Live: A Celebration of Rumi — The Sights and Sounds of Mystic Persia

September 29, 2008

By Don Heckman

Poetry has been an essential element in Persian/Iranian culture for eons, a refuge in times of stress, a joy in periods of plenty.  In turn, the music of that rich society has been almost inseparably linked to the poetry, producing stunning combinations of lyrical imagery and emotionally dense melody.

Surveying the creative product of a culture this rich, this overflowing with imaginative historical development, would be impossible in a single concert.

Kayhan Kalhor and the Silk Road Ensemble

Kayhan Kalhor and the Silk Road Ensemble

But the “Celebration of Rumi” at the Hollywood Bowl Saturday night, curated by the gifted master of the kumancheh, Kayhan Kalhor, made an impressive effort to open the ornate portals into this extraordinary artistic heritage.

The program ranged far and wide, beginning appropriately with a program of mystical Sufi songs performed by vocalist and dotar player Nour-Mohammad Dorpour.  The mood he created, solely with his passionately intense singing and hypnotically rhythmic accompaniment on the lute-like dotar, was extraordinary.  Undoubtedly it had an even greater impact upon those listeners who understood Farsi.  But by any definition, it was a performance that transcended the specifics of language, allowing the spiritual poetry to come to life as sound and rhythm.

The program of the Qaderi Dervishes — a five member ensemble of Sufis from Kurdistan — was a stunning display of trance music.  Both musically, via mesmerizing melodic and rhythmic repetition, and visually, via physical movements involving hurling their long hair back and forth, they attempted to invoke the ecstatic state of enlightenment that is one of their essential goals.  It was a little difficult to bring off in the clearly secular setting of the Hollywood Bowl, however, for a crowd that became understandably restless halfway through the 30 minute presentation.

The Whirling Dervishes, with their astonishing, feather-light spinning, are always among the most visually compelling elements of Persian music concerts, and this program was no exception.  Their offerings were made even more gripping by the versatile accompaniment of the Al-KIndi Ensemble and the stunning vocals of Sheikh Hamza Chakour.

Most of the evening’s second half was devoted to a pair of splendid ensembles.  The first featured the beautifully integrated playing of Kalhor’s group, which showcased the astonishingly virtuosic singing of Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh.  The second — the marquee act of the program — was Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.  Performing a new composition by Kalhor, the Ensemble further secured their justly earned reputation as one of the most convincing interpreters of music from across the globe.

The program also included simultaneous Persian calligraphy, created by artist Ostad Yadollah Kaboli, and projected on video screens.   And, perhaps best of all, there were the spoken Rumi poems, expressed in Farsi by Iraj Gorgin and — in the concert’s most enraptured moments — told passionately in English by the superb, Academy Award-nominated (for “House of Sand and Fog”) Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo.


Live: 51st Monterey Jazz Festival

September 25, 2008

By MIchael J. Katz

Ryan Shaw

Ryan Shaw

It’s 6:35 p.m. and the first few strains of music are flowing over the Garden Stage, a small outdoor amphitheatre adjacent to the main arena at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. The main stage show doesn’t start for two hours, but the fans are already flowing in, filling up the funky metal benches. Lawn chairs sprout up in the green space in front of the bleacher sections, and by tomorrow there will be folks perched in the surrounding oaks. The crowd is listening to George Young, a sixtyish tenor player who opens the festival with a program of Billy Strayhorn tunes.  Young’s renditions of Take The A Train and Rain Check seem the perfect backdrop as old friends reunite and plot strategy for three days of jazz and blues spread over five stages of music.

Although the big names are centered on the Arena, I’ve always thought the Garden Stage is the soul of the festival. Its smaller size promotes intimacy, yet the outdoor setting gives it a raucous environment.  Good vibes spill out over the grounds, across the midway, where the smell of barbecue wafts over wooden picnic tables; fans of all ages and backgrounds find themselves thrown together, comparing the virtues of Ghanaian salmon and Texas ribs.

I duck into the Coffee House, the smallest of the indoor venues, to catch a young Israeli pianist, Yaron Herman and his trio. Herman plays with a furious virtuosity, all his own compositions, in a free form whirlwind that will be book ended late in the festival by Wayne Shorter’s soaring performance at the arena. Shorter’s legion of fans will take flight with him anywhere, whereas Herman hasn’t found his audience yet. People wander in and out, and I wonder if sprinkling his repertoire with a few identifiable tunes wouldn’t hurt.

Meanwhile, at the arena, a dense fog has settled in, and some in the crowd who thought last year’s downpour on opening night was an anomaly are beginning to mutter about the effects of global warming.  By the time Cassandra Wilson finishes an adventurous set with a nod to Sarah Vaughn in A Day In The Life of A Fool and Til There was You, the fog has turned into light rain and many folks don’t stay for the final act, flutist Maraca’s Cuban Lullabies. That’s a shame, because they miss an exhilarating performance, augmented by sax players David Sanchez and Miguel Zenon.  Three days hence, Zenon will be awarded a $500,000 MacArthur grant – one can only imagine the Monterey crowd partying over that news.

Saturday afternoon is the blues show, and I am back at the Garden Stage where Ryan Shaw, a young R and B singer from Georgia, simply tears up the place. Singing a mixture of his own songs and gospel-tinged covers from the Beatles (Let It Be) to Otis Redding (Try a Little Tenderness), Shaw has the crowd standing and cheering.  Aided by superb bassist Michael “Tiny” Lindsey, Shaw encores for half an hour, causing me to miss Maceo Parker at the Arena. That is the joyful serendipity of Monterey.

The biggest splash of the festival is made Sunday afternoon by young Brit Jamie Cullum. Hyped as the next  Harry Connick, Jr,  or maybe the third coming of Sinatra, Cullum wins over skeptics from the start with a foot stomping (in this case on his own keyboard) version of I Get A Kick Out Of You. Cullum has the jazz chops.  His Twentysomething is a brightly funny take on leaving the nest, set against the altered chords of Charles Mingus’s Haitian Fight Song.  He bounces around the stage, leaping on his piano — his vertical leap would make NBA scouts drool, were it not for the fact that he is about half the size of a standup bass.  It’s the best main arena debut I can recall since Diana Krall knocked everybody out in 1997.

A few words about jazz education, the principal mission of the Monterey Jazz Festival. The kids in this festival, supported generously by Verizon, are stunningly talented. A Latin Jazz septet from the Berklee College of Music, its members hailing from Israel to Peru, played to packed houses at both the Garden Stage and the Coffee House. I caught the winning High School vocal groups from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and Folsom High School, both of whom played crisp arrangements with outstanding young voices.  A combo of high school students from the Jazz School Advanced Workshop in Berkeley was equally outstanding. When you listen to these kids and see the enthusiastic crowds that support them at Monterey, it’s hard to accept the slight recognition jazz gets in the broader media, or the widespread belief that the music isn’t healthy.

There is way too much going on at Monterey to do justice to everyone. My favorites this year included Kurt Elling’s tribute to the Coltrane/Hartman collaboration, with saxman Ernie Watts and the ETHEL string quartet; Christian McBride’s straight ahead jazz quintet with Steve Wilson on woodwinds and Eric Reed on piano, and Maria Schneider’s lush, symphonic jazz compositions, also featuring Wilson,  highlighted by Willow Lake, her commissioned piece.

When it was all over, Herbie Hancock launching into an electrified encore of Chameleon at the arena, the crowd emptied out, taking the joys of music and camaraderie back to the workaday world.


CD Review: Carla Zilbersmith

September 22, 2008

Carla Zilbersmith

“Extraordinary Renditions” (Breathe Productions)

By Don Heckman

Carla Zilbersmith may be too talented, too versatile for her own good.

Carla Zilbersmith

Carla Zilbersmith

How else to explain why this extraordinary artist has had such relatively low national visibility, never signed with a major label, other than to say that she’s been spreading her abilities too generously in every direction. .

Her credits reach from performances with the Boston Philharmonic to small group jazz, pop and folk; from sketch comedy to her one-woman musical “Wedding Singer Blues; from her work as Artistic Director of the College of Marin Drama Department to fifteen years of appearances in Boston, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Canada.  Add to that, her continuing performances in and around her Bay area home, and the release of this richly diverse, perfectly titled CD.(obtainable online at www.cdbaby.com/carlazilbersmith).

So that’s a handful, right?  But there’s one more thing.  In December of 2007, Carla was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) - perhaps best known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Which, she says, “sucks, because I hate baseball.”

“I’d really rather have been diagnosed with a basketball disease,” she told an audience shortly after receiving the diagnosis.  “Maybe with Wilt Chamberlain Disease.  That’s the one where you have sex 20,000 times and then you die.”  It’s the kind of black humor that has characterized her subsequent comments, in performance, as well as on her extraordinary blog, CarlaMuses, at http://carlamuses.blogspot.com, in which she “writes about life, art, politics and the things that scare her.”

“Extraordinary Renditions” was completed before she was informed of the ALS diagnosis, but it is largely the product of another life-transforming event, the end of her twenty year marriage to saxophonist Michael Zilber.  The songs, she says, “chronicle that journey to some extent,” but there is no mournful feeling of loss, either in the selection of material or the ambience of the performance. And Zilber, a versatile saxophonist, performs on several tracks and has written many of the arrangements — provided, says Carla, at “the special ‘separated spouse discount’.”

The CD arrived after I’d become aware of Carla’s ALS, although I’d heard some earlier material on line, before I was told of the diagnosis.  Yet, in both cases, it was almost impossible to hear her singing within the framework of a terminal illness.  Quite simply, “Extraordinary Renditions” is a collection of jazz-based, but stylistically far-reaching vocal performances by a talent that should have been in the middle of the view screen years ago.

The high points are too numerous to mention.  But listen closely to the coolly swinging transformation of Prince’s “Kiss,” the utterly convincing r & b vamps on Eddy Arnold’s “You Don’t Know Me,” Pee Wee Ellis’ “Cold Sweat” and her own “Bluesy Wisdom” (savor every word), her atmospheric rendering of the traditional Celtic tune “She Moves Through the Faire,” and the intimate sensitivity she brings to Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You.”

It’s all delivered via a vocal instrument that is astonishingly pliable.  Saucily assertive, soaringly lyrical, boisterously witty – whatever a lyric demands – issued over an irresistibly dynamic rhythmic flow.  She is, by any definition, the real deal, one of a kind, interacting superbly with the loving musical backing of pianist John R. Burr, bassist Jon Evans and drummer David Rokeach.

Carla has another CD in the works, on the “fast track” – a necessity, given the progression of the ALS.  But she still has “miles to go” (to quote Carl Sandburg), and lucky Los Angelenos will have the rare opportunity to hear her in a live performance on Friday, Oct. 3.  Here’s the information.

“A Carla-Bration,” Friday, Oct. 3rd at 8:00pm * Parlor Performances at Steinway Hall, 12121 W. Pico Blvd., under Fields Pianos on level P2.  RSVP & information: Jeannine@FrankEntertainment.com or (310) 471-3979.  $25 contribution.


Live: Rudder Cooks My Spuds at the Baked Potato

September 22, 2008
Christa Crawford

Rudder at the Baked Potato. L-R: Chris Cheek, Keith Carlock, Tim Lefebvre, Henry Hey. Photo: Christa Crawford

by Casey Dolan

The four-headed musical beast from New York, Rudder, played at the Baked Potato last night and will also play tonight. It’s safe to say that everyone’s spud was truly cooked as Rudder burned rubber, playing cuts from last year’s debut album and offering tantalizing examples from the upcoming one due to be completed by year’s end.

The quartet of Chris Cheek on tenor sax, Henry Hey on keyboards, Tim Lefebvre on bass and Keith Carlock on drums travel a well-trod musical path, perhaps one of the codified musical genres of all — the so-called evil ’70s creation of jazz funk, or jazz rock, or fusion (choose your poison). The progeny of the genius of Miles Davis and Tony Williams Lifetime ultimately made the genre stale and redundant, but, as with Medeski Martin and Wood who have surveyed similar terrain, Rudder has incorporated so many other influences as to make their music entirely their own. Cross-pollination and synthesis, once again, are proving to be fertile ground for innovation and improvisation.

This weekend’s two-night stand is Rudder’s second appearance in Los Angeles in a year and a different experience from the first. Last January, drummer Keith Carlock was the focus, astounding the crowd with his muscular swampy style and looking like an electrified muppet, arms moving so quickly that he was the recreation of the many-limbed god, Siva.

Carlock, the winner of the 2008 Modern Drummer Readers Poll, is such a fine drummer that he can handle all manners of tempi and dynamics and this was demonstrated more fully at this second showing of Rudder. Not quite so immersed in the 4/4 ashcan swamp school as before, Carlock covered the full range of dynamics, from tinkling the cymbals in creative moody pianissimo intros to the massive neanderthal wallop that he conjures out of a relatively small Yamaha kick. Indeed, after hearing what Carlock can do with such a small kit, one wonders why Terry Bozzio (among so many others) needs his ten gazillion drums? When Carlock really gets going, it is simply impossible for people in the audience not to shout out loud in their enthusiasm.

Carlock is still the crowd magnet, but it was the dimunitive Hey, coaxing every manner of sci-fi sound out of his keyboards (some would be appropriate for films shown on “Mystery Science Theater 3000“) and the most dead-on replicas of Hammond B4s and Fender Rhodes, who truly captivated the audience on Saturday night. His solo on the new tune, “Hip-Hop Harmonizer,” was inspired, not to mention that he twiddled knobs while, at the same time, running interference on a drunk attempting to confront Lefebvre mid-set. Very impressive. The sounds may have been glacial and spatial, but Hey managed to always return to the steamy funk, breaking up his quite lovely cluster comps with sparkling post-bop solos. Hey deserves greater notice as a keyboardist and it is clear that if there is any director in this democratic group, he is it.

Tenor sax player Chris Cheek has a reedy sound (moreso live than on record where there is a more rounded tone), but he colors it with all manners of effects including a wah-wah and delays. He’s the melodic center of Rudder (carrying such tunes as “Stablemaster”), sometimes almost romantically so, but one wishes he was even more adventurous and less willing to settle for what could almost be described as smooth jazz lines or the comfortable padding behind Hey or Carlock’s acrobatics. If Carlock occasionally dominates too forcefully, Cheek underplays. I frankly wanted to hear more Chris Cheek solos. He’s got as sterling a pedigree as anyone else in the band, having played with Paul Motian, Charlie Haden, and Bill Frisell. Every so often, he gave us glimpses of what he is capable of — crazy, fast modal lines a la Eric Dolphy or even a Ravi Coltrane. On a tune like “Stablemaster,” with its “uptown” head, you almost wish for some screeching in the solos. But it is also Cheek’s compositions which reveal the greatest rock influences, “SK8″ and “Squarefoot” particularly, and that is a good thing, and, on the Rudder record, he is given the opportunity to overdub and create mini sections.

The new material did promise a hairier side of the band (although there were quiet moments as well and one of the most affecting moments of the evening was Hey’s ballad “Laurito” from the debut album). Much of that hairiness is attributable to bassist Tim Lefebvre, who stands nearly alone among contemporary bassists as a compositional colorist. He’s there one moment, locked in with Carlock, absent the next while exploring the instrument’s upper registers (I haven’t seen a bass player play up the neck quite so much), utilizing a low pass filter and, seemingly, automatic volume swell, delays, maybe even backwards effects. In short, he’s not only holding down the bottom end, he’s entertaining as well. And when a deep groove is required, he is providing it.

That is precisely what is at the core of Rudder’s live show. They obviously get a big kick out of playing with each other and no set lacks surprises for all of them. There were some mixed signals on the ending of one of the new tunes, but that was all in the spirit of the show. If Rudder could find the right coordinates, as the aforementioned Medeski Martin and Wood have done by touring with a band appealing to the “jamband” audience crowd or playing at such festivals, their course could be successfully plotted.

The band’s label, Nineteen-Eight Records, is offering three bonus tracks as downloads on their website. However, it will cost you $4. The snippets that are streamed are very brief.


CD Review: Danilo Perez “Across the Crystal Sea”

September 14, 2008

Danilo Perez

“Across the Crystal Sea” (Decca)

By Don Heckman

Unabashed lyricism is the goal – desired and achieved – in this remarkable collaboration between composer/arranger Claus Ogerman and pianist Danilo Perez.

Danilo Perez

Danilo Perez

The concept is similar to the 1965 album, “The Bill Evans Trio with Symphony Orchestra,” in which Ogerman adapted classical themes into settings for jazz piano trio and orchestra.  And, as gorgeous and memorable as that collaboration was, there is something equally fascinating about this partnership.

Different in approach, it positions both participants as extraordinary composer/arranger/performers – Ogerman with the orchestra, Perez with the piano (and the backing of bassist Christian McBride, drummer Lewis Nash and percussionist Luis Quintero).  The result is a classic outing, underscoring Ogerman’s great orchestral skills, while thoroughly identifying Perez as one of the most imaginative, lyrical pianists of his generation.

Five of the eight tracks are based upon themes by classical composers: Hugo Distler, Jean Sibelius, Manuel de Falla, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Jules Massenet.  Two standard songs – “It’s A Lazy Afternoon” and “(All of a sudden) My Heart Sings” – are rendered by Cassandra Wilson.  And the final work – “Another Autumn” – is a nearly ten minute excursion through an original piece by Ogerman.

The title track is based on a choral theme – from the Moerike Songbook Op. 19 — by the German composer Hugo Distler.  Although the original music reflects Distler’s melancholic qualities (he committed suicide in 1942 at the age of 34 to avoid serving in Hitler’s Wehrmacht), Ogerman interprets it with a trace of Caribbean rhythm, opening a lush, oceanic space for Perez’s floating improvisation.

Here, as elsewhere, Ogerman’s mastery of orchestral timbres is never less than astonishing.  The strings play with a textural sheen recalling the sound of the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy, and even the most striking harmonic dissonances emerge as emotion-gripping masses of sound and feeling.  Always acknowledged as an orchestrator, Ogerman receives too little credit for what he brings to a project, for his capacity to reach far beyond the creation of attractive ensemble sounds.  Like Gil Evans, everything he touches emerges as a kind of re-composition, a newly imagined view of existing melodies, harmonies and rhythms.

Other highlights include “The Purple Condor,” with Spanish textures based on Nana from Manuel de Falla’s Six Popular Spanish Songs.”  Perez takes the opportunity to move beyond jazz invention, with a spontaneous, creative addendum to Ogerman’s orchestration.  Similarly, listen to what Perez does with the introductory piano chorus to the deceptively simple, descending scalular melody of the ballad “(All of A Sudden) My Heart Sings.”

Wilson, moving beautifully through dark, Shirley Horn-like chest tones, adds the right lyrical touch to her two numbers.  Especially “Lazy Afternoon,” in which she captures the song’s mysterious underpinning: “If you hold my hand and sit real still you can hear the grass as it grows.”

Which provides a pretty good paraphrase about how to enjoy this thoroughly intimate, emotionally moving CD:  Sit real still and feel the music as it grows.


Live: Mogwai at the Wiltern: Ultima Terminus

September 10, 2008

Mogwai

Mogwai

by Casey Dolan

Last night, Los Angeles’ art deco masterpiece, the Wiltern Theatre, was in danger of being shaken to its foundations. Mogwai was visiting.

The first thing anyone should know about the Scottish quintet Mogwai, particularly if they are to attend a Mogwai concert in the future, is that they are louder than God. Or perhaps they are as loud as God’s ending of the world — Ragnarok, the apocalypse in the Book of Revelations, the sounds of the kraken transcribed by James Joyce in “Finnegans Wake,” or the techtonic shifting of continents. You get the idea? THAT loud.

That’s intentional, of course. Like Glenn Branca or, notoriously, The Swans before them, part of the cathartic impact of the music is due to the extreme decibel level. It is difficult to be unmoved, by any definition, when confronted with such sound. Of course, three guitars pumped through Marshalls, aided by plenty of overdrive pedals, can lead to permanent tinnitus for anyone standing in front of the PA horns.

But this is not a band without dynamics or compositional abilities and the sheer cinematic nature of their music has been seized upon by such filmmakers as Michael Mann and Darren Aronofsky for use in scores for such films respectively as “Miami Vice” and “The Fountain.”

Mogwai may be good material for films, but what many don’t realize is how profoundly Scottish the band truly is. The measured pace, often at an extremely slow tempo, coupled with sad pentatonic melodies can be likened to a piper’s pibroch, the classic lament. And then there is the grimness: the 18th-century dripping granite slabs of Glasgow (captured so well by 19th-century photographer, Thomas Annan) and hellfire sermons of Calvinist preachers. There is also an over-the-top mordancy — “Trainspotting” comes to mind — and Mogwai have no hesitation in taking the piss whenever and to whomever (have a look at the tour diary on their website).

Combine the musically traditional elements with the repetitive ostinatos of minimalism, the tearing at your heart of Sigur Ros (Mogwai eschews the comparison), and the volume of a Pantera (or, better yet, Neil Young at the L.A. Forum, 1996) and the limited sonic palette, which initially distracts, takes on deeper meaning and layers.

Keyboardist/guitarist Barry Burns plays simple church chording that establishes a foundation for most of the instrumental compositions and drummer Martin Bulloch knows how to hold down a slow tempo. The tendency for a drummer playing this kind of music would be to rush and bash, but Bulloch does neither. He is steady and subtle, allowing the guitar army to have their say…which, ultimately, they must because they will not be denied.

Bassist Dominic Aitchison carries much of the melodic content while Stuart Braithwaite, John Cummings and Barry Burns (when he isn’t playing keyboards) arpeggiate and interlock contrapuntal lines. Braithwaite is easily the most engaged performer on stage, throwing his diminutive muscular body into every pick and strum of his Les Paul. The music agonized, threatened and, occasionally, even soothed. Moments of boredom would intercede only to be disturbed by some cataclysmic musical event.

Last night’s set covered notable tracks from the band’s six albums, including the upcoming “The Hawk is Howling” (to be released Sept. 23), but the evening ended with “We’re No Here,” as ultima terminus a composition as could be imagined. The last track on 2006’s “Mr. Beast,” it conjures up overwhelming despair, with each member of the band departing the stage, like the ghosts the word “mogwai” translates into English from the Cantonese, until Braithwaite is left, scrambling like a monkey among pedals, turning knobs to ensure the greatest amount of feedback and noise for the transfixed crowd.

The opening duo, the Fuck Buttons, demonstrated a dearth of imagination for electronic dance music. Repetition was carried to an deafening extreme, perhaps as an open challenge to Mogwai, and left this listener with the impression of being stuck inside of a Tesla transformer.

"The Hawk is Howling" “The Hawk is Howling”


CD Revew: Simone Dinnerstein: “The Berlin Concert”

September 9, 2008


Simone Dinnerstein

Simone Dinnerstein

“The Berlin Concert” (Telarc)

By Don Heckman

Okay, let’s start with full disclosure.  I’m not usually a fan of Bach’s music played on a contemporary piano. Not because it can’t be done well.  Glen Gould killed that rumor, many times, over and over.  What bothers me has more to do with the instrument’s sonorities, as well as its mechanics.  Too many of the Bach-on-the-piano recordings I’ve heard flow from the piano-as-orchestra concept, essentially missing the point of the music.  Worse, In doing so, they rarely manage to elude the aural dominance of the instrument, itself, which is ever present as the carrier of each note.

Simone Dinnerstein’s recording of the Goldberg Variations (“Bach: The Goldberg Variations,” also on Telarc), however, proved me wrong on both counts.  And this new CD, recorded during a concert at the Berlin Philharmonic on Nov. 22, 2007, underscores the accomplishments of the previous recording.  Here, as in the Variations, Dinnerstein’s playing is utterly transparent, transporting the listener beyond the mechanics of pianistic production, into the music itself.  How it is made becomes irrelevant to what one hears — to the intimate connection Dinnerstein creates with the composer’s imagination.

Although works by Bach only make up a third or so of the program, his presence permeates the other pieces as well: Philip Lasser’s Twelve Variations on a Chorale by J.S. BachNimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott from Cantata 101– and Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111 Lasser’s Variations, reaching from an 18 second Piu Vivo to a climactic 3:37 minute Andante con moto. tred an adventurous path from Baroque counterpoint to a segment or two with distinct touches of jazz balladry.  Dinnerstein travels it with ease.

The Beethoven Sonata, his last, is as challenging in an interpretive sense as it is technically thorny, especially in the stunning cross-currents of the Arietta movement.  Listen for the subtle emotions of the anthemic opening, the swing she brings to the middle, ragtimey section, and her astonishing trills.

The two Bach segments — the French Suite No. 5 in G major and, as an encore, Variation 13 from the Goldberg Variations — are yet another reminder of her intuitive link with the music of the Baroque master.  Combined with her Beethoven insights and her capacity to handle the contemporary complexities of the Lasser work, they provide further authentication of her status as the most fascinating new classical pianist arrival of the decade.


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