Music News 3/3/22





Cécile McLorin Salvant, GHOST SONGS (Nonesuch, $16.98) –  After four wonderful albums on the Mack Avenue label, the album I’m most excited about this spring is the Nonesuch debut of my favorite jazz singer, Cécile McLorin Salvant. Ms. Salvant has always programmed her albums creatively, and she’s been writing even more original songs (not to mention her evening-length work, Ogresse). 

Ghost Song opens and ends with sean-nós (a traditional Irish unaccompanied vocal style), with her new songs predominating. As she says, “All the songs on the album kind of mirror each other. I tried to create this strange symmetry. So as you go in from both ends, the songs are sort of matched together.”Ms. Salvant also weaves in covers of “Wuthering Heights” (Kate Bush), “Until” (Sting), “The World is Mean” (Brecht/Weil/Blitzstein), and a medley of “Optimistic Voices (from The Wizard of Oz) with Gregory Porter’s “No Love Dying.”  

UPC: 075597914672 


NOTE: Ms. Salvant is also a splendid visual artist, doing drawings, animations, and embroideries. 

Nonesuch has sent P&P some limited-edition signed prints to give away to anyone purchasing Ghost Songs



Melissa Aldana, 12 STARS (Blue Note, $13.98 ) – Coincidently, tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana is releasing her debut with Blue Note. She has a powerhouse group with includes Sullivan Fortner, piano, Lage Lund, guitar, Pablo Menares, bass, and Kush Abeday, drums. Ms. Aldana and Ms. Salvant are both part of the all-star women’s group, Artemis, and Ms. Salvant drew the cover of 12 Stars. 

UPC: 602438827800 



Javon Jackson, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO NIKKI GIOVANNI (Solid Jackson, $18.98) – After lecturing for Javon Jackson’s students at University of Hartford, poet Nikki Giovanni heard Steal Away, gospel songs played by Hank Jones and Charlie Haden.  Saxophonist Javon Jackson reached out to poet to select her favorite spirituals, hymns, and gospel tunes, and this new album is the result.  

Mr. Jackson and his quartet (pianist Jeremy Manasia, bassist David Williams, and drummer McClenty Hunter play such iconic numbers as “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel,” “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” “I Opened My Mouth to the Lord,” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” 

Ms. Giovanni also sings her “Night Song,” in tribute to Nina Simone, who covered the song in 1964. 

UPC: 753957220013 





Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, BEETHOVEN FOR THREE: Symphonies Nos 2 and 5 (Sony Classical, $16.98) – Two arrangements of Beethoven Symphonies for trio:  No. 2 by Beethoven’s student, Ferdinand Ries, and No. 5 by the contemporary composer, Colin Matthews. 

UPC: 194399401422 


NOTE: On Monday, March 7, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, will perform an all-Beethoven program at the Kennedy Center 


Joyce Di Donato, EDEN (Erato, $18.98) – A wide ranging recital by the mezzo-soprano about nature, a “musical exploration through the centuries to remember and to create a new Eden from within.” The program, with Il Pomo d’Oro, includes Ives, Mahler, Gluck, Wagner, Handel, Copland, Marini, and Rachel Portman. 


NOTE: On Sunday, April 24, Joyce Di Donato and Il Pomo d’Oro will perform a program based on Eden at Strathmore. 

UPC: 190296465154 



BACH: ST. JOHN PASSION (Deutsche Grammophon, 2 CD/1 Blu-Ray, $22.98) – Recorded on Good Friday, 2021, at Sheldonian Theatre, University of Oxford, John Eliot Gardiner conducted the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir.). This is Gardiner’s third recording of the work (the first was in 1986), and, as he states, this work “remains truly special to me. Bach conceived the piece as much as an act of worship as a work of religious art. Almost 300 years after it was heard for the first time, it continues to move listeners of all faiths and none.” 

The package includes two CDs and a Pure Audio/Video Blu-Ray 

UPC: 028948618224 



Laura van der Heijden & Jâms Coleman, POHÁDKA: Tales from Prague to Budapest (Chandos, $19.99) – Cellist Laura van der Heijden and pianist Jâms Coleman in a splendid program. The major works are by Kodály and Janáček, with shorter works and arranged songs by Dvořák, Mihály, Kaprálová 

UPC: 095115222720 



PERGOLESI: STABAT MATER (Alpha, $19.99) – Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater (1769, Paris version for two soloists and chorus) is sung by Jodie Devos, soprano, and Adèle Charvet, mezz, with the Maîtrise de Radio France, with Le Concert de la Loge, directed from the violin by Julien Chauvin. 

The album is completed by Haydn’s Symphony No. 49 in F Minor ‘La Passione.” 

UPC: 3760014197840