Thursday, November 05, 2015

Lynn Harrell & Vladimir Ashkenazy
"Beethoven: The Cello Sonatas" (Vinyl)

The cello sonatas, like Beethoven's string quartets, can act as vignettes into his life, highlighting his compositional and emotional maturity at different points during his output.

The early sonatas (1 & 2) belong to the very early Opus 5 and show a young Beethoven still wrestling with the traditional forms of his predecessors while the more famous 4th and 5th sonatas (Opus 102) come from the composer during his most revolutionary period.

Harrell attacks the early sonatas in this cycle with a sort of intensity that I'm not sure I like.  Perhaps this ferocity will be more appropriate for the later sonatas on the second LP when I manage to arrive there.
"Bird-Brains" (CD)

Merrill Garbus' performance pseudonym is most accurately spelled tUnE-yArDs, but we'll simplify it for the sake of personal sanity and so I don't feel like I'm dyslexic every time I try and read something written lIkE tHiS.

I first encountered Tune-Yards because of the infectious and weird 'Gangsta' off of her sophomore album.  Being very familiar with Whokill, it was fun to reverse engineer Garbus' efforts looking back to her first album which I feel is decidedly primitive in many technological efforts.  Don't misunderstand: primitive, but no less creative and inspired.

I've become a big fan of Tune-Yards' work if for no other reason than she seems completely unafraid of being her own version of whatever she is. The freak flag pole is indeed tall with this one. Delightful.
Ahmad Jamal
"at the Blackhawk" (Vinyl)

Released in 1962, this was the final recording by the trio made up of Ahmad Jamal on piano, Vernell Fournier on drums and Israel Crosby on bass.  Use of the designator the Ahmad Jamal Trio or the Three Strings seems to be common for this time.

In August of 1962 Israel Crosby died from a heart attack just after beginning work with the George Shearing Quintet.  Whether it was Crosby's departure to work with Shearing or his death that drove Jamal into a three-year hiatus late in 1962, I can not tell.

Is it...could it be? A...return from the dead?!

I hope so.  

That little "break" took a lot longer than I was anticipating.  Nearly an entire year.  I could mention how I've lived in two separate parts of the country during that time, but it should be sufficient to say that I've relocated a mere 1,900 miles away from my last home, started a new job and am sitting in the comfort of a new home enjoying my new internet for the first time in over a year.

Among other time-wasting pastimes, I will be getting back to the record blogging as soon as I can with a bit more explanation.  Until then...