The choice of repertoire is more or less predictable. There are no lesser known arias, and Gott sei Dank they have been grouped by opera but, within the operas, not in the order of appearance. The ordering of the operas seems haphazard, too. "What an ungrateful nit-picker!" I can hear readers mumble. "Of course they have decided the order to achieve as much variety as possible". But I am not so sure. Why, in that case, start the recital, after the Zauberflöte overture with two arias in a row sung by Russell Braun?
After nearly 20 years as a performer, Michael Burks finally issued this debut disc, and his years of practical blues experience are evident on every track. While some of the guitar pyrotechnics may be more technique than substance, it cannot be denied that this fellow can tear up his ax. He sets the stakes on the muscular opener, "Hit the Ground Running," and maintains the intensity level through moodier tunes like "Beggin' Business." While his vocals are not stellar, he has a rich, gritty quality to his singing that is nicely matched to his guitar playing.
Equally acclaimed as a pianist and composer, Michael Brown has been described as ‘one of the most refined of all pianist-composers’ (International Piano) and ‘one of the leading figures in the current renaissance of performer-composers’ (The New York Times). His unique artistry is reflected in his creative approach to programming that often interweaves the classics with contemporary works and his own compositions.