Music News 01/16/2019


During the 2018 centennial year celebrating Leonard Bernstein, the most inspired project was drummer and bandleader Bobby Sanabria’s new vision of West Side Story (1957). WEST SIDE STORY REIMAGINED (Jazzheads, 2 CDs, $21.98), played by his Multiverse Big Band, is a “re-envisioning from the perspective of the jazz musician, the Latin musician, a native Nuyorican son who is proud to say he is from the city that defines aché (energy), hipness, and cool.”

He’s taken Leonard Berstein’s infectious score, and infused it with even more Puerta Rican rhythms and song forms: “Puerto Rican bomba xicá, yuba, and plena are omnipresent. Dominican merengue, Venezuelan joropo, Brazilian bossa nova and samba, funk, New Orleans second line, Cuban bolero, son montuno are now included alongside the show's original use of Mexican huapango, Cuban mambo, bolero, cha-cha-cha, jazz, swing, European waltz, and orchestral music.”

Mr. Sanabria wrote fascinating and detailed notes in the package, and included great photographs from the Bernstein archives.

Read Mr. Sanabria’s insightful article in All About Jazz about the deep Afro-Caribbean roots in West Side Story.

Highly recommended.

Proceeds from sales of CDs go to Puerto Rican Relief Fund through the Jazz Foundation of America.

NOTE: This Friday, January, 18, Bobby Sanabria’s MultiVerse Big Band will play selections from West Side Story Reimagined for two shows at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.




François-Xavier Roth and his period-instrument orchestra, Les c, had a very productive 2018. In the spring, the ensemble released their second Ravel CD, Ma Mère d’Oye & Le Tombeau de Couperin.

Later, as part of Harmonia Mundi’s new Debussy anniversary series, Les Siècles released Jeux / Nocturnes / Prélude à l’Après Midi d’un Faune.

Late in the year, Gramophone Magazine selected their  recording of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé as Best Orchestral Recording of the Year (the award covered parts of 2017-8).

2019 is the 150th anniversary year of Berlioz’s death, so expect new recordings. François-Xavier Roth pairs

Harold in Italie, scored for viola and orchestra, and featuring Tabea Zimmermann, with Les Nouits d’Été, a song cycle for voice and orchestra, here sung by baritone Stéphane Degout.

Sharon Van Etten, REMIND ME TOMORROW (Jagjaguwar, $15.98) – Ms. Van Etten goes in new directions...