Bay Area Reporter
6 recording artists for fall
by Roberto Friedman
1. The celebrated Bay Area string ensemble Kronos Quartet has made some kick-ass collaborations with other musical artists over the years, but their new album “Ladilikan,” a creation with the Malian group Trio Da Kali, is certainly one of their best.
Da Kali is a trio that brings contemporary edge to traditional Malian music, blending a balafon (xylophone), a bass ngoni (flute) and a vocalist. The Kronos, consisting of violinists David Harrington and John Sherba, violist Hank Dutt and cellist Sunny Yang , are no strangers to world music. Da Kali singer Hawa Diabate is the daughter of Mali’s great traditional singer Kasse Mady Diabate . Kronos leader Harrington compares her voice to that of the late American gospel legend Mahalia Jackson . Composer Jacob Garchik , son of SF Chronicle columnist Leah Garchik, arranged Trio Da Kali’s repertoire for string quartet.
All of this would be of no consequence if the music on “Ladilikan” had no lift-off, but its taking up constant residency on Out There’s disc player belies that canard. Strings don’t mean a thing if they ain’t got that Malian swing, but Da Kali plus Kronos got it big-time.
2. Lead singer Mark Lanegan, an elder statesman of the Seattle grunge scene, and his band will release “Still Life With Roses,” an EP remix of his recent album “Gargoyle,” on Sept. 29 from Heavenly Recordings. We listened to the Adrian Sherwood remix of Lanegan singing “Nocturne” and heard echoes of bass-baritones Bauhaus, Richard Butler and Nick Cave. Deep down beautiful.
3. Genius pop musician Beck‘s 13th album Colors has been confirmed for an Oct. 13 release on Capitol Records. Colors is Beck’s first full-length offering of new material since 2014’s Morning Phase took Album of the Year honors at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. We watched the animated video “Dear Life,” a cut from the forthcoming album full of Beckian spirit and musicality.
4. The best musical satirist working today, Roy Zimmerman , has been touring with his show “ReZist,” and has a YouTube video, “Worst Ancestors Ever,” now on offer. It’s a song he co-wrote with Melanie Harby, and the video, an indictment of climate change denialists, features cameos by “Weird Al” Yankovic , Richard Dawkins , “America’s Best Christian” Mrs. Betty Bowers, and other luminaries.
5. Not everyone could get to New York to see immortal star Bette Midler own the title role in the current “Hello Dolly!” revival on Broadway, but everyone can listen to the new Broadway cast recording, with a cast of 37 and 28 musicians, out on Sony Masterworks. Back where she belongs, preserved for the ages in digital sound files.
6. Jazz vocalist Diana Panton‘s eighth album “Solstice/Equinox” releases on Nov. 3, and fittingly, its songs all reference the changing of the seasons. Panton sings the spots off the Blossom Dearie classic “They Say It’s Spring,” the Nat King Cole standard “That Sunday, That Summer,” and her bilingual take on the George Shearing hit “September in the Rain.” There are more seasonal riffs throughout the disc, all delivered in Panton’s lyrical, lilting vocals.
Also listening to releases of various vintage: John Adams , “Scheherazade 2,” St. Louis Symphony, David Robertson , Leila Josefowicz (Nonesuch); John Luther Adams , “The Wind in High Places” (Cold Blue Music); Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette , “Yesterdays” (ECM); Philip Glass, “Two Pages,” “Contrary Motion,” “Music in Fifths,” “Music in Similar Motion” (Elektra); Van Dyke Parks, “Song Cycle” (WB); Les Vents Francais (Warner Classics); all available at the SFPL !