THE IMPROVISED VIOLIN CONCERTO...AND MARCH OF THE GYPSY FIDDLER FEATURING THE AHN TRIO
Mark O'Connor (OMAC Records)
Grammy-winning violinist Mark O'Connor's enormous skills stand out in this broad, lush classical recording that brings together the power and passion of his fine improvisation with an intriguing blend of orchestration.
The result is a beautiful and endearing musical landscape, with both yearning and soulful tenderness and the kind of breathtaking, violin-fury jazz one would get from a master of that genre such as Jean Luc Ponty. O'Connor has produced a very likeable CD/DVD package. It's billed as the first concerto in history to feature an entirely improvised solo over a composed orchestral score and, at nearly 40 minutes, is one of the longest improvisations in a classical setting.
It's the 41st album in 40 years for O'Connor, who won the Grand Master Fiddler championship at age 13 and went on to have a career that the New York Times has said is "one of the most spectacular journeys in recent American music."
RoseAnn Fino (Woodstock Records)
This warm, charming debut from free spirit RoseAnn Fino, who grew up influenced by country music in New York's Hudson Valley, establishes her as someone to watch. The 23-year-old has vast potential, not only with her guitar prowess but also her talent as a slightly unorthodox singer who writes fearlessly about life and love while performing with easygoing confidence.
The disc was produced by Aaron L. Hurwitz and is backed by his group, Professor Louie & The Crowmatrix, as well as Van Morrison guitarist John Platania. Fino's not country in the traditional sense, although you can hear the influence. She's roots rock, with a street-savvy but unpretentious attitude - part street poet, part urban/rural traveler. She's fun.