Friday, December 13, 2013

WME--Top 10 World and Traditional Albums of 2013

Best Newcomer, Brianna Lea Pruett, Gypsy Bells, Canyon Records

Top World and Traditional Album
Ana Alcaide, La Cantiga del Fuego, Arc Music

2. Vieux Farka Toure, Mon Pays, Six Degrees

3. The Idan Raichel Project, Quarter to Six, Cumbancha

4. The Henry Girls, December Moon, independent release

5. Mario Adnet, Villa Lobos, Boranda

6. Maria Ana Bobone, Fado and Piano, Arc Music

7. Nitanas Largo, Serenity, Canyon Records

8. R. Carlos Nakai and Will Clipman, Awakening the Fire, Canyon Records

9. Vasco Hernandez, Luz de Otro Manana, Arc Music

10. Techung, On the Road, Arc Music

Honorable Mention: Cheevers Toppah, A Good Day, A Better Tomorrow, Canyon Records

Thursday, December 12, 2013

WME Top 10 Classical Albums for 2013

Top Album Best of Ravi Shankar, Arc Music 

2. Javier Perianes, Debussy Meets Chopin, Harmonia Mundi

3. Godwanda Dawn (South African and Indian), Arc Music

4. William Byrd Ensemble, In the Company of William Byrd, Scribe Records

5. Angela Hewitt and Andrea Oliva, Bach's Flute Sonatas, Hyperion 

6. Stile Antico, The Phoenix Rises, Harmonia Mundia

7. La Nuova Musica, Handel/Vivaldi Dixit Dominus, Harmonia Mundi

8. Ballake Sissoko, At Peace, Six Degrees 

9. Jerusalem Quartet and Sharon Kam, Brahms Clarinet Quintet, Harmonia Mundi

10. Orchid Ensemble, Life Death Tears Dream, independent release

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WME Top 10 Jazz Albums for 2013


#1 Virginie Teychene, Bright and Sweet, Jazz Village

2. Deborah Latz, Fig Tree, June Moon Productions

3. Mark Winkler, The Laura Nyro Project, Cafe Pacific Records

4. Nilson Mattas, Black Orpheus, Motema 

5. Joe Barbieri, Chet Lives!, Le Chant du Monde

6. Hector Del Curto, Eternal Piazzolla, Green Parrot

7. Ahmad Jamal, Saturday Morning, Jazz Village

8. Joe Locke, Lay Down My Heart, Motema

9. Ablaye Cissoko and Volker Goetz, Amanke Dionti, Motema 

10. Mulatu Astatke, Sketches of Ethiopia, Jazz Village

Coming up Top 10 Classical Albums and Top 10 World Music Albums...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

In Review--Lose Yourself in Imagination

Final CD Review
Kevin Seddiki and Bijan Chemirani 
World Village 

Sometimes we need to lose ourselves in our imagination and often time music provides us this avenue as fodder for fantasy.  For anyone with the desire to escape to somewhere truly exotic, the percussionist and lute duo Kevin Seddiki (guitars and percussion) and Bijan Chemirani (saz (Iranian/Turkish long-neck lute, Persian/Arabic drums and percussion) provide the soundtrack on their CD, Imaginarium (try getting that word past spell check). The mix of music genres ranges from Persian classical with improvisations to Arab-Andalusian and classical guitar.  The guitars along with the drums/percussion provide snaky rhythms, but even so, the music leans towards revelry and not foot-tapping.

La Bohême takes us on a Spanish guitar flight in all its lushness and warmth.  On Saturn’s Rings has a distracting raspy vibration which I have a difficult time with, but the following track, Azur provides a meditative moment--heavy on melodic guitar with a light percussive framework.  Fans of classical Persian music will enjoy Sar Andjam and even though this is an instrumental piece, the musicians provide a similar intensity to Persian vocals--while building and releasing tension with the saz and drums.  Since I’m a fan of Persian classical, this track sounds welcoming to my ears.  However, my favorite song, A la belle étoile which features solo guitar has my mind floating in the clouds.  And while most of this recording features contemplative music, Cochichando reminds me of Brazilian folkloric music with its lilting and yes, danceable melodic groove.

Seddiki and Chemirani bring their musical chemistry and imagination to the 13 tracks that appear on Imaginarium.  And you’re in good hands since these musicians have collaborated on other recordings as well as, on the projects of renowned musicians in world, pop (Sting), classical, traditional, and jazz.  Set your mind free.

BTW, after 25+ years of reviewing musical recordings, this is my final CD review.  I will concentrate on articles and interviews with musicians, music therapists and sound healers from this point forward.

This will also be the final year of the Top Ten Recordings, which I will post later this month.