01 Derek CharkeDerek Charke – In Sonorous Falling Tones
Wired Ensemble; Mark Hopkins
Centrediscs CMCCD 23917 (musiccentre.ca)

This CD is unique in that all the music performed on it is by one composer, Derek Charke, who is also the flute soloist in three of the four works and a member of the ensemble in the fourth.

As a composer, Charke understands that building music around arresting melodic/rhythmic patterns which lead to/are followed by contrasting arresting melodic/rhythmic patterns produces results which are interesting and engaging. He seems to have access to an innumerable variety of patterns, from the driving pulsating opening of In Circles, the opening movement of In Sonorous Falling Tones, to the lyrical melody in Warning! Gustnadoes Ahead, the last track on the album – and lots more in between.

As a flutist his versatility is remarkable. Equally at home on the piccolo, the “regular” flute and the bass flute, he seamlessly blends conventional and extended techniques. Best of all, he puts his “pyro-technique” completely at the service of the artistic ends of the music, as in Lachrymose, where singing while producing multiphonics on the piccolo brings this elegiac work to a stirring climax.

The WIRED! Ensemble, which plays with Charke as soloist, in In Sonorous Falling Tones and Warning! Gustnadoes Ahead, and in which Charke plays as a member of the ensemble in What do the Birds Think?, is perfect, matching Charke’s energy and intensity at every step.

Bravissimo! This is contemporary music-making at its best. Good things are happening in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

02 Jocelyn MorlockJocelyn Morlock – Halcyon
Various Artists
Centrediscs CMCCD 23817 (musiccentre.ca)

With Halcyon, JUNO-nominated Canadian composer Jocelyn Morlock explores her compositional voice over seven substantial works from voice accompanied by piano to orchestra. Let’s give a listen.

Halcyon, warmly performed by cellist Ariel Barnes with Corey Hamm on piano, is a slow tonal elegy. It takes as its extra-musical theme the mythic tale of the kingfisher Halcyon. The composer tells us in the liner notes that the next work Vulpine, brought to life by violinist Nicholas Wright and Hamm, plays on the many characteristics associated with the fox.

With Shade, the cello is back, this time supported by Vern Griffiths on vibraphone. Morlock enigmatically remarks on the multiple meanings of shade, and “Hades, a disembodied spirit” in her liners.

Two song cycles follow. The three Involuntary Love Songs are sung by contemporary music specialist soprano Robyn Driedger-Klassen, the six Perruqueries by Driedger-Klassen and baritone Tyler Duncan, plus the stand-alone song Somewhere Along the Line by Driedger-Klassen. Erika Switzer provides the muscular piano framework throughout. The amusing lyrics for the Perruqueries set – about wigs and the people who love them – were provided by the Canadian author Bill Richardson. After hearing Morlock’s offerings here, I’ll pay closer attention to the recent reemergence of Canadian art song.

The album wraps with Aeromancy, an airy, loose-limbed two-movement laconic – at times mysterious – double concerto. Ariel Barnes and Joseph Elworthy spin emotive cello melodies, while the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leslie Dala, provides pastel colours over a firm harmonic base.

03 Brian CurrentBrian Current – Faster Still
Various Artists
Centrediscs CMCCD 24217 (musiccentre.ca)

This recording is a timely reminder of the significant work that Brian Current is doing as a composer and conductor, and the excellent performance standard of three of Toronto’s leading new music ensembles.

The CD opens with an attractive short scena from 2006 – Inventory – with soprano Patricia O’Callaghan as a shoe salesperson, letting her imagination wander. The clever text is by Anton Piatigorsky and the Soundstreams ensemble (conducted by Current) features fine playing by some of Toronto’s top players. O’Callaghan’s poignant and whimsical performance is a highlight of the disc.

Faster Still, Strata and Shout, Sisyphus, Flock are three substantial instrumental works given superb performances here by the ensembles of Duo Concertante/Blue Engine String Quartet, Continuum Contemporary Music and New Music Concerts respectively. All three works are vital and intense and illustrate Current’s mastery of ensemble colour and aural imagery.

The Duet for Cellos, originally written in 2007 and revised in 2016, is an effective contrast in the middle of the program. Cellists Amahl Arulanandam and Bryan Holt give a sensational performance of this short, compelling work. The final track Circus Songs is a thrilling early piece for a mixed quintet that takes the listener on a wild ride and features great playing from all the performers. I especially loved pianist Stephen Clarke’s muscular “freak out” near the end.

It was a pleasure to get to know Current’s music better through this fine CD. He is a bold, uncompromising, highly skilled composer with much to say. 

04 Canadian OboeCanadian Works for Oboe and Piano
Charles Hamann; Frédéric Lacroix
Centrediscs CMCCD 24117 (musiccentre.ca)

In 1993, 22-year-old prodigy Charles Hamann became principal oboe of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Continuing in this role he is now internationally renowned; this two-disc Canadian sesquicentennial CD with University of Ottawa colleague Frédéric Lacroix shows why. Well-rounded tone and sensitive phrasing invite us into the uneasy lyricism of Jean Coulthard’s Sonata for Oboe and Piano (1947) and her concise Shizen – Three Nature Sketches from Japan (1979). Pianist Lacroix shines in the inventive sonorities and harmonic colour of Alexina Louie’s Filigree (2012). Neglected composer Leslie Mann’s haunting Vocalise (1974) is riveting, as is Incantation (1977) by Jacques Hétu featuring Hamann’s breathtaking sustained tones. Amazingly, Oskar Morawetz’s bracing, dialogue-rich Three Fantasies for oboe and piano (1976) is played here for the first time!

JUNO Award-winning composer John Burge’s lively, beautifully-crafted Sonata Breve No.4 (2006) first attracted Hamann and Lacroix into this recording project, which also includes his whimsical solo oboe Twitter Études No.2 (2016). Gary Kulesha’s imaginative, commissioned Lyric Sonata for Oboe and Piano (2015) is lyrically unconventional, with quarter tones and multiphonics effectively melded into the slow movement which evokes a lonely landscape. The disc includes a Sonatine (2015) by Frédéric Lacroix, arrangements of Marjan Mozetich’s Calla Lilies and John Estacio’s Canzona, plus works by Charles Wilson, Monte Keene Pishny-Floyd and Victor Herbiet. For great stories about the recording’s creation see the Canadian Music Centre website and the program notes. Highly recommended for anyone who likes the oboe and 20th- and 21st-century music!

05 Canadian WomenCelebrating Canadian Women!
Laurel Swinden; Stephanie Mara
Independent LBSCD2017 (musiccentre.ca)

Flutist and University of Guelph flute professor Laurel Swinden and pianist Stephanie Mara have teamed up to record this new CD of music by Canadian women, introducing composers and music new to many of us. Swinden’s playing is consistently first-class – great sound with flawless intonation and articulation. Mara is her equal all the way, playing like a soloist when that is required – and there are at times some devilishly difficult solos for the pianist – and stepping back when needed.

The program includes two sonatas, one by Quebec composer and organist extraordinaire Rachel Laurin, the other by composer and pianist Heather Schmidt. Both sonatas, oddly enough, have cadenzas which are, in my opinion, some of the best writing in these pieces, and which Swinden plays with great confidence and verve.

I had the same response when hearing the opening of the Schmidt Sonata and the opening phrases of Alice Ho’s Suite for Flute and Piano: “What a composer!” Both bristle with excitement and virtuosity, demanding that the performer go to a stratospheric energy level. I was struck by how idiomatic Schmidt’s writing was for the flute. The second movement’s kaleidoscopic changes of mood are virtuosic feats of composition. While Swinden excels in this exciting and treacherously difficult music, she also shines in the more lyrical, like Jean Coulthard’s Music on a Quiet Song, which she plays with great artistry.

This CD brings together artistry and artistic leadership. Well done!

06 Butterfield BozziniChristopher Butterfield – Trip
Quatuor Bozzini
Editions QB CQB 1719 (actuellecd.com)

For its 23rd CD, Quatour Bozzini has produced a monograph recording with an almost-chronological retrospective of music by Christopher Butterfield. Spanning more than 20 years, it contains three pieces for solo strings and two string quartets. Clinamen (the Latin name Lucretius gave to the unpredictable swerve of atoms), for solo violin (1999), is made up of 80 cards, each containing a short musical phrase, combined according to the free will of the performer. Intentionally inchoate, the piece is bound together most prominently by the honey tone of Clemens Merkel’s playing, and yet, there are whispers of its compositional technique, as though related materials were sketched, bent through historical filters from classical music to modern, and then splayed by means of William S. Burroughs’ cut-up technique.

Fall (2013), written for the full quartet, is the perfect vehicle for the Bozzinis’ signature non-vibrato playing. At times haunting and tense, their sound is also unadorned, unaffected and exquisite. Engaged in material processes of rotation and accumulation, the ensuing tone of the piece is plaintive and distantly evocative of Cage’s String Quartet in Four Parts. The eponymous Trip (meaning possibly all of: excursion, to dance or run lightly, to stumble or fall, to release and raise an anchor, and to hallucinate) is an outlandish journey from a short Scorrevole movement augmented by a random talk radio broadcast, through a moto perpetuo, to a swaying, recapitulatory Scherzo. The last movement, marked Adagio molto, is longer than the preceding movements combined, and sounds not simply slow but like a time-stretched recording, where the smallest, usually ordinary timbral deviation is magnified and burnished, while notes, lines and harmonies are expanded into tranquillizing beauty. 

07 Veronique MathieuArgot
Véronique Mathieu; Jasmin Arakawa
Navona Records NV6105 (navonarecords.com)

Canadian violinist Véronique Mathieu has positive mojo in spades: chops to burn, rock solid musicianship, solo and concerto gigs around the world and a doctorate in music. Not taking the typical path, Mathieu has chosen to play, commission and record primarily contemporary music, mostly by American and Canadian composers.

In Argot Mathieu – and Jasmin Arakawa, her pianist in the Lutosławski repertoire – has chosen a demanding program of late-20th-century classical music. She tackles substantial scores of three European heavyweights, Franco Donatoni (1927-2000), Pierre Boulez (1925-2016) and Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994).

The two-movement Argot by Donatoni definitely makes a virtuoso, dramatic statement. Brimming with a huge variety of keening timbral shifts, swift overtone-rich melodic fragments and expressive bowing and fingering, it’s an impressive work and performance. Composed for Yehudi Menuhin in 1992, Boulez’s Anthèmes employs extended techniques and virtuoso passagework galore. To these ears, Mathieu nails this 8’56” solo.

The album is capped by the three works by Lutosławski for violin and piano. Recitativo e Arioso (1951) is early Lutosławski, imbued sometimes with an almost folk-like lyricism. Subito (1992), on the other hand, is among the composer’s last works, though in no way is it resigned. Rather, it is full of melodic playfulness with perhaps a musical tip of the hat to the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók.

Mathieu’s recital closes satisfyingly with the largest work here, Lutosławski’s five-movement Partita (1984). I understand it’s the work on the album most often included in contemporary violin recitals. In the virtuoso hands of Mathieu and Arakawa you can clearly hear why.

08 Cage Speaking PercussionJohn Cage – The Works for Percussion 4: Works for Speaking Percussion
Bonnie Whiting
mode records mode 296 (CD and Blu-ray disc; moderecords.com)

American new music and improvising percussionist Bonnie Whiting is carving out a career as a “speaking percussionist.” And what better repertoire to collect on her new album than the iconoclastic, prolific and influential American composer John Cage’s groundbreaking scores that require speaking or singing and percussion?

The main program falls into three Cagean periods. Two early career songs bookend a combination of two mid-1950s works for speaker and percussionist. Music for Two (By One), and a realization of Cage’s late period Music for ________ (1984-1987) for solo voice and percussion, follows. The album closes with a 2011 Allen Otte composition which incorporates several Cage works.

On the face of it, the two songs – The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs (1942) and A Flower (1950) – seem the most conventional fare here: melody with piano accompaniment. While they are usually performed by a separate singer and pianist, Whiting performs the two parts together with ease and grace. It’s a performance ethos she traces to Cage’s openness to having some of his works combined and performed simultaneously. The songs, however, are more non-conformist than they first appear. The instrumental parts are tapped and struck with fingers and hands on a closed piano. The voice is also severely restricted. While Cage’s 1930s composition teacher Arnold Schoenberg famously employed all 12 conventional semitones as a structural feature of his later compositions, Cage, on the other hand in The Wonderful Widow, uses three tones. A Flower’s vocal melody is constructed of four pitches with a fifth added only near the end. Were these songs at least partly a result of Cage rejecting a dominant, demanding father figure?

In Whiting’s relaxed, naturalistic yet precise performances the songs feel almost lullaby-like, equally timeless and emblematic of the 20th-century avant-garde.

By the way, I recommend the Blu-ray version that comes with this release. The visual cues and energy in Whiting’s assured performances bring the Cage works, particularly the two long percussion text scores, alive in full colour.

09 Elision EnsembleThe Wreck of Former Boundaries
Elision Ensemble at 30
HCR/NMC HRC13CD (elision.org.au)

Celebrating 30 years of engagement with complex and challenging aesthetics, Australia’s Elision ensemble has released The Wreck of Former Boundaries, a live recording featuring their 2016 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival performances of the eponymous work by Aaron Cassidy, and How Forests Think, by Liza Lim.

In his bountiful 33-minute work, Cassidy writes remarkable musical situations for Elision’s consummately nimble cast. His diagonal consideration of instrumental colour facilitates their concentration on not just the notes, but continuous timbral flux expressed through idiomatically applied glissandi, pressure variance, embouchure tension and dynamic changes. In the liner notes, perhaps with benefit of hindsight, Cassidy describes the work as a double trumpet concerto, although elsewhere he calls it six stand-alone pieces that can be performed independently. It projects, however, as a fluid stream of restless, stratified solos and duos with infrequent, disjunct episodic interjections from the ensemble. Crispy, familiar electronics pursue contours of similar profile to the instrumental writing, prodigiously applied in the potent latter third of the work.

Lim’s How Forests Think reflects on anthropologist Eduardo Kohn’s nuanced idea of forest ecologies as intersecting communities and social networks (human and non-human). Musical identities share succulent attributes, supporting, absorbing and transferring them across the Chinese sheng and ensemble parts. Whereas Cassidy revels in anxiously winding materials through self-referential guides, Lim’s understory focuses on a different manner of complexity, nourished by outward-pointing substrata that creep and trail across the work. The result is polyreferential and broad, in vocabulary and scope, with deftly probed textures propagating a vital, bifurcating soundscape.

10 PendereckiPenderecki – Double Concerto; Piano Concerto; Trumpet Concerto
Jakub Haufa; Marcel Markowski; Szymon Nehring; Aleksander Kobus; Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra; Krzysztof Penderecki
Dux Recording Producers DUX 1345

What becomes of revolutionaries when, inevitably, with the passage of time, they become members of the establishment? Well, if you were Krzysztof Penderecki, you would be paying a tribute to the past. Now 84, the once-iconoclastic Polish composer, who stunned the musical world with his 1969 opera The Devils of Loudun and charmed it with the 1961, UNESCO-prize winning Threnody for the victims of Hiroshima, Penderecki today is more reflective and less innovative, but certainly not any less masterful.

Though the Double Concerto references Brahms in its form, the music is firmly in the Bartók corner. Powerful and sinewy melodic lines, especially those of the cello (originally scored for a viola) emanate freshness and the unmistakable delight of a newness of style. This is full-on, shivers-down-the-spine stuff, exciting, dangerous and hypnotic. The Piano Concerto and the Concertino for Trumpet are more standard expressions of this musical lion-in-winter, yet still bears his clear signature. All of the performers are very young, including this recently formed orchestra of Polish musicians under the age of 30. Their enthusiasm in performance is contagious, adding yet another dimension to this fine CD. A must for Penderecki fans and a not-at-all-bad introduction to his works for those ten people in the world who do not know him yet.

01 Quinsin NachoffQuinsin Nachoff’s Ethereal Trio
Quinsin Nachoff; Mark Helias; Dan Weiss
Whirlwind Recordings WR4706 (quinsin.com)

Toronto-born New York resident Quinsin Nachoff has created several projects in which interests in jazz and formal composition overlap, from the harmonic complexity of his Flux to the strings of his Horizons Ensemble. The Ethereal Trio, a more improvisation-oriented group that matches Nachoff’s tenor saxophone with the very distinguished bass work of the veteran Mark Helias (who will perform a solo set at the Guelph Jazz Festival on September 17 at noon) and the propulsive, creative drumming of Dan Weiss, arose from a project with the Penderecki String Quartet that combined the quartet with a jazz trio, encouraging Nachoff to pursue this bare-bones format further.

Without a chordal instrument, the trio’s emphasis is rhythmic and melodic with a keen sense of structural interactivity between Nachoff’s compositions and the group’s relatively free improvisations. While Nachoff’s patterns tend more to the serial than the triadic, there’s a certain kinship to the great early trios of saxophonist Sonny Rollins, with an acute rhythmic awareness among the three partners as they shift accents and bounce phrases off one another’s lines. It’s strongest on the hard-edged Subliminal Circularity, but it arises as well in the layered rhythms of Push-Pull Topology. Nachoff’s fondness for traditional string textures is supported here by Helias’ fine arco work, especially on the lyrical Gravitas.

The trio is loose without being casual, at once taut and free, and the consistent quality of detailed interplay and invention brings Nachoff’s forceful, inventive tenor playing to the fore. It may be his most satisfying recording to date.

02 Christine JensenChristine Jensen – Under the Influence Suite
Orchestre National de Jazz Montreal; Christine Jensen
Justin Time JTR 8957-2 (justin-time.com)

Review

Two-time JUNO-winner, saxophonist, composer and conductor Christine Jensen is one of the most gifted, creative and skilled international musicians/composers of her generation. With her new five-part jazz suite and recording, Montreal-based Jensen has materialized nothing short of a musical triumph. A deeply personal project, this well-produced CD (which was commissioned by l’Orchestre national de jazz de Montréal) is an homage to Jensen’s significant musical influences – creative masters with whom she found a deep, soul connection and who have helped to shape her as an artist and as a human being. These jazz icons include the late Kenny Wheeler, the late Jan Jarczyk, the late John Coltrane, Lee Konitz (with whom Jensen studied extensively) and Wayne Shorter. Jensen (who conducts the ONJM) has also chosen to incorporate the lovely voice of Sienna Dahlen – which in timbre and tone is the perfect complement to the dynamic ONJM and also to the potent music itself (to which Dahlen contributed lyrics).

Among the superb sections of this cycle are Part I (For Kenny Wheeler), which begins with Ouverture – a spooky and disarming sequence that opens the door for Starbright, a stunning, breathtaking and heartbreaking opus that segues into an expressionistic and free-flowing vocal and instrumental exploration, which then explodes into a cacophony of heart-pounding brass, a scorching piano solo by genius François Bourassa as well as gorgeous solos/rhythm section work from trumpeter Bill Mahar and drummer Kevin Warren. Also performed to perfection are the lilting, sassy and swinging Sweet Lee (For Lee Konitz) and both compositions written in tribute to Wayne Shorter: Anthem – a spiritual, non-linear, outside of space/time experience – and the joyous, dueling saxophones of Chant.

03 Alex GoodmanSecond Act
Alex Goodman
Lyte Records LR040 (lyterecords.com)

It seems that for much of Second Act, Alex Goodman maintains a sort of spectral presence as a guitarist, shadowing the pianist Eden Ladin or saxophonist and EWI player Matt Marantz with liquid single-note lines, creating contrapuntal tête-à-têtes with them. But in each song Goodman does emerge briefly to punch the clock with short, stabbing solos that might end – as with Marantz’s saxophone in Heightened – in a kind of knotted entanglement with the melody before all but disappearing into the shadows of the music again. This, of course, puts the focus back on the compositional ability of Goodman and how his sinuous music sounds when played in an ensemble setting.

It’s also refreshing when a disc turns up that hearkens back to unfettered swing the way Second Act does. In a sense it feels like listening to big band music without the large ensemble. This quintet is also augmented by the incredible vocalists Felicity Williams and Alex Samaras. Together the ensemble sounds big even as it loses flutes and strings. This keeps the superbly economical melodies swinging and staying in shape through the spare, yet enhanced aural palettes of guitar, piano, saxophone and voice. The breathless fluttering of guitar on The First Break, tumbling cascades of piano in Losing Cool and burbling warmth of the saxophone on Acrobat all make for high art and high entertainment. And when the two meet – as they do in Second Act – memorability is assured.

04 Fran JareCopy Cat Coo Coo
Fran Jaré
Superfran Records FJ0157

Fran Jaré wears a number of hats on her new recording – producer, pianist, organist, composer and vocalist. Having made strong inroads into the genres of R&B, pop and rock (notably as the lead vocalist for the popular Vancouver ensemble Soultrax), Jaré has journeyed back into jazz with some very (dare I say it?) groovy results. The tight, cool and satisfying ensemble is bound together not only by talent and love of music, but also by a jazz-pedigreed gene pool (the executive producer is Jaré’s husband, Brian Disterheft, and features both her JUNO-winning bassist daughter, Brandi Disterheft, and her Grammy-winning sister, Angie Jaree). Additional JUNO-winning instrumentalists include Olaf DeShield on guitar and electric bass, Tom Keenlyside on sax and flute, Buff Allen on drums, Brad Turner on trumpet and also famed percussionist Portinho.

The well-chosen material is primarily a mash-up of Jaré’s original compositions, written over a period of time and culled from previous recordings and musical situations – including Soultrax and incarnations of the Fran Jaré Trio/Quartet/Quintet. A deep bow to the incredible Stevie Wonder is also included with Jaré’s slow, smooth and funky take on I Wish. She also pays tribute to the late great, Oliver Nelson with the buoyant Step Right Up. The title track is an infectious, soulful romp, perfectly underscored and punctuated by Jaré’s considerable organ/piano chops and the fine soloing and ensemble playing.

On Yeah! Together Again, Jaré’s smokey vocal sound brings to mind Joe Stafford and Julie London in perfect synthesis with Jaré’s own sensual, unique, film noir-infused voice. Her charming scat singing is not only completely musical, but delivered with joy and accuracy. A fine recording!

05 Paul NewmanMusic for Solo Tenor Saxophone
Paul Newman
Somewhere There (paulnewman1.bandcamp.com)

Local musician/composer Paul Newman performs his tasteful, thoughtful compositions with care, musicality and colour here. Both works are three tracks each, and explore sound quality, phrasing and mostly gentle melodic movement using contemporary musical tools.

Full Circle is immediately attention-grabbing with its opening lengthy bent tones alternating with long silent spaces, allowing the listener time to reflect on the sound. The work leads to a steady almost slow walking pace with clear tones magically performed. The slightly faster second movement takes on a two-instrument conversational feel between high and low tones. The atonal sound of the third section features faster interval leaps and extended technique. Excitement builds with the short staccato repeated notes and melodies ending with minimalistic flavoured long tones.

In As Long As We Remain (for Ken Aldcroft and Braz King), Newman illustrates more of his contemporary, experimental musical side. The work also opens with longer lyrical notes and phrases, leading to a section of high and low tricky pitch jumps. Especially exciting is the final movement. Fluctuating colours, timbres and similar jumps make for a more atonal listening adventure, ending with a glorious, loooong held tone.

This solo music experience is so gratifying due to Newman’s confident compositional and performance virtuosity, along with a clear production that captures all his musical subtleties. This is brilliant reflective experimental music driving along a mainstream highway of sound.

06 Ugly BeautyUgly Beauty
Kadi Vija; Lucas Dann
Texicalli

Kadi Vija and Lucas Dann – a Finnish musician who calls herself a “vocal instrumentalist” and a Canadian pianist of considerable pedigree – might seem like strange bedfellows but in the music of Thelonious Monk on Ugly Beauty, the very oddness of the partnership gives the album’s title a distinctly Monkish meaning. The album takes its name from the only waltz among Monk’s compositions and it is appropriately kicked off by a relatively rarely played Gallop’s Gallop, which, in turn, establishes the extraordinary relationship between these two musicians. For from the very first bars it becomes clear that something astonishingly brilliant is happening here.

Both Vija and Dann ignite Monk’s music operating as a partnership of equals, not as vocalist and piano accompanist. Their relationship recalls the enduring one between Monk and his ubiquitous tenor saxophonist, Charlie Rouse, lending credence to Vija’s “vocal instrumentalist” persona. In fact, the vocalist melds Rouse in with gorgeous echoes of the great American vocal gymnast, Lauren Newton, who shone with the iconic Vienna Art Orchestra. Meanwhile Dann negotiates the music with magnificent control of fingerwork in these most densely textured and substantially road-tested songs, keeping it close to Monk while managing to ring in the changes. Consider the two wondrous takes on Bemsha Swing.

The haunting compositions supply this duo’s usual range of ear-worm music – dancing melodies, chopped rhythms and gorgeous harmonies – with the added element of unusual textures.

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