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Miho Hazama – The Monk: Live at Bimhuis (2018) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Miho Hazama – The Monk: Live at Bimhuis (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 50:04 minutes | 595 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Sunnyside

The best week of the young composer/arranger Miho Hazama’s life was a hectic one. In 2011, she was invited as one of eight arrangers from around the world to take part in the famed Metropole Orkest’s residency program, led by the legendary Vince Mendoza. There were master classes and rehearsals all week for arrangements the residents would write, in four days, to be performed by the Big Band conducted by Mendoza and featuring vocalist Roberta Gambarini.

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Michele Tozzetti – Bernstein: Complete Solo Piano Music (2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Michele Tozzetti – Bernstein: Complete Solo Piano Music (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:16:40 minutes | 1,07 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Piano Classics

Bernstein’s piano output reflects the various strands of his multifaceted personality, in works as different as Touches (1981) – influenced by Aaron Copland’s thorny Piano Variations – and , at the other end of the scale, his often tender, sentimental Anniversaries, miniatures written in commemoration of important people in his life. Taken together his piano works form a musical diary tracing the breadth of his experiences and ideas. Smaller piano pieces often preview bigger things to come. Four of his Five Anniversaries (1949-51) appear as themes in his violin concerto, the Serenade after Plato’s “Symposium.”

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Michel Legrand – Legrand "Live" Jazz (1958/2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Michel Legrand – Legrand “Live” Jazz (1958/2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 58:31 minutes | 588 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Gryphon Records

Michel Legran feat. Miles Davis, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Ben Webster, Hank Jones, Donald Byrd, Paul Chambers, Art Farmer, Phil Woods, Herbie Mann, Jimmy Cleveland.

Michel Legrand is a three times Academy Award-winning French composer, conductor and pianist who composed over 200 film and television scores as well as recorded over a hundred albums of jazz, popular and classical music. Legrand collaborated with legendary Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Stephane Grappelli, Phil Woods, Ray Charles, Claude Nougaro, Perry Como, Neil Diamond, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Jessye Norman, Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Sarah Vaughan, Shirley Bassey, Nana Mouskouri etc.

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Michael Leonhart Orchestra – The Painted Lady Suite (2018) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Michael Leonhart Orchestra – The Painted Lady Suite (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 58:21 minutes | 610 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Sunnyside

In 2018 big bands aren’t the most publicised type of formation anymore. And there doesn’t seem to be much interest in launching onto a path that, in the last century, was taken by giants who revolutionised jazz language. But trumpeter Michael Leonhardt is bold enough to walk in the footsteps of Gil Evans, Mel Lewis/Thad Jones, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones and Carla Bley. With his Michael Leonhart Orchestra (MLO), he even makes a very personal contribution to the genre. “When creating MLO, my idea was to get an all-star mix of soloists, ensemble players and pocket-players who would be as comfortable playing Mingus and Ellington as they would be playing Wu-Tang and Fela Kuti!” Members of the Village Vanguard Orchestra and Maria Schneider’s big-band orchestra rub shoulders with contributors of the very funky Dap-Kings and Menahan Street Band, as well as masters of afrobeat revival Antibalas! An insane cast for an insane repertoire featuring the Beastie Boys, Frank Zappa and Bernard Herrmann! Leonhardt expands the typical configuration of jazz big bands with atypical instruments such as the bassoon, the accordion, the harmonica and strings. All in all, a 360° vision of music is nothing surprising from Leonhardt, who has worked with highly diverse people from Steely Dan to Mark Ronson, as well as Bruno Mars, A Tribe Called Quest, Arto Lindsay, Bill Frisell, Bill Withers, Bobby McFerrin, Bonnie Raitt, Brian Eno, Busta Rhymes, Caetano Veloso, DJ Spooky, David Byrne, James Brown, John Barry, Joshua Redman, Lenny Kravitz, Levon Helm, Michael McDonald, Mos Def, Natalie Merchant, Raekwon from the Wu-Tang Clan, Slash from Guns N’Roses, Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, Todd Rundgren, Wynton Marsalis and Yoko Ono… For this album released in June 2018, Michael Leonhardt authored a superb suite titled The Painted Lady Suite. A work divided in two migratory waves, which draw a sonic parallel between two separate migrations, one over North America into Canada and the other from the Arctic Circle over Europe into Northern Africa. His music reflects climate changes and the atmosphere of these important population movements. In addition to its jazz heritage, the MLO looks towards the musical universes of Ennio Morricone, Quincy Jones, David Axelrod, Henry Mancini and Nino Rota. Puzzling at first, this suite is wonderful in its interlacing of textures carried by saxophonists Donny McCaslin and Sam Sadigursky, guitarist Nels Cline, trombonist Ray Mason and trumpet player Dave Guy. A kaleidoscopic array completed with three themes previously written by Leonhardt for this orchestra.  – Marc Zisman

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Michael Franks – The Music In My Head (2018) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Michael Franks – The Music In My Head (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 52:41 minutes | 579 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Shanachie

Seven years after Time Together, Michael Franks confirms he’s still his best imitator. At more than 73 years old, the Californian remains this cool singer, with a cool voice on cool tunes… Produced notably by Gil Goldstein and Chuck Loeb, The Music In My Head represents a new height of this barely dreamy smooth jazz on which Franks lets his velvet organ slide with delicateness… We once more tell ourselves that time seems to have stopped for him between 1976 and 1985, when his albums The Art of Tea Reprise, Sleeping Gypsy, Burchfield Nines, Tiger in the Rain, One Bad Habit, Objects of Desire, Passionfruit and Skin Dive were beautiful and sensual soundtracks, completely smooth, of an idealized California. This 2018 batch will probably not change the minds of either his fans or his detractors. –  Clotilde Maréchal

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Michael Fabiano – Verdi & Donizetti: Opera Arias (2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Michael Fabiano – Verdi & Donizetti: Opera Arias (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 56:23 minutes | 0,97 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © PentaTone

American star tenor Michael Fabiano presents a spectacular set of scenes taken from late Donizetti and middle Verdi operas, revealing the strong ties between these two composers. The album documents a paradigmatic shift in Italian opera, from the beautiful lines and crispness of belcanto to a richer, more dramatic musical universe. The historical line stretches from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Poliuto and Maria di Rohan to mature Verdi operas such as Rigoletto, Un ballo in maschera and Don Carlos. In many cases, Fabiano has selected original, rarely-heard versions, including the thunderous ‘Qual sangue sparsi’ from the original St. Petersburg edition of La forza del destino.

Together, these arias and scenes constitute a world full of heartfelt tenderness and fire-laden drama. After numerous successes on the opera stage, this is Michael Fabiano’s debut album on PENTATONE.

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Meta4 String Quartet – Glow (2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Meta4 String Quartet – Glow (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 53:09 minutes | 900 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © BIS

The conductor, composer and violinist Jaakko Kuusisto (b. 1974) enjoys an extensive career that was launched by a series of successes in international violin competitions in the 1990s. He is among the most frequently recorded of Finnish instrumentalists and has recorded concertos by some of the most pro – minent Finnish contemporary composers. Kuusisto’s compositions consist of more than 30 opuses: chamber and vocal music, orchestral pieces, operas, as well as music for films. He studied composing at the Sibelius Academy with Eero Hämeenniemi and at the Indiana University with David Dzubay. Kuusisto performs regularly as a conductor, soloist and chamber musician, and has held the position of artistic director at several festivals. Currently he is artistic director of the Oulu Music Festival. Kuusisto’s repertoire ranges from baroque to contemporary works, regardless of genre. He has worked with many leading orch – es tras, including the Minnesota Orchestra, Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orches tras, NDR Hannover, deFilharmonie in Belgium, the Tallinn and Lausanne Cham ber Orchestras, the Helsinki, Turku and Tampere Philharmonic Orchestras as well as the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra. Kuusisto enjoys a long-standing relation – ship with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra: he served as its leader for more than a decade and nowadays regularly conducts the orchestra of his home town. His record ings with the orchestra have been critically acclaimed, including the BIS record ing of his own Violin Concerto with Elina Vähälä as soloist.

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Melvyn Tan – Miroirs (2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88,2kHz]

Melvyn Tan – Miroirs (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 01:17:41 minutes | 1,15 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © PM Classics Ltd.

Melvyn Tan embraces three centuries keyboard style tracing the inspirations for Ravel’s ground-breaking works for piano. By exploring new pianistic territory, Ravel mirrored Scarlatti and Liszt in experimenting and expanding the possibilities of the keyboard, now setting it free in highly coloured, impressionistic washes of sound which evoke situations, landscapes and characters.

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Melissa Etheridge – The Medicine Show (2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Melissa Etheridge – The Medicine Show (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 42:06 minutes | 917 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Concord Records

For her 15th album, the singer-songwriter explores pain—physical and emotional—and the ways Americans medicate. It’s a call for marijuana legalization, a rallying cry against opioids and a plea for unity. On expansive rocker “Faded By Design,” the cancer survivor eschews Western medicine for self-care: “Don’t call the doctor / The cure is in my mind.” The spare and lovely “Here Comes the Pain” empathizes the root cause of addiction, while “Woman Like You” explores feminism and changing norms against a swirling, McCartney-esque melody. Etheridge has said that she was going for a ’90s rock sound—”moody and fierce.” With its giant grunge guitars and swooning chorus, “Shaking,” a look at collective national anxiety, hits the bulls-eye. As does the fierce, arena-rock title track which proves that Etheridge can make “e-i-e-i-oh” sound tough as nails. Even drawing courage from the survivors of a mass shooting on period-perfect power ballad “Last Hello” she never condescends. There is nothing small or shy in Etheridge’s songs, and it’s refreshing.

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