ETHEL gives vibrant performances of each piece on this album, including music by Don Byron, John Halle, Julia Wolfe, John King, Raz Mesinai, David Lang, Kenji Bunch, and Marcelo Zarvos. You can tell that the ensemble is in its natural habitat here.
My favorite performance here is of John King's No Nickel Blues. It is so easy for classical ensembles playing bluesy music to sound endlessly square. ETHEL doesn't fall into that trap, thankfully, and they even make it swing.
All in all, Heavy a very exciting CD, full of exuberant performances of New York music by "America’s premier postclassical string quartet."
Heavy will be released on April 24 by Innova Records. In the meantime, you can stream it on ETHEL's website.