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Listening Post / Brief reviews of select releases

> Pop

The Rapture, "In the Grace of Your Love" (DFA). When LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy co-produced 2003's "Echoes," the breakout recording from the Rapture, it was a danz-punk revolution, a heated revival of the angular rhythms and scratchy guitars that made Gang of Four taut and tangy nearly 25 years earlier. Singer/leader/lyricist Luke Jenner misfired with a less inspired next record ("Pieces of the People We Love") before losing his mother to suicide, converting to Catholicism and becoming a dad. All of which somehow makes the Rapture's new dedication to wise words and strong songcraft more potent than in their own past. The Rapture's new rhythms jut through the scintillating melodies of the gospel-bumping "How Deep Is Your Love?" and the dub-inspired "Come Back to Me" like goose feathers through fine cotton sheets. The production is lustrous (Philippe Zdar of Phoenix and Chromeo fame did the honors). Yet it is Jenner's strong and yearning vocal eclat and his smartly rhyming takes on kids ("Children"), infinity ("Miss You"), growth ("It Takes Time to Be a Man"), and God's redemptive powers that are most impressive. There's a weight to "Grace" that's nearly breathtaking on first listen and only gets better the second time. And then the third. Hallelujah. Review: 3 1/2 stars (out of 4) (A.D. Amorosi, Philadelphia Inquirer)

> Jazz

Fab Trio, "History of Jazz in Reverse" (Tum). Unfortunately, the disc isn't quite as brilliant as its title track, which is one of the group improvisations by the cheekily named Fab Trio -- violinist Billy Bang, bassist Joe Fonda and drummer/percussionist Barry Altschul. Jazz violin isn't exactly the most populous of musical precincts and Vietnam vet Bang was one of the better ones until his death from cancer in April of this year at the age of 63. His tone was never exactly robust but some of his best playing on disc is on this record. Playing with Bang, as their great drummer Altschul (formerly with Anthony Braxton among others) puts it, "was always fun, challenging, and full of raw emotion and surprise. He could make you shake your a**. It is ironic and makes me angry to know that, following 40 years of the 'aftermath,' it was Agent Orange from the Vietnam War that gave him cancer." Review: 3 stars (Jeff Simon)

Yoko Miwa Trio, "Live at the Scullers Jazz Club" ( Scullers is a Boston jazz club. There's a fascinating story behind this disc. Initially, Yoko Miwa, the jazz pianist who teaches at the Berklee School of Music, only pressed 100 of these as mementos for her audiences at Scullers. The response was so big -- understandably -- that she decided to make them generally available to anyone who might want to hear some eloquent, melodic and nimble hard-swinging from a veteran jazz piano trio that desperately begs to be better known. They play everything here from Steve Allen's "This Could Be the Start of Something Big" and Art Farmer's "Mox Nix" to Lou Reed's "Who Loves the Sun" and, yes, Steven Tyler's "Seasons of Wither" (gorgeously played). Her Boston bassist is Greg Loughman and her drummer is Scott Goulding. A terrific performer who both wails and plays with remarkable sensitivity. She promises to get even better. Review: 3 stars (J.S.)

> Classical

Khachaturian and Barber, Two Souls: Violin Concertos and Other Works performed by violinist Mikhail Simonyan with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kristjan Jarvi (Deutsche Grammophon). If the great violin concertos of the 20th century were, arguably, Bartok's Violin Concerto No. 2 and Berg's sole violin concerto, the most melodic and appealing by far (the equivalents of Tchaikovsky's and Mendelssohn's in earlier repertoire) are the irresistible Khachaturian and Barber violin concertos. Here -- along with a truly great version of the oft-recorded Barber "Adagio for Strings" from the London Symphony Orchestra -- is the major recording debut of a 25-year-old violinist who hereby serves notice on the world that he's a Russian violinist in the greatest tradition, where they talk about Oistrakhs and Heifetzes and such. This, though, is many worlds away from, say, the "silk underwear music" that Virgil Thomson heard when Heifetz played; this is a young virtuoso of gorgeous tone, brilliant expressivity and the demonic agility violinists have needed since Paganini. A great young violinist, in other words, making what is close to the best possible debut with the aid of Kristjan Jarvi and the London Symphony. Review: 4 stars (J.S.)

Peter Kolkay, "Bassoon Music" (Concert Artists Guild Records). I could not resist the cover of this disc, which shows a dapper guy seated before pieces of a bassoon. An artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Kolkay grew up in love with "modern" music -- Prokofiev, Stravinsky, etc. "I liked the rhythmic vitality, the clashes of harmony, and most of all, the sheer virtuosity of 20th century music," he says. All those things are here on this disc, which admittedly will not be to everyone's taste. The late George Perle's "BassoonMusic" is churning and energetic, bursts of melody punctuated by deep burps in the bass. Pianist Alexandra Nguyen joins in for Judah Adashi's "The Dark Hours," an opaque but not unpleasant work that comes with the usual lengthy explanation. Buffalonians may take civic pride in "Andy Warhol Sez," a 2005 piece by the Buffalo-born Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec. Each movement starts with the bassoonist reciting a quote from Warhol. My favorite: "Heaven and hell are just one breath away." Rounding out the disc is music by Russell Platt, John Fitz Rogers and Katherine Hoover. Review: 3 stars (Mary Kunz Goldman)

Faure, Requiem, Cantique de Jean Racine, Pavane, Elegie and other works performed by soloists and the Choeur de l'Orchestre de Paris, and Orchestre de Paris conducted by Paavo Jarvi (Virgin Classics). The trouble with smartly programmed all-Faure recordings like this one is that if Faure's almost-otherworldly balance of lyricism and austerity isn't dealt with ideally in the disc's engineering, you wind up with something a bit like this recording -- wonderful music from one of the unique and inimitable French masters (freely transmogrified, most agree, into the fictional Venteuil by Proust in his "In Search of Lost Time") and performed with idiomatic perfection but recorded with just a bit too much dryness to convey the celestial beauty -- and quiet audacity -- of Faure's Requiem, one of the greatest in all of music. It isn't exactly as if the music and the engineering are at war; it's that the latter isn't perfectly serving the former, which is the way it should be. Paavo Jarvi is the brother of Kristjan Jarvi (see Khachaturian and Barber above) and one of the sons of Neeme Jarvi. Review: 3 stars (J.S.)

Solisti Di Camerata, Vol. 1, the Camerata di Sant'Antonio, Christopher Weber, music director (Camerata di Sant'Antonio). The Camerata di Sant' Antonio, the chamber orchestra in residence at St. Anthony of Padua Church downtown, has issued a CD, "Solisti di Camerata, Vol. 1." Volume 2 will have a lot to live up to, because this recording, made live earlier this year, is a delight. It's recorded well, so you can feel the music's texture -- the glorious smoothness of the strings, the underpinning of the bass. The music is just varied enough. Three violin pieces shine: the graceful Schubert Rondo D. 438, featuring Antoine LeFebvre; Fritz Kreisler's effervescent "Tambourin Chinois," played with panache by Nadejda Nigrin; and Sibelius' beautiful Suite for Violin and Strings, Op. 117, which gets an engaging, impassioned performance by Shieh-Jian Tsai. Lille Bror Soderlundh's capricious, engaging Concertino for Oboe gets a loving performance by Paul Schlossman. Feng Hew, the BPO's associate principal cellist, soars and sails through the sensual Concertino for Cello, from the Concertinos Op. 45 by Lars Erik Larsson. Review: 3 1/2 stars (M.K.G.)