Autumn is here and with it dramatic skies and the introspection of rainy nights by the fireside. You can embrace it with an evening of music perfectly suited to the season's mystique.
On Sunday at the Dakota in Minneapolis, composer and jazz artist Jeremy Walker joins three other luminaries in the Twin Cities' classical and jazz firmament mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski, bassist Anthony Cox and conductor and tenor Tesfa Wondemagegnehu for the album release concert of Haunted Blue, Walker's multisetting excursion into the "mystical moist night air."
"When I Heard The Learn'd Astronomer," a poem by Walt Whitman and the source of that turn of phrase, opens the recording, which includes settings of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Giovan Battista Marina and, most prominently, Minneapolis lyricist Greg Foley.
All the works revel in spectral zones between light and shadow, loss and connection, classical and jazz.
"The mood of Haunted Blue comes from how it feels to be half-awake in the middle of the night," Walker says. "It can be pleasant or disturbing, but the thoughts seem to flow so freely then."
Along with his love of melody, another of Walker's chief inspirations was Osowski, an internationally acclaimed singer and McKnight fellow.
"Clara's voice is so rich and emotive that it's constantly inspiring to write for … She's highly responsive, so depending on the mood, her dynamics, shading and articulation change from performance to performance," he says.
Walker also lauds the "brilliant" Cox, whose "conception of time and rhythm, melodic support and harmonic ideas are without equal," and Wondemagegnehu's "rich artistry."
"There is something ancient in his sound that grounds his voice in elemental musical recognition," he adds.
Classical MPR audiences might recognize several of the artists: Osowski from her frequently broadcast concerts and participation in Class Notes Artists school programs; Walker for the sold-out Orchestral Hall performance of his Seven Psalms, which was conducted by Wondemagegnehu; and the latter's frequent leadership of the community choral events known as Bring the Sing. On Nov. 9 in Northfield, Minnesota, he'll direct another.
Event detailsClara Osowski and Jeremy Walker's Haunted Blue release concert
Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant (1010 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis)
6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28