#Writing #MusicMonday: The Open Goldberg Variations performed by Kimiko Ishizaka

Kimiko Ishizaka - J.S. Bach- -Open- Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Piano) - OGV-CD2-0It might seem a bit odd that I’ve not shared much in the way of classical music for Music Mondays.

It isn’t that I don’t like classical, because I do. Not to the depth and extent that I love jazz, I grant you, but my appreciation of Verdi, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff is boundless, and I also generally love Mahler and Beethoven, and others. I need to be in a receptive mood for it, which is not every day, but there is plenty of music I’ve shared for which I am much more rarely in the mood.

No, there have been two basic problems that have hindered my sharing much in the way of great classical works.

First, part of my mission with Music Mondays is to seek out the new and unknown, to share things with you that you all but certainly would not have encountered otherwise. That’s not a hard and fast rule, mind, but it’s the way that I lean when I search out music to share here.

Second, while virtually all music thought of as “classical” is in the public domain, recordings of it are definitely not. Even when Creative Commons artists take on classical pieces, they largely release them under unfree licenses, with Non-Commercial and/or No Derivatives restrictions. Which, to me, is passing strange, but that’s how it tends to be.

There are, however, a few exceptions to that rule.

Meet Kimiko Ishizaka, classical pianist. In 2012 she ran a successful crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter to fund the recording and release of her performing Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Goldberg Variations, with the full recording being released directly to the public domain through the use of the Creative Commons Zero license.

This project became The Open Goldberg Variations, and if you’ve never invested the time or money needed in exploring classical music, it’s a very good starting point. If you’re already a fan, listen to the recording anyhow. I’m not an expert in classical piano, not at all, yet it strikes me as an excellent recording and personal interpretation of one of the standard sets of works.

Download The Open Goldberg Variations free from the Internet Archive, or pay what you like (including nothing) to get it through BandCamp, and reward Ishizaka for her work and her dedication to freeing this music for everybody.


CC0 license

The Open Goldberg Variations performed by Kimiko Ishizaka is licensed under a CC0 1.0 Universal license dedicating it to the public domain, no rights reserved.

Writing Music Monday: Just Unsorted by pk jazz collective

CoverNot sure what to say about this one. Most of it is “jazz” only in the Lou Reed sense (“One chord. Maybe two. Three, and you’re getting into jazz.”), but it sets a mood and a soundscape nicely, and just works somehow.

PK Jazz Collective is, in fact, one man in Russia, Korotin Vyacheslav. He makes this sort of jazz-rock and releases it under Creative Commons, and that’s about all I know. This album, in either version, seems to be a sort of “best of” from him, which makes it even more eclectic than his other works.

Give it a listen, see what you think.

Just Unsorted by pk jazz collective can be downloaded from Jamendo or in a slightly different version (and more restrictive license) from the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
Just Unsorted by pk jazz collective is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Writing Music Monday: Inside by Paolo Pavan

Paolo Pavan - Inisde cover

I can’t believe I haven’t included Paolo Pavan yet!

Inside by Paolo Pavan has long been one of the best albums on Jamendo. Pavan is a serious, professional jazz musician in Italy, and puts out excellent work under the Creative Commons. While it sometimes sounds a bit “smooth jazz”, it never ventures too far in that direction, and makes up for it with a strutting, confident playfulness — take, for example, the way “Urban Slanging” ends.

His works are all worth downloading, but begin with this, his striking debut.


Creative Commons License
INSIDE by Paolo Pavan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Writing Music Monday: Manila by Luc Bartoli

[cover] Luc Bartoli - ManilaMe and jazz. It sustains me. What more can I say?

Luc Bartoli’s Manila is, perhaps, the strongest release from RawBounce Records. It just works, right on down to the apparently incongruous correlation to Manila, a city which (to the best of my knowledge) does not have much of a reputation for jazz, historically. And yet, I do get a bit of the vibe of Manila while listening to this.

Says Bartoli:

Everytime I jam and there is other tenors playing, they always seem to engage in some kind of battle. So the more they show off, the more I go into a “less is more” approach, and it just defuses the situation. I don’t care if there’s some cat that can play faster than me on “Cherokee”.

I just do my thing.


Creative Commons License
Manila by Luc Bartoli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Writing Music Monday: Dune by Jahzzar

Jahzzar (Javier Suarez) makes a return appearance here for Writing Music Monday with a very different album than previously. The man is diversely talented!

Dune is, again, all instrumental, this time around being his take on psychedelic rock and roll, a la Jimi Hendrix. Being Jahzzar, it never wanders off into aural mush the way some of the influences of this album do (on his website, he throws in Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew at the end of the list of influences). Everything is easy to follow, and rather bright and happy (again, typical for Jahzzar), and melodic.

It’s another of those albums that you may have to be in the right mood to write to it, but if you are in that mood, it’s perfect.

“[S]omething I learned from psychedelia: music as feelings, as a journey. Not only rhythm. Not just melody.” — Suarez on this album.


Creative Commons License
Dune by Jahzzar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Writing Music Monday: Space Rhythm by Art Owens

Art Owens sometimes strays too far into “smooth jazz” for my tastes but that isn’t always a bad thing. Smooth jazz, if it does not irritate you, makes for good sonic wallpaper, something in the background while you’re concentrating on other things.

Well, Space Rhythm walks the borderline of smooth jazz, but doesn’t go over it in a way that irritates me, but it’s also close enough that you can play it and ignore it, or play it and listen and not feel like your musical mind is turning to mush. (Yeah, I don’t like so-called smooth jazz, if you couldn’t tell.)

It’s also one of those albums that justifies its synth sound. He seems to have been going for a retro-futuristic lounge sound, and he hits it, making all the noticeable synth work for it, rather than against it.


Creative Commons License
Space Rhythm by Art Owens is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Writing Music Monday: Supriscording by Hugo Droopy Contini

Bassist Slikk Tim:

“Hey man, you’re gonna record your first album in 4 days.” That’s what I told Droopy Contini one Monday evening while sipping some beer after rehearsal.

I was actually thinking of testing my recording tricks and gear, without really thinking of producing a serious album. It turned out better than we all expected.

Fine bop. Fine jazz. Definitely something to have playing while you write.


Creative Commons License
Surpriscording by Hugo “Droopy” Contini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.