Top Five Albums Spring 2018
Global Music Awards is an international showcase for original music, unique voices and emerging artists from around the world. 2018 saw some highly anticipated new albums by our Gold Medal winning artists. Whittling down to five albums was no easy task, but without further ado, we present Global Music Awards’ Top Five Albums of Spring 2018.
#5: Laura Usiskin, Reimagining Bach, United States, is a début album featuring solo cello music inspired by the great Johann Sebastian Bach. In addition to Bach compositions, the album includes Bach-inspired works by Patrick Greene and Peter Susser. Usiskin received her master's degree from The Juilliard School and doctorate from Yale University. LINK LINK
# 4: Nick Maclean Quartet, Rites of Ascension, Canada, is in the spirit of Herbie Hancock's primordial 60's quartet. Not to be confused with a tribute recording, this album has a character of its own. The depth of the synergistic connectivity between all four members of Maclean's quartet is the cornerstone to the ensemble's sound and group dynamic.
# 3: Viviana Guzmán, Song of the Whale, Chile/United States, internationally touring musician in 126 countries, Emmy nominated, Guzman’s new album features music of flute and vocalizations of humpback whales. The music mixes the calming and sometimes haunting sound of the Native American flute and evokes the mysterious, majestic and sometimes playful aspects of the largest creatures the world has ever known.
# 2: Charles Denler, Wild Mustang Suite, United States, is an orchestral suite recorded by Denler and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra with solo piano variations. This album captures the spirit born of every living thing, longing to be free. With thousands of concerts to his credit, this Emmy winning composer has been heard all over the world.
# 1: Spirituosi, Souvenir Latino, Austria, is a dynamic group of young artists with unique, engaging sound. The unusual combination of soprano voice, flute and cello of the sisters Nathalie, Evelyn and Nicole Peña Comas with guitars played by Damien Lancelle and Gonzalo Manrique and the Double bass played by Rubén Sánchez. This ensemble of emerging artists offers inventive arrangements in various musical styles, mainly classical and folklore. You will listen to this album again and again; it’s a joyful and pleasurable listening experience.
Top Five Albums Fall 2017
Global Music Awards is an international showcase for original music, unique voices and emerging artists. One of the great joys of our work is to discover the rich talent that comprises the Global Music Awards’ family. Whittling down to five albums was no easy task, but without further ado, we present Global Music Awards’ Top Five Albums of Fall 2017.
#5: David Schlossberg, A Place Beyond Words, solo piano, Jewish music, United States. The album feels uplifting and celebratory; cherished liturgical music that can be enjoyed outside the synagogue walls. It’s good medicine for a conflicted world; bouncy and cheerful to the ear because of his unique use of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic variations. Schlossberg’s sound is rich, textured and authentic even though nouveau. The album helps listeners appreciate the beauty of Jewish liturgical music across religions and cultural boundaries. LINK #4: Barbara Kortmann, Inner Lights, classical flautist, Germany. This debut album is a delightful collection of music composed by Antonio Vivaldi, Marin Marais, George Frederick Handel, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Kortmann and her ensemble create their very own sound world featuring the virtuosity of this talented flutist. Listening to Kortmann is a rare pleasure because of her natural talent and well-honed performance skills. LINK #3: Trio Rodin, Enrique Granados: Chamber Music with Piano, trio, Spain. The first album by this outstanding, young trio is based on a manuscript found at the Museu de la Música de Barcelona instead of the commonly played versions. It includes the world's first recording of Granados Trova, an arrangement by the composer himself of his most famous chamber orchestra piece, Elisenda. The sonata for violin and piano is another great surprise for listeners. LINK #2: Amjad Ali Khan, Elmira Darvarova, Amaan Ali Bangash, Ayaan Ali Bangash, Anubrata Chatterjee, Peace Worshipers, world music, India/United States. This album represents a collaboration between Amjad Ali Khan, the titan of the sarod, and the distinguished American violinist Elmira Darvarova. This final volume in a trilogy features regional folk traditions in India and Europe. LINK #1: Dorothy Hindman, Tightly Wound: Music for Strings, composer, United States. Fueled by a unique blend of punk, postmodern, and spectral techniques, Hindman’s music sings and screams, breathes and howls, leaving a lasting impression like none other. Her second solo release, Tightly Wound, a double album showcasing her music for strings, stakes a solid claim for her position as one of the more fearless voices in chamber music today. Hindman’s works have a raw power. LINK
Top Ten Albums Spring/Summer 2017
Global Music Awards is an international showcase for original music, unique voices and emerging artists. One of the great joys of our work is to discover the rich talent that comprises the Global Music Awards’ family. Whittling down to ten albums was no easy task, but without further ado, we present Global Music Awards’ Top Ten Albums of Spring/Summer 2017.
#10: Pacho Flores and Jesús González, Entropia, classical duo, Spain. This album is the fusion of two master artists, trumpet and guitar, sharing their Latin-American musical influences. This work contains a selection of the finest pieces of noted composers interpreted in an exquisite and conscious manner. Deutsche Grammophon label. LINK #9: Luz Pinos, Mariposa Azul, female vocalist, Ecuador/United States. 'Blue Butterfly' has eleven original songs and lyrics, all up-beat, sweet and melodic. These joyful tunes feature her unique mezzo-soprano voice and are vehicles for turning her personal stories into compositions influenced by Ecuadorian and South American rhythms. LINK #8 : Antonio Tinelli, Méditerranée Clarinet Ensemble Ebanthology, clarinet ensemble, Italy. The album is a tribute to the colors, sounds and possibilities of the clarinet including combination of solo and ensemble. It offers amazing arrangements of well-known pieces and original music by Italian contemporary composers. LINK #7: Sophia Agranovich, Robert Schumann: Carnaval and Fantasie, piano solos, United States. Agranovich has been called “a tigress of the keyboard”, performing with “magnificent shading and superior musicianship”. For this release, she has chosen Schumann’s Carnaval and Fantasie, which are known as Schumann’s greatest works for solo piano and are among most important piano works of the early Romantic period. LINK #6: Zhen Chen, Ergo, new music for piano and Chinese folk instruments, United States. Chen makes an impressive contribution to the legacy of composers blending Chinese and western instruments and musical materials. He places the piano alongside two of the most familiar traditional Chinese instruments to Western audiences: the pipa (Chinese lute) and erhu (a bowed string instrument). LINK #5: Ramon Gallifa, The Morning Bridges, (pre-release) world music, Catalonia/Spain. This ambitious, independently produced album with original compositions is musically rich with beautiful cultural motifs, texture and timbre with many styles and genres: Mediterranean, Western cross-over, Chinese, Arab, American and African elements. LINK #4: Lena Natalia, Second Youth, modern classical piano and album, United States. This delightful album is a collection of twelve enchanting pieces that feature Natalia’s fluid and expressive playing. Her beautiful melodies are in themselves her strongest asset, only further supported by her idiosyncratic compositional techniques. LINK #3: Sean Hickey, A Pacifying Weapon, classical, United Sates. Imagine a weapon that brings irreversible peace; Hickey’s flight of fantasy grew from that image, as he contemplated the world in its present chaos, and imagined an instrument that would end violence. A dream brought to life in this three-movement concerto for recorder and wind ensemble. LINK #2: Berta Moreno, Little Steps, tenor saxophone, United States/Spain. This album is a compilation of eight original compositions exploring different ways of using the blues over modern, more complex jazz harmonies and rhythms. Behind every composition there is an adventure with catchy melodies and flavors of Latin jazz and the blues. LINK #1: Jose Gurria and the Gurrisonic Orchestra, Constant Deprivation, avant-garde band, United States. This 22-piece chamber orchestra brings together some of the most creative voices and instrumental improvisers in Los Angeles. The Orchestra performs genre-bending original music, pushing the boundaries of instrumentation and style that includes a mix of spoken word and singer/songwriter work. This playground of orchestral landscapes includes of avant-garde, jazz, and classical contemporary music. LINK
Top Ten Albums 2016
Global Music Awards is an international showcase for original music, unique voices and emerging artists. 2016 saw some highly anticipated new albums by our Gold Medal winning artists. Whittling down to ten albums was no easy task, but without further ado, we present Global Music Awards’ Top Ten Albums of 2016.
# 10: Anthony Branker, Beauty Within, eclectic jazz, United States. Dr. Branker, former longtime jazz studies guru at Princeton University, turns to his new Imagine quintet for his latest set of forward-looking acoustic-electric compositions. Each piece challenges the listener with an aural jigsaw of stubborn intensity, an entropic whirlwind, sensitively parsed by his star-studded ensemble. The virtuosity and mutual responsiveness of his five-piece super group grants a near overwhelming exuberance to music that crosses generations. LINK # 9: Misha Quint & Svetlana Gorokhovich, Matryoshka Blues, classical, United States. It highlights the recording debut of the brilliant title track, Matryoshka Blues, composed for Russian-born virtuoso Misha Quint by American jazz musician and composer Nathan Davis. The work is comprised of different layers of sound in many variations. Internationally-known pianist Svetlana Gorokhovich adds polish and shine as Quint’s accompanist. LINK # 8: Carmine Miranda, Schumann/Dvorak Concerti, cello & orchestra, United States. As always Venezuelan/American cellist Carmine Miranda delivers a stunning instrumental performance. He decodes and finds new secrets in these Schumann and Dvorak masterpieces. He interprets them as a series of internal conflicts between the solo cello and the orchestra. Miranda’s music is inventive and appealing. LINK # 7: Ioanna & Areti Spanomarkou, Greece A Political Prisoner, world music/protest music, Greece. These two musical sisters write their own material which is performed by several brilliant and well-known vocalists. Their music is in the traditional Greek popular genre, but more contemporary style in line with today’s underground urban culture. One can think of their Greek folk music, Rebetiko, as Greek Blues. LINK # 6: Lena Natalia, Sundays in Paris, minimalist piano melodies, United States. This American modern classical composer and pianist has been said to “convey the aesthetic quality of an impressionist painting, where melodious movement beneath the surface is constant like the currents of the sea.” Her emphasis on fluidity as opposed to bold strokes and clearly defined edges convey a gentle quality unique among contemporary pianists. LINK # 5: Charles Denler, Moment at Dawn, new age classical fusion, United States. This album is a fusion of ambient new age and classical styles with rich orchestration and solo piano. This Emmy Award winning composer created every movement with distinct character and echoes of majestic and touching movie film scoring running through the entire album. It has an eighty-piece orchestra and a one hundred voice chorus. Denler is at the piano. LINK # 4: Douglas Knehans, Concertos, composer, United States. The music in this album is rich and deep with the gift of color, beautiful melodic musical form and engaging dramatic works. This complex album contains Soar, that capitalizes on the cello’s expressiveness and ability to constantly evolve new and unique colorations; Drift, written for solo oboe and strings, is an experiment with slowly morphing musical shape and form. This sophisticated, wildly inventive album is a masterpiece. LINK # 3: John Daversa, Kaleidoscope: Music of The Beatles, large jazz ensemble, United States. Imagine Beatles music through a kaleidoscope where the world seems to turn into many different colors and reality shifts. John Daversa's fearless exploration takes listeners off the beaten path as he creates bold and innovative big band music. His work is the definition of artistry and creativity. LINK # 2: Sharif Awan, Indus Raag, collector’s boxed set Indo-Pak classical, Pakistan. This massive archive collection carries out preservation and archiving of classical music of a sub-continent. It is a treasure trove of human quest for rapture and ecstasy, devotion and dance. The collection explores the universality of music and rich classical tradition of the Indo-Pac subcontinent. It is a collection of soul stirring music. LINK # 1: Esperanza Spalding, Emily's D+Evolution, pop, United States, is a markedly different sound for this four-time Grammy winner, bassist and singer whose recordings have been influenced by her jazz background. The album conceptually addresses the always exciting, sometimes messy process of reconciling aspects of one’s self. Original and unique, Emily's D+Evolution, is inspired by a muse who came to Spalding in a dream and provided insight into hidden parts of Spalding’s personality. These are exuberant, confrontational songs, amplified in the same sort of rock/funk hybrid style, that feel expansive and rich. Critic Marcus J. Moore of Pitchfork said, “The lyrics are elusive at first, darting behind fast-moving songs and delivered in impressionistic, conversational bursts that recall the delivery of Joni Mitchell. But the fearless generosity behind them communicates itself loud and clear, and it's a spirit that animates the entire album. With it, Spalding has once again redefined an already singular career, dictating a vision entirely on her own terms.” LINK
Top Five Albums Spring 2016
Global Music Awards is an international showcase for original music, unique voices and emerging artists. The beginning of 2016 saw some highly anticipated new albums by our Gold Medal winning artists. Whittling down to five albums was no easy task, but without further ado, we present Global Music Awards’ Top Five Albums of Spring 2016.
#5: Lori Bell Quartet, Brooklyn Dreaming, jazz, is composer and flutist Lori Bell’s ninth studio album and a return to her Big Apple roots for a nine-track program featuring six bold originals and three New York-centric interpretations. Admired for her technical skills and improvisational ease, Bell’s flute speaks with a distinctly “Brooklyn accent”. She is joined on this outing by a formidable ensemble: bassist Katie Theroux, drummer Matt Witek and pianist Tamir Hendelman. The quartet’s mesmerizing Brooklyn excursion includes the Monk classic 52nd Street Theme, Nostalgia in Times Square, A Dog on Coney, Streets of New York, 3 Deuce Blues and Harlem Nocturne. LINK LINK
#4: Vanaka, Gratitude, eclectic indie rock influenced by classic rock, country rock, reggae and rock ballads, founded by lyricist Stacey Fergusson, husband and bassist Don Fergusson and guitarist Jon Payne. With multiple lead singers and styles, inspiring lyrics, and rich harmonies, the music is catchy, upbeat, and soulful. The lyrics and feel of the album are heartfelt and personal as reflected in the song, Still Beautiful, written in the aftermath of the school shooting at Sandy Hook to serve as a reminder to not live in fear, to seek beauty and always lead from the heart. Another is Love Lets Go influenced by the passing of Stacey Fergusson’s father. Gratitude was produced by #1 Billboard recording artist J. R. Richards, with Sound Engineering and Mixing by Brian Scheuble (Elton John, Sheryl Crow, John Mayer), and guest percussionist Luis Conte (James Taylor, Percussionist of the Year since 2007).
#3: Misha Quint & Svetlana Gorokhovich, Matryoshka Blues, classical, highlights the recording debut of the brilliant title track, Matryoshka Blues, composed for Russian-born virtuoso Misha Quint by American jazz musician and composer Nathan Davis. Like the small Russian dolls that are embedded one within the other, Davis’s new work is comprised of different layers of sound in many variations. It showcases the range of musical possibilities for the cello within the jazz form, together with Quint's ability to use extremely high registers of the cello combined with an intensive and lush sound. The addition of Alfred Schnittke’s later work, Sonata No. 1 for Cello and Piano, which was given personally to Misha Quint by the composer, reflects the contemporary realm of music. Matryoshka Blues also features short gems and transcriptions by Fauré, Prokofiev, Handel, and Saint-Saens The Swan from Carnival of the Animals. Internationally recognized pianist Svetlana Gorokhovich adds polish and shine as Quint’s accompanist. LINK #2: Daniel Ho Trio and Wu Hao-en, Legends of Passage, world music/islands, is a world-class collaboration that combines the powerful voice of Taiwanese Golden Melody Award winner vocalist and Puyuma tribesman Wu Hao-en with a team of exceptional musicians brought together by six-time Emmy Award winner Daniel Ho. With Randy Drake on the drums and Steve Billman on the bass, Legends of Passage, provides a refreshing seamless blend of indigenous melodies, and new tunes treated with a contemporary fusion of styles. LINK LINK #1: Esperanza Spalding, Emily's D+Evolution, pop, is a markedly different sound for this four-time Grammy winner, bassist and singer whose recordings have been influenced by her jazz background. The album conceptually addresses the always exciting, sometimes messy process of reconciling aspects of one’s self. Original and unique, Emily's D+Evolution, is inspired by a muse who came to Spalding in a dream and provided insight into hidden parts of Spalding’s personality. These are exuberant, confrontational songs, amplified in the same sort of rock/funk hybrid style, that feel expansive and rich. Critic Marcus J. Moore of Pitchfork said, “The lyrics are elusive at first, darting behind fast-moving songs and delivered in impressionistic, conversational bursts that recall the delivery of Joni Mitchell. But the fearless generosity behind them communicates itself loud and clear, and it's a spirit that animates the entire album. With it, Spalding has once again redefined an already singular career, dictating a vision entirely on her own terms.” LINK LINK
Top Ten Albums 2015
Global Music Awards is an international showcase for original music, unique voices and emerging artists. 2015 saw some highly anticipated new albums by our Gold Medal winning artists. Whittling down to ten albums was no easy task, but without further ado, we present Global Music Awards’ Top Ten Albums of 2015.
#10. Deus Ex Machina, Robert J. Bradshaw, composer/librettist, steampunk opera, USA. Opera companies around the country have been on a quest to breathe new life into opera and populate their theaters with fresh, younger audiences. Opera appears very dated to most young people who now thrive on fantasy and technology. This delightful album is a much needed antidote. LINK #9. New World, Trevor Dick Band, world/jazz/folk fusion, Canada. Award-winning electric violinist Trevor Dick and his long-time bandmates have entered new territory with TDB's debut album, New World. This project takes you from Africa to Latin America to Europe and North America, erasing all borders. The music represents that sense of excitement, adventure, vision and sacrifice as our forefathers and mothers left the “Old World,” got on a ship and sailed into the unknown, in faith and discovered the New World. That’s what this album is all about, that longing for adventure, that sense of creativity, the drive to explore new territories with reckless abandon. LINK #8. Eleutherios, Nic Nassuet, gothic rock band, USA. Review Fix captured the essence of this album well, "Nassuet is able to put a definable face on the Gothic Rock genre for anyone who either had no idea what it was or had prior predispositions. Eerily charming, soft and silky, yet powerful and dark.” This singer/songwriter creates lyrics from his heart which resulted in a stunning album. This is serious music for serious thought. LINK #7. Trivolution, Gabriel Palatchi, Latin jazz & world music fusion, Argentina/Mexico. Trivolution is a vibrant and varied genre-bending eclectic and multi-cultural album that insures this talented young Argentinian pianist/composer a unique place in the ever-changing landscape of jazz. It is impossible to leave this album unsatisfied. Catchy and enjoyable from start to finish. LINK #6. Asia Beauty, Ron Korb, flutist, Canada. Some albums capture pure allure and grace; Asian Beauty is one of those album. The Washington post said Ron Korb is a tour de force for bamboo flute. We agree. Asian Beauty sweeps the listener into a world of imagination from the sultry cafes of Vietnam to the spectacular terraces of China. The nineteen compositions in this album uplift, rejuvenate and inspire. LINK #5. Consonnances, Tri Nguyen, composer & Vietnamese zither, Vietnam & France, USA. This album brings about the extraordinary fusion of Vietnamese ancestral music and Western classical music. The dialogue between zither and strings parallels the two cultures that have shaped the artist: classical pianist and zither player. Some of the thirteen melodies interweave in light and playful creations while others are invitations to a world of tranquility and meditation. LINK #4. BLUE13, Frank Stemper (composer) & Junghwa Lee (classical pianist), USA/South Korea. This album brings the joy of intense virtuosity as well as sensitive interpretation of highly complex, yet curiously accessible compositions. It has been described as introspective, deeply personal music, with a sharp emotional trigger. The album whispers in your ears because the composer and classical pianist go to the heart and soul of what artistic communication is all about. LINK LINK #3. El Conde Negro, Pete Rodriguez, composer, vocalist, & trumpeter, Afro-Cuban jazz, USA/ Puerto Rico. This most enjoyable of albums has music that is instrumentally ferocious and texturally rich. Rodriguez creates compositions rich in musical depth, tone and beauty, as well as rhythm and melody. His trumpet playing is colorful and hot-blooded. We think you will like every song on this album. Rodriguez, an exceptional singer, brings passion and longing in every phrase. LINK #2. Traveler, Lawson Rollins, guitarist/composer, USA. Guitarist and composer Lawson Rollins takes listeners on a global musical journey on the multi-award winning album, Traveler. Bridging countries, cultures, and continents, the music features Lawson’s distinctive guitar-work backed by an eclectic, all-star ensemble. The expansive arc of the album reaches from the traditions of the Old World to the pulse of the modern metropolis with a boldly diverse, genre-defying mix of melody, rhythm, and improvisation. Acoustic Guitar Magazine wrote, "The sound is impeccable, the compositions dynamic, and the technique dazzling." LINK #1. Requiem for The Living, Arthur Gottschalk, composer, USA. This album, with all original compositions, represents a full-scale masterwork more than ten years in the making. Grego Applegate Edwards's Classical-Modern Music Review provides an accurate review of this work: “It is based on the Latin Mass for the Dead in content, but then branches out with textual commentary by (Duke) Ellington, George Elliot, Mohammad, Judaic sacred text, and other sources. The idea is that this is music for those who are still here, in terms of dealing with life in the face of death. How should we live? Romantic, contrapuntal, post-romantic, and otherwise modern elements join together with some elements of jazz a la George Gershwin and his era, and more. The essentially eclectic approach manages to convey to us an Arthur Gottschalk of committed passion, a sense of urgency, a communicator who creates a broad swath of convincing choral-orchestral largess and dramatic flourish.” At Global Music Awards we stand in awe of this album and its composer, who is also the recipient of a Charles Ives Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. LINK LINK