Lovely Recordings Hosted by Michael Rains

Greetings from the antipodes, NZ more precisely. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and finally managed to make myself do it.

Pergolesi: Stabat Mater (Channel Classics, 2010)
This particularly fine recording is a mix of vocal and instrumental works. The performers, Florilegium, are completely inside the music giving it a feeling of ease and rightness. A great way to start Sunday morning.

Available from

Erik Friedlander: Illuminations (Erik Friedlander, 2015)
Erik Friedlander is a fine cellist with a wide range of recordings from Zorn's Book of Angels, to Americana, to film music. Given his recent write-up on Allaboutjazz for his Oscar Pettiford homage recordings I want to highlight his solo cello. It's a lovely mix of classical influence and modern sensibility. Sometimes Bachian, then more modern influences, both bowed and plucked.

Available from Bandcamp

Jon Lundbom: Series 2016 (Jon Lundbom, 2016)
This excellent group of virtuosi produced a series of four EPs during 2016, and I think this was the first of the series. Fine music, good content and occasional humour; plus we get an Ornette Coleman cover on each EP. Many good solos from all members, sometimes edgy but always stimulating. FLAC available if you ask nicely.

Available from

Beethoven: Piano Concertos 4 & 5 (BIS, 2010)
Beethoven's Piano Concerto no 4 is a favourite, here performed by one of the outstanding group of young pianists now before the public. Yevgeny Sudbin is one of the finest of this group, with already a mature musical understanding across a variety of composers from Scarlatti to Rachmaninov and Medtner. The recent display of contrasting potus styles reminded me that it was time to listen to Beethoven 4 again. Listen and see what I mean.

Available from eClassical

Lucia Cadotsch: Speak Low (Yellow Bird Records, 2015)
A review in The Guardian newspaper led me to try this. And they were so right. This vocalist is wonderful and here gives outstanding versions of "Strange Fruit" and "Moon River." Perhaps some will not like the extended techniques used at times in the accompaniment, but for me it is finely judged and fits so well.

Available from Bandcamp

BassDrumBone: The Long Road (BassDrumBone, 2016)
This trio—instrumentation as in its name—has issued this as its 40th anniversary recording. It corresponds to a double CD and also has Jason Moran and Joe Lovano as guests on some tracks. I think it is approachable free-bop, or avant post bop, with many recognisable influences. I enjoy this style a great deal.

Available from Bandcamp

Barry Guy & Blue Shroud Band: The Blue Shroud (Intakt Records, 2016)
Barry Guy is one of the world's leading bass players. This large scale work is written for his new international band along the lines of his earlier compositions for the London Jazz Composers Orchestra. The background can be read at the link. Barry Guy uses avant techniques and improvisation around fragments of Baroque music and he has incorporated a poem by Irish writer Kerry Hardie. This latter allows us to hear the wonderful voice of vocalist Savina Yannatou. For me this is a complex and involving work.

Available from Bandcamp

Thelonious Monk: Big Band And Quartet in Concert (High Definition Tape Transfers, 2016)
I missed this when it was reissued a few years ago, but fortunately it has now shown up in another guise. Classic Monk presented in two musical formats, wiith the band versions being very successful.

Available from High Definition Tape Transfers

Monteverdi: A Trace Of Grace (Carpe Diem Records, 2011)
Now this is the sort of crossover I like. Monteverdi is regarded as the link from Renaissance to Baroque, and improvisation is thought to have played a role in early music performance. Here French tuba and serpent player Michel Godard brings together two further jazz musicians, one of whom is Steve Swallow, with a baroque performance trio to address works of Monteverdi with improvisation. It works beautifully.

Available from Carpe Diem Records

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique (CSO Resound, 2015)
I think Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique is fantastic and it gets one hell of a good performance on this recording. It's dramatic with well-painted orchestral colours.

Available from Presto Classical

Yo Miles!: Henry Kaiser & Wadada Leo Smith: Upriver (Cuneiform Records, 2005)
A wonderful re-creation of some Miles Davis funk by some great musicians including: Henry Kaiser, Wadada Leo Smith, and ROVA among others.

Available from Bandcamp

Cato Salsa Experience & The Thing with Joe McPhee: I See You Baby Shakin' That Ass (EP) (Smalltown Superjazz, 2006)
I don't think I ever expected to hear Joe McPhee sing but you will on the first track. While this may have been done for our mutual amusement, the third and final track is a glorious cover of Albert Ayler's "Our Prayer".

Available from Bandcamp

Chris Mcgregor & The Castle Lager Big Band: The African Sound (Jazzman, 2016)
This is an opportunity for some history, Chris McGregor's South African band prior to his emigration and formation of The Blue Notes and the Brotherhood of Breath. Approachable Big Band with intimations of the future.

Available from Boomkat

I like many kinds of music, but I guess the attached shows that my core likes are classical and jazz. In classical anything from Hildegard to Higdon is fair game, while for jazz I prefer current performances and the very recent past. As some have said, good music regardless of “type”. I prefer good quality sound, but in the end it is the music I want to hear, but as you say: good music and good sound are very good together. My collection is by no means restricted to classical and jazz; there is also some electronica, country, classic rock, blues....

Now children have vacated the premises, and following several years of equipment parsimony, I find myself part way through an equipment upgrade, which in turn I can share with them. I am enjoying downloads via an Aurender N10 and an Accuphase DAC. And I do like the AR portable player.

Share your Lovely Recordings with us!

jond's picture

I'm unfamiliar with Chris McGregor that recording and a Brotherhood of Breath are queued up on Tidal!

2_channel_ears's picture

Lot's of "off the radar" to explore on this one. Well done!