Music News 4/8/2021



Rhiannon Giddens, THEY’RE CALLING ME HOME (Nonesuch, $15.98) – After There is No Other (2019), this is the second collaboration between vocalist, composer, banjo player and folklorist Rhiannon Giddens and Italian multi-instrumentalist Francisco Turrisi, recorded during COVID-19 lockdown in Ireland. The current times are evoked by Alice Gerrard’s title song, as well as traditional tunes like “I Shall Not Be Moved,” “Black As Crow (Dearest Dear)” and “Waterbound.” Ms. Giddens wrote a new song, “Avalon,” and Mr. Turrisi brought the Italian lullaby, “Nenna Nenna.” 

Vijay Iyer, Linda May Han Oh, Tyshawn Sorey, UNEASY (ECM, $18.98) – Pianist Vijay Iyer’s new trio with two other leading composer-instrumentalists: bassist Linda May Han Oh, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey. There are Iyer compositions from the last two decades, along with the late pianist Geri Allen’s “Drummer’s Song” and a recasting of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day.” 

NOTE: Also check out the Imani Winds’s recent album, Bruits, featuring a new composition by Vijay. 

Gretchen Parlato, FLOR (Edition, $16.98) – One of vocalist Gretchen Parlato’s strengths is her feeling for Brazilian tunes. On her new album, she and a core trio (guitarist Marcel Camargo, cellist Artyom Manukyan , and drummer/percussionist Léo Costa) gather tunes associated with João Gilberto and Pixinguinha, as well as Anita Baker’s “Sweet Love,” and a vocal take on a Minuet from Bach’s  Cello Suite No. 1

Guests on selected cuts include pianist Gerald Clayton, drummer Mark Giuliana, and percussionist Airto Moreira 

Sturgill Simpson, CUTTIN’ GRASS VOL. 2 (Cowboy Arms Sessions) (30 Tigers, $12.98) – The second volume of an inspired project: Sturgill Simpson gathered some of Nashville’s premiere bluegrass musicians to help him record new acoustic versions of his best songs. Mandolin player Sierra Hull, fiddler Stuart Duncan, and Tim O’Brien are along for this great ride. 

INDABA IS (Brownswood, $13.99) – A gathering of new South African groups, using jazz as a “a departure point as opposed to a tether.” 


Jakob Bro, UMA ELMO (ECM, $18.98) – Electric guitarist Jakob Bro’s new trio with trumpeter Arve Henriksen and drummer Jorge Rossy. Melodic and cantabile lines are the hallmark of this new group. 

Ferenc Snétberger & the Keller Quartet, HALGATÓ (ECM, $18.98) – Hungarian guitarist (playing classical guitar) and the Keller Quartet collaborate on Snétberger’s “In Memory of My People,” a suite dedicated to his Sinti and Roma forebears, and a “Rhapsody,” as well as arrangements of Dowland. The Keller play Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8, as well as a movement from Barber’s String Quartet.