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Boston Globe Review of a Recent Performance with Lebanese…

By Rebecca Ostriker

Marcel Khalifé had just finished his first song at Berklee Performance Center Saturday night when the aisles filled with late-coming fans. Khalifé, a celebrated oud master, singer, and composer, watched as ticket-holders roamed through the hall, groping in the dark to find and fill their seats. It went on and on, and Khalifé waited: dressed in black, elegant silver hair framed by a turquoise scarf, the picture of patience…

….Often the music’s mood offered a striking contrast to the words. For “The Violins,” a song of al-Andalus, or medieval Muslim Spain, Omar Guey’s rollicking, Gypsy-flavored violin and Julien Labro’s lively accordion set the pace for a clapping, singing crowd. It sounded like a party, but Darwish’s words were an elegy for a lost homeland: “The violins weep with the Gypsies heading for al-Andalus/ The violins cry over the Arabs departing al-Andalus.”

Read the full review here

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The Big Squeeze @ Northwestern University

A once in a lifetime gathering of accordion and bandoneon virtuosos explores music from Bach and Weber to jazz, blues and Zydeco, including an all-hands-on-deck breakdown of a polka. Featured musicians include Julien Labro from France; Alexander Sevastian from Russia; Jimmy Keane from Chicago; and Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers from New Orleans. Labro was joined by Spektral String Quartet, saxophonist Jon Irabagon, and special guest Victor GoinesThe Big Squeeze concert was part of the Bienen School of Music Spring Festival titled “Soundings: Celebrating Singular Voices In Music”.

Video of the concert is streamed here

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The Music of Astor Piazzolla CD, a great gift…

By Mike Telin

With the holidays upon us, what better musical gift to give than a recording by local musicians! Here are some CD’s we have received in the past few months that may give you gifting ideas. CD’s previewed or reviewed by ClevelandClassical.com appear at the end.

CD previewed on ClevelandClassical.com on November 29

Everything about this album is great: the arrangements, the performances, and the recording quality. Once again Jason Vieaux proves himself to be a masterful musician – Julien Labro’s bandoneon playing would surly make Pizzolla smile – A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra are superb collaborators who easily negotiate the tricky rhythms and special tango techniques. While The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires and Histoire du Tango have become standard concert repertoire, the Double Concerto for Bandoneón, Guitar, & String Orchestra is a spectacular composition that for many reasons is not heard often enough: the performance by Vieaux and Labro is outstanding and alone worth the cost of admission. Gail Wein’s extremely well written liner notes provide valuable historical context.

See other CDs here

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Review of PIAZZOLLA CD in Cleveland Plain Dealer

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The Music of Astor Piazzolla
Jason Vieaux, guitar; Julien Labro, bandoneon
Azica Records

Cleveland guitarist Jason Vieaux adds to his list of stellar recordings with this alluring program of works by Argentina’s master of the tango. The music seduces the listener as Vieaux and bandoneon player Julien Labro weave sinuous lines in Piazzolla’s “Four Seasons” and “Hommage a Liege” with A Far Cry, the terrific Boston-based chamber orchestra, and on their own in “History of the Tango.” The irresistible performances and crystal-clear sound — from Cleveland-based Azica Records — make this a don’t-miss disc. Grade: A — Donald Rosenberg, Plain Dealer Reporter

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Welcome to Los Vaqueros!

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Music instructor’s life a beautiful melody

Matt Michaels, 79, may be the most beloved music instructor Detroit ever has known. He could have gone anywhere, recorded anything. The master player, sterling accompanist, and wizard at arranging and writing charts for bands and orchestras died Wednesday. Continue to full article here

I was privileged to study with Matt for a few years. He had amazing ways of breaking down jazz harmony and taught me some invaluable shortcuts and tricks on how to approach arranging and playing. Now more than ever as I mature as a musician, I realize how valuable his advices and concepts were. R.I.P. Matt. Mitch Albom did a fantastic job capturing what Matt was like, a great read on a great man!

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New CD “Piazzolla”!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Internationally acclaimed guitarist Jason Vieaux teams up with Bandoneon virtuoso Julien Labro & A Far Cry chamber orchestra in these new arrangements of Astor Piazzolla masterpieces. Jason is well known for his Azica solo releases including J.S. Bach Vol. 1 and Images of Metheny (Jason’s arrangements of the music of Pat Metheny). Julien Labro has shown his versatility with jazz guitarist Frank Vignola on 100 Years of Django and the acclaimed jazz band Hot Club of Detroit. A Far Cry chamber orchestra, based in Boston, performs frequently in the greater Boston area as well as throughout the United States.

Listen to the MP3 excerpt from Verano Porteńo from the “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” by Astor  Piazzolla, arr. Julien Labro

Verano Porteno (MP3 excerpt from “Piazzolla”)

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