Delfeayo Marsalis' long-delayed debut as a leader on record features the young trombonist on ten of his originals. One should ignore the religious titles and the drawings in the liner notes and enjoy the music for what it is: advanced hard bop. Marsalis' idol is J.J. Johnson and his trombone playing is similar to Johnson's style. Among the many artists who make appearances on this set are tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman (for the opening title cut); trumpeter Scotty Barnhart; brothers Branford (soprano on five numbers), Jason (who at the time was a brilliant 14-year-old drummer), and Wynton (whose highly expressive trumpet solo on "The Weary Ways of Mary Magdalene" is one of the high points of his career); and various sidemen from the Marsalis bands. Delfeayo, who has mostly worked as a record producer, is now overdue for an encore.
The magic and mystery of Mexico make a welcome return on this recording, as the expert skills of Gerard Abiton explore Manuel Ponces complete works for guitar. There is a wealth of treasures to be enjoyed here, as Ponces vast career led him to explore a number of different styles. His time in Paris exerted a French influence on his music, heard in the wonderfully lyrical song-without-words motif in the second movement of his Sonata III.
Richard Wagner, the most controversial figure the arts have ever seen, whose music can move and overwhelm like no other, continues to divide the spirits even today. The year 2013, when we celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth, is inevitably going to be devoted to the man and his work.
The Complete Wagner Operas offers the best of Deutsche Grammophon, two operas each from Decca and the BBC and EMIs Rienzi.
Originally forming as Pilate in the early 2000s, the Toronto-based rock quartet Pilot Speed changed their name to such in mid-2006 to avoid possible lawsuits as their music spread internationally from their native Canada, especially due to the "litigious nature of the United States" (as taken from a message on the band's website). Pilate were born in 2000 after vocalist and New Zealand native Todd Clark left the music program at the University of Western Ontario where he'd been studying and placed an ad online for potential bandmates. Bassist Ruby Bumrah, a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, answered the call, bringing with him fellow alums Chris Greenough (guitar) and Bill Keeley (drums). Citing influences like Crowded House, Radiohead, and U2 for Pilate's especially sweeping brand of melodic rock – not so dissimilar to acts like Keane, Coldplay, and Snow Patrol – they released the six-song EP For All That's Given, Wasted in the summer of 2001. It quickly sold out its initial pressing and established the guys as players in the Canadian music scene.