Albums

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Jazz - Released October 19, 2018 | Gazebo

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Eric Le Lann and Paul Lay return to the roots of jazz here. THE root even. With Thanks a Million the trumpeter and pianist embark on a pilgrimage to planet Louis Armstrong. They obviously aren’t the first to celebrate and pay homage to this brilliant music, but their refined approach deserves respect. Besides the wonderful elegance in their interpretations of these pieces, Le Lann and Lay display a fascinating knack for complicity, putting their own original spin on the pieces (which have been heard many times over). With some great piano/trumpet duos this album is a superb Paso Doble that closes with Farewell to Louis, an original composition that’s drenched in melancholy. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released October 12, 2018 | Sunnyside

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Even if the Oblique Quartet are moving forward together, Dave Liebman looks like a leader. The fact that his name appears on more than 300 albums and his CV includes “freelancing” for Miles Davis and Elvin Jones, to name but a few, gives an indication to the calibre of this saxophonist from Brooklyn. Fortunately for Liebman, who is now 72 years of age, he quickly succeeded in establishing his own name away from his famous employers. He is joined by pianist Marc Copland, double-bassist Drew Gress and drummer Michael Stephans, who is in fact the real mastermind behind this quartet and adds a Coltrane-esque air to a repertoire essentially comprising of classics, three of which are written by Miles (Nardis, All Blues and So What) and one by Duke (In a Sentimental Mood). Recorded live at the Deer Head Inn in Delawere Water Gap, Pennsylvania, this is a wonderful array of improvisations that were never very well-known or acclaimed. A real instrumental whirlwind to be experienced right the way through in one go. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Contemporary Jazz - Released October 5, 2018 | TRAIN FANTOME

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It takes guts to name your album L’Odyssée. But Fred Pallem has always been a real jazz adventurer, never happy to let the genre just run its cause... And his 2018 release is yet another daring and dense piece of work, built around strong rhythms and delicious arrangements. Here, Pallem, alongside his trusty Sacre du Tympan creates some layered pieces, often very funky and very filmic. Nothing surprising there, when you think of his 2017 album Soul Cinema about blaxploitation and his homage to François de Roubaix published the previous year, two records which have rubbed off on Odyssée. The Odyssée experience is like watching a spoof film that's part thriller, part comedy, with a sort of 70s vintage feel to it. The arrangements are precise and well crafted and the soloist parts are always very original. © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 1, 2018 | Anti - Epitaph

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In 2016 Neko Case played the trio card with her peers KD Lang and Laura Veirs, for an album that injected her career with much-needed ardour. Two years later, she’s back with a solo album, following The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, released in 2013. For Hell-On, she reveals herself more than ever, matures and strikes us like thunder! In her compositions, the singer is used to delivering tales and stories that resemble her. But here, Neko Case unveils a much more feminist side. Beyond being a strong woman, she has become a wild character, unpredictable and unleashed, that simply does not hesitate to make love to you… and break a few of your ribs at the same time… A proper obscure and quirky waltz, switching back and forth between alternative country, psychedelic rock and pop ditties. One thing is certain, she’s the one leading the dance! Not forgetting the damage she does with her voice that assimilates every emotion without never losing control. At least that’s an unwavering certainty, as opposed to her compositions that don’t always operate under the verse and chorus structure. But Neko Case also knows when to take risks and get out of her comfort zone, working with unexpected artists like her co-producer Bjorn Yttling, known for his collaborations with Primal Scream and Lykke Li. Hell-On also bears the mark of a tragedy: the burning of her house, from which nothing could be salvaged! Not surprising then to hear a touch of rage in her singing or to witness her lack of fear placing lit-up cigarettes in her hair or lay down in a bed full of snakes in her music videos. A brand-new woman has just emerged from the bowels of the earth and is singing Hell-On! © Clara Bismuth/Qobuz
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Cello Concertos - Released May 18, 2018 | harmonia mundi

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After two albums which met with unanimous critical acclaim all over the world, the Resonanz Ensemble, based in Hamburg, is offering a recording dedicated to Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: the Cello Concertos wq. 170 and Wq. 172, respectively from 1750 and 1753, and the Symphonie Wq. 173 of 1741. The listener will immediately note the radical difference in language between the two concertos, written after the death of Bach Senior, and the Symphony, written while he was still alive: the concertos keep their eyes firmly fixed on the nascent classical era, including the "Sturm und Drang" which still lay ahead (in this regard, the Concerto in A Minor which opens the album, full of force and melodic power, is an excellent example), whereas the Symphony takes the final throes of baroque as its point of departure. Cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras and the Resonanz Ensemble offer a crystal-clear reading, conducted by their new musical director in residence, violinist Riccardo Minasi: and coolly resist the vogue – which can be quite intrusive, or even dictatorial or exclusive – for period instruments, which seems to hold that any music before Mozart (and even sometimes Mozart too) may not be played on modern instruments. Queyras, Resonanz and Minasi are all able to make use of stylistic elements gleaned from the fashion for baroque. This is a very fine album, superbly played, which really brings out all the originality of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. © SM/Qobuz
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Concertos - Released March 23, 2018 | Alpha

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What if this album turned out to be the new standard version of Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in E Minor? Judging from what we get to see of the young cellist Marie-Elisabeth Hecker, it might well be, thanks to the sumptuous, smouldering sounds that fill this interpretation from beginning to end. It would be far too tempting to compare the young German to her distant colleague Jacqueline Du Pré, for whom this concerto was a signature piece. The publisher was on the right track when they took Marie-Elisabeth Hecker's picture striking exactly the same pose as the English cellist does in one of her most famous photographs, taken when she was the young wife of Daniel Barenboim: but Hecker's head is cocked the other way to throw the observer off. Born in Zwickau in 1987, she was one of the youngest participants ever to win the Rostropovich Competition in Paris. In 2010, she enjoyed a thrilling success in her hometown, playing Concerto in A minor to mark the bicentenary of Robert Schumann's birth (he was born in the same town), conducted by Daniel Barenboim, who would no doubt have felt very touched by a scene that recalled his own youth. The attentive and careful accompaniment by Edo de Waart shows off the sonic riches of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, which he led from 2011 to 2016. Yet more proof of the high quality achieved by so many orchestras around the world today. This is an interesting pairing with a short, ultra-romantic piece by Elgar, Sospiri, transcribed here for cello and strings, whose secrets are laid bare by cellist Sol Gabetta. The Quintet for Piano in A Minor is the other major piece by Elgar to feature on this new recording. Composed in 1918, it is a very refined work, which often takes on orchestral tones, in a very Brahmsian language. © François Hudry/Qobuz

R&B/Soul - Released March 16, 2018 | Naive

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Throughout his albums, you quickly understand that Meshell Ndegeocello was more than a Prince-ss. It’s easier to just see in this amazing singer, bass player and songwriter the female counterpart of the small genius from Minneapolis… For a quarter of a century, she has created the perfect alchemy between jazz, soul, rock, pop, funk, new wave and hip-hop, a true custard pie that is usually indigestible when tried by her competitors. With her, free as a bird never rang so true. It’s only logical, as this is the meaning of Ndegeocello in Swahili… Her 2018 batch sounds like a return to the groove roots; Meshell entertains herself by revisiting songs from the masters of the genre (Prince, TLC, George Clinton, Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, Sade) and also from some forgotten names (Force MDs, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Surface, Al B. Sure!). Recorded in Los Angeles with her faithful Chris Bruce (guitar), Abraham Rounds (drums) and Jebin Bruni (keyboards), the aptly-named Ventriloquism is much more than a simple “cover album”. Stripped-down of their sometimes dated original sound, her songs are completely restored with care and taste by a Meshell that is as inspired as ever (TLC’s Waterfalls sounds like some Neil Young!) and yet beset by a rather dark personal touch. “The year around the recording of this album was so disorienting and dispiriting for me personally and for so many people I know and spoke to all the time. I looked for a way to make something that was light while things around me were so dark, a musical place to go that reminded me of another, brighter time.” This sensation of plenitude can be redeeming, and also kind of beautiful. All of that exudes from Ventriloquism, the strong work of an upstanding as ever and really unique artist. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Folk/Americana - Released February 9, 2018 | Alela Diane

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In 2007, The Pirates's Gospel wrote its drugged-up folk onto the heart of gospel. Alela Diane brought her staggering voice to this first album. It would be a hit with fans of Cat Power and Karen Dalton… A decade later, the Californian set up in Portland, setting up in a house in the middle of the woods, surely a kind of re-fuelling after the birth of her daughter two years earlier… There, the songwriter set aside her acoustic guitar for a grand piano on which she created the songs on Cusp, the fifth album from a woman who had decided to draw up a balance sheet which was as much personal as it was artistic. Her relationship to femininity but also her eye for maternity (on Song For Sandy, Alela Diane pays homage to Sandy Denny, the goddess of 60s British Folk at the core of Fairport Convention who died at just 31 shortly after becoming a mother) or for her contemporaries (Emigré on the migrant crisis) gives this record a literary density. Musically, her standard melodic sensibility and her stripped-down approach to folk are blended into an unusually-sophisticated instrumentation. It evokes Carole King, Joni Mitchell and the great names of the Laurel Canyon stage. These charismatic influences in no sense overshadow the originality of Alela Diane, who is more than ever fully in command of her art. © MD/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 27, 2017 | B Records

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This is with a touching document that begins this album devoted, for the most part, to Apollinaire’s poems put into music by Poulenc: the poet reading his own “Le Pont Mirabeau” during a reception at the Théâtre de l’Athénée in 1911. This is in this very theater that the baritone Stéphane Degout, accompanied at the piano by Cédric Tiberghien—also joined by flutist Matteo Cesari and cellist Alexis Descharmes on Ravel’s Chansons madécasses—delivers a nice handful of cycles of Poulenc’s melodies, that is to say Le Bestiaire, Calligrammes, Banalités and Quatre poèmes, the top of the composer’s art in this domain. The album concludes with Ravel and his Histoires naturelles. Degout and Tiberghien of course know of the recordings made by Poulenc himself at the piano with Pierre Bernac, but they soon realized that the notes of the composer on his own partitions—that are often of a meticulous precision—don’t really reflect what he himself took the liberty to do; hence their very free interpretation, a true reappropriation of the partition, which brings a whole new reading to the work. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 6, 2017 | Pavane Records

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Classical - Released April 28, 2017 | Sony Classical

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Solo Piano - Released April 28, 2017 | ARTALINNA

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For several years now, Hiroaki Takenouchi had been keen to champion the music of a major Romantic composer, William Sterndale Bennett – an English virtuoso pianist, born in 1816, and considered one of the most captivating virtuosos in his time because of his flamboyance and mastery of the keyboard. Here, Takenouchi chooses one of what are indisputably Sterndale Bennett’s most accomplished scores, the Piano Sonata in F minor Op. 13, dedicated to Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: the work unveils a romantic ballad tone, which is both exciting and genuinely exhilarating, like the great scores of Mendelssohn or Schumann. To complete his programme Takenouchi offers one of the latter’s masterpieces for piano, Symphonic Etudes (1834) and dedicated… to William Sterndale Bennett. Indeed, Hiroaki Takenouchi’s new album released on the Artalinna label offers us interplay of reciprocal dedications to these three great names of European Romanticism – Mendelssohn, Schumann and Sterndale Bennett. His first volume of a double anthology dedicated to Haydn had been honoured by an ffff from the French magazine French magazine Télérama (highest award).
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Solo Piano - Released April 7, 2017 | ARTALINNA

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Aline Piboule offers us a journey to the country of light. For her first solo album, she brings together three fundamental French piano works, Fauré’s Ballade and Theme and Variations and Dutilleux’s Sonata, which has become one of her favourite pieces. The programme is made up of a succession of insistent variations on the theme of light, contrasting aesthetics which very often oscillate between shadows, sound and silences. Aline Piboule’s playing has a fairly typical French charm, fluctuating between robustness and tender sensuality. © Artalinna
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Vocal Jazz - Released March 31, 2017 | Vision Fugitive

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Secular Vocal Music - Released February 17, 2017 | harmonia mundi

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Recorded at the Cité de la Musique during the complete cycle of Monteverdi madrigals mounted in partnership with the Philharmonie de Paris and the Théâtre de Caen, the last volume in our trilogy probably contains the best-loved gems of a composer who had become maestro di cappella at St Mark’s in Venice, and finally entered the priesthood. Alongside the great operas that have survived from this period, the final madrigals methodically explore the multiple possibilities offered by the rapidly developing practice of basso continuo and by an unprecedented exploitation of solo voices. And, in that respect, the celebrated Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda forms a spectacular finale to our Monteverdian adventure!
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released October 14, 2016 | Alpha

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Since the dawn of Christianity, Christmas has been celebrated with festive singing. In the Baroque era numerous composers such as Charpentier, Delalande, Balbastre, Dandrieu and Daquin created masterpieces out of these simple tunes. When Sofi Jeannin told me of her wish to get her ‘Maîtrise’ choir to sing Christmas music, I was delighted. For a long time I had been gathering French sources of the 17th and 18th centuries with the intention of working on baroque carol arrangements with Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien. I wanted to create something quite different from what had been done before, by treating this repertoire with proper respect: being faithful to the old sources, yet re-working the musical material to make our own personal version. The different languages, regional dialects and accents illustrate the extraordinary diversity and cultural richness of France – as well as of ‘New France’ – at that historical period.
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Classical - Released September 9, 2016 | harmonia mundi

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released April 29, 2016 | Glossa

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Symphonies - Released February 26, 2016 | Universal Music Group International

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Pop - Released November 6, 2015 | Nonesuch

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