Music News 10/8/2020


Ron Miles, RAINBOW SIGN (Blue Note, $12.98) – Cornetist Ron Miles assembled a fantastic quintet for his 2017 album, I Am a Man: pianist Jason Moran, guitarist Bill Frisell, bassist Thomas Morgan, and drummer Brian Blade. That suite of songs was inspired by the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike (where the title and the cover originated—held as placards by the marchers). The quintet played a very special Kennedy Center concert in February, 2019. Now Ron Miles has reconvened the group for a whole new set of original songs, written in the summer of 2018 as Mr. Miles acted as caregiver during his father’s last months. These are contemplative songs, many rooted in the blues. Another beautiful work…

Ella Fitzgerald, THE LOST BERLIN TAPES (Verve, $14.98) – In 1960, Mack the Knife: Ella in Berlin was issued, recorded at a memorable concert. Two years later, March 25, 1962, Ella returned for a concert at the Berlin Sportspalast, for another rousing evening. Ms. Fitzgerald is at the height of her powers—on songs like “Cheek to Cheek,” “I Won’t Dance,” and “Good Morning Heartache”—accompanied by Paul Smith on piano, Wilfred Middlebrooks on bass and Stan Levey on drums. These tapes, never before issued, were found in the archives of producer and Verve founder Norman Grantz.

Post-Classical Ensemble, BERNARD HERRMANN: Whitman / Souvenirs / Psycho (Naxos, $12.99) – DC’s own Post-Classical Ensemble have devoted many concerts, lectures, and multi-media programs to certain composers and themes over the last few years, for example Dvorak in America, Spirituals, and Lou Harrison. One theme of exploration has been the film scores of Aaron Copland, and now, the compositions of famed film composer Bernard Herrmann.

Whitman is a reconstruction of a 1944 Norman Corwin radio play (with Murray Horwitz of WAMU’s The Big Broadcast as narrator), featuring music by Herrmann. Souverirs de Voyage (1967) and Psycho: A Narrative for String Orchestra (1968, reconstructed 1991) are the other features. The Post-Classical Ensemble is conducted by Angel Gil-Ordóñez.

Joachim Cooder, OVER THAT ROAD I’M BOUND: The Songs of Uncle Dave Macon (Nonesuch, $15.98) – Percussionist Joachim Cooder follows in his father, Ry’s, footsteps, by recasting American music from bygone eras. Cooder revives the songs of Uncle Dave Macon (1870 – 1952), banjo player, songster, and the first star of the Grand Old Opry in the 1920s.

Next week:

THE HARRY SMITH B-SIDES (Dust to Digital 4-CD box set with book), now available for pre-order.

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