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Letters 09-01-2014

Hamas Shares Some Blame

Even when I disagree with Mr. Tuttle, I always credit him with a degree of fairness. Unfortunately, in his piece regarding the Palestinian/Israeli conflict he falls well short of offering any insights that might advance his readers’ understanding of the conflict...

The True Northport

I was disappointed by your piece on Northport. While I agree that the sewer system had a big impact on the village, I don’t agree with your “power of retirees” position. I see that I am thrown in with the group of new businesses started by “well-off retirees” and I feel that I have been thoroughly misrepresented, as has the village...

Conservatives and Obamacare

What is it about Obamacare that sends conservatives over the edge? There are some obvious answers...

Republican Times

I read the letter from Don Turner of Beulah and it seems he lives in that magical part of the Fox News Universe where no matter how many offices the Republican Party controls they are not responsible for anything bad that happens...

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4Play

Ross Boissoneau - April 28th, 2005
Turtle Island String Quartet with Ying Quartet – 4 + Four – Telarc
Traverse City favorites TISQ have long been esteemed as the world’s top – all right, pretty much only – jazz-based string quartet. Here the group teams up with the Ying Quartet, a nearly-as-famous set of classical string players. The results are engaging at times, but generally rooted more in the classical tradition than the jazzy territory TISQ is known for. Turtle Island leader David Balakrishnan’s “Mara’s Garden of False Delights” is precise and amelodic enough that it could be by that other vanguard of string quartet originality, Kronos. “Variations on an Unoriginal Theme” is a jaunty treat that veers back and forth from Appalachian-style fiddling to European classicism. Uneven though it is, “4+Four” will grow on the listener, but it’s at odds with the best of Turtle Island.

Keren Ann – Nolita – Metro Blue
Keren Ann Zeidel’s unique alt-pop melds folksy guitars and French cabarets. Her breathy vocal style will probably turn some people off, but her singing with herself on such tracks as “Roses and Hips” complements her odd guitar harmonies and the harmonica of Jean-Jacques Milteau. Elsewhere celebrated jazz bassist Avishai Cohen plays trumpet on the title track, and Karen Brunon’s multi-tracked violins approximate a outré quartet sound. The story narration on “Song of Alice” is a bit much, but again, that criticism could apply to pretty much any song on “Nolita” and yet, it’s still full of charms. Keren Ann combines her voice with her guitar and keyboards to craft an album that is pretentious, over-the-top dramatic, and ultimately enjoyable.

Bela Fleck – Drive – Mobile Fidelity
Before there were the Flecktones, banjoist Bela Fleck was a bluegrass original. With an all-star cast of Sam Bush (mandolin), Jerry Douglas (dobro), Mark O’Connor (fiddle) and Tony Rice (guitar), among others, Fleck set out to make the ultimate acoustic bluegrass project. One listen to this amazing disc tells you how well he and his hand-picked group succeeded. Like Dixieland music, bluegrass always seems like great fun for the musicians to play, but that doesn’t always translate to the audience, especially an audience not particularly enamored of that style. “Drive” is one of those rare exceptions. No matter your musical predilections, it’s almost impossible to listen to this music without loving it. The moving melodic lines, uncanny interplay among the musicians involved, the pristine sound quality, and the quality of the music itself (all Fleck originals but one) make this a nonpareil album.

Steve Hackett – Metamorpheus – Inside Out America

Hackett certainly took his time with the follow-up to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” That recording was a Top 10 album on the classical charts eight years ago. Hackett proved with that album that his orchestral writing was every bit as accomplished as his guitar playing, but while “Metamorpheus” lacks that element of surprise, it’s a grand, ambitious work that tells the musical story of Orpheus’s music and his love for Eurydice. The orchestral writing is superb once again, with even more drama. The featured orchestral soloists are uniformly excellent, and Hackett has seldom sounded so good. Perhaps one criticism is that Hackett elected not to pair the orchestra with his electric guitar, but that’s a minor criticism. When a recording works as well as “Metamorpheus” does, there’s really little to quibble about.






 
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