Music News 5/9/24



Ron Miles, OLD MAIN CHAPEL (Blue Note, $16.98) – Cornettist Ron Miles had a deep, warm sound on his instrument, and he composed delicate tunes. In 2011, he formed a trio with guitarist Bill Frisell and drummer Brian Blade, and recorded several albums with them. (The group later expanded to a quintet with Jason Moran and Thomas Morgan, and recorded a further two albums.)

Sadly, Mr. Miles died at age 58 in 2022, before recording his third quintet album.

Now, a bountiful 2011 live trio recording from the University of Colorado Boulder has been released. Hear the “deep listening” and playing of this chamber ensemble featuring three of the greatest instrumentalists on the scene.



Kenny Barron, BEYOND THIS PLACE (Artwork, $20.98) – A terrific ensemble recording led by the venerable pianist with Immanuel Wilkins (alto sax), Steve Nelson (vibes), Kiyoshi Kitagawa (bass), and Johnathan Blake (drums). There are five original tunes by Mr. Barron, one by Mr. Blake, and two standards. The album ends with a duet between Mr. Baron and Immanuel Wilkins on Thelonious Monk’s “We See.”




Yuja Wang, THE VIENNA RECITAL (Deutsche Grammophon, $14.98) – Ms. Wang’s 2022 recital includes works by Albéniz, Scriabin (Piano Sonata No. 3), Kapustin, Beethoven (Piano Sonata No. 18), Ligeti, as well as arrangements of a Danzón No. 2 by Márquez, and of an operatic Mélodie by Gluck.




MOZART: SONATAS FOR PIANO FOUR HANDS (Myrios, $20.99) – Pianist Kirill Gerstein teams with his mentor Ference Rados to play Mozart’s Sonata in C major and Sonata in F major. Mr. Gerstein met Mr. Rados in 2004 at Steven Isserlis’s summer festival in Cornwall. He calls Rados “the single most influential person in my musical life and the one with whom I have studied the longest.” Mr. Rados teaches the Liszt Academy in Budapest; among those who studied with him were the pianists Zoltán Kocsis, Deszö Ránki and András Schiff, and the original members of the Takács String Quartet.


Bertrand Chamayou, LETTER(S) TO ERIK SATIE (Erato, $18.98) – Mr. Chamayou juxtaposes works to form a “hypothetical triangular dialogue between John Cage, James Tenney, and their idol Erik Satie.”






Lea Desandre & Thomas Dunford, IDYLLE (Erato, $18.98) – The musical couple, mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre and lutenist Thomas Dunford, explore the long history of French chanson, from the 17th-century through 1960s songs of Françoise Hardy and Barbara. Composers include Charpentier, Lambert, Visée, Hahn, Offenbach, and Debussy.

As with the above album by Mr. Chamayou, Dunford includes versions of Satie’s Gnossienne No. 1 and Gymnopédie No. 1 as interludes.





Composer, drummer, bandleader, and educator Tyshawn Sorey won this year’s Pulitzer Prize in Music for his work, Adagio (for Wadada Leo Smith). He was also a finalist last year for Monochromatic Light (Afterlife), a piece which debuted at the Rothko Chapel, and was composed for the same ensemble as Feldman’s Rothko Chapel.

Besides his composing and teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Sorey is a phenomenal drummer who leads his own groups.

Recent examples are MESMERISM and CONTINUING (both Pi Records, $16.98) with his trio featuring pianist Aaron Diehl, as well as his contribution to Vijay Iyer’s new album, COMPASSION (ECM, $18.98).