Saturday, October 17, 2009

Joshua Bell - At Home with Friends

I have to be honest with you. . . before I was contacted by the One2One Network about reviewing Joshua Bell's latest album, I had never heard of him. I'm sorry about that - he is a very gifted Grammy Award winning violinist - a true artist!

At Home with Friends includes classical, pop, bluegrass, Broadway, jazz and ethnic World Music. Every song features Joshua with one of his friends/fellow musicians including Sting, Josh Groban and Chris Botti.

Here's the lineup:

I Loves You Porgy featuring Chris Botti

Come Again featuring Sting, vocals

Oblivion featuring Carel Kraayenhof

Cinema Paradiso featuring Josh Groban, vocals

Para Ti featuring Tiempo Libre

My Funny Valentine featuring Kristin Chenoweth, vocals

Maybe So featuring Edgar Meyer, Sam Bush and Mike Marshall

Grieg: Violin Sonata No. 3, Movement II featuring Sergei Rachmaninoff

Eleanor Rigby featuring Frankie Moreno, vocals

Rachmaninoff: O, Cease thy Singing, Maiden Fair, Op. 4, No. 4 featuring Nathan Gunn, vocals

Il Postino featuring Carel Kraayenhof

Left Hand Song featuring Regina Spektor, vocals

Chovendo na Roseira featuring Dave Grusin

Look Away featuring Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile

Bariant Moods: Duet for Sitar & Violin featuring Anoushka Shankar

I'll Take Manhattan featuring Marvin Hamlisch

My favorites were definitely I Loves You Porgy, Oblivion, I'll Take Manhattan, and Grieg: Violin Sonata No. 3. They had the power to really mellow me out. Honest, I could feel my heart rate slow down, my limbs relax. Trust me, that is NEVER a bad thing! Come Again was not a favorite, but it was a VERY different sound from Sting - I enjoyed seeing a different side of him although I didn't love the song itself.

Emma loves Para Ti' - she calls it Chinese Fast Play. "Because most of the songs they do in Chinese are fast - I learned it in Kindergarten. And they call it Fast Play. That's all!" Spoken from someone who really seems to know what they're talking about! :)

Most of the other songs with vocals were just okay for me. I've never been a big opera fan, and a few were, uh, operatic. Others were just not my style.

All in all, I do enjoy this CD. It's great music to have on in the background throughout the day. I usually don't add a lot of extra noise to my day, but I can with this. It's such a diverse conglomeration of songs, styles and artists - a nice potpourri to simmer through the day.

Some helpful links:
This CD was provided for review by the One2One Network.

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