05 SmudgesSong and Call
The Smudges
Crypto Gramophone CG149 (cryptogramophone.com) 

Innovative and insightful, Song and Call is an album that will grow on you each time you hear it. Featuring a chamber ensemble consisting of violin and cello, the sonic landscape on this album is somewhat symphonic and often experimental in nature. Add to that the Smudges creative use of samples and electronics on top of the classical foundation and form, and we get to hear many wonderful, intense and sometimes surprising layers of textures throughout. 

Violinist Jeff Gauthier and cellist Maggie Parkins have such a strong synergy and cohesiveness of sound that it often feels as if we are hearing one instrument. Their background in new music and improvisation is at the forefront of the Smudges’ performance. The album opens with Music of Chants, a melodiously lush composition by Guy Klucevsek and closes with the symphonic Release by Tom Flaherty. In between are pieces by Gauthier and ensemble improvisations, playfully varying in genres, expressions and length, and always maintaining a unique ensemble sound. 

The heart of this album and the title piece, Song and Call, plays like a musical treatise on birds. Four attacca movements, titled after four birds (Gray Fantail, Common Starling, American Robin and Eastern Winter Wren), are a magical kingdom of slowed-down bird song samples, electronics, loops, whistling, chimes and singing bowls, in addition to electric violin and often percussive cello. The result is simply stunning.

06 À ses derniers pasAleks Schürmer – À ses derniers pas, entrant dans la boue
Grégoire Blanc; Aleks Schürmer
Centrediscs CMCCD 29221 (cmccanada.org/shop/cd-cmccd-29221) 

Invented in 1920 by Russian physicist Leon Theremin, the theremin is an early electronic musical instrument that is played without being touched. Bringing a hand near the vertical antenna raises the pitch of the note, while bringing the other hand near the horizontal antenna changes the loudness of the tone. A captivating instrument to observe in performance, the thereminist seems to be pulling sound out of thin air and the ethereal nature of the sound produced makes it a fascinating source of musical expression.

Compared to most musical instruments, the theremin is exceedingly rare, and top-level performers are even harder to come by. Grégoire Blanc is a French solo, chamber and orchestral performer who is one of the world’s few theremin virtuosos, and his work on this disc is nothing short of extraordinary.

All the music on À ses derniers pas is composed by Aleks Schürmer, a Canadian multi-instrumentalist, educator and artist. From the playful Concertino en si bémol majeur to the solemn Four Cowboy Songs and the miniature cycle that comprises the title track, Schürmer’s music combines a wide variety of styles and ideas that, when partnered with the unique timbres of the theremin, create a truly unique auditory experience.

This disc is highly recommended as a premier example of the remarkable, innovative artists in the world today. From new compositions to a rare musical instrument, this disc will feature much that is unfamiliar to many listeners, which is a very good thing. Take this opportunity to broaden your horizons and get out of your comfort zone with À ses derniers pas – you won’t regret it.

07 George PerleGeorge Perle – Solos & Duos
Various Artists
Bridge Records 9546A/B (bridgerecords.com)

George Perle (1915-2009) might be compared to Hindemith as a composer concerned with tonal as well as motivic manipulation, highly developed, recognizable structures and just plain beauty. Where Hindemith stayed with more consonant tonalities and clearly defined melodic structure, in a word, a classicist, Perle follows a more Romantic path, in the sense of his rhythmic and metric freedom, as well as a much more challenging tonal language.

This two-disc collection, Solos & Duos, features works for a range of instruments, another echo of Hindemith. Perle, like Hindemith, produced effective music to exploit the instruments he wrote for. Solo works for piano, bassoon, violin, cello, contrabass and clarinet are interspersed on the discs with several works for piano with cello and one with clarinet and piano. Solo works are perhaps an acquired taste, but I find Perle’s explorations via Monody II (1962), the double bass work played with tremendous verve by Edwin Parker, a complete treat to hear. Ditto Bassoon Music (2004) in an equally compelling presentation by Steven Dibner.  

Every decade from the 1940s until the ‘aughts is represented. Clarinetist Charles Neidich plays the Three Sonatas for Solo Clarinet (1943, the earliest works) as well as Sonata quasi una fantasia (1972), together with Michael Brown on piano. Both are performed with considerable flair. Pianists Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode and Horacio Gutiérrez, perform works written for each. Musical Offerings from 1988, references obliquely Fleisher’s unpleasant departure from his directorship of the Tanglewood Music Festival. Ballade, written for Goode in 1981, allows him to explore Romanticism through a modern lens. Nine Bagatelles (1999) (average length/bagatelle under one minute) are wittily conveyed by Gutiérrez. 

But the star among stars on this twin pack, apart from Perle himself, is cellist Jay Campbell. What a glorious rich cello voice, and what terrific agility from the bass string right up into thumb position! His selections cover the most ground on the recording, in number of works played (four), as well as total length (close to 40 minutes of the two-hour total). Perle clearly loved the instrument and Campbell seems to enjoy playing his work.

08 Alicia Lee ConversationsConversations with Myself
Alicia Lee
New Focus Recordings FCR302 (newfocusrecordings.com/catalogue) 

I’m willing to bet the two years just past have seen a noticeable increase in the number of released CDs of solo instrumental works, prepared in the isolation of one’s practise studio. Conversations With Myself is a selection of solos for clarinet and bass clarinet, some from the years between 1983 and 2007, bookended by works composed in 2020, during the new normal. Alicia Lee writes that the pieces present her “in dialogue with myself… where I was delivering advice to anyone who cared to listen.” 

Dai Fujikura’s Contour for Bass Clarinet opens the disc. Freely melodic and ranging over the low to mid-high range of the instrument, it offers Lee room to show off musicality more than flashy technique. More demanding is Dialogue de l’Ombre Double (the only work for B-flat clarinet) by Pierre Boulez. Two characters emerge from Lee’s confident and affecting performance: the first, in the right channel, is a compulsive repeating motif that then gives way to a mercurial trilling countersubject heard on the left-hand side of the “stage.” At nearly-20-minutes’ length, this is a substantial undertaking, through which Lee’s sound remains clean and assured. In live performance, one of the “shadows” is pre-recorded. Here the effect of “live” versus electronic is overlaid through some highly effective spatial trickery; when in isolation, why not find ways to simulate social engagement? 

If Monolog for Bass Clarinet (1983) by Isang Yun offers advice, I’m not sure what it might be. I love the sounds Lee produces on her grumpy big brother clarinet. Unsuk Chin’s Advice for a Caterpillar (from Alice in Wonderland, 2007) possibly advises poor life choices, in a seductive opium-infused siren song. Hideaki Aomori’s sweetly brief Split, brings the conversations to a close.

Listen to 'Conversations with Myself' Now in the Listening Room

09 Fiorini In the Midst of ThingsKarl Fiorini – In the Midst of Things
Charlene Farrugia; Dimitri Ashkenazy; Rebecca Raimondi; Stefan Kropfitsch
Grand Piano GP880 (naxosdirect.com/search/gp880) 

Malta, smack dab in the middle of the Mediterranean, has absorbed influences from the many varied cultures that, over millennia, have settled there. Maltese composer Karl Fiorini (b.1979) is similarly ecumenical.

In Trio Lamina for clarinet, violin and piano (2002), quirky, perky neoclassicism – Poulenc crossed with Stravinsky – surrounds a slow, moody, almost jazzy nocturnal interlude. Piano Trio for violin, cello and piano (2005) mixes serialism, North African folk music and mathematical ratios to create intriguing night music – eerie gloom, helter-skelter jumpiness, squeaks, groans, slowly dripping water and a hectic escape.

There’s more perturbed darkness in Two Piano Études (2007-2008), composed using Fibonacci sequences, but then, writes Fiorini, after “heartlessly abiding to purely intellectual procedures… I felt I had to revisit tonality.” Jump to 2017 – the gripping Piano Sonata encompasses powerful, discordant percussiveness, a slow, quiet, tentatively tender ambulation and a motoric rush to the finish.

At 16 minutes, In the Midst of Things for clarinet, violin, cello and piano (2019) is the longest work on this CD. Its four movements juxtapose brooding melancholy with suspenseful agitation and, like all this CD’s music, it’s an engrossing wordless narrative, stylistically accessible yet elusively mysterious.

Maltese pianist Charlene Farrugia, New York-born clarinetist Dimitri Ashkenazy (Vladimir’s son), Italian violinist Rebecca Raimondi and Austrian cellist Stefan Kropfitsch made these world-premiere recordings in 2019 and 2020 with Fiorini present. Undoubtedly, he was justifiably pleased with what he heard. So was I.

10 Eric Nathan Missing WordsEric Nathan – Missing Words
Various Artists
New Focus Recordings FCR314 (newfocusrecordings.com) 

“The false sense of movement when, looking out from a stationary train, you see another train depart.” There’s now a word for it – “Eisenbahnscheinbewegung” (Railway-Illusion-Motion) – one of 120 German compound words invented by Ben Schott for his 2013 English-language book Schottenfreude, furnishing whimsical one-word terms for assorted common, disorienting experiences.

Eisenbahnscheinbewegung is also the title of the first of 23 mini-tone poems in six sets of Missing Words, spanning 84 minutes on two CDs. In them, multi-award-winning American composer Eric Nathan (b.1983) employs onomatopoetic sound effects, abruptly punctuated, irregular rhythms and wildly varied instrumentation to depict many of Schott’s disconcerting, often uncomfortable, psychological states.

Some examples: Eisenbahnscheinbewegung combines railroad noises with glissandi and shifting pulses to evoke that familiar unsettled feeling; lurching glissandi illustrate Leertretung (Void-Stepping) – “Stepping down heavily on a stair that isn’t there;” fanfares in Brillenbrillanz (Spectacles-Luminosity) herald “The sudden, innervating clarity afforded by new glasses;” Beethoven’s hastily scribbled drafts for his Ninth Symphony inspire the aggressive, motorized grumblings of Ludwigssyndrom (Ludwig’s-Syndrome) – “Discovering an indecipherable note in your own handwriting;” halting, quiet rumination in the concluding Rolleirückblende (Rollei-Flashback) reflects “The flood of memory released when looking at old photos.”  

Performing Missing Words I to VI are, respectively, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, American Brass Quintet, cello-piano duo Parry and Christopher Karp, the International Contemporary Ensemble, Neave Trio and Hub New Music. I’m sure they all had fun playing these very imaginative pieces, all fun to listen to as well.

11 John AywardJohn Aylward – Celestial Forms and Stories
Members of Klangforum Wien
New Focus Recordings FCR320 (newfocusrecordings.com) 

The composer John Aylward seems committed to the idea of pushing the language of music into unchartered territory. His work consistently suggests that only the relatively extreme is interesting. In all of the radicalism that this soundscape suggests, Aylward also manages to remain true to bright sonorous textures evoked in vivid phrases that leap and gambol with elliptical geometry. Yet every so often the percussive impact of his work transforms its flowing character into a kaleidoscopic melee of scurrying voices which are built up layer upon layer.

His suite Celestial Forms and Stories reimagines characters and narratives from Ovid’s classic, Metamorphosis. The five pieces have been arranged in the form of an atmospheric suite inspired as much by the Latin epic poem as it is by the dissertation, Ovid and Universal Contiguity, by Italo Calvino, itself an iconic treatise, epic in breadth and scope.

Celestial Forms and Stories begins with Daedalus and the darkly dramatic voyage of Icarus, its lofty melodic line ascending rhythmically into the heat of the rarefied realm. The transcendent motion of Mercury exquisitely evokes the winged messenger colliding with the obdurate Battus. The suite melts into the buzzing, swooning mayfly, Ephemera. Narcissus follows, trapped in the glassy tomb with Echo. The suite climaxes in the restless drama of Ananke with its forceful, tumbling rhythmic changes. The remarkable musicians of Klangforum Wien perform this work with vivid orchestral colours and preeminent virtuosity.

Listen to 'John Aylward – Celestial Forms and Stories' Now in the Listening Room

12 Raum TubaChasing Light & Sound – The Tuba Music of Elizabeth Raum
Tom McCaslin; Akiko Tominaga
Centrediscs CMCCD 29422 (cmccanada.org/shop/cd-cmccd-29422)

Elizabeth Raum enjoys a reputation of being one of Canada’s most prolific and accessible composers, and is celebrated by tuba players around the world for her many compositions for “that noblest of instruments.” Many of these works were the result of her association with the late tuba virtuoso John Griffiths of the Regina Symphony where Raum played oboe. Several of these pieces are now standard repertoire and they regularly show up on international competition lists.

This recent release on CMC Centrediscs celebrates a number of these compositions and features the principal tubist of the Calgary Philharmonic, Tom McCaslin. One of Griffiths’ star students, McCaslin was around for the premieres of many of these works during his formative years.

The CD begins with four works for tuba and large ensemble (heard here in tuba and well-crafted piano reduction versions). McCaslin’s technical prowess and innate lyricism are on display throughout, ably supported by pianist Akiko Tominaga. The CD ends on a lighter note with a work for unaccompanied tuba, Sweet Dances (2002). These are four extremely clever and very idiomatic pieces, with very tongue-in-cheek titles: I’m still chuckling over the third one; Waltzin’ Matuba!

This definitive recording is the realization of McCaslin’s long-time dream to bring attention to Raum’s music, and is strongly recommended. It should be a part of any serious tuba player’s library.

13 Slow Quiet MusicSlow, Quiet Music – In Search of Electric Happiness
Instruments of Happiness
Redshift Records TK 497 (redshiftrecords.org)

Formed in 2014, Instruments of Happiness is an ensemble of varying numbers of guitarists, from four to 100. Here the four electric guitarists – artistic director Tim Brady, Jonathan Barriault, Simon Duchesne and Francis Brunet-Turcotte – perform four commissions by Canadian composers. As the liner notes explain, each was asked to write a 14-minute piece reflecting the project concept, synchronized by stopwatches, with the performers placed far apart in a large reverberant space. Originally performed in a church, this was recorded on a large concert stage with great production quality.

Sideways, by Louise Campbell, opens with repeated notes, establishing the clear sonic sense of the widely placed guitarists. Added guitar slides produce an eerie contrast. Mid-piece intensity with sudden low pitches, faster short melodic lines, washes and electric effects return sideways to closing slow-wash fade. Rose Bolton’s Nine kinds of joy features low-pitched held notes, washes, contrasting repeated string notes and slight subtle dynamic variability creating numerous kinds of calming musical joy. Love the unexpected next idea in Andrew Noseworthy’s tightly orchestrated Traps, taboos, tradition in sections with extended guitar effects like slides, plucks, bangs, crashes, rubs and waah waahs separated by brief silent spaces. Lots to listen to in Andrew Staniland’s Notre Dame is burning with the low intense held note drones building in intensity like a slow-moving fire and contrasting comforting higher notes.

Performances are superb, creating a new contemporary wall of electric guitar sounds!

14 Primavera II the rabbitsPrimavera II: the rabbits
Matt Haimovitz
PentaTone Oxingale Series (pentatonemusic.com/product/oxingale-presents-primavera-ii-the-rabbits)

The awe-inspiring Primavera Project, co-directed by Matt Haimovitz and Dr. Jeffrianne Young, explores the influence and inspiration of music and art. Its six-release series is comprised of 81 world premiere solo cello compositions commissioned for Haimovitz. Each composer was asked to respond to Sandro Botticelli’s enigmatic painting, Primavera, and the prophetic large-scale triptych, Primavera 2020, by world-renowned contemporary artist Charline von Heyl. This second release Primavera II: the rabbits takes its name from the rabbit trilogy motive in von Heyl’s visuals.

Haimovitz’s arrangement of Josquin des Prez’s Kyrie (from Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae) opens. His conversational four-part contrapuntal playing ranges from moving, to dark singing tone colour above full harmonic chords. This is followed by 13 new works, each lasting under ten minutes. It is so fascinating to hear each composer’s own musical perception of the visuals. For example, Missy Mazzoli’s Beyond the Order of Things (after Josquin) has a contemporary orchestral storytelling sound with rhythms, pitch slides, fast runs and sudden atonal held notes. Tomeka Reid’s energetic Volplaning is an intense response to the paintings. Sudden loud single-line phrases and rhythmic detached notes add to the running and bouncing rabbit sensibility. Gordon Getty’s Spring Song is a slow, calming Romantic-style-influenced work, clocking in under the two-minute mark. Plucks, repeated notes and upbeat rock strings have the rabbits bopping in a bar in David Balakrishnan’s Theme and Variants.

Haimovitz understands and interprets each diverse work, playing all lines in stunningly beautiful, must-listen-to passionate performances.

15 Quartetski CageCage
Ambiances Magnétiques (actuellecd.com)

In the last years of his prolific creative life, iconic experimental composer John Cage (1912-1992) composed some 40 number pieces. For titles, he coined a unique system in which numbers indicate the number of performers or the number of instrumental parts in each work. Superscripts were added when compositions shared the same number of performers.

Cage’s notation of these pieces features two time-based categories: fixed and flexible “time brackets.” Fixed-time brackets indicate when the musician/s should precisely begin and end a tonal event. Flexible-time brackets however, allow musicians choice in the matter, admitting into the performance, a) chance and b) the anarchic harmony of sounds and silences simply co-existing, two key Cagean notions. 

Both works on this album belong to that corpus. One7, “For any pitched instrument able to play sustained notes,” is the seventh piece in a series of compositions for one musician. Except, in this performance the polished Montreal group Quartetski have decided to interpret the open score with all four member musicians: Isaiah Ceccarelli (percussion, synthesizer), Bernard Falaise (electric guitar), Philippe Lauzier (bass clarinet, synthesizer) and Pierre-Yves Martel (electric bass, sine waves). 

Four6, also for unspecified forces, also lasts a leisurely half hour. The four musicians are asked to “Choose 12 different sounds with fixed characteristics (amplitude, overtone structure, etc.)” producing a mellower soundscape than the dramatic musical moments generated in One7.

Quartetski’s nuanced realization of these two autumnal Cage works admirably animates the scores, imbuing individual character which belies their apparent abstract appearance. Marked by attention to timbral richness well-represented by this refined recording, the quartet displays a spirit of sonic discovery that’s aurally refreshing while respecting the composer’s musical aesthetics.

01 Late NightLate Night
Sean Fife Quartet
Cellar Music CM082021 (cellarlive.com)

New York-based Canadian pianist Sean Fyfe has had a passion for the piano since he was just five years old and his prolific talent is highlighted very well on his newest release. The album is chock full of originals written by Fyfe himself and features talented musicians Sam Kirmayer on guitar, Adrian Vedady on bass and Andre White on drums, breathing life into each of the pieces and shining a spotlight on Fyfe’s compositional prowess. A mellow yet energetic record that complements a relaxing night in, this would be a fantastic addition to any jazz lover’s collection. 

Title track Late Night paints a picture in the listener’s mind of a smoky and dimly lit jazz club through an intriguing piano and guitar melody underpinned by a toe-tapping drum shuffle and rhythmic groove. Little Pants brings a bluesy flavour to the mix, featuring a stepping bass line that keeps the momentum going as well as soulful solos and riffs that truly showcase the immense musical talent of each musician in the quartet. Throughout the record, a hark back to an era of jazz classics is apparent, with Fyfe’s style reflecting greats such as Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly and McCoy Tyner. Validation finishes off the album with a finger-snapping, rhythmically driven piece that perhaps serves as a tantalizing preview of what more is to come from Fyfe in the future.

02 Tomas FujiwaraMarch
Tomas Fujiwara’s Triple Double
Firehouse 12 Records FH12-04-01-035 (tomasfujiwara.com)

Brooklyn-based drummer Tomas Fujiwara is known for his progressive compositions, unique rhythmic grooves and “nuanced drumming.” This release does a formidable job at showcasing his modernistic compositional style through both the distinctive instrumental setup and captivating melodies layered on top of catchy beats. The band’s name says it all. Triple Double refers to the interesting instrument groupings used: two horns, two guitars and two drum kits. It’s described as “wandering through a hall of mirrors” because, depending on the listener’s interpretation, you could either hear three duos that work in tandem or pairs of instruments that explore their own melodic and rhythmic niches throughout, which makes for a truly immersive auditory experience. All pieces are penned by Fujiwara himself or in collaboration with fellow drummer Gerald Cleaver. 

Pack Up, Coming for You starts off the album with a driving drum groove, soaring horn melody and bold guitar riffs that give the listener a shock of energy right off the bat. Life Only Gets More features elements of traditional jazz, as is heard in the more laidback shuffle beat and jazz guitar tone, mixed with modern bits such as an interpretive drum solo and dissonance within the melody. Silhouettes in Smoke truly gives off a hazy and mysterious vibe through a mellow and meandering cornet riff layered overtop circular guitar lines. This record is great for anyone looking to experience a well-balanced mix of the old and the new.

03 Stahls TrioKälltorp Sessions Volume 2
Ståhls Trio
Moserobie MMP CD 126 (moserobie.com)

Balancing on the firm underpinning of knowing strokes from Canadian-in-Stockholm bassist Joe Williamson is this eight-track bagatelle from Swedish vibraphonist Mattias Ståhl’s trio. Joined by Colombian drummer Christopher Cantillo, the group-composed tracks are thoroughly contemporary, but due to the vibist’s logical progressions and airy, open swing, encompass both Lionel Hampton-style pulsations and Cal Tjader-like nuances. Even a couple of tracks where Ståhl plays silvery soprano saxophone trills as well as vibes, and trombonist Mats Äleklint propels gutbucket slurs into the mix, the enhanced density doesn’t exceed harmonic intensity.

Williamson’s string suppleness also means that a balladic interlude like Guldkort is marked with expressive well-paced thumps; while faster tunes are propelled with torqued intensity that cunningly backs up freeform group improvisations such as I-Land Du Välsignade. Despite Cantillo wielding a thunder sheet and the vibes’ metal bars resonating at an allegro tempo during that track, the bassist’s contrapuntal andante pulse prevents any narrative imbalance. Later on, the bassist goads the other two to a harmonized finale. Occasionally introducing the themes with pressurized stops or a walking bass line, Williamson’s sly pulses comprehensively fit in with whatever drum crunches or airy vibe timbres are rolled onto the program. 

Convincing in having achieved exactly what they set out to do on this disc, the Ståhls threesome also confirm the benefits of international musical cooperation. The result makes one interested in seeking out Volume One.

04 CelebrationCelebration
Alan Silva; Itaru Oki; Makoto Sato; Richard Comte
Nunc Records Nunc.027 (nunc-nunc.com) 

A bittersweet celebration; while this 2019 Paris concert honoured the 80th birthday of U.S. expatriate keyboardist Alan Silva, it was also the final recording for Japanese trumpeter Itaru Oki (1941-2020), who, like Silva, was a longtime member of the Gallic creative music scene. During this three-part free improvisation, Silva uses the smears, swells and echoes from his keyboard to accompany Oki’s sophisticated command of his brass instrument that ranges from strained high pitches to half-valve guttural effects, all the while preserving the tune’s melodic kernel. Percussionist Makoto Sato, another Japanese expat, adds unobtrusive clip-clop accents to the action, while French guitarist Richard Comte strums connective lines for all, when not briefly disrupting the interface with pointed string stabs or jagged power chords.

On top of the pulsating drums-tremolo keyboard continuum, Oki’s muted harmonies and portamento grace notes take up the greatest part of his expression. But sudden dog-whistle squeals, and the introduction to the improvisation’s second section, where he appears to be huffing textures from a combination of plastic trumpet and harmonica, demonstrate his blazing individuality. Integration of that unique tone and his subsequent smeared triplets into that balanced narrative also confirm the scope of the quartet’s creative free jazz.

Silva, Sato and Comte continue making individual free music in other contexts. While Oki can’t anymore, this disc properly celebrates his reciprocal skill working with seasoned players of similar invention.

05 Lynne ArrialeThe Lights are Always On
Lynne Arriale; Jasper Somsen; E.J. Strickland
Challenge Records CR73532 (lynnearriale.com)

With her 16th album, jazz pianist/composer/educator Lynn Arriale has once again underscored exactly why she is considered to be one of the most creative, technically skilled and emotionally facile jazz artists on the globe. All of the material here was penned by Arriale, and her inspiration was born out of the horrendous world events that have taken place during the past two years, as well as the massive contributions left by the evolved souls who have existed on our blue orb as healers, truth-tellers and defenders of human rights. 

First up is March On, which was directly inspired by the 2017 Women’s March on Washington. The composition is loaded with dynamic, insistent chordal statements. Arialle’s powerful rhythmic integrity and innovating improvisations drive this compelling anthem. Jasper Somsen’s lyrical bass solo generates beauty and peace while E.J. Strickland’s creative and dynamic-filled drumming seals the deal.

The title track is taken from a quote by dedicated physician, Dr. Prakash Gada, and in Arriale’s words, “There is always reason to believe in that light; the inherent goodness of people…” In this performance, Arriale’s musicianship is such a conduit of pure, undiluted feelings that it’s as if she reaches out directly into one’s heart and mind. Other stellar tracks include Sisters, which celebrates the struggle for gender equality and Honor, which is dedicated to Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman – a truth teller, whose testimony exposed some of Trump’s heinous and illegal activities. Of special beauty are The Notorious RBG, in honour of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the spiritually uplifting Walk in My Shoes, composed in recognition of legendary Civil Rights advocate and U.S. Politician John Lewis.

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