This expertly performed "Stabat Mater" compilation includes two important 16th-century works: the Eton Choirbook setting by John Browne, a sumptuous-if-not-solemn fantasia for six-part choir; and Palestrina's serene double-choir setting, performed one-voice-per-part with improvised embellishments–as Renaissance singers commonly did. Pärt's "Stabat Mater" for vocal trio and string trio (performed stunningly on ECM by the Hilliard Ensemble and, among others, Gidon Kremer) is performed here by three voices and viol sextet. The string playing on the ECM disc was, within the confines of Pärt's somewhat abstract style, very emotional. The viols can't replicate the violin family's intense singing tone and dynamic range; consequently, the expression of grief in the music is yet more abstracted. Technically, Andrew Parrott's singers are at least equal to the Hilliard Ensemble, possibly better. Not necessarily an ideal performance, but worth investigating.Matthew Westphal
John McLaughlin & Paco de Lucia: Paco and John - Live at Montreux 1987 it's truly a shame that, all too often, artists with diverse careers become pigeon-holed, defined by the primary genre in which they first achieved notoriety. Take guitarist John McLaughlin, for instance. Ask most jazz fans about him and what will first come out of most of their mouths will include either the words "fusion," "jazz-rock" and/or Miles Davis, in any permutation/combination (not that there's anything wrong with that). Those a little further in the know might also be aware of his longstanding investigation into the nexus of eastern and western music with his Indo-collaboration, Shakti.
CD and Two-LP set, featuring guests like Jerry Douglas and Sam Bush, arrives April 21st for Record Store Day.
Sweet, smooth, and soulfully beautiful work from John Klemmer – not as all-out cosmic or trippy as some of his earlier albums for ABC, but with some really nice moments! Klemmer's really got the power of his horn in firm control here – playing with that Eddie Harris-schooled use of economy and tone – coming across with an approach that's subtle, but effective, and more deeply soulful than you might expect. Backings are by a small group on most tracks – and include keyboards from Milcho Leviev and drums by Harvey Mason. Klemmer plays a bit of echoplex and phaser alongside his usual tenor, and a few numbers are slightly sweetened by strings – but that's never a problem where Klemmer's concerned!