Composer Julia Wolfe’s Big Beautiful Dark and Scary was written in response to her experience witnessing the 9-11 tragedy, standing two blocks away from the Twin Towers as the planes hit them along with her two young children. The piece was written in 2002 for amplified sextet: clarinet, bass clarinet, percussion, piano, electric guitar, cello and double bass. Gargantuan slabs of tone clusters hover and fuss, then begin their brutal climb, ascending in pitch, intensity and volume. Continue reading Julia Wolfe :: Big Beautiful Dark and Scary
On January 27, 1965, composer Steve Reich premiered his piece It’s Gonna Rain in San Francisco. The piece consists of the manipulation of a taped recording of Brother Walter, a charismatic Pentecostal preacher in Union Square. Brother Walter’s fire and brimstone sermon begins to mutate into echoes of itself forming a constantly changing, pulsing canon made of human speech woven into an interlocking rhythm. Continue reading Steve Reich :: It’s Gonna Rain
We lost Leon Russell (born Claude Russell Bridges; April 2, 1942 – November 13, 2016) yesterday. Saluting and waving goodbye to a talented and influential musician, composer & producer who helped shape an era in rock and popular music.
Here is a clip from the documentary The Wrecking Crew in which Leon’s early days as a session player are remembered:
Leon as part of the Mad Dogs and Englishmen band, 1969 -70
An excerpt from the Homewood Sessions, 1971
Leon & Elton John, performing a song from their album, The Union Pt2, 2012
According to a statement on his website, Leon died in his sleep at his Nashville home November 13, 2016, at the age of 74. He was convalescing from heart surgery in July.
from his 1996 album, Sledgehammer Soul & Down Home Blues