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New Paul Simon

CD CoverPaul Simon, Stranger to Stranger (Concord Records, $15.98) – Paul Simon’s new album continues his never-ending adventures in the world of sound. Stranger to Stranger reveals layers and layers of sonic pleasures, incorporating, among other sounds, Harry Partch’s microtonal instruments, the claps and stomps of flamenco, vocal samples from the Golden Gate Quartet, beats by Italian producer Clap! Clap!, and horn arrangements (and celeste playing) by composer Nico Muhly. And then we get to the wonderful lyrics layered on top—jumping from the intimately observational to grand themes from verse to verse. To say that Paul Simon is still curious about songs and songwriting is an understatement; highly recommended.

NOTE: Paul Simon will play Wolf Trap on Monday and Tuesday, June 27 – 28


New Jazz

CD CoverBrad Mehldau Trio, Blues and Ballads (Nonesuch Records, $17.98) – The deep communication and complicity in pianist Brad Mehldau’s long-standing trio with Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums is heard every time they take the stage or release an album. Blues and Ballads features standards from the golden age (“Since I Fell for You,” “I Concentrate on You,” “These Foolish Things”) and some newer tunes (“I Love Her” by Lennon and McCartney and Jon Brion’s “Little Person”).


The O’Farrill Family

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Pianist and bandleader Arturo O’Farrill’s father, Chico O’Farrill, was a significant arranger and composer—collaborating with Dizzy Gillespie, Machito and Chano Pozo in the early development of Afro-Cuban jazz. Arturo continues and expands the tradition, leading the Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, which released a wonderful album last year, Cuba: The Conversation Continues, recorded in Havana.

Mr. O’Farrill also leads a smaller ensemble, which includes his sons, Adam (on trumpet) and Zack (on drums).

The Arturo O’Farrill Sextet’s new album is Boss Level (Zoho Music, $16.98), with a dynamic front-line of tenor sax, trumpet, and guitar.

Adam O’Farrill’s new CD is Stranger Days (Sunnyside Records, $16.98), which features a quartet with Zack on drums, Chad Lefkowitz-Brown on tenor sax, and Walter Stinson on bass. His trumpet was also featured on one of the best albums last year, Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls.