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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Bespoke Music

It's something I truly find intriguing... like it goes on time-loop, century after century...

Sergiei Diaghilev and Coco Chanel funded Igor Stravinsky in Paris... Betty Freeman funded Harry Partch and John Cage... John Adams dedicated to her Nixon in China... Beethoven himself was funded back in 18th Century by Razumovskij for some string quartets.

Do you wish to get a glimpse of immaterial beauty, of truly portable and timeless art?

Commission to a composer a piece of music for your loved one or a birthday or an anniversary... a piece of music is forever!

Some ideas? Go at your local conservatory of music and get in touch with composing class director... do you wish to go WEB and international?

Contact the following sites: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group or New Music USA or Richard Thomas Foundation or Third Ear

A bespoke piece of music is such a cool and poetic way to celebrate someone or something and a way to reach immortality... or at least a scent of it.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Keith Jarrett - La Fenice, out October 19th

Here’s the complete press release:
“This double album, long anticipated, presents Keith Jarrett’s concert at the Gran Teatro La
Fenice in Venice, from July 2006. The setting – one of Italy’s most famous classical venues –
may evoke some parallels with La Scala, the pianist’s much-loved 1995 recording, but each
of Jarrett’s solo performances is its own world, his protean creativity continually bringing
new forms to light. La Fenice (the phoenix) finds him channelling the flow of inspiration into
a suite of eight spontaneously created pieces referencing everything from the blues to
atonality. From the first flurry of notes, it is a consistently captivating journey. Between Part
VI and Part VII, Jarrett surprisingly but very touchingly segues into “The Sun Whose Rays”,
from Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera The Mikado.
Encores are the traditional tune “My Wild Irish Rose” (previously recorded by Jarrett on The
Melody At Night With You), the timeless standard “Stella By Starlight”, which the trio with
Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette often played (see for instance the albums Standards Live
and Yesterdays). The concert ends with a tender version of Keith’s tune “Blossom”, first
heard on the Belonging album with Jan Garbarek, Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen back
in 1974.

La Fenice could be considered the culmination point of a series of solo concerts that began
the previous September with the The Carnegie Hall Concert. Reviewing that performance,
Fred Kaplan of The Absolute Sound wrote: “His concert pieces, all pure improvisations, are
models of economy, themes stated, explored, varied on, departed from, returned to, done –
and gripping from start to finish. The encores were similarly taut – and lyrical and gorgeous.”
Release of the Venice concert is timely. The 62nd International Festival of Contemporary
Music of the Biennale di Venezia has honoured Keith Jarrett with its Golden Lion for
Lifetime Achievement. It’s the first time that a “jazz” musician has received this award,
which has previously been given to contemporary composers including, in recent decades,
Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, György Kurtág, Helmut Lachenmann, Sofia Gubaidulina and
Steve Reich. Of course, there is more than one way to be a contemporary composer, as Keith
Jarrett eloquently illustrates on La Fenice, shaping his musical structures in real time.”
The tracklist is as follows:
CD 1
  1. Part I (17:44)
  2. Part II (3:26)
  3. Part III (9:47)
  4. Part IV (7:15)
  5. Part V (6:36)
CD 2
  1. Part VI (13:32)
  2. The Sun Whose Rays (4:22)
  3. Part VII (5:30)
  4. Part VIII (7:15)
  5. My Wild Irish Rose (7:03)
  6. Stella By Starlight (6:33)
  7. Blossom (8:35)
Thanks to Ziad, Stephen, Jan, Heino, Matthias, and Christoph for sending me information about this release.
Update (September 22, 2018). “The Sun Whose Rays” is already available from streaming platforms such as Deezer or Spotify. Thanks to Gabriele for the link!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Disk of the Month - Steve Tibbets - Life of (ECM 2018)

I've always been - as far as I remember - a loyal fan of Steve Tibbets and own ALL his discs and disks, including the elusive first, private pressing of Yr, his first one.

This "Life of" comes after a long hiatus of 8 years from the previous one... BUT the wait with Steve and his long.time music partner Marc Anderson on assorted percussions is always worthwhile.

I'll leave to Steve's words the description and background of the album in the making...

Steve with his trusty Martin D12-20... amazing pix.

On my part, only an heartfelt advice: buy it.


Monday, September 3, 2018

The Full Monty

Like in a lengthy, yet natural process, I finally gave a listen to Misho's C3M and RIAA Phono stage... in Gotorama.

I got the same extremely positive impression I previously had with smaller system, only better!

Dynamics, detailing, inter-notes silence, RFI and noise rejection... just WOW!

It's really a stellar sonic quality combo, folks... no but, no if, no maybe... only YES! and definitely so...

If a pictures says more than an hundred words, imagine four pictures;-)

Bravo, Misho!

Bravo, Yanislav!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Andy Irvine & Donal Lunny - The Plains o' Kildare

Two greats, two incredibly gifted musicians, two legends who both were in Planxty, the Irish supergroup I so much loved...

This superb video shows the two old masters en plein air dueting on their bouzoukis, Andy singing...


Saturday, September 1, 2018

High-end guitar - Gianni Pedrini venetian-cutaway acoustic guitar (1998)

Yes, high-end acoustic guitar is something I seldom experienced, despite I own or owned some nice guitars... the only other high-end guitar in my possession is a Lowden S-35 Rio/alpine spruce.

(a partial view of the stable)

What's the difference between a good acoustic guitar and an acoustic high-end guitar?

The price-tag?


The woods used?


The sound?


Like a voice, it's unique! You cannot be wrong... no misundestandings!

It's something special, harmonically rich, supremely resonant, lively, impressing at every note.

I recently acquired an acoustic guitar made by an italian luthier - Gianni Pedrini - in 1998: mahogany back and sides, italian alpine spruce, zero-fret at nut, no trussrod, no end-pin... 500 grams of resonance, overtones and sonic beauty.

The luthier is - maybe - the last member of old school of Northern Italy luthiery of Gallinotti, Giulietti, Raspagni, the latter where Pedrini worked for long years as an apprentice, first, and then a collaborator and whose master-grade woods supply was inherited by him after Maestro Raspagni passing.

Music coming from an unique instrument, made 20 years ago by an obscure, skilled, gifted italian artisan!

I simply cannot stop playing it.

P.S. - Gianni Pedrini was also the maker of this beast...

... and of this beauty, an Hauser-style classical guitar, made in 1994.

WoodenAmp C3M line stage

I tried Misho's C3M preamp with Gotorama, at last...

... have been a truly destroying August for yours truly, folks... daily job at its worst, ever!

Music healing power was disturbed by very high temperatures and humidity which worked against my energies... but, with first rains and average 25 degrees Celsius, VOILA'... I got some enthusiasm and curiosity winning on (work-related) stress.

Some interesting notes by Misho himself: "The amplification factor is only 6 dB - (2 times actually), and it's more than enough for any conventional system (as you already had tried on smaller system 🙂. I hate to see a lot of over-amplification that will be lost in attenuators - so I prefer amps to work as close to maximum open sound path as possible. Yet, in a case if multi way system it may face a different requirements of course."

Wise and self-explaining, as at first glance, when I connected the Wooden(pre)Amp to Nuforce MCA 20 Stealth and Thomas Mayer 4 ways crossover, I had a strange feeling, like the volume settings worked in a different way... the 6 dBs amplification factor, of course!

After getting accustomed to this feature, I only appreciated the HUGE, majestic low-end, untamed and unfearful, the breathing, lively mids and the silky highs, and everything in-between.

The C3M line-stage is deadly silent, hum-wise, and extremely dynamic, but not rough: it's elegant, unforgiving but not coldish or razor-like.

Shimmering cymbals, acoustic guitar harmonics and over-tones are moving, percussions, large and smaller, are very natural shape- and size-wise.

I planned shortly after connecting the preamp to keep it and insert, step-by-step, the Misho's phono-stage... BUT - lacking of proper time schedule and relaxed mode necessary for this kind of evaluations -   I'm greatly enjoying disks and tapes on Gotorama.

The mighty Garrardzilla looks, unused under its plexiglas cover, waiting for better times... 

I don't care what's the source or media if the results are this good...

Really impressive... cannot wait next time I'll be able to spend a couple of hours, alone - me, myself & I - in my studio with my music.

Gotorama is a cocooning, healing machine... and I cannot live without it.

Thanking my pal Misho Myronov and his partner Yanislav Yankov for such a statement: WoodenAmp.