-filled glasses to produce eerie harmonics over which unfolds a melancholy cello soliloquy, a spellbinding moment here.

Lukas Ligeti on Tour

From Lukas Ligeti:

THU 5.31 @ 8:00PM – Lukas Ligeti Quintet
Where: The Stone, Corner of Avenue C + 2nd St, Train F/M to 2nd Ave or Train 6 to Astor Place
Tickets: $10/Students $5/Children 12 and Under FREE. To purchase, visit http://www.thestonenyc.com.

Lukas dives into the jazz ilk with a jazz-influenced ensemble, the Lukas Ligeti Quintet featuring Leron Thomas (trumpet), Travis Sullivan (sax), Evan Lipson (bass), LL (drums) and TBA (piano). On the program will be new works by Lukas. He most recently explored the jazz realm in his 2011 release of Pattern Time (Innova) which was described as an unusually articulate hybrid of jazz, modern-classical, and African ideas. It “explored[s] incredibly rhythmic juxtaposition as only Ligeti can (The Jazz Session).”

THU 6.14 @ 8:00PM – Lukas Ligeti’s Notebook + Special Guests TBA
Where: Gershwin Hotel, 7 East 27th St, Train R/W/6 to 28th St
Tickets: $10/Students $5. To purchase, visit http://contagioussounds.net/contagioussounds/about.html.

As part of the Contagious Sounds concert series curated by Vicky Chow, this concert features new works by Lukas for the rebirth of his band, Lukas Ligeti’s Notebook (formerly known as Kaleidoscope Point). Leading on percussion, Lukas is joined by Dan Blake (sax) and Eyal Maoz (guitar). Wende K. Blass (guitar) and TBA (piano). Also slated to appear are special guests such as Cadillac Moon Ensemble, Tom Bergeron, Candy Chiu, and more…