Eduardo Fernández "Guitar (Delmark)"
For his debut on Delmark Classics guitar virtuoso Eduardo Fernández put together a program covering two centuries of music and two continents. From Paganini to Brouwer, this album offers a variety of schools, tendencies and techniques that very few performers can match. In addition to brilliant pieces by Denisov and Chávez, this CD features a rarely heard works by Mertz and Rebay. An internationally recognized guitarist and scholar, Eduardo Fernández was born in Uruguay in 1952. He studied guitar with Abel Carlevaro. In 1975 he was awarded at the Radio France (Paris) competition and won the Andres Segovia Competition in Spain. His New York debut in 1977 received critical accolades. Since then, Fernández has been performing and teaching all over the world as well as releasing numerous acclaimed albums
Check out the absolutely stunning performance of Niccolò Paganini’s “Sonata No. 24 in G Major: I. Minuetto.”
Jimmy Johnson "Every Day of Your Life (Delmark)"
Four decades ago, Jimmy Johnson permanently established himself as a front-rank Chicago bluesman with his unusually imaginative Delmark debut album Johnson’s Whacks (DE 644). Now he’s come full circle: Jimmy’s back on Delmark with this exciting release, which shows that he remains a vital blues force into his 90s. Johnson’s fluid, slicing guitar licks dart and spark with unpredictable elasticity throughout this set. His voice soars to the heavens time and again, never misplacing its melismatic passion no matter the tempo.
From the funky opening original “Every Day Of Your Life,” constructed around a wise lyrical message, to a churning “Down In The Valley” and exquisitely tailored revivals of the lights-out slow blues “Strange Things Happening” and a hard- driving “I Need You So Bad,” Jimmy is never less than masterful. Few contemporary bluesmen are so devastating when working in a minor key— witness Johnson’s personalized treatment of Fenton Robinson’s classic “Somebody Loan Me A Dime.” “My Ring,” another standout original, takes a swaying and unexpected reggae turn (pushing the stylistic envelope has long been one of Jimmy’s trademarks), and Johnson sits down behind the 88s for a solo reprise of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s uplifting “Lead Me On” to close the album in deeply moving style.
Funny thing is, Jimmy only became a full-time blues guitarist in the mid -1970s. Prior to that, he mostly traversed the R&B side of the tracks. Born in Holly Springs, Mississippi, Johnson grew up along with another future blues luminary, Matt Murphy. “I picked up a guitar because Murphy had a guitar,” he says. Sacred and secular sounds competed for his attention. “My first time of singing in front of an audience, I was singing gospel,” notes Jimmy. “My uncle had a Victrola, the ones you wind up, and I got to hear John Lee Hooker, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, Sonny Boy Williamson.”
Check out the laid-back funk “Down In The Valley.”
Goran Ivanovic & Fareed Haque "IndoBalkan (Delmark)"
After a 20-year hiatus, virtuoso guitarists Goran Ivanovic and Fareed Haque have joined forces again! A year of intensive touring and composing has produced IndoBalkan, the duo’s debut release on Delmark Records. Featuring rising star percussionist Juan Pastor and incorporating elements of jazz, classical, Indian and Balkan music, the duo explore longer, more complex compositions and stunning technical challenges while retaining their love for beautiful melodies and sweet tones. Two of the most gifted guitarists performing today, their styles and backgrounds are vastly different but, as the Chicago Tribune wrote of them, “when their two guitars play, cultural barriers melt away.”
With IndoBalkan, Ivanovic & Haque are offering their audience a collaborative musical capstone. This multifaceted projects brings together the duo’s musical and geographical influences and showcases their virtuosity and creative lyricism.
Certain tunes like “Prorok” or “Detour Samba” showcase their ensemble and rhythmic sophistication while others like “Rhodes” and “Ikaria” are sensitive, lyrical, and introspective. Percussion widens the palette of the record, performed both on the guitars themselves, as in “Santorini”, as well as on other instruments. Fareed adds a spatial wash of cymbals to the title track “IndoBalkan” and up-and-coming percussioning Juan Pastor guests on “Jim Phelps”.
Over time, Ivanovic & Haque’s music and performance has evolved and matured, becoming more thoughtful and expressive, while retaining its natural athleticism. Their fresh musical language is propelled by strong rhythms, verging closely towards popular forms, meant to be felt and experienced, revealing an inner solidity. — Notes by Julia A. Miller
Check out the haunting title track “IndoBalkan.”
Criteria "Years (15 Passenger)"
from 15 Passenger:
Criteria’s Years has been in the making for quite some time. No joke, like a really long time. But the album’s delay seems to be a badge of pride for the group, one that underscores the relentlessness of their collective vision to see it happen some fifteen years after the release of their sophomore LP When We Break (Saddle Creek). The drums were tracked at Omaha’s ARC studios in 2014 and eventually the guitars and vocals were finished in Pedersen’s basement studio. Criteria’s own A.J. Mogis wore the hats of both bass player and producer/recording/mixing engineer. His production credits include Monsters of Folk, Fake Problems, Small Brown Bike, The Get Up Kids, Planes Mistaken for Stars, and Cursive. On Years, Mogis and Pedersen — along with guitarist Aaron Druery and drummer Mike Sweeney — have once again set the bar very high for self-produced rock albums. It has a sound that conjures the likes of both Quicksand and Built to Spill, with its high energy riffs/grooves under the catchy, melody-forward vocal lines.
Check out the instantly sing-a-long-able first single “Agitate Resuscitate.”