The Helsinki Chamber Choir (Helsingin kamarikuoro) was founded in 1962 as the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir and assumed its current name in 2005. It is currently Finland’s only professional chamber choir. The choir’s Artistic Director from 2005–2007 was Kimmo Hakola. Since 2007 Nils Schweckendiek has been responsible for the group's artistic planning.
Hommage Symphonique is an album of progressive rock covers recorded by master keyboardist Erik Norlander along with the virtuoso band of Gregg Bissonette, Don Schiff and Mark McCrite with Kelly Keeling handling all of the vocal duties. Erik also employed a small ensemble of acoustic instruments featuring Jon Pappenbrook (trumpets flugelhorn), Eric Jorgensen (trombones), Mike Alvarez (cello) and David Schiff (woodwinds). David is the brother of Don Schiff, and in addition to Don's NS/Stick work on the album, he also fills out the acoustic string ensemble with the new Bowed Guitar instrument. Erik's choice of covers reflects his own broad musical taste, performing songs originally recorded by ELP, ELO, Yes, Rick Wakeman, King Crimson, Procol Harum and Jethro Tull and Chuck Mangione…
A beautiful album of spiritual soul and Brazilian influenced jazz from Azar Lawrence – and a pretty rare one we're thrilled to have! Lawrence is a stellar sax player with a sound that's a bit like Gary Bartz, which means that he fits in perfectly with the Fantasy-era Prestige Records sound – but the sounds on this set are uncommonly rich and globally influenced. The set's predominantly acoustic, with lots of modal grooves in kind of a Strata East vein – and angular post-Coltrane playing that's very similar to Bartz's work on the Libra album from his early days. Players include Raul De Souza on trombone, Ron Carter on bass, Billy Hart on drums, Dom Salvador, who is really allowed to shine on piano on a few tracks, and drummer & percussionist Guilherme Franco, who brings a world of wonderful percussion on a couple of numbers.
After the compulsory Gymnopédies, this turns out to be an above average Satie collection. Parade is performed with relish and a healthy dose of anarchy, with no attempt being made to blend the pistol shots into the texture of the orchestra. Rather than the more usual companion pieces of Mercure and Relâche, Yutaka Sado builds the remaining programme around La belle excentrique and Le piège de Méduse, opting for some of the music - hall - inspired works in between. Pieces like Je te veux and Poudre d ’ or are familiar in their piano or vocal versions, but rarely get outings in the arrangements for brasserie orchestra, making this a most desirable disc for Satie devotees.