Like 1994's Forest, George Winston's 1999 album Plains is inspired by the subtle beauty of America's landscapes. Pieces like "Dubuque" and "Muliwai" evoke regions as diverse as Montana's fields and Hawaiian shores, but Winston's distinctive piano stylings unite the songs into a cohesive vision. Though his interpretation of Sammy Cahn's "Teach Me Tonight" is unremarkable, his cover of Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" and originals like "Cloudburst," "The Swan," "Rainsong," and the title track showcase Winston's unique ability to transform nature into expressive piano pieces.
The third ECM album by the trio of Great British jazz singer Norma Winstone, Italian pianist Glauco Venier and German clarinetist / saxophonist Klaus Gesing was recorded in December 2012 at Auditorio Radiotelevisione svizzera, Lugano, with Manfred Eicher as producer. Dance Without Answer pools material from diverse sources. Alongside the striking self-penned songs, there are pieces by idiosyncratic singer/songwriters Fred Neil, Nick Drake and Tom Waits, as well as tunes associated with the cinema, with contemporary pop, with a children’s television show and more.
A grande dame of British jazz, Norma Winstone may be approaching her 70th birthday but the east London-born vocalist shows no signs of fading into well-earned retirement just yet. Indeed, the former Azimuth figurehead and veteran collaborator with everyone from pianists John Taylor and Mike Westbrook to Ian Carr and Kenny Wheeler, has made some of the best received albums of her lengthy career during the last decade; not least 2008’s Distances, which garnered a Grammy nomination and a clutch of European jazz awards.
Bellini's "Norma" is a classic of the bel canto tradition, combining lavish vocal splendor with a story of great passion and nobility. The title character in "Norma" is a role with emotions ranging from haughty to desperately passionate to vengeful and defiant. Italian soprano Fiorenza Cedolins is one of the most thrilling Normas of the younger operatic generation. Along with a distinguished supporting cast, including Sonia Ganassi as Adalgisa and Vincenzo La Scola as Pollione, this psychologically staged production by Francisco Negrin, conducted by Giuliano Carella, makes the belcanto tradition vivid and exciting.