Prior to the Spanish Inquisition, peace, tolerance, and shared learning existed. This shared knowledge influenced all subjects from the sciences to the arts. The music composed and performed during this time was about being in the moment: Some pieces tell stories–'Cancionera de la Columbina' for example–while others express emotions, as in the 'Romances.' Interestingly enough, the "non-Jewish" selections were written during the Inquisition, while the Sephardic selections were written right before it. Director Jordi Savall and Hesperion XX, an ensemble that specializes in early music from all over the world, are like chameleons. Soprano Montserrat Figueras is able to inhabit each work with great authenticity and individual style…
Helmed by T-Bone Burnett and Craig Street, the soundtrack to the music-intensive TV crime drama series gets ultra-hip artists to cover songs not necessarily associated with them—all with eerie musical backgrounds that match the program's tone. Unfortunately, the intriguing concept fares better on the small screen than on the big speaker, as artists like Richard Thompson, Lucinda Williams, and Joe Henry, among others, get lost in a uniformly listless production. Exceptions are Wendy Melvoin & Lisa Coleman's original instrumental "Crossing Jordan Themes," the Holmes Brothers' take on Blind Willie Johnson's "You're Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond," and Alison Krauss' tackling of Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home." Series star Jill Hennessy debuts with Tom Waits' "You're Innocent When You Dream" and Bob Dylan's "It's all Over Now, Baby Blue" and acquits herself well enough.
James Newton Howard makes a rare but welcome foray into the horror genre with The Devil's Advocate, a chilling but majestic work highlighted by its stunning choral passages. While Howard's signature fusion of symphonics and electronics is the score's backbone, his use of the human voice most effectively communicates the evil lurking within lead Al Pacino, and his decision to avoid thematic consistency is another clever tool for keeping the listener off balance, with strange, ominous noises lurking in the background to further underscore the dark forces at work. Spooky, compelling stuff.
Born in San Francisco in 1925, Eddie Duran is an unfairly neglected jazz guitarist and a soloist full of imagination and heart who was already playing professionally at 15. To this day he considers himself an “ear player,” despite having played and recorded with Vince Guaraldi, Red Norvo, Cal Tjader, Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, George Shearing, Earl “Fatha” Hines and Benny Goodman, in the heyday of the San Francisco bebop scene.