Adam Guettel’s theater cult-classic MYTHS AND HYMNS is no stranger to genre-bending and reimagination, the original song cycle itself leaning heavily on the concepts. So it comes as no surprise that renowned guitarist Garrett Gleason, never shying away from the new or imaginative, would produce his own reworkings of the beloved songs for guitar, bass, and drums.
There’s no shortage of fresh takes in these often experimental arrangements sifting between the lines of rock and theater. Gleason’s re-workings add a vivacious flair to works like Pegasus and Sisyphus, the various guitar effects an inventive means of exciting the original content without failing to honor it entirely. Even the subdued slow-rock of How Can I Lose You finds itself ever so gradually slipping into admirable madness sure to please even the most experimental of music listeners.
Gleason’s new take on MYTHS AND HYMNS is a welcome revival and renewal. Not only is it sure to meet approval by fans of the original, but it’s been approved by Guettel himself, the two eventually coming together in person to completely reimagine the closing song, Saturn Returns (Reprise). Gleason hopes for his arrangements of MYTHS AND HYMNS to bring the worlds of theater and rock together, that perhaps, like myths and hymns, there is more in common between the two than one would think.
Composed by Phil Scarff and performed by world-jazz ensemble Natraj, RAGAMALA PAINTINGS ALIVE! shines a contemporary light on historic artwork from India. The members of Natraj individually and collectively bring a wealth of experience exploring the intersection of jazz and global musical traditions. Their stunning performance showcased in this release is wide ranging, deep, and accessible, while firmly rooted in the rich tapestry of Indian classical music. RAGAMALA PAINTINGS ALIVE! is part of a larger multimedia work created in collaboration with Indian classical dancer Jayshree Bala Rajamani, incorporating dance, music, spoken word, and projected images. It brings to life historic ragamala paintings, with each painting representing one Indian classical raga or melodic framework. Inspired by Modest Mussorgsky and his iconic work, Pictures at an Exhibition, Scarff threads the suite together with musical “promenades” that represent the viewer entering and moving about an art gallery, with each theme anticipating a painting or set of paintings to come. Whether heard on its own or experienced as a full multimedia performance, RAGAMALA PAINTINGS ALIVE! takes listeners on a compelling contemporary journey that celebrates classic ragamala paintings from India.
THE OXTET DOES HINDEMITH from Josh Oxford is a bold reimagining of classical music in a jazz fusion context. In this album, Oxford revisits some of Paul Hindemith’s greatest works. Hindemith, a late Romantic German composer, lived during the first half of the 20th century and was among the most significant composers of his time. The album contains sonatas for trumpet, tuba, trombone, and more, in which tonically complex horn lines weave above a jazz band. Recorded at Pyramid Sound in Ithaca and at Ithaca College, the timbres of the various horns along with marimba, Fender Rhodes, drums, electric guitar and bass, and more, are rendered in high fidelity. THE OXTET DOES HINDEMITH features the music of this legendary composer as you’ve never heard it before.
From genre-smashing composer and keyboardist Miguel Kertsman and drummer Ernie Adams comes IN THE MOMENT, a true-to-its-name album that leaps over musical boundaries and defies any label. The single-take, minimally microphoned recordings capture the raw emotional potential of music and the spontaneity of an intimate recording session. Kertsman’s vintage analog keyboards, bass pedals, and Adams’ drums work in tandem to duck and weave between musical forms, mingling with progressive rock, jazz fusion, Brazilian, Eastern, and more, all seamlessly fused together into one cohesive musical journey.
CIRCADIAN WORLD CLOCK from David Haney and Big Round Records is a captivating exploration of nature’s musical landscape. In this groundbreaking recording project, Haney challenges participants from around the world to submit 2-3 minute field recordings, each recorded at the specific hours of the day prescribed by the monastic Liturgy of the Hours.
New from Big Round Records comes jazz composer and pianist Paul English’s GIRL IN GREEN. The album features never-before-heard renditions of immortal classics as well as English’s original works. Listen as English and his cadre of masterful soloists carve a place for themselves in jazz history.
Described by critics as “beyond category, to use Duke Ellington’s signature compliment” (All About Jazz), Japanese marimba extraordinaire Mika Stoltzman brings her wealth of experience to her latest “Mikarimba” album, Big Round Records’ TAPEREBÁ. Vibrant and bursting with flavor (just like the Brazilian fruit which the album derives its title from), the jazzy TAPEREBÁ features performances by Stoltzman and a circle of legendary fellow artists. With over 25 Grammy Awards shared between the members on this record, a memorable listening experience is practically guaranteed.
On TO ONE, Croatian-born Lela Kaplowitz delivers a collection of songs that expressively hearken back to the singer/songwriter era of the 1970s, reviving the spirit of such ground-breaking artists as Carole King, Laura Nyro, and Roberta Flack. Kaplowitz, who has been lauded by jazz vocal legend Sheila Jordan as “an extremely talented vocalist” and Bobby McFerrin as having a “wonderful voice,” presents a nuanced mélange of pop, soul, jazz, and even folk music on TO ONE.
Even though the tracks on BIRTH OF A CITY are loosely grouped by their titles, the recording is very much a concept album. Haney, himself an accomplished pianist who also studied composition, scored the pieces for a kind of string quartet (violin – viola – cello – double bass), interspersed by varying quantities of brass instruments and percussion. Naturally, as one would expect from this kind of music, all works are scored with exactitude – for the most part, that is. Remarkably, Haney grants the performers a great amount of improvisatory freedom – indubitably owing to his own background in jazz, the genre which definitely and definitively shines through in all his compositions.
A BISSEL RHYTHM is composer and clarinetist Paul Green’s PARMA Recordings debut, although it marks his second recorded exploration into the fusion between jazz and Jewish music. A performance at Merkin Concert Hall resulted in the New York Times extolling his talents: “Like a cobra intent on doing some charming of its own, the clarinetist Paul Green weaved, darted and hovered over his instrument…conjuring gorgeous sounds.”
Concert pianist and composer Michael Arnowitt, assisted by ImproVisions Jazz, makes his Big Round Records debut with SWEET SPONTANEOUS, the title drawn from a poem by e.e.cummings. This two-disc jazz album features 14 of Arnowitt’s own compositions with the composer himself at the piano, joined by a dozen jazz notables including Yosvany Terry on alto sax, Lucas Pino on tenor sax, Dave Smith on trumpet, and Colin Stranahan on drums.
GOIN’ HOME… A RETROSPECTIVE is pianist and composer Gay Pearson’s second release on Big Round Records. The album is a live recording of her most recent annual chamber-jazz concert, featuring an eclectic ensemble with Gay Pearson on piano, John Lockwood on bass, Phil McGowan on drums, Tracy McMullen on saxophone, Lea Pearson on flute, and Shannon Allen on cello. This varied ensemble performs a wide variety of music with different instrumental combinations, from Astor Piazzolla to classic tunes of Chick Corea, Harold Arlen and Jerome Kern, to more contemporary original compositions by Pearson herself.
On her debut Big Round Records release, A SINISTER ENDEAVOR, composer and pianist Gay Pearson presents a collection of works that highlight her eclectic quintet - consisting of piano, bass, drums, flute, and cello - and their colorful, introspective, and energetic performances. Recorded live in Newburyport MA, this album presents original works by Pearson, including Zonal and Meridional Flow, with its classical counterpoint and 4-part polyphony; the energetic solo piano piece Cirrus High; and An Ionian Emitter, which uses complex rhythms and syncopation.
Life on the Canadian prairie is vital, challenging, and poetic, and on their debut Big Round Records release, BY THE RED, pianist Laura Loewen and baritone Mel Braun - joined by Fred Redekop and Jay Taylor, otherwise known as the mandolin-bass duo Big and Dinky - present a glimpse of the variety of folk music found in Manitoba's Red River Valley. Drawn from French Canadian, Métis, German Mennonite, Scots, and cowboy culture, and supplemented by the art song-like settings of John Greer, Larry Warkentin, Chester Duncan, Robert Turner, and Heidi Ugrin, these works relate stories that 200 years of life in the Red River Valley have generated. Tales of sod-busting pioneers, exile, sacrifice, summer idyll, and love, all leavened by a sense of humor that allows life to flourish on the prairie, are explored on this dramatic and nostalgic collection.
DETOURS, the debut Big Round Records release from percussionist Joe Porter and pianist Joel Goodfellow, showcases the jazz duo's capacity for collaboration and improvisation, with animated and dynamic versions of well-known film and literary compositions.
From Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club de France to the American jazz players who immigrated to immerse themselves in its vibrant musical scene, Paris has been an epicenter of haute jazz culture. Jean-Philippe Grégoire has been a staple of the Paris jazz scene for many years and on his debut Big Round Records release SOUNDS FROM THE DELTA the guitarist/composer presents a refined and inspired hybrid of French and American jazz styles.
With a variety of musical flavors pulled from composers spanning Keiko Abe to Bach to Bill Evans, MARIMJAZZIA, composer and marimbist Juan Álamo's debut album on Big Round Records delivers a satisfying plate of music for the soul. Along with arrangements of two jazz standards, Waltz for Debby and Afro Blues, the album features original compositions for marimba and percussion ensemble by the composer. As to the concept behind the album, Álamo says, "It is a reflection of who I am as a human being and a synthesis of all the different musical influences and experiences I have had throughout my career." With accompaniments by the UNC Percussion Ensemble, MARIMJAZZIA brings together the warm airs of Álamo's native Puerto Rico and the influences that have kept his passion flourishing.
EK IS EIK, the debut Big Round Records release for critically acclaimed Dutch composer and harpist Anne Vanschothorst, features works for contemporary classical harp with a distinctly jazz twist. By way of solo harp pairing with instruments such as the trumpet, viola da gamba, percussion, and bass, Vanschothorst's music mirrors her passion for experimentation and eclecticism. EK IS EIK takes listeners on a journey of thoughts and memories, and appeals to the profound within the listeners: imagination, emotion, truth, and beauty.
GRATITUDE ATTITUDE is the fifth release in the critically acclaimed Best Foot Forward series from Recess Music. This album of children's music features many contrasting styles and teaches our kids lessons of gratefulness, respect and expressing thanks, with songs chosen for their ability to engage, educate, entertain, and encourage children to think about selflessness and giving. Just like the other discs in the Best Foot Forward series, GRATITUDE ATTITUDE features engaging, fun tunes enjoyable for kids and parents alike!
Introducing SHARE! - the fourth release in the critically acclaimed Best Foot Forward Music Series. SHARE! teaches our kids lessons of generosity and kindness with songs chosen for their ability to engage, educate, entertain, and encourage children to think about selflessness and giving. Just like the other discs in the Best Foot Forward series, SHARE! features many contrasting styles and engaging, fun tunes enjoyable for kids and parents alike!