Music News 09/13/2017


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Lizz Wright, GRACE (Concord Records, $15.98) – Lizz Wright has an expressive, soulful voice equally at home in gospel, R & B, jazz and pop songs. Grace is set of songs (mostly covers) loosely linked together by the South (Ms. Wright was raised in Georgia). Included are songs from Ray Charles (“What Would I Do Without You), Sister Rosetta Tharpe (“Singing in My Soul”), Birds of Chicago (“Barley”), Bob Dylan (“Every Grain of Sand”) and Allen Toussaint (“Southern Nights”), and the jazz standard “Stars Fell on Alabama.”

Dee Dee Bridgewater, MEMPHIS...YES, I’M READY (Okeh Records, $12.98) – Singer Dee Dee Bridgewater (recently honored as an NEA Jazz Master) returned to her hometown to records songs made in, and associated with Memphis. “Going Down Slow,” “I Can’t Get Next to You.” “Thrill is Gone,” “B.A.B.Y,” “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” and “Don’t Be Cruel” are some of the classics recorded at the historic Royal Studios.



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Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Guests, HANDFUL OF KEYS (Blue Engine Records, $14.98) – Six pianists team up with the JLC Orchestra, including 13-year old phenom Joey Alexander, 89-year old NEA Jazz Master Dick Hyman, Myra Melford, Helen Sung, Isaiah J. Thompson, and the JLOC’s Dan Nimmer. The pianists and the Orchestra are featured in tunes associated with Jelly Roll Morton, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, and more.

Arturo O’Farrill and Chucho Valdés, FAMILIA: TRIBUTE TO BEBO & CHICO (Motema Records, 2 CDs, $16.98) – A family tribute to two great pioneers of Afro-Cuban jazz: Bébo Valdés (1918 – 2013) and Chico O’Farrill (1921 -2001). Sons Arturo O’Farrill and Chucho Valdés, both pianists and band-leaders (and their own sons, playing trumpet, drums, and piano) form the core of the band playing son, mambos, swing, and taking Afro-Cuban jazz in exciting new directions.

Martha Argerich and Friends, 2016 LIVE FROM LUGANO (Warner Classics, 3 CDs, $21.98) - Every summer for the last 15 years on the shores of Lake Lugano, Martha Argerich has assembled master musicians and younger players to make music together. The highlights from last year’s Lugano Festival are now out: Nicholas Angelich, Stephen Kovacevich, and Renaud Capuçon are here, as well as many Argerich protégés. Ms. Argerich herself is featured in Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit and his Piano Concerto in G major.

NOTE: Martha Argerich will be the soloist, playing Prokofiev, with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano, on Wednesday, October 25, at the Kennedy Center.



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The Washington National Opera is continuing their production of Verdi’s Aida with six more performances hrough September 23.

Two years ago, an award-winning recording of AIDA (Warner Classics, 3 CDs, $27.98) with Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros, and the Choir and Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano (see above).

Signature Theatre in Arlington is continuing Eric Schaeffer’s production of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music through October 15.

Listen to the original Broadway cast of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (Sony Broadway, $10.98). The cast included Glynis Johns, Len Cariou, and Hermione Gingold.