Jazz

The Movement Revisited (CD)

McBride’s stunning masterpiece about “the struggle” is now a 20 year-long continuously evolving project that combines elements of jazz, gospel, big band, swing, symphony, theater and dramatic spoken word in a clear-eyed, yet optimistic, look at where our society has come from and where it is hopefully headed.

 

In 1998, a musical commission from the Portland (Maine) Arts Society set in motion what would eventually become a major part of his life’s work. Written for just a quartet and gospel choir, that original version of The Movement Revisited gave only a hint of what the piece would eventually become. In 2008, the L.A. Philharmonic asked if he would like to recreate it on a larger scale for their upcoming season. The Movement Revisited grew into a sweeping four-part suite for big jazz band, small jazz group, gospel choir, and four narrators who convey the pain and pathos, euphoria, joy, and ultimately hope of the struggle through the words and writings of four iconic Americans: the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and Muhammad Ali.

 

For this recording of The Movement Revisited, McBride chose poet and artist Sonia Sanchez for the voice of Rosa Parks, actor Wendell Pierce (The Wire, Treme) for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., actor Vondie Curtis-Hall (Chicago Hope, Daredevil) as Malcolm X, and Dion Graham (Malcolm X, The Wire) as Muhammad Ali.

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The Vagabond (CD)

Pianist Aaron Diehl’s new album, The Vagabond, is a jazz recording rooted in precedents set by his forbearers such as Art Tatum, Mary Lou Williams, Ahmad Jamal, Roland Hanna and John Lewis, but it will come as no surprise to his fans that there are clear references to his background in classical music. The Vagabond also features Diehl’s interpretation of works “March from Ten Pieces for Piano, Op. 12” written by Russian great Sergei Prokofiev and “Piano Etude No. 16” by Philip Glass.

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Feeling Is Believing (CD)

Recorded at the tail end of 1969 with a cast of new collaborators, Feeling Is Believing is a prime showcase of Erroll Garner’s two greatest strengths: his ability to completely reinvent well known songs, and his endlessly creative facility as a composer of original music. From his sultry “The Loving Touch” to the Afrofuturistic “Mood Island,” Garner’s originality again proves boundless.

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Visions (CD)

When BADBADNOTGOOD’s Matthew Tavares and Leland Whitty collaborate on a new improvisational album, we all win. The genre-bending jazz-heads created Visions to be an immersive, emotional hour-long listening experience. With Tavares on piano and guitar and Whitty on sax and flute, guests Julian Anderson-Bowes jams out on the bass and Matthew Chalmers wields the drumsticks. The result is a rich, raw partially-composed, partially-improvised record that boasts its vulnerability and intuitiveness as real strengths. Expect moments of avant-garde madness tempered by soft, gentle lyrical passages. As with all of this duo’s output, Visions has to be heard to be believed.

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