Music News 11/9/23





Myra Melford / Fire & Water Quintet, HEAR THE LIGHT SINGING (RogueArt, $17.98) – The second album from pianist Myra Melford’s Fire & Water Quintet, featuring Mary Halvorson, guitar; Ingrid Laubrock, tenor and soprano saxes; Tomeka Reid, cello; and new drummer, Leslie Mok.  


Historical Releases 


Shirley Scott, QUEEN TALK: LIVE AT THE LEFT BANK (Reel to Real, 2 CDs, $25.98) – Recorded at Baltimore’s Famous Ballroom on August 20, 1972, Ms. Scott, the “Queen of the Hammond B3” organ, is joined by George Coleman, tenor sax; Bobby Durham, drums; and on three songs, Ernie Andrews, on vocals. 


Wes Montgomery, THE COMPLETE FULL HOUSE RECORDINGS (Craft, 2 CDs, $20.98) – Guitarist Wes Montgomery released, Full House, one of the iconic live albums, in November, 1962 on the Riverside label. Recorded  at Tsubo, in Berkeley, Mr. Montgomery’s quintet included Johnny Griffin, tenor sax, along with a dynamite rhythm section, all veterans of Miles Davis’s group: Wynton Kelly, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; and Jimmy Cobb, drums. The second disc includes unreleased alternate takes, and two, songs (“S.O.S.” and “Born To Be Blue”) not on the original release.  






Awadagin Pratt, STILLPOINT (New Amsterdam, $16.99) – Pianist Awadagin Pratt is joined by the string ensemble, A Far Cry, and the vocal group Roomful of Teeth in an five mostly new works: Rounds by Jessie Montgomery; Code by Paola Prestini; Time Past, Time Future by Alvin Singleton; Castillo Interior by Peteris Vasks; Untitled Composition for Piano and Eight Voices by Tyshawn Sorey; and Still Point by Judd Greenstein.  


Isabelle Faust, SOLO (Harmonia Mundi, $23.98) – Isabelle Faust is a wonderful violinist—and versatile: she has already released recordings of Stravinsky (with Les Siècles, the period instrument ensemble) and Locatelli (with Il Giardino Armonico) this year. Her new album, Solo, offers works from the second half of the Baroque: the final “Passachaglia” from Biber’s Rosary Sonatas; and works by Nicola Matteis, Sr. and Jr., Johann Vilsmayr, Johann Pisendel, and Louis-Gabriel Guillemain. 


JAMES P. JOHNSON: DE ORGANIZER & THE DREAMY KID (Naxos, $18.98) – A giant of stride piano, James P. Johnson also wrote two operatic works in the late 1930s. De Organizer had a libretto by Langston Hughes, and The Dreamy Kid had a libretto by Eugene O’Neill. The late pianist and musicologist James Dapogny reconstructed both works, and these new recording feature the University of Michigan Opera Theatre and Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kenneth Kiesler. 


Seth Colter Walls wrote about the revival of De Organizer in the New York Times, along with a new ensemble recording of Mary Lou Williams’s Zodiac Suite by Aaron Diehl and the Knights, which I wrote about a few weeks ago. 





Every four years since 1991, the Gilmore Artist Award has been awarded to a young classical pianist already embarked on a professional career. The announcement follows “a rigorous and confidential selection process” of recommendation and concert visits. Following the last four winners (Igor Levit, Rafał Blechacz, Kirill Gerstein, and Ingrid Fliter) is the 2023 winner: French pianist Alexandre Kantorow. 


Listen to his 2020 album, BRAHMS BARTÓK LISZT (BIS, SACD, $20.99).