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New Jazz

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Omer Avital, Abutbul Music (Jazz Village, $18.98) – Bassist Omer Avital writes swinging songs which sometimes incorporate traditional Yemeni and Israeli elements and rhythms. His groups feature two saxophones out front (for this album, Asaf Yuria and Alexander Levin), with piano (Yonathan Avishai), bass, and drums (Ofri Nehmya). He released New Song in late 2014, one of my favorite albums of the last year or so. Abutbul Music is once again full of tunes with infectious grooves, and memorable melodies.


New Classical

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Bach: Goldberg Variations (Warner Classics, CD & DVD, $17.98) – Another version of the Goldberg for your collection? Yes, when the pianist is Alexandre Tharaud, one of the very best on the scene today, especially his wonderful Baroque recitals. Praising his musicality, Gramophone’s reviewer wrote that Tharaud “basically hangs loose and flies free, letting detailed niceties fall into place without sounding the least bit studied or calibrated. It’s a performance, not a lecture.” The CD also comes with a filmed performance on DVD.


Gramophone CD of the Month

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The March issue of Gramophone featured a sterling review of Steven Isserlis’s Elgar & Walton Cello Concertos (Hyperion, $19.98), recorded with the Philharmonia Orchestra, with conductor Paavo Järvi.


Nikolaus Harnoncourt, RIP

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Beethoven: Symphonies No. 4 & 5 (Sony Classical, $12.98) – The great conductor Nikolause Harnoncourt died earlier this month. Listen to him conduct the Concentus Musicus Wien in Beethoven’s Symphonies 4 and 5


Surprise Release

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Kendrick Lamar, Untitled Unmastered (Interscope, $12.98) – After making the most written-about and talked-about album of 2015, How to Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar “surprise-released” a follow-up with works-in-progress and live cuts.