Arts Desk

Check out stories and album of the week features by Susan Lewis, Debra Lew Harder, Kevin Gordon, Maureen Malloy, Matt Silver, and Bobbi Booker.

March 9, 2021. Kendrah Butler-Waters' love for jazz, composition, arranging, and performative musicality shines throughout her debut solo album, Faith Walk.

Allic Chang

Whether arranging, composing, or sliding the trombone, Nick Lombardelli cuts quite the handsome figure. That figure could be the roaring vibe of a big, brass-tipped band with a fluid trombone sound as its strong lead. Or that of an orchestra’s sweeping movement. Or a hard bop ensemble with a tense, staccato ‘bone fronting it.

March 8, 2021. Mon Ami, Mon Amour (my friend, my love) is the title of a new album of French music by cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Mari Kodama. Haimovitz and Kodama lovingly interpret works by French composers from the early 20th century, with an understanding of each composition's subtlety and distinctly French style.

Emil Rhodes, Family Collection

(First published in 2013). A recent biography reveals what it was like to be the first woman to enter the all-male sanctum of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1930. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston discovered the powerful combination of talent and fear.

March 1, 2021. WRTI is celebrating women bandleaders and their music to commemorate Women’s History Month. This week we're shining the spotlight on The Path by Chien Chien Lu, a Taiwanese vibraphonist whose own path led her to Philly’s University of the Arts for grad school to study with vibe master Tony Miceli. This is her debut album as a leader.

March 1, 2021. We're kicking off our celebration of Women's History Month with sparkling music by Schumann and Mendelssohn presented by The Nash Ensemble of London. But it’s not Robert and Felix who have written the three pieces we’re spotlighting, but Clara and Fanny.

Mike Oria

Listen to any of Jimmy Bruno’s records and the lyricism, the feel, that full, round tone guitarists kill for, and that articulation—those notes live rich, sustained lives. It all presents as something that comes so easy. But it’s taken Bruno lots of years, and several stops, for it to sound that way.

It feels strange calling Robert Glasper’s R+R=NOW a “supergroup” because every group Glasper leads seems worthy of that appellation. Yet, there is something particularly relevant right now about this one, which was named out of Glasper’s desire for the group’s music to be both an accurate reflection of the times and an effective and immediate response to them.

PIERRE MICHEL JEAN/AFP via Getty Images

Versatility is one thing; possessing the aptitude to match a boundless musical curiosity is another. Leonard Bernstein had both; Terence Blanchard also has both.

February 22, 2021. BRUITS, a new album by the trailblazing woodwind quintet Imani Winds, tackles issues of race and social justice with three contemporary works by Reena Esmail, Frederic Rzewski, and Vijay Iyer, composer of the title work. 

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