Discussions of the "quiet is the new loud" aesthetic of bands like Belle & Sebastian and Kings of Convenience typically cite primal influences like Nick Drake, Donovan, and the Velvet Underground, but rarely if ever mentioned is a duo that predated them all – listening to Chad & Jeremy many decades on, it now seems almost as if they pioneered an entire genre, their string-sweetened, pastoral, and hopelessly twee acoustic pop anticipating so much of the sound in vogue at the turn of the century to follow.
Beginning with 2005's Identity, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt began exploring '70s and '80s funk and fusion sounds inspired by the works of such luminaries as Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis. He continued these funk and electronic explorations on such albums as 2007's Shock Value: Live at Smoke and 2013's Water and Earth. While Pelt has also split his time playing and recording more straight-ahead post-bop albums, his 2014 album, Face Forward, Jeremy, combines the best of his acoustic recordings with the electronic-jazz hybrid sound of Water and Earth. Here, Pelt is joined by his longtime ensemble featuring pianist/keyboardist David Bryant, saxophonist Roxy Coss, bassist Chris Smith, and drummer Dana Hawkins.
Violinist Joshua Bell and cellist Steven Isserlis are joined by two acclaimed musical forces - pianist Jeremy Denk and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, of which Bell is Music Director – in a landmark joint recording, For the Love of Brahms (Sony Classical). Available September 30, 2016, the new album is a unique project that features works of Brahms and Schumann that Bell calls “music about love and friendship.” Bell, Isserlis and Denk unite here in Brahms’s first published chamber work, the Piano Trio in B Major, Op. 8 in its rarely performed original 1854 version. Isserlis also joins Bell – as violin soloist and director – and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in Brahms’s last orchestral work, the celebrated Double Concerto (for Violin and Cello) in A Minor, Op. 102. Bell, Isserlis and members of the Academy also offer the first recording of an unusual coupling: the slow movement of Schumann’s rarely heard Violin Concerto, in a version for string orchestra made by Benjamin Britten, who also added a short coda.
This is a very good collection of Gesualdo's sacred motet style, performed beautifully. Most of these pieces are much more conservative and less chromatic than his madrigals, but they are exquisite and expresive and every bit as competent as the styles of contemporaries such as Gesualdo's alter-ego, Palestrina. Much of this music makes his mental turmoil and fear of damnation over his infamous murders achingly clear, especially the disturbing mode changes and chromaticism on parts of the text that say things like "have mercy on me" and words like "my sorrow and "my tears".