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Music News 3/16/23




Jo Lawry, ACROBATS (Whirlwind, $16.99) – Australian vocalist Jo Lawry has recorded an album in the sparest and most vulnerable setting—only accompanied by bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Allison Miller. Without piano or guitar, Ms. Lawry finds new ways into standards like “Two to Tango,” and“Deed I Do.” There are songs from Guys and Dolls: I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” “My Time of Day,” and “If I Were a Bell.” Lenny Tristano’s “3217 East 32nd Street” has fantastic scat singing, and “You’re the Top” becomes a fun duet with Allison Miller’s dynamic drum work.


Jane Bunnett &            Maqueque, PLAYING WITH FIRE (Linus, $17.98) – Soprano saxophonist Jane Bunnett has played exciting Afro-Cuban jazz with the all-women’s, Maqueque, for the last ten years. Maqueque started as an all-Cuban band, and has expanded to include women from Zimbabwe, Dominican Republic, and Spain. Now the group welcomes violinist Daniela Olano, and guitarist Donna Grantis (formerly of Prince’s band, 3RDEYEGIRL). Playing with Fire includes takes on Charles Mingus’s Jump Monk” and Bud Powell’s “Tempus Fugit.” 


Julian Lage, THE LAYERS (Blue Note, $14.98) – The guitarist’s expanded group—the same line up as on last year’s relase, View With a Room—features Jorge Roeder on bass and Dave King on drums, with special guest, guitarist Bill Frisell.  





STRAVINSKY: Violin Concerto & Chamber Works (Harmonia Mundi, $19.98) – New colors and textures are brought out when Stravinsky is played on period instruments. Especially so in the dynamic work of violinist Isabelle Faust working with François-Xavier Roth’s ensemble, Les Siècles. Ms. Faust and Les Siècles play the Violin ConcertoApollon MusagètePastorale for Violin, Oboe, English Horn, Clarinet and Bassoon, and Three PiecesDouble CanonConcertino (all for String Quartet). 



Beatrice Rana & Yannick Nézet-Séguin, CLARA & ROBERT SCHUMANN: Piano Concertos (Warner Classics, $18.98) – Clara Wieck was a piano prodigy, already concertizing before the age of ten. She was also a composer; she started the first movement of her Piano Concerto No. 1 in a Minor, Op. 7 when she was 13, and completed the other two movements before she turned 16. She premiered the work later in 1835 with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, conducted by Felix Mendelssohn. She married Robert Schumann in 1840. 

Beatrice Rana has called Clara’s concerto “a genius work in many ways…I think that it’s very, very underestimated—the intellectual value of this concerto in the history of music.” 

Ms. Rana pairs it with Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in a Minor, Op. 54, and ends the album with Schumann’s lieder, Widmung, arranged for piano by Liszt. The Chamber Orchestra of Europe is conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin 



Yuja Wang, THE AMERICAN PROJECT: Abrams / Tilson Thomas (Deutsche Grammophon, $14.98) – Pianist Yuja Wang plays work written for her by two conducor/composers. The album opens with the short solo work by Michael Tilson Thomas, You Come Here Often? And Teddy Abrams conducts the Louisville Orchestra in his Piano Concerto. Abrams describes the piece as “an opportunity for the piano to guide us through what I think is one the strengths of American culture, its plurality, its interconnectedness.”  





Bono released his memoir, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story (Knopf, $34) last November. 


Now come new compilations of “acoustic and reimagined recordings…stripping back songs to their bare essence, slowing them down and often rewriting them.” The songs cover the entire breadth of U2’s long musical history. 


U2, SONGS OF SURRENDER (Island, 2 CDs, $21.98) – Features 16 songs 


U2, SONGS OF SURRENDER: DELUXE (Island, 4 CDs, $46.98) – Features 40 songs