3rd movement "Ceilidh" from Jason Noble's "Folk Suite,"
Cafe 1930 by Astor Piazzolla
The 5th movement "Rápido" from Gabriela Ortiz' "5pa2."
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During the mid-2010s I went to New York to research an article about some of the unusual characters that dot the historical jazz landscape. After a considerable crosstown public bus journey one day, I found myself sitting across from Bernard Stollman, whose career and life is too fantastical and wide-ranging to discuss here. Briefly, however, I was speaking to Stollman about that incredibly fertile 18-month period from 1963 to 1965, when he oversaw and released 45 largely freely improvised albums on his label ESP-DISK. Although the label would become best known for its association with Albert Ayler and Sunny Murray, ESP-DISK’s first release was Ni Kantu En Esperanto (Let’s Sing in Esperanto), a vocal album capturing a collection of folk songs in that “universal language” created by L.L. Zamenhof in 1887.
What, you may ask, does any of this have to do with Wanderlust, the terrific Leaf Music collection of folk pieces by flutist Lara Deutsch and guitarist Adam Cicchillitti? I suppose it is that while enjoyably listening to this 2023 recording – which threads together eight disparate pieces representing a multiplicity of musical regions and cultures by way of gorgeous playing, telepathic musical interaction and two expertly cultivated instrumental sounds – I was again reminded that Zamenhof’s quest for a “universal language” had, in fact, already been realized. It’s called music. This aptly named travelogue recording, treats the music of Argentina, Romania, Japan and elsewhere with the equity of aplomb and care it deserves, foregrounding beauty while ensuring that nothing is lost in translation.