Music News 10/11/2017


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Jazz pianist Fred Hersch has a new memoir, GOOD THINGS HAPPEN SLOWLY: A Life In and Out of Jazz (Crown Archetype, $28), and he’s also recorded a solo companion album, OPEN BOOK (Palmetto Records, $16.98).

He will also be performing at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, on H Street, NE, on Saturday, October 21.

Mr. Hersch has generously donated a pair of tickets to that performance to Politics and Prose.

If you’d like to enter the raffle for two tickets see Fred Hersch at the Atlas on October 21, write to , with HERSCH in the message line.

The centerpiece of Open Book is a 20-minute free improvisation, “Through the Forest” recorded live in concert. The album also includes pieces by Benny Golson, Jobim and Monk., as well as “The Orb” taken from Hersch’s music-theater piece, My Coma Dreams.

GOOD THINGS HAPPEN SLOWLY: A Life In and Out of Jazz (Crown Archetype, $28), reflects on Mr. Hersch’s 40-plus years in jazz. We read about his start in his home town of Cincinnati, gigging in Boston while at the New England Conservatory, apprenticing in bands of Art Farmer and Joe Henderson, then starting his solo career at small clubs all over New York, especially Bradley’s. Intertwining his musical odyssey is his personal saga as an openly gay, HIV-positive man in an often macho, and very competitive field.

Fred Hersch was recently interviewed by Terri Gross on Fresh Air, talking about his book and his life.



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Every year, the MacArthur Foundation announces its MacArthur Fellows, popularly known as the “MacArthur Genius Awards.” This year’s list honors four musical artists:

Rhiannon Giddens – singer, songwriter, banjo player, African-American string band revivalist.

Listen to Ms. Gidden’s newest album, Freedom Highway (Nonesuch, $16.98).

Tyshawn Sorey – composer, drummer, trombonist, pianist. Listen to Mr. Sorey’s newest trio album, VERISIMILITUDE (Pi Recordings, $16.98). He also appears on Vijay Iyer’s new sextet album, Far From Over (ECM), and Roscoe Mitchell’s recent Bells for the South Side (ECM).

Taylor Mac – theatre artist; creator and star of The 24-Decade History of Popular Music (which lasted 24 hours in its completed form).

NOTE: The 24-Decade History of Popular Music (Abridged) will be presented next March 6, 2018, at the Kennedy Center.

Yuval Sharon – opera director, producer, and founder of the boundary pushing company, The Industry.

See here for more profiles and interviews with the all the 2017 Fellows.



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Anouar Brahem, BLUE MAQAMS (ECM Records, $18.98) – Oud master and composer Anouar Brahem assemblers a powerhouse quartet for his new album: bassist Dave Holland, pianist Django Bates, and drummer Jack DeJohnnette.

Robert Plant, CARRY FIRE (Nonesuch, $17.98) – Robert Plant, the iconic voice of Led Zeppelin, has never succumbed to recreating past projects, but carries on with his ongoing melding of the music that he’s grown to love: North African, Celtic, and rootsy American, harkening back to a pre-rock era. His voice still retains the power of the past, but he can scale it back, and sing with the plaintiveness and sorrow of an elder.



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We will be carrying selected vinyl titles at our new store at the Wharf, focusing on new titles, and on some of the artists who will be coming to the new music club, the Anthem, around the corner from our store.

Amadou and Mariam, LA CONFUSION (Because Records, special limited-edition price, CD, $11.98; LP, $22.98) – The wonderful Malian duo returns

Beck, COLORS (Capitol Records, CD, $14.98; LP, $21.98) – Beck’s happy-go-lucky new pop creation


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Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, LOTTA SEA LICE (Matador, $15.98; LP, $22.98) – A fun, clever, and conversational collaboration between Courtney Barnett (among my favorite lyricists around) and Kurt Vile

NOTE: Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile will be the Anthem on Tuesday, November 7

St. Vincent, MASSEDUCTION (Loma Vista, $14.98; LP, $24.98) – The singer/guitarist/actress Annie Clark’s latest

NOTE: St. Vincent will be at the Anthem on Monday, November 27



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Leif Ove Andsnes, SIBELIUS (Sony Classical, $12.98) – Andsnes seeks to expose Sibelius’s piano world, like the three lyric pieces of Kyllikki, Op 41 (1904), the Five Sketches (1929), and various Bagatelles, Impromptus, and a Sonatina.

Daniil Trifonov, CHOPIN EVOCATIONS (Deutsche Grammophon, 2 CDs, $21.98) – Trifonov juxtaposes Chopin with composers—Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Mompou and Barber—who’ve “refracted and reacted” to various aspects of Chopin’s music.

Alexandre Tharaud, HOMMAGE À BARBARA (Erato Records, 2 CDs, $23.98) – One of classical world’s foremost pianists has assembled some of his favorite singers, actors, and instrumentalists to pay respects to one of the great musical influences in his life, the late chanteuse Barbara (1930 – 1997). Collaborators include Juliette Binoche, Dominique A, Jane Birkin, Jean-Louis Aubert, Vanessa Paradis, Radio Elvis, Rokia Traore, Renaud Capuçon, Juliette, Albin de la Simone, Hindi Zahra, Guillaume Gallienne, Luz Casal, Camélia Jordana, Tim Dup, Roland Romanelli, Quatuor Modigliani, Michel Portal, among others.