Musicianly Entrepreneurs


Musicianly Entrepreneurs

I recently was sent several CD’s on the mail for reviewing on my blog. Just by happenchance they all had something in common. Either they were self-produced by the artists who recorded them or they featured ensembles whose members came together for the purpose of making music and making a living at it.

Some of these artists handle their own CD sales, some do their own bookings, some started their careers doing all of that and gradually achieved fame and, with it, the  benefit of having an agent or management firm handle their engagements.

With music conservatories here and abroad graduating dozens of well-qualified musicians every year the question comes to mind again and again: where are they going to go and where will they work?

I venture that those musicians with the initiative and imagination to become self-starters have the odds in their favor.

Here is the first of three capsule reviews of my most recent musical discoveries.

LIBERTANGO – Three: Kanako Shimasaki, violin; Luke Gillespie, piano; Mariko Shimasaki, violin. (

Piazzolla: Libertango; Traditional: Greensleeves; Carmichael: Stardust; Gillespie: Song for Pablo and Moving Mists; Izumi: Miagetegoran Yoruno Hoshiwo; Mitake: Kawano Nagareno Youni; Brahms: Hungarian Dance, no. 5

In Libertango, their imaginatively-programmed debut album (R-1750004), the sister violin duo of Kanako and Mariko Shimasaki is joined by pianist Luke Gillespie.

Adopting the simple name of THREE the artists play eight selections ranging from Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango to Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust to a couple of Japanese Folk Songs and a pair of charming compositions by the trio’s pianist, Luke Gillespie, who also provides a canonic setting of Greensleves for two violins.

The CD ends with a bravura rendering of Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5.

Throughout their program THREE’s threesome tackle the music with stylishness, playing idiomatically the work at hand, be it Piazzolla’s iconic Nuevo Tango or the jazz-inflected Carmichael standard or the mesmerizing Japanese folk tunes by Taku Izumi and Akira Mitake.

Germans would brand this album Schlag Musik and fastidious purists would label it “easy listening.” Not one to put labels on art, I simply call this debut album a delightfully eclectic sampler of the work of a resourceful new ensemble worth noting, worth welcoming and worth following.

Here is THREE at work: playing Libertango by  Piazzolla

Rafael de Acha

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