Known as the birthplace of musical legends like John Coltrane, Nina Simone and Thelonious Monk, our state remains home to new generations of talented musicians who expand N.C.’s musical identity in exciting new ways. Whether playing traditional, classical, jazz, rock ‘n‘ roll or combinations of all of the above, N.C. musicians are known not only across our state but also around the world. Here are just a few notable recordings for the music lover on your list.
The Kruger Brothers
Double Time Music Label
Commissioned by the Ashe County Arts Council, this ensemble work for banjo, bass, guitar and string quartet is innovative work based in the musical culture of the Appalachian region.
Dancing with Duke: An Homage to Duke Ellington
John Brown, Adonis Rose and Cyrus Chestnut
CD Baby Label
Celebrating the music of the jazz legend Duke Ellington, Dancing with Duke is also a tribute to the joy of making music, dancing and to life itself.
Sycamore Road Label
This original holiday recording has its roots in Appalachian and Piedmont musical traditions. The multi-talented musical lineup includes Laurelyn Dossett (a 2008–2009 N.C. Arts Council Fellowship recipient), Rhiannon Giddens of the Grammy Award–winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, Mike Compton, Joe Newberry and Jason Sypher.
Oscar Peterson: Unmistakable
Zenph Sound Innovations
Sony Masterworks Label
Grammy-nominated Zenph Sound Innovations of Durham employs a proprietary process using computer software to transform recorded music back into live performances, replicating what was originally played but with vastly improved sound quality. Their latest release brings new life to performances from pianist Oscar Peterson in 1970s and 1980s.
Rock ‘N’ Roll Always Forgets
Bifocal Media/Lumberjack Label
When Raleigh playwright Gregory S. Eyman isn’t writing screenplays, comics or television theme songs, he plays bass in the area rock band Goner. Eyman is a 2010–2011 N.C. Arts Council Artist Fellowship recipient.
Commissions & Concertos
SUNY Fredonia Wind Ensemble
Albany Records Label
Greensboro composer Mark Engebretson’s fascination with both performance and compositional virtuosity are on display in this recent recording, which includes his commissioned work, Symphony for Winds. Engebretson is a 2010–2011 N.C. Arts Council Artist Fellowship recipient.
Lo Que Tú Querías
Pianist, composer, arranger and technologist Eric Hirsh is not only a member of The Beast but also co-director/arranger of the large salsa ensemble Orquesta GarDel. He is a 2010–2011 N.C. Arts Council Artist Fellowship recipient.
Flotsam & Krill
The Tender Fruit
Chapel Hill songwriter Christy Smith strives for lyrical salience, reverence and playfulness as she channels the painful, confusing and wondrous things that go along with being human. Her group The Tender Fruit’s debut recording is called Flotsam & Krill. Smith is a 2010–2011 N.C. Arts Council Artist Fellowship recipient.