Friday, October 2, 2009

At Home with Joshua Bell

I remember the first time I heard Joshua Bell play the violin. He performed at the University of Utah where I was studying at the time. I attended his concert alone because I couldn't find anybody interested in going. Well, they missed out because he gave an incredibly inspiring, memorable performance. After the concert I promptly went to get his autograph - he took one look at me and said "You're not a violin player. You look like you play the flute." He was right on both accounts (I did play the flute for a semester in high school.) His sense of perception carries over to his violin playing as well.

Last week I received his new CD At Home With Friends. A neat fact about Joshua Bell is that he likes to host informal musicales in his home. He invites his musical friends, actors, authors and comics for a laid back evening of sharing their art. For this CD, he did the same thing - it features instrumental and vocal duets with friends he's worked with over the years. At Home With Friends includes a myriad of musical styles, including classical, pop, broadway, ethnic world, bluegrass and jazz! It was interesting to hear all these styles on the violin and I felt relaxed and at ease as I sat back and took it all in. It really was just like I was hanging out at home with friends. Check out the track listing:

I Loves You Porgy featuring Chris Botti, trumpet
Come Again featuring Sting, vocals
Oblivion featuring Carel Kraayenhof, bandoneon
Cinema Paradiso featuring Josh Groban, vocals
Para Tí featuring Tiempo Libre, various
My Funny Valentine featuring Kristin Chenoweth, vocals
Maybe So featuring Edgar Meyer Sam Bush and Mike Marshall, strings
Grieg: Sonata No. 3 featuring Sergei Rachmaninoff (Zenph re-performance)
Eleanor Rigby featuring Frankie Moreno, piano & vocals
O, Cease Thy Maiden Fair featuring Nathan Gunn, baritone
Il Postino featuring Carel Kraayenhof, bandoneon
Left Hand Song featuring Regina Spektor, piano & vocals
Chovendo Na Roseira featuring Dave Grusin, piano
Look Away featuring Edgar Meyer, bass and Chris Thile, mandolin
Variant Moods: Duet for Sitar & Violin featuring Anoushka Shankar, sitar
I'll Take Manhattan featuring Marvin Hamlisch, piano

I highly recommend this collection! Get your copy here.

Thank you to One2One Network for this review opportunity.

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  1. This is a great review -I think Sloth might even like this!

  2. I remember the film The Red Violin- very memorable , and he played the violin music in it. It was beautiful. I want to buy this .

  3. Was it CNN that did a report on street musicians and how much money they made daily? I think maybe it was. To test whether people really cared how good the music was, or even listened at all, they got Josh Bell to pose as a street performer for a few hours. He played in a subway station in DC for a couple of hours. Of the thousands of people who walked by, only a handful (maybe a dozen) stopped to listen. He made something like 35 dollars. One person recognized him! There's a video floating around somewhere of the whole thing. You might enjoy it! :-)


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