Music News 8/28/2019


Joan Shelley, LIKE THE RIVER LOVES THE SEA (No Quarter, $14.98) – Joan Shelley, from Kentucky, has released two superb albums in the last few years: Over and Even (2015) and Joan Shelley (2017). Her songs and voice are memorable, and the interplay between her and guitarist Nathan Salsburg combine the best of American and British folk traditions. Her new album was recorded in Iceland, yet the songs and feelings are always rooted in her native state. Highly recommended

NOTE: Joan Shelley will play at Jammin’ Java in Vienna on Saturday, November 9.

COUNTRY MUSIC: Soundtrack to the Ken Burns Film (Sony Legacy, 5 CDs, $74.98) – Ken Burns’s new documentary project is an epic, 16-hour history of country music, in all its manifestations. The accompanying 5-CD set is a thorough overview of the many iconic artists and songs (as well as the under-represented and overlooked). Artists include the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, Bob Wills, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Tammy Wynette and George Jones, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, and dozens more.

NOTE: Country Music, the eight-part documentary, will be shown on PBS over a two week period (September 15-18 and 22-25).

Bon Iver, I, I (Jagjaguwar, $14.98) – Justin Vernon unveils his fourth album as Bon Iver.


Miguel Zenón, SONERO: The Music of Ismael Rivera (Miel, $16.98) – Alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón and his quartet (Luis Perdomo on piano, Hans Glawischnig on bass and Henry Cole on drums) pays tribute to the Puerto Rican sonero Ismael Rivera (1931 – 1987).

John Zorn/the Gnostic Trio, THE BOOK BERI’AH VOL 7: NETZACH (Tzadik, $18.99) – Composer John Zorn assembled the Gnostic Trio (Bill Frisell, guitars; Carol Emanuel, harp; Kenny Wollesen, vibes/orchestral chimes) to play some of his most beautiful and contemplative tunes. Now, in the seventh collaboration of the trio, they play tunes from his latest book of 92 compositions, the Book Beri’ah.

Michael Leonhart Orchestra, SUITE EXTRACTS VOL. 1 (Sunnyside, $16.98) – Composer and arranger Michael Leonard leads his big band at monthly gigs at the Jazz Standard. Leonhart writes witty arrangements combining songs and artists—you will hear medleys and suites with songs by Fela Kuti, Howlin’ Wolf, the Wu-Tang Clan, Ornette Coleman, and Spinal Tap, plus a couple of inspired originals. No one has combined “Big Bottom” with “Lonely Woman” before, with an impassioned tenor solo by Donny McCaslin. The 17-member orchestra features some stellar guest soloists including tenor saxophonists Chris Potter, clarinetist John Ellis, guitarist Nels Cline, and cellist Erik Friedlander. 

Jazzmeia Horn, LOVE AND LIBERATION (Concord, $15.98) - Jazzmeia Horn won the 2015 Thelonious Monk Jazz Vocal Competition, and released a fine album in 2017 called Social Call. Her follow-up, Love and Liberation, includes 8 originals, as well as a cover of Erykah Badu’s “Green Eyes.”


TERRY RILEY: SUN RINGS (Nonesuch, $16.98) – The Kronos Quartet have had a 30-year working relationship  with composer Terry Riley, resulting in such works as Cadenza on the Night Plane, Salomé Dances for Peace, and Cusp of Magic.

Sun Rings (2002) is a “ten-movement suite commissioned in part by NASA to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Voyager Planetary Mission launches, [weaving] together string quartet, choir, and the sounds of space – sonifications of the data recorded by plasma wave receivers flown on the Voyagers and a variety of other American spacecraft.” 

NOTE: Sun Rings—which also includes a chorus, and has a mesmerizing visual component, will be performed by Kronos at Lisner Auditorium next March 13, 2020.

BRAHMS: Violin Sonatas (Hyperion, $19.98) – Over the last ten years, the duo of violinist Alina Ibragimova and pianist Cédric Tiberghien have released superb recordings of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Szymanowski, Ravel, Franck, and Vierne. The three Brahms Violin Sonatas are joined by an encore piece by Clara Schumann.