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Bob Dylan and the Band: the Basement Tapes
The events are legendary in Dylan lore: in the spring and summer of 1967, recovering from a motorcycle accident, Dylan, along with Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson (and later, Levon Helm)—then known as the Hawks, later to become The Band—recorded over 100 songs in the basement of the group house in West Saugerties known as “Big Pink.” The results—covers of traditional folk, country, rockabilly and soul, and plenty of newly written songs (like “I Shall Be Released” and “You Ain’t Going Nowhwere”) and spontaneous ditties—were astonishing in their range and breadth. A few songs were officially released in 1975; much of the rest was bootlegged in various inferior incarnations.
Finally, The Basement Tapes Complete (Columbia, $134.98) are officially released. The 6-CD deluxe version is for the hardcore—the sound carefully restored, with newly discovered songs, in chronological order. To get just a taste of these creative sessions (2 CDs worth), The Basement Tapes Raw (Columbia, $19.98) is the compilation to own.
Books & CDs
Neil Young just published the second volume of his memoirs, Special Deluxe (Blue Rider Press, $32), and he’s just released an album of songs with orchestra, Storytone (Reprise, $17.98).
Rick Bragg is the author of the authorized biography, Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story (Harper, $27.99). The “Killer” also has a new album, Rock & Roll Time (Vanguard, $15.98), featuring Keith Richards, Neil Young, Derek Trucks, and Shelby Lynne.
The Hilliard Ensemble, Transeamus (ECM, $18.98) – The Hilliard Ensemble, the British vocal quartet founded in the mid-1970s, specializes in early music and the Baroque, as well as championing contemporary composers. The group will disband at the end of the year, and have just released a project that brings them full circle to one of their first recordings. Transeamus is a collection of polyphonic carols and motets from 15th-century England by John Plummer, Walter Lambe, William Cornysh, and many now-anonymous composers.
Alexandre Tharaud, Jeunehomme (Erato, $16.99) – Pianist Tharaud programs Haydn and Mozart pieces composed between 1777 and 1786, including Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.9, known as “Jeunehomm.” Tharaud is accompanied by Les Violons du Roy, and features mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato on Mozart’s aria, “Ch’io mi scordi di te?”
NOTE: Mark your calendars—Alexander Tharaud will play at the Phillips Collection’s Sunday Concerts on January 25, 2015.
Cecilia Bartoli, St. Petersburg (Decca, deluxe CD/book, $24.98) – Mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli has assembled another program of undiscovered gems, packaged as a miniature book with CD. She focuses on Baroque German and Italian composers working for the Russian courts, in manuscripts from the Mariinsky Library. The composers include Francesco Araia, Domenico Cimarosa, Domenico Dall’Oglio, Vincenzo Manfredini, and Hermann Raupach. Ms Bartoli is accompanied by Diego Fasolis, and I Barrochisti.
Alisa Weilerstein, Solo (Decca, $18.98) – Cellist Alisa Weilerstein plays compositions by Zoltán Kodály (1915), as well as newer works by Osvaldo Golijov, Bright Sheng, and Gaspar Cassadó.
New music cellist Maya Beiser had a long tenure with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and is now touring on her own.
On Saturday, November 8, at 6th & I Synagogue, she will be joined by Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and guitarist Gyan Riley in new works by Mohammed Fairouz, David T. Little, Michael Gordon, and Michael Harrison, and covers of songs by Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, and Nirvana. Her new album, Uncovered (Innova, $14.99), includes many of these songs.
Hot Rize was one of the great bluegrass groups for a good decade after their start in 1978. (They often opened shows with their alter ego band, Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, specializing in Western swing.) They disbanded in 1990, played a few reunion show, and after 25 years, have released a new album. When I’m Free (Thirty Tigers, $12.98) reunites Tim O’Brien on mandolin, Pete Wernick on banjo, and Nick Forster on bass, along with Bryan Sutton on guitar (replacing the late Charles Sawtelle).
NOTE: Hot Rize will play the Hamilton on Friday, November 14