Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Terje Rypdal & David Darling - Eos (ECM - ECM 1263)

Record collecting is an interesting process. When you are buying directly from another collector, seeing you have a sort of similar taste makes you venture into other records that they are selling. This record is one of those. I've neither ever listened to this record before nor heard about it. But I am just one lucky adventurer who found out about it.

Terje Rypdal is an important name in modern Jazz by his own right. He has made several collaborations from which I've heard his name. It was via his album with Jan Garbarek. After listening to him on that record I've fully understood the scope of his talent and pursued him from time to time.

I've first heard about David Darling on this record and what a beautiful surprise it has been. He has done a miraculous job here on his 8 string electric cello. The soundscapes which he structures along the way and the way Rypdal builds on them from his electronic guitar is magnificient. You are listening to it, feeling every note, every pause, every riff and enjoying the total adventure this whole process enfolds.

The record starts with a Stephen Malkmus styled guitar solo and continues with different sceneries that both players improvise on. It is absolutely incredible to listen to it. Full of feeling, nothing left to the listener, but to sit back, enjoy and let all those expressions fulfill your senses. Beware of the solos in "Laser", "Bedtime Story", "Light Years" , and "Adagietto". These can really take you to a million of places and memories where you are least expecting yo go.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Various Artists – Columbia - Princeton Electronic Music Center (Finnadar - QD 9010)

Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center is an institution (Part of both universities) which most of Early Electronic Music devotees are extremely familiar with. It is more like on par with Darmstadt and Juillard music school. Well this already explains the significance.

The center was officially founded in 1959 with the support of Rockefeller foundation. Started as a one studio and shortly it developed into five studios due to excessive demand. The first people to start working and experimenting in the studio were the faculty members Milton Babbitt, Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky. Later on other composers started to flock with names like Bulent Arel, Mario Davidovsky, Tzvi and Ilhan Mimaroglu.

The album is made up of 6 compositions from the early cooperating composers, but the works are from a 20 year period. Due to this and due to the general idea of experimentation, the collected works are quite different both in terms of style and characteristics. However, they can understandably be categorized as Early Electronic Music. Of course during the early periods, experimentation was at its peak with new sounds and equipment being brought in.

The main differences between the compositions occur based on the composition years as well as techniques and equipment being used for these compositions. For instance Ussachevsky's composition "A Piece For Tape Recorder" was recorded in the late 1950's whereas Smiley's "Eclipse" was close to 20 years later. This evidently made some drastic changes in the style and other main criterias. It can even be said that Smiley's should not be added into the same category as the other ones, but hey, who says life is fair. It found it's way into the selection and based on the composition itself, it has the place.

Another important name for me is Bulent Arel and I didn't have a chance to listen his composition "Stereo Electronic Music No. 2". It has a more depressive outlook, but given his previous works as well, this work can very much be appreciated based on it's structure and layers. Pitch alterations as well as repetitions and sudden smoothness followed by percussions and more hectic climaxes create a feeling of flowing while keeping the element of surprise always in hand. This work was commissioned by the Columbia-Princeton ECM itself.

I may have mentioned it before, but I find no stress in pointing again, listening to the early works of any kind of genre is a tricky thing. Experimentalism is of course in and of itself never boring while Early Electronic Music always reminds the listener modern time techniques, structures and melodies. Even though it seems like we have travelled throughout the music world ages since 1970s, we may not be that far away as we think. I just remember having reviewed Takemitsu's record which is not that different from today's electro acoustic/drone works. The only point was that it was written 50, performed 35 years ago.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Eric Dolphy & Ron Carter - Magic (Prestige - P 24053)

There are some musicians whom we are sure to have passed away at an early stage of their carreers. Just soon we witnessed another talent in Amy Winehouse going the same way. Eric Dolphy was 36 when he suffered from a heart attack in Berlin where he was to open a jazz club. It was so sudden, so untimely.

One reason for this was that he took the stage very late or rather late considering his talent. Being a shy person in character and maybe not enjoying leading, he spent time as a sideman and was often neglected. It was the few years where he was under the limelight that we can joyfully listen today.

The record of the day is Eric Dolphy and Ron Carter's album Magic (2 Lps). Actually both Lps were released before by New Jazz Records, but this is the ultimate collection of both. It was released by Prestige records as a budget release, now it's not that budget anymore.

The album offers countless amusements during the solos of Eric Dolphy and Ron Carter. The title "Miss Ann" offers a magical duet by Eric Dolphy alto saxophone and another untimely loss (At 23) Booker Little on trumpet. It is unbelievable. The underrated Jaki Byard offers his best at the piano on "Bird's Mother" which he wrote himself, but I have no single idea why he named the song like that. There are other solos on the track, but in general Dolphy and Byard seem to be in charge.

Ron Carter is more tender in the first Lp (Recorded 1960) while on the second one (Recorded 1961), he seems to have found his terms and shows off his grand talent. In the tracks "Where?" and "Saucer Eyes", he performs incredible solos where you can directly grab why he was where he was in terms of both musical respect as well as fame. It is quite essential to listen how he attacks the bass and gets out what he exactly wants.

The record is named "Magic" and it is not hard to guess why. Anyone who can listen to this batch of recordings in 2 sessions, 1 year apart, can get the true feeling of something magical, something divine in the music. There is so much talent going on and so much new ideas flowing around that it is hard to listen once and put it aside. It contains much material for a series of listening and observing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Where to buy records? - 2

In the second part of this series, I want to get into detail about online used record sales. Actually in all of the web sites I will mention, people also sell new vinyls as well, but the mass sales volume is created by used records. I will also try to point out some tricky things about them and also what you need to be careful of in order not to get ripped off. Record collecting is a thing that can get you ripped off pretty quickly. We again go under the alphabetical order.


The name of the web site is the shorter version of saying Discographies. This is a web site solely dedicated to music and release details. It has a vast (By vast I really mean vast) amount of electronic records detailed in its database and a close to vast amount of Rock records and sub genres. All underground releases are also entered into the database daily by the users (Including myself). This is a mainly user created content with users adding on or correcting other people's entered record details. This is of course a very brief explanation and may miss some marks. When you enter the web site, you'll get the picture.

Discogs is exceptionally updated and detailed in electronic music records/CDs, but they are not that fully covered in other styles like Jazz, Classical Music (Contemporary is covered well), World Music, RnB etc. However, when I'm saying not covered well, it does not only mean you don't find the record altogether. It also means you may find the same record details for the US pressing, but maybe not for UK pressing. All in all, we should give the credit that Discogs database is the biggest source on Internet by all means.

Discogs also helps you keep a record collection which is kind of useful also even though you don't find the details of everything you have if you are a weird guy like me who buys weird stuff.

The sales channel of Discogs is Marketplace. Here you can search for and buy millions of records or CDs. The good thing about this is that it is also integrated with the database of Discogs and therefore you can get info about that release and compare prices of other sellers with 1 click. You can also check the release info page of a certain record you want, see if there is anyone selling. You can also add items to your wantlist and when you log in, if puts the "on sale" items from your wantlist. You don't need to search every item again and again and you don't risk forgetting about that item.

Discogs has a "buy it now" style of working. You may make offers, you may negotiate via messaging, but it that's all. You can also check user ratings and comments. Some people who have an account here also have accounts on Ebay, don't get surprised.

Since Discogs is a web site with user created content and the members consist mainly of interested people, it is really hard to come by a rip off person. Sellers may already be record collectors (I am selling some of my excess stuff as well) and most of the sellers I've interacted with were totally friendly. Some even too friendly. It is certainly a nice experience to shop here. Moreover, a majority of the records on sale are from Europe and in my case, the shipping cost is less of a burden compared to US.

There are around 10 million items on sale on Discogs which around 6.5 mio is vinyls. This is a huuuuuuge catalogue.


Well, the world stops turning right here, right now. I don't think I really need to explain anything about Ebay, so I'll skip directly to the subject. However, there is one thing that when you become a member of any Ebay web site, you are directly a member of all. This is a very nice collective database of user info. On the other hand, I cannot say the same for their sales database. If you are searching for an item on Ebay.com, it will only show results from Ebay.com, Ebay.ca and Ebay.co.uk. Others like Ebay.de, Ebay.it, Ebay.fr will not be shown. You have to search in each also to check for the results. If these were also to be integrated, the life of a record collector would have been much easier.

Compared to Discogs, Ebay.com and Ebay.co.uk has in total only 4 Mio records on sale (As of today). Adding on the other Ebays, it can probably reach or slightly pass the total records on sale on Discogs.

The issue here is not only about the volume of records. Ebay has some advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are starting with the auction system. You can buy rare or "out of the common interest area" records at stupid prices from time to time. I am a living proof of this. There is no guarantee for this, but if you really have the chance, you may get some stuff at unbelievable prices. The last example from my side would be an Early Electronic genre record of Bulent Arel & Daria Semegen's Electronic Music For Dance by Finnadar records (Sealed/Mint) which I paid USD 21 w/o shipping. This record in clean and Near Mint condition costs well over USD 80 everywhere else. Life is not fair ladies & gentlemen. Take advantage of it.

Another advantage of Ebay is that unlike Discogs, people put the pictures of the records themselves. In Discogs, it is the release info page pictures that are there. This may give you a better idea about the cover and the vinyl condition.

The disadvantages of Ebay start with the basics of Ebay. The sellers may be inheritors of the records or just a guy who happened to come by these records. Their ratings may be totally inaccurate in the common sense or they might even be rip offs. The rip off percentage of Ebay is much higher than anywhere else and this is quite normal. I got ripped off once (Of course) and saved myself from being ripped off once more. Moreover, the relations with sellers are not that intimate and you may not even receive answers to your questions. That is why you need to check ratings and comments in the first place. To be fair, I have extremely good relations with several sellers from whom I am buying regularly. I even get their inventories in advance to wrap up some of the items I am interested in before they are even up for bids (After negotiating, come on, what do you think).

The other disadvantage is becoming an ebayoholic. These auctions and the cheapness of some crucial records you buy directly tempt you into becoming addicted to them. I have become addicted and just recently I have sort of cleaned myself out of it, though I'm still not there yet.

Another disadvantage (Again my case) is that the big chunk of records on sale on Ebay are from US and the shipping costs from US are gruesome. The highest fee I paid for shipment is USD 125 or something and this explains itself. OK, I bought a big number of records from a single guy, but anyway, 125 is a big number. If this was from UK, I would have ended with something around USD 60-70 max.

Ebay also has a "buy it now" style of sales as well, but that covers probably around 5% of my total purchases. Buy it now should either be really attractive to divert you from an auction, the record should not be available anywhere else or you use it to combine shipment. Otherwise it becomes a very unnecessary source of sales. That is just why the Turkish version of Ebay (Only Buy it now) will eventually lose. You take out the thrill, I go and buy from another web site or a local record store.


Now this is a record and memorabilia sales online store that says it specializes on rare items. Due to this, people tend to exaggerate prices. I don't know what people are eating or drinking, but some of the prices on this web site are totally nuts. I've seen some prices which are 10 times much higher than the market price. Of course this comparison belongs to the same record, same release country, same edition, same condition etc. This web site specially has the Japanese versions of lots of records and naturally these are extremely expensive than their Western versions. I still could not find any reasonable answer to this phenomenon apart from the fact that records and CDs are initially more expensive in Japan anyway. However, when you compare the same release of Western and Japanese versions, the price difference does not cover up the initial sales price change. And I can't even understand any word I see on the record. I personally have some Japanese releases of some records. I bought them out of necessity since I couldn't find the western versions. Now I've ended up with a couple of records which I cannot read anything from, not even the song titles. Thinking on Eil.com and similar web sites, I would also have to pay more for this, I would be really annoyed.

Apart from that, the volume of records being sold on Eil is much less than it's competitors. It would be fair to say that it is Rock oriented. Just as an example, I searched John Cage here and only 1 item (CD) available was found. 22 other related items were also found including John Travolta's Face/Off OST. This number is 83 records and 178 CDs on Ebay, 484 records and 462 CDs on Discogs. I believe numbers speak themselves.

One more info about the rare stuff phenomenon. To give the credit, there are quite a lot of true rare stuff on Eil. A good number of these are also worth the weird prices that are valued. However, based on personal experience, I've seen much rarer stuff on Ebay. Having seen a 7" record of Robert Johnson in VG condition being sold at USD 6500, I don't think too many things can beat that. Another example would be a South African pressing of a Sex Pistols 7" which was sold at well over USD 1500.


This is a sales store that is similar to Discogs in terms of sellers and their styles, but without the user generated content. The information on the records and conditions are pretty slim. You may find some rare stuff, that is fore sure while you are not guaranteed that the seller will have that particular item in their stock. This can be understood from the additional "availability" rating they have for users. This is just bullshit. This is a huge setback for this web site. Their good catalogue of sales and rare items is an advantage, but clearly they don't have the upper hand.

Be as it may, the users on Musicstack are similarly friendly like their counterparts on Discogs. My purchasing experiences on this web site have been extremely smooth with positive results. Of course to be honest, my choice would be buying from Ebay or Discogs if I could have found those records there.

To be honest, the most logical thing for a record collector would find the average price level of the release they are willing to buy or bid for. For this, you may need to check Discogs, Ebay and Musicstack. If you are into rare items like I am for 20th Century Composers or Early Electronic music and even Blues or Jazz, it is always worthwhile to check several web sites.

There can be times when you cannot find another one of the same record on sale anywhere. This happened to me with John Cage's Atlas Eclipticalis box set. There I just used my common sense. I paid what I thought it is worth for me. Of course the more you cannot find of the same record on sale, the more likely you will pay a higher price.

The most important thing while buying second hand records on any of these sites is checking the user rating and record conditions. It may be harmful to your health and wallet to buy from lower rating users. Regarding conditions, this is a little bit of a vague issue. It needs a bit of explanation and experience sharing. That will be the topic of the next entry in the series.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Where to buy records? - 1

This will be an informative entry regarding where one should buy records online. The first of this series is focusing on buying newly released items online. Unfortunately due to living in Turkey and only being in certain cities for meetings for a certain period of time, a physical sale evaluation is not easy on my part regarding specialized stores even though at the end of the entry, I will name a few. However, I will get into detail about online purchases and also gradings. I will also write another entry regarding books that will nourish your purchasing ego.

First hand purchases:

These purchases can be mainly based on either big distributors or labels. However, they can also be directed on p2p websites like Ebay, Musicstack, Eil or Discogs. Let's start with big distributors in alphabetical order.


A Number Of Small Things (Anost) is the sister company of Morr Music label. It is heavily specialized on experimental, drone, electro acoustic and avantgarde works. The labels under it's contract are Morr Music, Karaoke Kalk, Type, Touch, Editions Mego, City Centre Offices, Italic, Lok Musik, Thrill Jockey, Tomlab, Raster-Noton and Room 40 to name a few. The staff is extremely friendly, they have very tempting sales from time to time. Their packaging is also exceptional. It should always be a distributor you should be a regular visitor. The only downside is that it ships from Germany and shipping is higher than UK (Even close to US prices).

The info on the releases are more than welcome here. There are sound clips for each track. You get to view all details necessary. No popups, so that's a nice thing.


Bleep is the sister company of Warp Records. However, from that point on, they have established a huge distribution channel that spans all around the world. It sometimes has some of the out of print items still in it's stock. The prices are also acceptable and staff is friendly, packaging is great. They distribute Warp, Ninja Tune, Axis, M-Plant, Planet Mu, Mule Electronic, Sub Rosa, XL, Domino and others. They also distribute some of Anost's portfolio, but Anost's prices seem to have the better edge. Shipping is quite tempting since it is based in UK.

Information regarding the releases are very well organized. Sound clips are there and no popups again. User friendly system which is easy to grasp.

Bleep is also a member of FILTERED (Unsigned Competition). They are supporting artists that are currently unsigned and they just released an initiative to support these artists in cooperation with Warp Records, Soundcloud and Transition Mastering. For more info click here.


This is a an online store which as far as I know is not affiliated to any specific label. It is heavily specialized on underground music styles may this be Dubstep, IDM, Ambient, Free Jazz, Noise or Hip Hop. They have a huge collection of limited item materials and most of them are gone within minutes of sales. Therefore you need to be a member of their newsletter. The prices of Boomkat are not that tempting for materials you can find elsewhere though. However, they have a special priced section where they make discounts on selected items. This part is always worth a checkout. Shipping is quite tempting since it is based in UK.

There is quite a bit of information regarding the release. There are also sound clips from "some" of the tracks, so it's not really enough. The sound clips open a popup which does not make life easy. If you listen several releases, you are left with several popups.

Forced Exposure

Forced Exposure is a major distributor in US which features a ton of releases and their main speciality is quite similar to Anost, but in a more detailed way. However, I hate to admit that they don't ship to Turkey (Even though I've really pushed them a lot). I truly hope that they'll start shipping soon since they have a huge list of titles which might be of interest for any alternative electronic music listener like I am.

Regarding the info about releases, it is mainly quite basic although with some releases, they get into detail and fulfill that need as well. They could develop this feature more. However, there is no chance of listening an audio clip or anything similar.


This is an American distributor that has quite a different approach from the other ones here since it mainly specializes on Rock, Folk and mainstream Electronic genres and sub genres. The prices are not that interesting and shipping is also another headache. However, you have a good chance of finding some items which are out of stock at other stores.

The information level is generally OK. You can listen to the samples of the tracks, but the listening gadget is quite dismal. Does not show any progress, doesn't continue to the next track.


This is a distributor, one hell of a distributor. They distribute everything. It is one of the oldest ones around with selling everything you may need apart from really Hi-Fi systems. They are not specialized on really anything, but they sell almost a part from everything. Summer sale has just started that features almost 30.000 items on sale. They also have specialized newsletters for certain styles. Shipping is again quite tempting since it is based in UK.

This also comes with a popup when you try to get info on a release or listen tracks, but this is probably the best source for listening samples. Moreover, whenever you click on another track, it does not open another popup, continues on the old one. The listening gadget is very well.


This distributor is the sister company of Kompakt Label. They are extensively concentrated on Electronic Dance Music and they are distributing almost every single one of them apart from some major ones in UK and US. They are not really into alternative genres. Prices are good, shipping not that good. They have a nice price section with showing some discounts.

The information on the releases are very well organized, audio clips are all there, and the listening gadget is quite tempting.

These are just samples of distributor web sites where you can buy new items. Moreover, almost all labels sell through their own web sites as well. Therefore it is better to check both options before getting into anything.

If you have any other web sites (Apart from direct label web sites) that you would like to share, please do so. I may not have the knowledge of all, so every comment or info is more than welcome.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Benjamin Britten - War Requiem, Vishnevskaya, Pears, Fischer-Dieskau, LSO, Britten (Decca - Set252/3)

Benjamin Britten can be one of the least mentioned conductors of the 20th century due to him being apart from the herd of composers who were in search of the new. I found that a little weird while saying since I am a huge follower of that herd, but credit needs to be given where needed.

Britten was born in 1913 just before the WWI and due to late maturity on his part, he was extremely shocked by the WWII. He is known to be an introvert having hard time maintaining friendships both on personal and professional levels apart from his lover Peter Pears. He was a pacifist and was against any kind of war. This and the life story of Wilfred Owen combined directed him into composing the most well known opera among his works, the War Requiem.

War Requiem is based on nine poems by Wilfred Owen who fought/died during the WWII and the latin mass for the dead. The poems of Owen is drawing a picture of war that is pretty much similar to the movies Platoon and Full Metal Jacket. They are interested more in the destruction, suffering and losses caused by war rather than the general poems of the era which are mainly detailing the heroism and conquers. In a famous line, "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity… All a poet can do today is warn." it is evident that he is loathing war as well as all unnecessary choices which are leading to it.

Regarding the composition, it is not an opera that is for the depressed or extreme emotionals. The air is heavy, full of sorrow and destruction with death following every step all the way. With Britten conducting his own composition, the true depth is directly transferred onto the listener and you need to take deep breaths during the performance in order to adjust yourself back into life. It is a devastatingly strong composition which can lead you having thoughts and seeing images which you prefer not to.

This recording has been accepted to be the best among other versions with Galina Vishnevskaya performing miracles as the Soprano. I don't know why, but it took me a little time to adjust to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's Baritone style. I can't honestly say that I adored it, while it is certainly not lacking much. It may not be just effective as the composition, yet it may be because he was singing in English. Peter Pears is as always a strength in Tenor and the everlasting component in Britten's compositions. It is known that even Pears could not take a peak while Britten was composing and several quarrels have occurred as a result. However, I can frankly say that it seems Britten composed the Tenor acts solely based on thinking Pears's singing style.

War Requiem has it's premiere in 1962 at the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral which commissioned the work at the first place. The performance was recorded in 1963 when it already had a huge following and sold over 250.000 copies in a year. It can easily be said that this is an unbelievable record for 20th century compositions since his contemporaries were leveling at around 10.000 based on their experimental approach. Schoenberg, Berg, Kagel and Cage were even booed at their premieres. Britten came to be the source of classical music lovers to look after since Wagner, Strauss and Mahler while the newer generation's majority was following the future contemporaries.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Jan Garbarek - Places (ECM - ECM 1-1118)

It was probably 1997 when I first heard about Jan Garbarek from a close friend of mine. We were in university and I was taking my deeper steps into Jazz. Since I was still on elementary basis catching up with the standards, Garbarek showed me the different waters that I could swim in Jazz.

His spacey soundscapes on the saxophone and extremely full of feeling style of play grew onto me as soon as I've finished listening to the first track of Places. It is now an honour to be listening to the very same album on vinyl. Better late than never said one old wise man.

The album is bound to leave you speechless. It can make you cry, love, happy, devoted, lustful, pretty much a million on things. But one of those feelings is certain. It will make you feel something real. Reflections is the opening title of the record and that alone gives the whole feeling of what the record will service. In total there are 4 tracks with three of them being over 10 minutes serenades of the saxophone being supported by the drums of Jack Dejohnette, guitar of Bill Connors and piano of John Taylor. It should also needs to be pointed out that Jack Dejohnette is creating miracles during the whole album and he has a great contribution for this legendary record.

I owe much to Jan Garbarek and this album of his for taking me on a very altruistic journey on Jazz and on my feelings for it. This is an album for everyone who enjoys the standards, but is curious about where it can lead you. And it leads to lots of places.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Luigi Nono - La Fabbrica Illuminata (Wergo/Heliodor - 2549 012)

After writing about Luciano Berio, it is inevitable not to write about Luigi Nono. They are both the undisputable strongholds of 20th century comtemporary classical music in Italy as being experts on experimental music and musique concrete. They both studied at Darmstadt, but Nono got the better edge in terms of early respect by marrying the daughter of Arnold Schoenberg, Nuria. This is an interesting partnership.

The most striking thing about Nono's music is that through all the years and experimentations, modelings, remodelings and restructurings, his main goal in music has been to create a mirror of reality in music. I have no idea if there is a movement called realism in music, but if there is, Luigi Nono is certainly up there.

One of the reasons for his passion in realism in music is the fact that he was a hardcore communist. Even though he has openly commented about himself keeping political belief and music apart, most of his works have extreme symbolisms that are attaching them directly down to people. The first composition of the record is named "La Fabbrica Illuminata" and it is directly an undercover criticism of the capitalist system. The composition is made up of sounds and noises that can be found in a factory. These sounds are then combined with electronic sounds and then played with. There is also live commentary about the ongoings in the factory.

On the B side we are faced with two compositions with one being based on the poem of Antonio Machado, "Ha venido, Canciones para Silvia". It is sung by 7 sopranos with 1 being solo and 6 acting as chorus. There is no electronic background or sampling used on this composition, vocals are transformed and it is extremely difficult to follow up with the poem due to the vocalization used. The feeling it creates is based on continuation of vocals between solo and chorus with vowels being the main connecting point.

The second composition on the B side is "Ricardo cosa ti hanno fatto in Auschwitz". The name of the composition is translated as " Ricardo what have you done in Auschwitz". Due to the heavy effects of the WWII in most of the contemporary composers, Nono was also heavily shaken by the war and Auschwitz was one of his key points. The composition was about the trials which took place in Frankfurt concerning the atrocities in Auschwitz.

To be honest, these are not compositions that are to be performed in a concert hall. They are more of social criticisms of a musical producer with a communist background who is trying to send out messages with the main medium he has, which is music. For some people, it is hard to define this as music, but this is not just music, it is a blending of sociology, idealism, and realism where the blending pot itself is music.

Before I forget, there is one more thing about the record. The booklet contains the comments of Konrad Boehmer who is a composer and a professor of music. However, in his comments, he seems to be a little over the edge in criticizing Shostakovich by labelling him as a mediocre and solely communist composer. It can be true that the realities behind Shostakovich's actions and his seemingly support of Stalin were not apparent by the time due to cold war conditions. On the other hand, being a professor, Konrad Boehmer should have known better since Shostakovich himself was banned three times from composing music due to frictions between him and the politburo. Apart from the communist stand of Shostakovich, it is already evident that he is not mediocre in composing by any means.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Duke Ellington - Jazz Violin Session (Atlantic - SD 1688)

Duke Ellington is one of Jazz's greatest names and he is truly a diversified player who has opened a world of possibilities to future Jazz players. There are really limited number of Jazz giants who has not mentioned his name as one of their idols.

Duke Ellington has made a huge amount of records and played in unaccountable number of concerts. When he went to a city to have a big concert with his band, he arranged smaller concerts in their free days just to create some extra for regular fee players as well as create a "real" feeling during their shows. It is really hard to find a man who can be this much of a giver and this much of a concert-oholic.

This is the record of a session which was recorded in Paris in 1963. Unfortunately the first ever release was on Atlantic records 2 years after his death. He made himself extremely clear in his critics saying that the music was a little different than the mainstreamer's likes and therefore never released. It is obviously evident that he has enjoyed this session and the sound that they have created.

Actually not to create a misunderstanding, violin was pretty much always a part of Jazz, but it is hard to say it was very well recognized. The main issue here should be noted as it has a milder sound unlike the trumpet, the saxophone or the bass. I'm not even mentioning drums of course. However, after amplifiers got their share of the deal, violin's sound became more evident.

This record features a violin trio which is composed of 2 violins and a viola. The viola is played by Svend Asmussen, a Danish violin player. Moreover, the contrasts in the techniques of the two other violinists, Stephane Granelli and Ray Nance create the real felling that is flowing throughout the tracks.

There are some standards on this record as well as some more harder to come by songs. All in all, listening to it gives a feeling of freshness, smoothness and joy. This will surely be one of the records that I'll turn back to play quite often when I'm in need of listening something "real".