Music News 10/19/2022




Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard, PIONEERING WOMEN OF BLUEGRASS: The Definitive Edition (Smithsonian Folkways, $16.98) – A compilation of the duo’s two recordings on Folkways. Hazel and Alice “began playing together in the bluegrass and old-time music scene in and around the bars and house parties of Baltimore and Washington, DC, in the mid-to-late 1950s.” 

Who’s That Knocking? was recorded in 1965, right here in DC at All Soul’s Church. Singing and playing around a single microphone, Hazel (also on bass) and Alice (on guitar) were joined by David Grisman on mandolin, Chubby Wise on fiddle, and Lamar Grier on banjo. 

The follow-up, Wont’t You Come and Sing For Me?, was recorded soon after, but only released in 1973. 

The CD booklet includes essays by Hazel, Alice, Laurie Lewis, producer Peter Siegel, and photos by John Cohen and Carl Fleischauer. 

The duo split in 1976, and continued solo careers. Ms. Dickens died in 2021, and Ms. Gerrard has continued her career as a singer, publisher (The Old-Time Herald), and folklorist. 

NOTE: There was a full-page article on Ms. Gerrard in last Sunday’s New York Times. 



Linda Ronstadt, FEELS LIKE HOME: Songs from the Sonoran Borderlands (Putumayo, $14.98) – A tie-in with Linda Rondstadt’s new memoir, Feels Like Home: A Song for the Sonoran Borderlands (Heyday Books). The compilation includes songs by Ms. Ronstadt (duets with Emmylou and Dolly), Los Cenzontles, Ry Cooder & Lalo Guerrero, and features with David Hidalgo and Jackson Browne. 





Eliane Elias, QUIETUDE (Candid, $16.98) – Pianist and vocalist Eliane Elias samba album, featuring fantastic songs by Vinicius de Moraes, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Dori and Dorival Caymmi, Geraldo Pereira, Denis Brean, among others. 


Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band, LIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES: BLUES ALLEY (Stoner Hill, $15.99) – Drummer Brian Blade has a fantastic ensemble, the Fellowship Band, playing melodically-driven tunes, with touches of blues and gospel. On June 15, 2000, the Fellowship played at Blues Alley in Georgetown, and Mr. Blade has chosen to release music from this appearance on his new archives series. The band featured featured Myron Walden, alto sax and bass clarinet; Melvin Butler, tenor/soprano sax;  Kurt Rosenwinkel, guitar; Jon Cowherd, piano; and Christopher Thomas, bass.


Thumbscrew, MULITCOLORED MIDNIGHT (Cunieform, $16.98) – The co-operative trio of electric guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Michael Formanek, and drummer/vibraphonist Tomas Fujiwara are celebrating ten years together. This is their seventh album which focus on the trio’s own compositions (the exceptions were The Anthony Braxton Project [2020] and Theirs [2018], a collection of not-so-standard covers). 

Thumbscrew records on the Cunieform label, from Silver Spring and founded in 1984. The label released Ensemble Volcanic Ash (see below) and new MacArthur Fellow Tomeka Reid’s Old New (see below). 




On Friday, Oct 21, at Strathmore, conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra will appear, with guest cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason playing the Elgar Concerto for Cello and Orchestra. There will be works by Thomas Adès and Debussy as well.  

Next week, will see the release the second CD of Weinberg symphonies conducted by Ms. Gražinytė-Tyla. 


And also this Friday, playing a late show at Comet Ping Pong (in the same block as P&P), will be cellist Janel Leppin’s Ensemble Volcanic Ash. Their new album, also entitled Ensemble Volcanic Ash, features cello, electric guitar, saxes, harp, bass, and drums, and is one of the year’s best. 





Two great musicians, from two generations, Tomeka Reid and Ikue Mori, won MacArthur Fellowships last week (the “genius grants”). 


Improvising cellist Tomeka Reid was raised in the DC area, and now is based in Chicago. Her bands and many collaborations are all worth seeking out. 

You can start with OLD NEW (Cunieform, $16.98) from 2019, a quartet with Mary Halvorson, Jason Roebke and Tomas Fujiwara. 



Ikue Mori is pioneering electronic improviser and drummer, who’s been a part of the Downtown NY scene for decades, collaborating with a multitude of artists.  

Listen to her new album, TRACING THE MAGIC (Tzadik, $16.99)—“seven pieces, dedicated to women artists whose powerful vision and creativity drove them to continue creating well into their ‘80s and ‘90s: Joan Jonas, Louise Bourgeois, Agnes Martin, Judit Reigl, Leonora Carrington, Jakucho Sekuchi, and Toko Shinoda.” Ms. Mori’s ensemble includes Charmane Lee, Sae Hashimoto, Sylvie Courvoisier, Makigami Koichi, Erik Friedlander, Satoko Fujii, Natsuki Tamura, Zeena Parkins, Ned Rothenberg, and David Watson.