Instant Replay: 045
Cesare Negri, Ronn McFarlane — Bianco Fiore
After more than 15 years of listening to but never playing music, I picked up a classical guitar a couple of months ago. While I won't be gracing the concert stage anytime soon, I've barely been able to put the instrument down. I've been captivated by simple works from the Renaissance, like Cesare Negri's "Bianco Fiore" and the ancient anonymous lute work "Volt." There is magic in music so old that the composer is forgotten, but so mesmerizing that people continue to enjoy it every day.
Ryn Weaver — The Fool
I’m awfully nostalgic around this time of year and find myself turning on old favorites more often than not. No matter how many times I listen to this song, it always as fresh and exciting as the first time I heard it. Thanks to Ryn Weaver for single-handedly fueling my dance parties of one.
Las Migas — Me Mueve el Aire
Much as one might play Christmas tunes in July, I frequently find myself listening to warm weather music in the winter! This particular number is by Las Migas - a fantastic flamenco group from Spain, based out of Barcelona. They combine Latin and Mediterranean flavors so beautifully, and their music always makes me smile!
Rubblebucket — Geometry
Brooklyn-based duo Rubblebucket’s newest record Earth Worship is a dance-forward ode to nature and environmental curiosity. It’s an album that showcases the group’s eagerness to experiment, showcasing influences from disco, R&B, and psychedelia. I keep coming back to the quirky love song “Geometry.” The title is quite apt, as listening often feels like peering through a kaleidoscope--twisting the lens to reveal new instruments, patterns, and textures.
Pasquale Anfossi, Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Alessandro Fabrizi — Artaserse
Starting off the new year with something new — a composer whose name and works are brand new to me! The notes say that other than Haydn, Italian composer Pasquale Anfossi was one of the greatest influences on Mozart. Mozart apparently references Anfossi and his music a few times in his letters. I hear familiarity in the music and easily connect the two in this set of cheery, upbeat pieces. Happy New Year!
Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica — Andalucia
The New Year's got me feeling fresh, and nothing lately has captured that feeling better than this mix of jazz, classical and mid-century space-age pop. From the opening brass to the latin rhythms to the "zu-zu" choruses, everything about this album fills me with joy and a 1960s space-race inspired "can-do" attitude. "One small step for man, one more dish placed in the dishwasher..."
William Mure, Jakob Lindberg — selections from the Rowallan manuscripts, Scotland, c. 1620
I’m pretty sure I purchased the original LP release of this album decades ago simply because of the picture on the cover. It’s Eilean Donan Castle, in the Scottish Highlands, which, according to the received mythology of my childhood, is connected to my distant ancestors. Likely? Outside chance. Fun to imagine? Most definitely. The music on the recording has, nevertheless, stayed with me over the years, and I return to it from time to time as a grounding. The just-passed holiday season was a welcome respite from my usual routine. And in the early evenings, after the get-togethers, concerts, shopping, family events, etc., this ancient Scottish music was the soundtrack to cleaning up the kitchen and straightening up the rest of the house before turning in.
The Cathedrals — Trying to Get a Glimpse
The tight harmonies and slick backing band are fine, but this song is really a showcase for a phenomenal bass. George Younce had a voice that rumbled and boomed, reaching depths that even a James Cameron submarine wouldn’t venture. There have been many great gospel bass singers, including a fun version you can find on YouTube of Tim Duncan and Signature Sound. But Younce stands head and shoulders above – or maybe below – everyone else.
Mike Oehmen — PIOTO
I think in the heart of winter a lot of us look for warming, soulful tunes to brave the shorter, cooler days. Just in time, one of Boston’s up-and-comping saxophonists released a short R&B EP, and its opening track is just the antidote to any hint of Mother Winter.
Listen to this month's playlist: