An incoherent tribute to Leonard Cohen, I'm Your Fan contains some fine versions of some of his best songs, but too often these renditions are half-hearted. Of particular interest are R.E.M.'s "First We'll Take Manhattan" and The Pixies' "I Can't Forget".
A stunningly sophisticated leap into modern musical textures, I'm Your Man re-establishes Leonard Cohen's mastery. Against a backdrop of keyboards and propulsive rhythms, Cohen surveys the global landscape with a precise, unflinching eye: the opening "First We Take Manhattan" is an ominous fantasy of commercial success bundled in crypto-fascist imagery, while the remarkable "Everybody Knows" is a cynical catalog of the land mines littering the surface of love in the age of AIDS.
A year after his impressionistic, critically-lauded ECM debut Into The Silence, trumpeter Avishai Cohen s Cross My Palm With Silver introduces a program of new pieces which put the focus on the ensemble, on teamwork, with a quartet of the highest caliber. The adroit, almost telepathic interplay among the musicians allows Avishai Cohen to soar, making it clear why he is one of the most talked-about jazz musicians on the contemporary scene. All of these people together are my dream team , says the charismatic trumpeter of fellow players Yonathan Avishai, Barak Mori and Nasheet Waits, who share his sense for daring improvisation and his feeling for structure. I feel we're in a perfect place with the balance. It's open and there s so much room for the improvisation to take the music any place we can.
Leonard Cohen's deeply personal first LPs came out at a time when many of his peers were issuing furious, counterculture-inspired rants; he clearly had little interest in sticking with the pack at the time. So it makes a certain kind of contrary sense that Cohen would put out an offbeat, topical collection two-and-a-half decades later. The Future is an odd duck of an album; it's also brave, funny, and fascinating. "Give me back the Berlin Wall/ Give me Stalin and St. Paul", Cohen petitions sardonically in the title track, adding, "I've seen the future, brother: it is murder"…
This music documentary weaves together performances from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' 2016 album Skeleton Tree with candid footage of Cave opening up about the death of his 15-year-old son. Directed by Andrew Dominik (Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford).
On Soli, Tamsin Waley-Cohen's 2015 release on Signum Classics, the violinist explores modernist repertoire composed between 1944 and 2005. Because these solo violin pieces by Béla Bartók, George Benjamin, Krzysztof Penderecki, Elliott Carter, and György Kurtág are challenging for both the player and the listener, one should approach this CD with some awareness that they reflect different phases of the avant-garde movement that dominated music in the last half of the 20th century. In quieter selections where the moods are primarily brooding or lyrical, Waley-Cohen produces a vibrant tone and smooth phrasing that make her playing easy to appreciate, even when the music isn't recognizably tonal. However, in louder, dissonant passages, notably in sections of the Bartók Sonata, Benjamin's Canon for Sally, Carter's Remembering Aaron, and Kurtág's Anziksz Kellerannanak, the close microphone placement makes her bowing sound overly resinous and scratchy, which can be hard to enjoy. Even so, few violinists dare approach this bracing material, and Waley-Cohen is to be commended for devoting a whole album to such cutting-edge pieces solely on her terms, without making compromises.