Pianist Nicholas Phillips, called an “able and persuasive advocate” of new music (New York Times), releases a recording documenting his ambitious commissioning project, American Vernacular, featuring world premiere recordings ranging from David Rakowski to Joel Puckett to Mohammed Fairouz. It is a fascinating collection that reveals how different creative artists understand the popular lineage of American music and asks poignant rhetorical questions about the foundations of America’s rich musiclal heritage.
The new pieces reference influences from richly diverse sources including John Fahey, Billy Joel, Langston Hughes, Miles Davis, Alberto Ginastera, and hip hop legends De La Soul. Stylistically, the works range from Rakowski’s decontructive modernist approach to vernacular motives, Ethan Wickman’s homage to frontier Americana from the 19th century, William Price’s engagement with questions of what it means to be “Southern,” and Mohammed Fairouz’s grappling with a vernacular from the point of view of an artist of color.
Mohammed Fairouz, John Griffin, Luke Gullickson, Ben Hjertmann, David Maslanka, Mark Olivieri, William Price, Joel Puckett, David Rakowski, Ethan Wickman