Music News 4/25/2019


The Art Ensemble of Chicago, WE ARE ON THE EDGE: A 50th Anniversary Celebration (Pi, 2 CDs, $22.98) – Formed in 1969, the Art Ensemble of Chicago have long been the “flagship” group for the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). The two living members of the group--multi-reed player Roscoe Mitchell and drummer/percussionist Famadou Don Moye—dedicated this 50th anniversary recording to the three members who have passed away: trumpeter Lester Bowie, bassist Malachi Favors, and, just in January, reed player/percussionist Joseph Jarman. For this project, Mitchell and Moye recruited younger players like Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid, Moor Mother, and many others to the Art Ensemble. One CD is a studio recording, and the other was recorded live in concerts at the Edgefest in Ann Arbor last October.

Historical Releases

Bill Evans, EVANS IN ENGLAND: Live at Ronnie Scott’s (Resonance, 2 CDs, $24.98) – This is Bill Evans in great form, recorded at Ronnnie Scott’s club in London in December, 1969. It’s another undiscovered gem on the Resonance label, their fourth of historical Bill Evans material. It’s again accompanied by a thick booklet with superb notes, photographs, and interviews with the surviving musicians, in this case, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell.

Wes Montgomery, BACK ON INDIANA AVENUE (Resonance, 2 CDs, $24.98) – Resonance also has a long relationship with the estate of pioneering electric guitarist Wes Montgomery, and this is the sixth release of early material from his days in Indianapolis in the mid- to late 1950s. You hear Wes in settings ranging from a “Nat ‘King’ Cole-style” trio, to organ trio, piano quartet and sextets.


SCHUBERT: SONATAS & IMPROMPTUS (ECM, $24.98) – András Schiff’s second recording of Schubert played on the Franz Brodmann fortepiano, made in 1820 in Viennna. Playing on the fortepiano with its different soundscapes in the bass, midrange and treble brings new revelations in Schubert’s music. Mr. Schiff plays the Four Impromptus D 899, The Three Pieces D 946, the Sonata in C minor D 958 and the Sonata  in A major D 959.

Kronos Quartet, PLACELESS (Valley, $16.98) – Iranian singer and composer Mahsa Vahdat composed 14 melodies to classical poems by Hafez and Rumi, as well as contemporary Iranian poems, and different composers arranged them for string quartet. They are sung by Mahsa and her sister Marjan. Mahsa Vahdat and Kronos played parts of this repertoire back in early March at 6th & I Synagogue.

Doric String Quartet, BRITTEN & PURCELL (Chandos, 2 CDs, $18.99) – On CD 1, the Doric Quartet play Benjamin Britten’s String Quartets No. 1 (1941) and No. 3 (1975) and his Three Divertimenti (1933-6). On CD 2, they juxtapose Britten’s String Quartet No. 2 (1945) with Henry Purcell’s Fantasias in Four Parts (1680).


Josh Ritter, FEVER BREAKS (Pytheas, $12.98) – Josh Ritter teams up with Jason Isbell as producer, and Isbell’s backing group, the 400 Unit, to unveil a new set of songs.

NOTE: Josh Ritter will play the Lincoln Theatre on Friday, May 17