Music of Week

M,W,F 5:50 PM T, Thur 8:21 AM

In late April, to celebrate his 85th Birthday Willie Nelson released an album of eleven original songs. There aren’t many artists you can say that about. The album is called Last Man Standing and is full of Willie’s signature humor and wisdom. The songs navigate themes of aging, loss, and mortality, but the album isn’t dark. It suggests sunniness in the face of loneliness and grief. Willie Nelson’s 73rd album is called Last Man Standing, the track we’re hearing is Me And You.

Peter and the Wolf was written by Serge Prokofiev in 1936, with the purpose of introducing children to the instruments of a Symphony Orchestra. it has just been rewritten for jazz band and recorded by the New England Jazz Ensemble. Not only are the classical instruments replaced by big band soloists, the narration has also been translated to the vernacular of jazz. The original melodies sound natural as jazz riffs, revealing the influence 20th century classical music had on jazz. For the past 75 years Peter and the Wolf has introduced children all over the world to classical music.

What is World music? Its when the sounds of the disparate traditions of Turkey, Bulgaria, Israel, Iran, Greece, Spain, and England come together to deliver a high energy blend of , authentic, spontaneous, sounds. They are called the Turbans, and began when Oshan Mahoney and Darius Thompson met in Kahtmandu Seven years ago. The Turbans cut their teeth on the road before holing up in an old English farmhouse to record their self-titled debut album.

Emmet Cohen is emerging as a shining star of jazz piano. He plays with a subtle sensitivity not often heard among young virtuosos. He also has a deep reverence for the history of jazz and developed the Jazz Masters Legacy Series, a collection of live recordings with living legends, such as Ron Carter, who is the most recorded bassist in jazz history. Ron Carter joins Cohen on Masters Legacy Series Volume 2. The subtext of the album is the passing of the torch across the generations, but listening to the music its clear there are two masters here.

Akokan is a Yoruba word used by Cubans to mean from the soul. The sixteen piece big band Orquesta Akokan brings original songs with an old school mambo sound to New York’s Daptone Records. They couldn’t afford to record the album in New York so they came together in the legendary Areito studio in Havana. The band brings some of Cuba’s most ferocious musicians together with stars of New York's latin music scene, as well as veteran vocalist Jose Pepito Gomez. Orquesta Akokan’s album reminds us that the roots of Cuban music are stronger than ever and continuing to spread.

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