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DJANGO'S CENTENNIAL PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND AND SPECIAL GUESTS IN CONCERT: MIGUEL ZENÓN & MARIA CRISTINA KIER
Tom Cole, host of WPFW’s perfect Sunday morning guitar show called “G Strings,” did a wonderful piece on NPR recently celebrating the centennial of Django Reinhardt’s birth (here, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122865782 ). As he states in the piece, Django pioneered a style of jazz that’s still going strong – there are “le jazz hot” bands all over the world, keeping his guitar tradition alive. Here his amazing virtuosity and extreme swing on ONLY THE BEST (Varese Sarabande, 2CDs, $17.98).
PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND AND SPECIAL GUESTS
PRESERVATION (Preservation Hall Records, $13.98) is full of great performances: nineteen tracks of artists -- both young and old, crossing many genres -- collaborating with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The hightlights include Dr. John, Merle Haggard, Del McCoury, and Richie Havens (a splendid version of “Trouble in Mind”). Tom Waits, Steve Earl, Ani DiFranco, and Andrew Bird feel right at home on the blues and Mardi Gras chants. Even Angélique Kidjo (backed by Terence Blanchard on trumpet) brings it back to New Orleans, singing a jazzy version of “La Vie En Rose.” The album benefits Preservation Hall and the Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program.
IN CONCERT: MIGUEL ZENÓN & MARIA CRISTINA KIER
One of the best albums of 2009 was jazz alto saxophonist (and MacArthur winner) Miguel Zenón’s ESTA PLENA (Marsalis Music, $16.98), combining his native Puerto Rican plena music with original jazz writing. His group will be at 6th & I Synagogue this Saturday, Feb. 20, with pianist Aaron Park’s group as opening act.
Three years ago, I heard one of the great voices in baroque music for the first time on the album, LAMENTAZIONE (Harmonia Mundi, $18.98). Since then, I’ve sought out Maria Cristina Kierhr’s other albums with Concerto Soave; happily, some of them have been reissued at mid-price. CANTA LA MADDALENA (Harmonia Mundi, $13.98), SCARLATTI: BELLA MADRE DE’FIORI: CANTATAS (Harmonia Mundi, $13.98), and MONTEVERDI: PIANTO DELLA MADONNA (Harmonia Mundi, $8.98) are treasures; they are displayed downstairs at the bottom of the stairs. Maria Cristina Kierhr and Concerto Soave will be at the Library of Congress on Thursday, Feb. 25.