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Newman Jukebox

It’s the end of the season, and I’ve gotten a lot of recordings of terrific performances sent to me. Unsurprisingly, listening to my own music is quite difficult for me, and I kind of go out of my way to avoid it. Thus, the stack of CDs was getting higher and higher, and more and more perilous. When one of the cats threatened to make a pile of CD-shards, I decided it was time to carve out the days to listen, reflect, and organize the bounty. I also thought I’d get my act together and post a few of them for posterity:

1) Uncle Sid is back. We haven’t heard from him in a while. But he turns up in Nebraska, of all places. I’ve always said that Sid isn’t quite music. It’s something else. But this live recording (first note cut off a bit) by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and conducted by Carolyn Barber is really fun, and argues a good case for me. The soloists play with gusto and over-the-edge energy (great clarinetist), but I think my favorite part about this performance is simply the fact that Nebraskans are playing Hava Nagila.

2) My corruption of the system continues with H. Robert Reynolds and the Thorton Wind Ensemble at the University of Southern California performing Chunk. Filty. Dirty. Groovy. Funk. From the baton of Maestro Reynolds. I actually cried during this performance. It was the purest expression of Nobrow I have yet experienced.

3) You might remember, in February there was the famous NewmFest ’07, at Tarleton State University. NINE Newman pieces performed that day – including one of my old favorites, my sax quartet Lullaby for Munch in Hell, performed by Tarleton’s All-Stars, “Saxerkameradenschaft-Pfiefer“.

4) Another oldie but goodie: Ken Thompson’s Bowling Green State Univ. New Music Ensemble revives Ohanashi, in its first performance in 10 years. I forgot how much I liked this piece and its “electronic tape” part (now updated to “digital audio”). Ken’s performance is relaxed and easy – and absolutely lovely.

5) Dr. Jeff Gershman, DoB at Texas A&M State University-Commerce, and lead commissioner of The Next Big Piece, recently sent me a smokin’ CD of 3 performances of Chunk, each one grooving harder than the next. It was hard to decide which one The Internets wanted. So, pretty randomly, here’s the TX A&M-Commerce Wind Ensemble blowing through Chunk, live at the Eisemann Center in Richardson, TX.

6) Too good. No words necessary. Live at Hill Auditorium, on the closing concert of the 2007 CBDNA Conference in Ann Arbor, The Florida State University Wind Orchestra plays a marvelous As the scent of spring…, conducted by Richard Clary.

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