In the beginning there was the shattered sky. A window – slammed shut. The glass – broken. The view outside – obscured. Inside: destruction. The end. While scenes like these evoke some terrible drama, they are part of our lives. They occur in our individual biographies as well as in the world as a whole. Everywhere. All the time. Guitarist / composer Friedemann Witecka found an impressive account of sky-shattering on a national scale while reading »Stasiland« by the Australian writer Anna Funder. In this book, published 2003, he discovered the phrase: »pieces of a shattered sky«. The collaps of his own sky occurred in 2010. It was the end which marked the beginning of a new album entitled »Echoes Of A Shattered Sky«.
GRAMMY WINNER for Best New Age Album of 2012! The music of Omar Akram is a marriage of passion and grace, of adventure and relaxation, of beauty and raw earthiness. He crafts soundscapes that capture the peaceful nature of relaxing in the backyard on a lazy afternoon. Yet, within those compositions is the spark of a daydream; a fantasy of traveling along the Mediterranean coast, exploring its towns and countryside treasures. With this new album for Real Music, newlywed Akram contemplates the nature of love with a collection of twelve songs set in his characteristic style. Piano and strings join with Spanish guitar, while rumba-tinged rhythms and lush new age textures create a sound that is pleasant and exotic. Guest musicians include Charlie Bisharat on violin, Gregg Karukas on keyboards and Brian Kilgore on ethnic percussion. The kiss of romance burns bright in each of the songs, with their tender melodies and clear warmth. Listeners with a love for grand instrumental music will certainly enjoy this release.
Let's put the hook in right from the jump: Echoes of Indiana Avenue is perhaps the most significant release of previously unissued material by a major jazz artist since the The Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane: At Carnegie Hall appeared in 2005. That's not hyperbole. These tapes, which consist of two live recordings and one studio demo, were cut, presumably, between 1957 and 1958, with various groupings of musicians, including his brothers Monk and Buddy, as well as pianist Earl Van Riper and bassist Mingo Jones. All of the tunes here are now regarded as standards, but some were current then, freshly added in that era, such as Shorty Rogers' "Diablo's Dance," Horace Silver's "Nica's Dream," and perhaps most importantly, Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight" and "Straight No Chaser."
As a debut recording on Deutsche Grammophon, Lisa Batiashvili's Echoes of Time works reasonably well because it demonstrates a seriousness of purpose that any rising violinist would wish to convey and provides a showcase for her virtuosity. Dmitry Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 sets a keynote of gravitas and introduces us to the theme of the album, which is that the works presented here were influenced in one way or another by the culture and politics of the Soviet Union.