Autumn Songs

The autumn of music in Madrid started for me with the concert of the Bill Frisell group performing his latest album WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR on October 27th at the Auditorio Nacional. The program was based on the music of the record, with slight variations and focused therefore on movie and film themes. Petra Haden, the singer on the record and in the show, was unfortunately suffering from a cold and therefore kept her performance to 3 songs, which on the other hand gave Bill and his bass player Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston more space to explore the inner secrets of these compositions … and how they did! Bill’s beautiful explorative melodic lines, clear and captivating and full of twists and turns, kept the listeners attention, supported by his rhythm section perfectly. Especially in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE the improvisations of the trio were amazing and a spectacular exchange of ideas from all 3 musicians. Whatever Frisell is taking on in terms of repertoire, he always is making it HIS – adding depth and personality to the music he performs. This show was no exception and another proof of that.


Becca Stevens is for me one of the most interesting new singers and song writers and her show on November 1st at Clamores in Madrid simply confirmed that – just in a trio with her on vocals, guitar and other string instruments and with Chris Tordini on bass (with added backing vocals) and Jordan Perlson on drums, she did perform repertoire from her marvelous PERFECT ANIMAL album, as well as songs from her forthcoming new song cycle REGINA, which will be released in March next year. Becca is an amazing singer with perfect control of her voice and her writing is challenging and needs the listener to pay attention to capture the subtleties and beauty of her music and lyrics. I can’t wait to hear the new album and see her live again soon.



A few CD tips:

From Norway there are a few great new releases to check out, lead by a wonderful compilation from Bugge Wesseltoft’s recording history of the last 20 years – SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN is a collection of old, new and unreleased gems by the keyboard master and not only the perfect starting point if you are not yet a fan, but as well a great reminder how incredibly talented Bugge is in many ways. A must!

MOST PERSONAL is a kind of best of by singer Rebekka Bakken taking the material from her Emarcy recordings .. and a few new tracks, ranging from a touching Norwegian folk song to one in German by the late singer/songwriter Ludwig Hirsch and three new songs in English – all worth listening to beside all the great songs from her 5 albums so far. A showcase for her great song writing and singing skills. Essential listening.

Madeleine Peyroux’s SECULAR HYMNS shows her in a semi-live recording with the format I think works best for her – just accompanied by bass and guitar, with her on acoustic guitar and vocals .. Simplicity that gives focus to her amazing voice and phrasing …perfect. The choice of repertoire is great as well, ranging from Allen Toussaint via Tom Waits to Lynton Kwesi Johnson … amazing how she deals with these songs and creates that beautiful tight and personal atmosphere. Highly recommended.

SPAIN FOREVER is the third cooperation of pianist Michel Camilo & Tomatito, the incredible flamenco guitar player from Spain. The repertoire here again is Spain based, but not exclusively and is definitely more laid back than on the previous 2 releases. Outstanding Charlie Haden’s OUR SPANISH LOVE SONG and GNOSSIENNE NO.1 by Erik Satie … and as on the previous releases there is a great version of a Chick Core tune, this time ARMANDO’S RHUMBA.  Excellent!

Composer, band leader and bass player Pablo Martin Caminero has just released his new group album SALTO A VACIO, featuring his usual working band with Ariel Bringuez on saxes, Toni Belenguer on trombone, Moises P. Sanchez on piano and Borja Barrueta on drums. Pablo’s compositions are simply some of the best that jazz / flamenco has to offer and his band is executing them perfectly – with power and feeling! From the various guests especially singer Ganavya Doraiswamy needs to be mentioned with her beautiful performance in VALSE POUR NOOR for which she as well wrote the lyrics. Worth checking out!!


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