YOU LOVED ME THEN, David Harris’ first album of originals in over 30 years, reflects his eclectic musical journey. It began when his father played him the works of Romantic composers like Chopin and Schuman, continued to his grade school encounters with the Beatles and The Doors, and was crowned by his teenage discovery of John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, and most importantly, Thelonious Monk. Harris estimates that he has written somewhere around 3,000 jazz, pop, and classical compositions. With the help of renowned pianist Paul English and a cadre of exceptional jazz talents, Harris brings some of his favorites to life on this Big Round Records release.
Berl Olswanger, “Mr. Music of Memphis,” returns for a fifth installment of timeless archival recordings on Big Round Records with BERL OLSWANGER IN THE STUDIO. This never-before-heard collection transports listeners back to the pianist’s private studio in 1950’s Memphis where he recorded his early compositions, some of which went on to become fully orchestrated tracks on the 2021 release BERL OLSWANGER AT PEPPER RECORDS.
With a smooth blend of blues, country, boogie-woogie, and ragtime influences, Olswanger delivers tunes that capture the popular sounds of the era. From the strong stride piano solo in Chicken Bone Man to the fluttering fills in Tennessee Skidoo, Olswanger’s inimitable approach shines through, inviting listeners into his private studio to witness an early period of the piano great’s legacy.
WHEN GAIA FALLS from composer Bradford Blackburn is an environmental call for action in the face of climate change manifested through musical, literary, and sonic eclecticism as a medium of universality. Its central message? There is no better time to save the future than the present.
From the body of electroacoustic, choral, and chamber works emerge a trio of narrative sub texts. The first, to simplify our needs and desires, the second, to make ecologically sustainable choices, and the third, to pursue positive change as a society. Bradford calls upon several artists to drive his message home in this release, spanning a variety of genres and moods that make a compelling case.
Israel Neuman’s VOLUTION fuses the power of hip hop with the versatility of jazz to form a uniquely forceful expression. The music heard on the album hints at a number of other musical genres as well, including rhythm and blues and middle-eastern folk music, to name a few. Vocalists including AceKidd and Cole Bracey rap and sing over the kaleidoscopic timbres created by Neuman’s music. In Tear It Down, AceKidd’s lyrics decry systemic injustice with lines like “man down/oh but you won’t lend a hand out/pressed down expecting us to stand down.” In Rough, a lovesick Cole Bracey croons “I’m worthless without your love/I’m spinning…Oh it’s rough.” With evocative lyrics, masterful modulations, and a smooth blend of celebrated musical styles, VOLUTION invites a wide audience of music lovers to the table.
Berl Olswanger returns for a second installment of timeless archival recordings on Big Round Records, with BERL OLSWANGER AT PEPPER RECORDS, a collection of tunes recorded during the late-50’s golden era of the Memphis record business. Olswanger hit the state-of-the-art studios at Pepper Records to record 10 songs by William “Pat” Best, Floyd Huddleston, Olswanger himself, and more.
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.