Arsenio Orteza

Arsenio is a music reviewer for WORLD Magazine and one of its original contributors from 1986. Arsenio resides in China. Follow him on Twitter @ArsenioOrteza.

Influences and impressions

Music | Noteworthy new or recent releases
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 7/02/20, 05:53 pm

John Zorn: Virtue by Bill Frisell, Julian Lage, Gyan Riley: John Zorn’s latest guitar-trio compositions were inspired by Julian of Norwich, the medieval Christian mystic and anchoress of whom A.W. Tozer once wrote, “Long before Reformation times she was, in spirit, an evangelical.” As was the case with Frisell, Lage, and Riley’s prior Zorn recording, Nove Cantici Per Francesco D’Assisi, the connection between their spiraling interplay and Zorn’s source material resides mainly in the titles.

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Ross D. Franklin/AP

The Globetrotters’ magic

Music | Anniversary album pays tribute to a great American force for good
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 7/02/20, 05:47 pm

In 1970, the Harlem Globetrotters were at the peak of their popularity. Between the unit led by Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal and the unit led by Geese Ausbie and Marques Haynes, the roundball wizards played to stadiums full of ecstatic fans, spreading laughter and goodwill as only they could.

Perhaps the most striking proof of their stature as entertainers was Harlem Globetrotters, a CBS Saturday-morning cartoon in which animated versions of the players defeated hapless opponents while solving mysteries and crimes à la Scooby-Doo.

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Making his peace

Music | The ups and downs of Phil Madeira’s last and next albums
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 6/22/20, 05:00 pm

“All the strange upheaval in the USA / makes me wanna pack it in and take you far away.”

So sings Phil Madeira at the beginning of “Immigrants,” a country song in jazz clothing from his latest album, Open Heart (Mercyland).

The line has taken on fresh relevance in the wake of George Floyd, but Madeira wrote and recorded it months before. Hence its whimsical tone: He goes on to fantasize about rediscovering his Scandinavian roots and starting from scratch as a newly minted immigrant.

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