FAVORITE TRIBUTE ALBUM OF THE YEAR: DOC WATSON
Doc Watson (1923 – 2012) was a flat-pick guitar master, singer, and folk pioneer. There is a wonderful new centennial tribute album now available.
I AM A PILGRIM: DOC WATSON AT 100 (Fli Records, $18.98) has a fantastic (and varied) lineup of artists, assembled by (surprise!) jazz guitarist Matthew Stevens.
There are star vocal contributions from Dolly Parton, Steve Earle, Corey Harris, Valerie June, and Rosanne Cash.
Of course, the album is filled with string virtuos. Some are from the traditional field: dobro master Jerry Douglas, young banjo star Nora Brown, and guitarists Yasmin Williams, Chris Eldridge, Jack Lawrence (a longtime guitar partner of Doc’s), and Ariel Posen (bringing the sound of sacred steel to “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”).
Then there are the surprising appearances from jazz players like Lionel Loueke, Marc Ribot (with singer Esther Balint), and Matthew Stevens himself, teaming up with Jeff Parker, bringing fresh perspective to folk material.
Of course, Bill Frisell is a perfect choice for this album: he backs up Valerie June’s voice and banjo on “Handsome Molly,” and ends the tribute with a beautiful solo rendition of “Your Lone Journey.”
VOICES FROM BRAZIL
Bebel Gilberto, JOÃO (Pias, $15.98) – Bebel pays tribute to her father, the iconic singer and guitarist, João Gilberto, often referred to as the “father of Bossa Nova.”
Luciana Souza & Trio Corrente, COMETA (Sunnyside, $17.98) – Vocalist Luciana Souza has released several duet albums of Brazilian tunes with guitarists, notably Romero Lubambo. Now, she’s recorded Cometa with a Brazilian piano trio, led by Fabio Torres.
Wilco, COUSIN (dBpm, $16.98) – Jeff Tweedy and Wilco return.
NOTE: Jeff Tweedy’s new book, World Within a Song: Music That Changed My Life and Life That Changed My Music (Dutton, $26), is out on Nov. 7.
Willie Nelson, BLUEGRASS (Sony Legacy, $15.98) – Willie enlists some of the best pickers around to back him up on bluegrass renditions of some of his classic songs. Those include “Somebody Pick Up My Pieces,” “Sad Songs and Waltzes,” “Yesterday’s Wine,” “No Love Around,” and, of course, “On the Road Again.”
GEORGE WALKER: FIVE SINFONIAS (National Symphony Orchestra, SACD, $21.98) – Composer and pianist George Walker (1922 – 2018) was born in Washington, attended Oberlin, Curtis Institute, Eastman School, taught at Rutgers for many years, and received the Pulitzer Prize. His compositions for piano, chamber groups, and orchestras are being rediscovered, and performed more and more.
After Simon Rattle’s suggestion that he look at Mr. Walker’s music, National Symphony Orchestra conductor Gianandrea Noseda has become a champion of his work. In the last season, Maestro Noseda has paired Mr. Walker’s five Sinfonias with Beethoven Symphonies. The complete recordings of Sinfonias is now out.
MOZART: VIOLIN CONCERTOS (Deutsche Grammophon, 2 CDs, $21.98) – Renaud Capuçon solos and leads the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne in Mozart’s five violin concertos, as well as the Rondo, K 373, and Adagio, K 261.