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Jayme Stone, Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project (Borealis Records, $15.98) – This is a very special project by banjo player Jayme Stone (just in time to celebrate the centennial of folklorist Alan Lomax). He’s assembled a wide range of songs, mostly from field recordings from Lomax’s many collecting trips—from “Texas plains and along the Alabama cotton belt,” from the Caribbean to Appalachia. He’s also brought together some great musicians, like Margaret Glaspy and Tim O’Brien (vocals), Bruce Molsky (vocals, fiddle), Brittany Haas (fiddle), and Julian Lage (guitar). Nineteen wonderful songs are here, and set includes a 50-page booklet with song-by-song notes by Mr. Stone, and an introduction by banjo star and Lomax scholar Stephen Wade (author of The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience).

NOTE: On Friday, May 1, Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project (with Tim O'Brien, Margaret Glaspy, Brittany Haas & Joe Phillips) will be at Strathmore’s new AMP venue near White Flint Metro.

Anat Cohen, Luminosa (Anzic Records, $16.98) – Jazz clarinetist (and tenor sax player) Anat Cohen has been playing more and more Brazilian music in the last decade, especially choro—which originated in late 19th-century Rio. Luminsa brings in other strains of Brazilian music—besides two choros, there are songs by Milton Nascimento and Edu Lobo, and Brazilian-inspired originals by Anat. There is also a fun version of a Flying Lotus song, and Anat’s tribute-in-song to jazz festival legend George Wein.

The musicians include her regular quartet (Jason Lindner, keyboardist, Joe Martin, bass, Daniel Freedman, drums), and her new Brazilian band, Choro Aventuroso, plus guests like guitarist Romero Lubambo and percussionist Gilmar Gomes.


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Kirill Gerstein, Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 & Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 2 (Myrios Classics, SACD, $19.99) – Pianist Kirill Gerstein uses Tchaikovsky’s own annotated 1879 conducting score of his recording of First Piano Concerto. The very beginning signals another approach—the grand opening block chords were’re most accustomed to hearing (from an edited posthumous 1894 score) become lightly arpeggiated.  There are more examples of different “dynamics, ariculations, and tempo indications… [which] point to a more lyrical, almost Schumannesque conception of the concerto,” in Gerstein’s words. He pairs the Tchaikovsky with Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2, both accompanied by the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, with James Gaffigan conducting.

Mr. Gerstein wrote an article for the New York Review of Books blog on this original 1879 version, and the article includes side-by-side audio comparisons.

Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1 (Columbia Records, $10.98) – Wednesday night was the season finale of the “hip-hop prime time soap opera” Empire. Premiering in January, the series, about a dying music executive (Terrence Howard) choosing his successor, has built audiences week by week. Check out the songs behind the drama.


Raffle: Early Gospel 3-CD set

CD CoverWhen I Reach That Heavenly Shore: Unearthly Black Gospel 1926 – 1936 (Tompkins Square Records, 3 CDs, $35.98) is a powerful set of black sanctified and gospel songs originally on 78s. Selected by archivist Christopher King from his collection, there are rare recordings by the Primitive Baptist Choir of North Carolina, the Jubilee Gospel Team, and the Laurel (Mississippi) Fireman’s Quartette.

If you’d like to win the CD, please email , with either GOSPEL in the subject field.


March Gramophone

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The cover of the new issue of Gramophone features three musicians who are diving into Schumann, and the lead article takes us behind the scenes of this project, which I wrote about last week. Schumann: Violin Concerto & Piano Trio No. 3 (Harmonia Mundi, CD & DVD, $18.98) is the first volume of a projected trilogy by violinist Isabelle Faust, pianist Alexander Melnikov, and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras. The recording pairs two late works: the Piano Trio No. 3, and the Violin Concerto, where Ms Faust is in the company of the Freiburger  Barockorchester, conducted by Pablo Heras Casado. Melnikov plays on an 1847 Streicher piano, and Ms. Faust uses gut strings for a unique insight into Schumann’s sound world.