In Chicago bop circles, Ira Sullivan's name has commanded the type of respect that Chicagoans have given the likes of Gene Ammons and Johnny Griffin. Mention Sullivan's name to the local jazz connoisseurs who have spent countless nights hanging out at the Green Mill, the Jazz Showcase, or Andy's, and you're likely to hear a very enthusiastic dissertation about the Washington, D.C.-born trumpeter/reedman's contributions to jazz in the Windy City – which is ironic in light of the fact that Sullivan moved from Chicago to Florida back in 1960. Nonetheless, his name still carries so much weight on Chicago's jazz scene that some Chicagoans (and non-Chicagoans as well) will want to acquire Bob Albanese's One Way/Detour simply because of Sullivan's presence.
The Ferrarese Luzzasco Luzzaschi, a pupil of Cipriano de Rore and teacher in turn of Girolamo Frescobaldi, much admired and praised by the self-same Gesualdo da Venosa, has passed into history as the principal musical inspiration for the Concerto delle Dame, that vocal trio with instrumental accompaniment (for which Glossa has very recently produced a new recording).
"For the non-specialist," observed Early Music World, "detailed consideration of Marenzio's large body of madrigals remains a vain quest in the light of the lack of comprehensive accessibility to either printed or recorded music." This release from Spain's Glossa label helps rectify the situation with precise yet stylistically sensitive performances of a key set of Luca Marenzio madrigals from the vocal group La Venexiana.
It's not necessary to make extravagant claims for Francesco Cavalli's originality to recognize his absolute mastery of the style of mid-17th century Venetian opera perfected by Monteverdi in L'incoronazione di Poppea. The fact that he was able to keep the operatic form so fresh and vital (and most importantly, hugely entertaining) for more than a generation after Monteverdi's death is achievement enough.
Genius can be defined in a number of ways. One such definition is to be the right person in the right place at the right time; another is to have the capacity to move your audience to tears. Monteverdi meets both these criteria with flying colours. His professed ambition was to "move the passions of the soul," thereby drawing tears from his audience, and he achieved this with greater efficacy than any of his contemporaries. The use of the word "madrigal" on the title pages of his eight collections (and a posthumous Ninth Book from 1651) is therefore deceptive, concealing radical stylistic changes which brilliantly reflect the turbulent, exciting times in which he lived.