Stage vet Gilles Malkine, probably best known for his comedy work with Mikhail Horowitz and his performances at the 1969 Woodstock festival and Carnegie Hall, has returned to the airwaves with his first solo record, the guitar-based TimeDog. Performing rhythm ’n’ rhyme with such seasoned players as Harvey Sorgen, Bruce Berky, Martin Keith, Mike Ralff, and Dennis Washington, he bangs out 12 poetic beauties. Cheerful and swinging “Jack of Hearts” is a Django Reinhardt-style instrumental piece, recorded twice on six-string for an echo effect that sounds like 12-string. Another chipper instrumental, “The Marionette Rag,” was written for his folk-performing mother.
Malkine sing-talks his life advice on the amusing title track, spouting such gems as “It don’t do no good to whine and beg, man / TimeDog’s humping your leg.” Using the warm voice of his inner child, Malkine fingerpicks the folksy “Heart of Kindness” with poesy and heartbreak: “In those [faces] of children pitiful, there I’ve seen most clearly the good Lord is not watching every day.” Malkine waxes political on quite a few tunes: The lyrics of “Freedom Road” hit hard on the topics of greed and our “eon of brutishness” over a contrastingly cheerful, driving folk rhythm; “Marta” tells of a war hero who assisted Muslims during a massacre in Kosovo; and, with a choral akin to an old-time spiritual, “Pequena Brisenia” recalls the assassination of a nine-year-old and her father during a raid by an immigration watchdog group. Malkine promises a second array of “musical tarts to tickle your mental palates” very soon. Gillesmalkine.com.
Why and how dare she devote an entire album to songs by Laura Nyro when we can just listen to the originals on Spotify? I'll tell you why. Because Christine Spero fully inhabits these songs, uncovers hidden nuances, and with her stunning ensemble—including drummer Peter O'Brien, bassist Scott Petito, saxophonist Elliot Spero, and Christine's own magic hands on the ivories.
With its open-air format, where attendees picnic in the parks and watch the stars emerge during performances, and its $5 youth tickets, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is the perfect place to share with children a love of music and theater, in a variety of styles.