'Soundcheck' CD Picks
Some of the best, catchiest, or strangest music around, as determined by John Schaefer and the intrepid staff of 'Soundcheck.'
These new recordings from a keyboardist, a Cuban percussionist, a Chinese pianist, and a Minneapolis hip-hop duo currently have the attention of "Soundcheck" staff:
Marco Benevento, "Invisible Baby" (Hyena)
One half of the Benevento-Russo Duo, this keyboardist has a solo studio debut full of hooks and strange, circuit-bending sounds. It’s both accessible and somewhat avant-garde. Picked by John Schaefer
Changuito, "Telegrafia Sin Hilo" (Cacao Music)
Changuito is Jose Luis Quintana, a Cuban percussionist who was a member of the legendary band Los Van Van. This album (the title means "wireless telegraph") features guest appearances by Bobby Abreu of the New York Yankees and drummer/broadcaster Omar Jeanton, among others. Picked by Gisele Regatao
Yundi Li, piano; Berlin Philharmonic, Seiji Ozawa, conductor "Prokofiev, Piano Concerto No. 2; Ravel, Piano Concerto in G Major." (Deutsche Grammophon)
The 27-year-old pianist Yundi Li is treated like a rock star in his native China, appearing in Nike ads and drawing stadium-sized crowds. While the wavy-haired pianist has been praised for his recordings of Chopin and Liszt, it is this imaginative pairing of concertos by Ravel and Prokofiev that really shows that he’s got the goods to match the hype. Picked by Brian Wise
Atmosphere, "Strictly Leakage" (RhymeSayers Entertainment)
About two weeks ago, the Minneapolis hip-hop duo Atmosphere did a funny thing. With a CD already on deck for this spring, Sean Daley and Anthony Davis posted this free, 13-song nod to old-soul party albums on their website. Here, Daley -- better known as Slug -- exhibits the art of being both arrogant AND self-deprecating, in rhyme. Picked by Joel Meyer
"Soundcheck," hosted by John Schaefer, is WNYC’s daily talk show about music. Covering all musical genres, "Soundcheck" celebrates the musical passions of performers, composers, and critics as well as the public radio audience. Listeners enjoy intimate conversations with and live performances by leading artists from around New York and around the globe. The show also strives to bring listeners up to date on the latest music industry news, trends and ideas, and it offers listeners a voice with frequent call-in segments. "Soundcheck" can be heard nationwide on PRI's XM Satellite channel.