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Fred Hersch & WDR Big Band: Begin Again (Palmetto)

It’s tempting to assume that the subtlety and nuance of pianist Fred Hersch’s Begin Again stem from the arrangements by Vince Mendoza and performances by German accompanists the WDR Big Band. Both are, after all, Grammy winners. But while the orchestrations and conducting of Mendoza and playing by the ensemble are vital, it’s Hersch’s unique … Read More “Fred Hersch & WDR Big Band: Begin Again (Palmetto)”

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Vince Mendoza & the WDR Big Band Cologne: Homecoming (Sunnyside)

The relationship between composer/conductor Vince Mendoza and Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln stretches back decades, but this album, recorded at two concerts in Germany in 2014, documents the first time Mendoza had written all-new material specifically for the radio station’s big band. That he was named the ensemble’s composer-in-residence two years later suggests that they liked what … Read More “Vince Mendoza & the WDR Big Band Cologne: Homecoming (Sunnyside)”

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Vince Mendoza: Nights on Earth

Vince Mendoza’s freshly textured Nights on Earth testifies to this Renaissance man’s ability to meld different musical cultures. “Everything Is You” is a Latin roundelay; “Lullaby” is grave chamber music; the brooding “Otono” is scalloped, Alan Pasqua’s piano and Larry Goldings’ organ pacing the guitars of Nguyen Le and Louis Winsberg; and “Conchita” is a … Read More “Vince Mendoza: Nights on Earth”

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