Russian pianist Arcadi Volodos has been known for high-powered Liszt performances and for gee-whiz transcriptions of works like Mozart's Rondo alla turca that seem to add an impossible collection of polyphonic lines to the music. All that could have been expected from this 2003 recording of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23, was another big, powerful interpretation to join the others already out there.
When Gillian Welch released her debut album, Revival, in 1996, plenty of listeners and critics were taken aback by her strikingly accomplished re-creation of the sound and mindset of country music of the '20s and '30s, as if she'd miraculously stepped out of Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music into Nashville in the late 20th century. It soon became common knowledge that Welch was born in New York City and had attended the Berklee School of Music, leading many to question the sincerity of the artist and the validity of the work. Twenty years later, Welch has released Boots No. 1: The Official Revival Bootleg, a collection of outtakes, demos, and alternate versions committed to tape before or during the making of Revival.
In 1995 most folks were still equating Matthew Shipp with Cecil Taylor because of his occasionally percussive method of improvisation, but Shipp was already in the studio proving them wrong. This solo recording from that period of 14 short- and medium-length pieces (the longest piece here, "Flow of Meaning," is only seven minutes and 14 seconds) shows a very introspective composer and improviser exploring textural as well as tonal worlds, and employing this complex yet haunting, beautiful harmonic framework into play in a sequence of tunes that explicate his methodology better than even the Hat album by The Law of Music.