Ran Blake/ Ghost Tones: portraits of George Russell

With his absorbing new album Ghost Tones, the iconic Ran Blake - "a pianist who can make you laugh at his dry humor one second and wring a tear the next" (DownBeat) -  presents an audio-biographical homage to the pioneering musical theorist, composer and fellow New England Conservatory guru George Russell (1923-2009). Russell, who formulated the theories of modal improvisation that moved Miles Davis to create his landmark Kind of Blue, taught alongside Blake at NEC for decades along with releasing a series of influential LPs that featured such key followers as Bill Evans and Eric Dolphy. Recorded at NEC’s Jordan Hall in Boston, Ghost Tones juxtaposes vintage compositions by Russell with biographically illustrative standards and Blake originals. Renowned for his poetic intimacy as a solo pianist, Blake plays solo acoustic and electric piano on the album as well as with a varying ensemble of NEC alumni and former Russell students (listed below). Produced by Art Lange and trombonist Aaron Hartley.

$15 w/ free shipping
$15 w/ free shipping

“If there are ghosts in music, pianist Ran Blake finds them and stretches their abstract melodies into the ether.” ~NPR

Eden MacAdam-Somer/ My First Love Story

My First Love Story introduces the solo work of one of New England Conservatory’s newest faculty members and one of the most dynamic young artists performing today: composer, performer, and improviser Eden MacAdam-Somer. Recorded live in NEC’s Jordan Hall, this album is an incredible blend of contemporary and traditional art, moving fluidly between Appalachian folk song and cutting edge classical performance.

The album centers around MacAdam-Somer’s Rumi Songs, an open-ended cycle for voice and violin that is partially composed and partially improvised. The three movements carry the listener from sweet Bach-like tones through serial systems, folk references, and free improvisation, while vocals soar in translations of ecstatic love poems by the famed Sufi poet Mevleva Rumi. This work was inspired by Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Along the Field, also featured on the recording arranged for solo performer with improvised fiddle interludes and English Country Dance tunes. “Vaughan Williams is so skillful in blending folk songs with classical composition, and I always wondered what it would be like to perform this piece with a folk singer…it is not at all uncommon for folk musicians to sing and play at the same time and eventually I thought, ‘maybe I can do both parts.’ I love being able to tell the whole story myself, because I can follow my imagination wherever it takes me at any time… it isn’t about “blending” genres or about the technical challenges in playing and singing at the same time, but simply telling the story the way I hear it, which might be a little different in each performance.”

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$15 w/ free shipping

"Astonishing virtuosity and raw expression” - New York Times

Self-Imposed Exile/ Live from Steinway Hall

In today’s culture saturated with more verbiage than substance, finding artistic products of value is oftentimes a laborious quest that generally produces few satisfying results. The disc you are holding in your hands is one such rare find. Recorded by a newly formed trio with an enigmatically sounding name Self-Imposed Exile, the album offers a fresh perspective on contemporary chamber music. The word “contemporary” is the keyword here, as the music you are about to experience is an attempt at a re-definition of chamber music as an intelligent mix of composition, improvisation, and electronic sounds. The new genre is not just classical, not just jazz, and not just electronic music, but a combination thereof. On the surface, these labels may seem meaningless, but if you listen to this album with open ears, you’ll know what I mean.

Self-Imposed Exile consists of three musicians: Jakub Rojek, pianist and composer of most of the materials on the album; reedman Aaron Kruziki who moves effortlessly from the clarinet to bass clarinet to alto and soprano saxophones; and the electronic guru Shaun Sutkus responsible for the overall sound-design of the album. The ensemble was formed in 2015, following an experimental live recording at the renowned Steinway Hall in Manhattan. A portion of this unique event is presented on this album.

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$15 w/ free shipping

Nima Janmohammadi

We are honored to announce an upcoming release by Nima Janmohammadi before 2016 is over.

Born in 1984, Iranian multi-instrumentalist and composer Nima Janmohammadi started playing Setar at the age of seven with Mehrdad Torabi. He continued studying various styles of Persian music and completing his repertoire with masters such as Jalal Zolfonun and Massoud Shaari, and later the legendary masters of Persian music: Mohammad-Reza Lotfi and Hossein Alizadeh. He also studied ethnomusicology and theory of Persian music with professor Dr. Mohsen Hajarian.

Nima holds a master’s degree in Contemporary Improvisation and a Graduate Diploma from New England Conservatory of Music and has had the advantage of working with great musicians and composers—including Hankus Netsky, Ran Blake, Anthony Coleman, Stratis Minakakis, Andreia Pinto-Correia and Katarina Miljkovic.

Currently, he teaches at Harvard University and New England Conservatory.