Sunday, June 18, 2017

This week: A selection of DVDs permanently reduced in price (CHALLENGE RECORDS)

A selection of Challenge DVD productions have been permanently reduced in price, including the live recording with behind-the-scenes documentary of Winterreise, the Tango! DVD with the Isabelle van Keulen Ensemble, the Toots Thielemans live registrations 90 yrs. and Live at le Chapiteau Opèra de Liège, and the heroic Handel opera Agrippina.

Franz Schubert
Christoph Prégardien / Michael Gees

Schubert's Winterreise is one of the most famous song cycles that exist in classical music and musicians take it up again and again because of its beauty, sorrow and depth. It is about life itself and which performer wouldn't like to reflect on life? Both tenor Christoph Prégardien and pianist Michael Gees have their own vision on the cycle. Playing together, a third view develops, combining their two visions into an exciting interpretation of Winterreise. The film includes a live registration and a documentary with interviews, and is available on both DVD and Bluray.

Isabelle van Keulen/Piazzolla, Ástor
Isabelle van Keulen Ensemble

Isabelle van Keulen plays the music she has loved since she was a child of six years old. With her new ensemble she also performs in concert halls and she recorded this beloved tango music on film (on DVD and Bluray) in January 2013 in Mechelen (Belgium). In a bonus documentary that goes with the BluRay, Isabelle and her colleagues Ulrike Payer, Christian Gerber and Rudiger Ludwig tell about this music, about the tango technique and about their instruments.

Toots Thielemans European Quartet
European Quartet

Toots Thielemans

Toots Thielemans
Both Live at le Chapiteau Opèra de Liège and 90 yrs. contain live concerts of the legendary Toots Thielemans during the last years of his life, celebrating his 90th birthday. The DVD 90 yrs. even includes footage from his last concert in Japan. Pianist Karel Boehlee, drummer Hans van Oosterhout and double-bass player Hein Van de Geyn support Toots in the passion which is for him like breathing: making music!

George Frideric Handel
Combattimento Consort Amsterdam

Agrippina is one of the first serious, heroic operas by George Frideric Handel. The piece is considered as an operatic masterpiece and is still viewed as one of his best works. The three acts tell the story of Agrippina, mother of emperor Nero, who conspires to murder the emperor Claudius to get her son on the throne. The opera is performed by the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam led by Jan Willem de Vriend. The DVD also includes interviews, and some behind-the-scenes bonus material.
© 2017 - NewArts International / Challenge Records Int.


Funky Chimes: Belgian Grooves From The 70’s’

Album released 2nd June 2017 on Sdban

The stories behind some of the nuggets presented here on ‘Funky Chimes: Belgian Grooves From The 70’s’, released 2nd June via Sdban, are as gripping as the treasure hunt that un-earthed them.

Take ‘Experience’ (performer unknown), for instance: this one was found on a 5-inch flexi disc people in Belgium could obtain by saving points from cookies and pasta packages. Georges Hayes Philharpopic Orchestra simply must be the weirdest big band ever to have seen the Belgian light of day, if only for its name. And The Sumos, a band brought into existence to cash in on Carl Douglas’ world scorcher ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ (1974), decide to go the whole hog and release an entire album filled with oriental bubblegum.

But let’s not jump to wrong conclusions, here: ‘Funky Chimes’ is not a freak show, but a two-hour collection of excellent and unique grooves. The Free Electronic Concept is a rare blend of soul and budding electronic music. Skelorptak is a one-off collaboration between the Polish saxophone player Jan Wróblewski and the skilled jazz orchestra of the Belgian national broadcast corporation.

‘Funky Chimes’ proves why Belgium is still considered a unique and fertile breeding ground in the world of dance music. This is where it all started, more than 40 years ago.

SDBANCD08: Deluxe Limited Edition 2CD incl. 36p booklet

The luck of the draw: being an artist in Belgium is almost tantamount to be living on dire straits. A small country equals a small audience, and before you know it, you’ve played every available venue. Meanwhile, making it abroad requires a small miracle: nobody’s waiting for the next big thing from Belgium.

Belgium is nowhereland. Oddly, though, that’s what makes it so interesting as well, because that’s exactly where the best music comes from: nowhere. When nothing special or spectacular’s anticipated, anything and everything goes. Besides, living in a country where every musical ripple is noticed, has its advantages too. Especially if that country also possesses an intense and varied nightlife. Which, by the way, it does.

This complex balance between economic bleakness and artistic freedom regularly proves more fruitful than expected. The will to survive often drives Belgian artists to contradictory approaches; they either try to copy a formula that has proven successful elsewhere or, alternatively, try anything at all, hoping it will catch on. Inevitably, a lot of garbage is produced. But when it does work, the results are often bafflingly good.

In that respect, the first half of the seventies should be regarded as a Golden Age, when a generation of extremely good (session) musicians experimented with funk, jazz, latin and other groovy genres. Unearthing these treasures, though, takes a lot of time and a pair of well-trained ears, since most of them are hidden on single B-sides or obscure editions of library music.

You will also find some lesser-known tracks from the grandmasters, here. The late lamented Marc Moulin is featured in three totally different performances: as a pianist on the debut of his friend Philip Catherine, as a master arranger on the only album by the Belgian chansonnier Lieven and with ‘Mona Call’, a hitherto unknown radio tune he produced under the moniker Kiosk.

‘Funky Chimes: Belgian Grooves From The 70’s’, is also available as 2x 2LP (gatefold 180gr) and 5x 7".

1. The Soul Scratchers - Scratch My Back (pt. 1 & 2)
2. Francis Coppieters - Funky Chimes
3. S.S.O. - Faded Lady (Instrumental)
4. The Flying Guitar - Barabajagal
5. The Sumos - My Chinese Girl Likes Kung Fu Fighting
6. Bud Hunga And His Diplomatic Music - Travelling On Rhythms
7. Experience - Pink Movement
8. The Peter Laine Orchestra - Tiger Walk
9. Kandahar - The Fancy Model
10. Kiosk - Mona Call
11. Guido Carnagy - Free Way Exit
12. André Brasseur - X
13. Electronic System III - Skylab

1. The Indian Sound Of... Black Foot - Smoke Signal
2. Hearts Of Soul & Shampoo - We Love The Policeman
3. Roland Thyssen - Riff For Peggy
4. R. Dero - Soul Melody
5. Philip Catherine - Give It Up Or Turn It Aloose
6. Skleroptak - Punktowiec
7. Etta Cameron - Guess We'd Better Break Up Now
8. Selectasound '88 & The Bob Boon Singers - Tabou
9. Hugo Raspoet - Spuitje Op, Laat Je Rijden
10. Leslie Kent - Inner City Blues
11. Patricia Burns - Paddock
12. Georges Hayes And His Philarpopic Orchestra - Concerto For Right Foot And Orchestra
13. The Free Pop Electronic Concept - Chewing Gum Delirium
14. Lieven – Akkerwinde

Antonio Farao' new video clip "Europe"


EKLEKTIK contains 12 compositions and arrangements of Antonio Farao’ and features an incredible cast of musicians : MARCUS MILLER, SNOOP DOGG, KRAYZIE BONE (Bone Thugs-N-Harmony), MANU KATCHE, MIKE CLARK (Herbie Hancock/Headhunters) DIDIER LOCKWOOD, BIRELI LAGRENE…

Antonio Faraò is a pianist of uncommon skill. With a career that extends over 30 years, he has realized his potential and established himself as one of the most respected jazz pianists in the International scene.

Antonio Faraò has collaborated and/or performed live with a number of great jazz musicians: Joe Lovano, Jack Dejohnette, Bireli Lagrène, Al Jarreau, Wayne Shorter, Marcus Miller, Gary Bartz, Lee Konitz, Chris Potter, Jeff Tain Watts, Miroslav Vitous, Dave Liebman, Didier Lockwood, Benny Golson, Johnny Griffin, George Garzone, Cecil Mc Bee…