This is not such a bizarre cross-over as one might imagine for in the 18th century the great Irish musician Turlough O’Carolan, a blind harpist, met the Italian musician Geminiani in Dublin, and through him encountered the music of, yes, guess who, Antonio Vivaldi. So here we have a case of substituting Irish instruments for baroque ones, using baroque instruments to accompany Irish themes, by creating dialogues between Celtic and baroque instruments, or by letting all the musicians improvise. One moment we appear to be listening to a ‘straight’ baroque concerto, then all of a sudden the conventional string continuo/ripieno of the baroque ensemble (Le Orfanelle della Pieta) gives way to celtic musicians playing a jig or reel on anything from a Irish bouzouki to a fiddle. The baroque group consists of three each of first and second violins, one viola, two cellos, a bass and harpsichord while the Irish musicians play Irish fiddle, an Irish flute (like a baroque flute), tin and low whistles, Uileann pipes, Irish bouzouki, mandolins, bodhran, bones, and the Celtic harp (played here with metal strings to resemble its harpsichord counterpart in the other group).
Shawn Colvin has landed a few tunes on the pop charts over the course of her career, and Steve Earle was briefly a legitimate country star. But in 2016, as the two team up for their first album as a duo, Colvin & Earle are folkies – hip folkies, to be sure, but at heart two singer/songwriters on the far side of 50 who like swapping harmonies and strumming their acoustic guitars. Colvin & Earle sound like good friends who enjoy singing together, and this album has a lively and spontaneous atmosphere, especially when the two are singing old covers.
Adderley's next-to-last recording (cut just four months before he died of a stroke at age 46) was ironically a retrospective of his career. While his then-current group (with cornetist Nat Adderley, keyboardist Mike Wolff, bassist Walter Booker, and drummer Roy McCurdy) was featured on half of this two-LP set (highlighted by "Stars Fell on Alabama," "74 Miles Away," and a medley of "Walk Tall" and "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy"), on the remainder of this two-fer the Adderleys welcome back several alumni (keyboardist George Duke, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Louis Hayes) for new versions of "High Fly," "Work Song," "Sack O'Woe," "Jive Samba," "This Here," and "The Sidewalks of New York." A recommended set with plenty of excellent music, it serves as a fine overview of Cannonball Adderley's career.
Perhaps Szymanowski’s music is too cool and sophisticated ever to become popular. Even the third of his Op. 4 Studies, which Paderewski made famous, is less full-bodied than Scriabin’s early C sharp minor Étude, and while Scriabin believed in the madness of his later music, Szymanowski’s apparent abandon in his voluptuous period around the First World War is crafted with detachment. Dennis Lee clarifies the cascades of notes – or rather sonorities – in the two major sets, Métopes and Masques, so that these complex pieces are understood more easily than usual. The recorded sound is a bit thin and small, but clean.