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Audio News for September 12, 2014

Bandleader Gerald Wilson Dies – Composer, bandleader, conductor, educator and multi-instrumentalist Gerald Wilson passed away in LA at age 96 this week. He was a 1990 NEA Jazz Master and won Grammies nine times. His legacy stretched from Fletcher Hendeson thru the Miles Davis/Gil Evan collaborations and beyond. His influence was a strong part of the West Coast sound in jazz and he also supported new music and civil rights during his seven-decade career. He was one of the first to pioneer using eight-part harmonies in his compositions. He wrote commissioned works for the LA Philharmonic as well as the Monterey and Chicago Jazz Festivals. Here are 17 of his top albums. His son Anthony Wilson is a top guitarist-composer in jazz today.

Atlanta Symphony Locks Out Its Musicians Again – The symphony’s management and its players—who had accepted major pay cuts two years ago after a lockout—failed to agree on a new contract by the deadline. Thus the impasse may delay or cancel part of the symphony’s current season—a celebration of its 70th anniversary. The orchestra had a two million dollar deficit last year, which is part of the problem. Robert Spano, the orchestra’s music director, and Donald Runnicles, the principal guest conductor, wrote a letter to management urging recognition of the sacrifices the players had already made.

First Release of the Complete Seattle Opera Wagner Ring – The first U.S. performance and recording of Wagner’s epic tome has just been released on both a 14-CD set by Avie and as a digital download from iTunes. It was recorded during the 2013 season with leading soloists and the Seattle Symphony and Opera Chorus conducted by Asher Fisch. The iTunes download comes with an interactive LP, complete German and English librettos, synopses of the four operas, a photo gallery, essays and video trailers. This is the first time since it started nearly 40 years ago that the epic music drama production in the NorthWest has been recorded for commercial release.

Deezer and Sonos Offer Global CD-Quality Streaming – Deezer, headquartered in Paris, is a worldwide digital music streaming service operating in 182 countries, with five million paid subscribers. It has the largest music catalog: over 35 million tunes plus over 30,000 radio channels on any device. It will begin September 15 streaming music at actual lossless CD quality, which they call HRA (although it is not hi-res), rather than MP3-type compressed files.  It is available exclusively thru Sonos’ wireless hi-fi systems at $10 a month for users signing up for a full year of service, and there is a 30-day free trial. The service is called Deezer Elite and can stream audio thru any Sonos speaker thruout the home.

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