Steve Cardenas/Ben Allison/Ted Nash, HEALING POWER: The Music of Carla Bley (Sunnyside, $16.98) – Guitarist Steve Cardenas, bassist Ben Allison, and tenor saxophonist and clarinetist Ted Nash play tunes by pianist and composer Carla Bley. Cardenas has long played in the Liberation Music Orchestra—which featured Ms. Bley’s compositions and arrangements under her direction. The trio also references the Jimmy Giuffre, Paul Bley, Steve Swallow group of the 1960s, which also played many Carla Bley compositions.
Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita, ECHO (Bendigedig, $18.99) – Two string virtuosos—harpist Catrin Finch and kora mastaer Seckou Keita—team up again.
Plínio Fernandes, SAUDADE (Decca Gold, $14.98) – Brazilian classical guitarist mixes selections from Villa Lobos’s Bachianas Brasileiras and Preludes with Sérgio Assad’s arrangements of great Brazilian songs from the samba and bossa
Jon Balke & Siwan, HAFLA (ECM, $18.98) – Keyboardist Jon Balke has assembled a group of musicians from around the Mediterranean and Middle East to create new music inspired by the spirit of Al-Andalus. The texts are sung by Algerian vocalist Mona Boutchebak, accompanied by lutes, and bowed instruments including the kemençe, Baroque violin and the strings of the Baroque Sololists.
NEW CLASSICAL: VOICES
Emmanuel Haïm, UN NOUVELLE FÊTE BAROQUE: 20 ANS (Erato, 2 CDs. $18.98) – Emmanuelle Haïm led two concerts—in Berlin and Paris—to mark 20 years of her Baroque ensemble, Le Concert d’Astrée.
The Berlin concert featured guest conductor Simon Rattle in excerpts from Rameau’s Les Boréades, and other works in the two concerts included Handel, Purcell, Vivaldi and Campra. The spectacular line-up of vocal soloists included sopranos Natalie Dessay, Sabine Devieilhe, Emőke Baráth and Sandrine Piau, mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre, tenors Michael Spyres and Rolando Villazón, bass-baritone Laurent Naouri, and bass Andrea Mastron.
DAVID LANG: THE WRITINGS (Pentatone, $16.99) – Composer David Lang (one of the three composer founders of Bang on a Can) chose five texts from the Old Testament tied to Jewish holidays, and set them to quiet, contemplative melodies.
This is the world premiere recording by Cappella Amsterdam, conducted by Daniel Reuss