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Madre Vaca: Winterreise

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Madre Vaca Records / Jacksonville / Music

“A Schubert tune with a Gershwin touch.” That line from Duke’s “Prelude to a Kiss” prefigures, perhaps, this unlikely project—though here Schubert’s bleak, boreal song cycle is touched by figures as various as Kurt Weill, John Coltrane, Eddie Palmieri, and Uri Caine. Arranger Benjamin Shorstein of the Florida-based collective Madre Vaca drags shy, myopic choirboy Franz through a succession of Weimar cabarets and Brooklyn basements, to unsettling and often gripping effect. —E.E.

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