Cellist Zuill Bailey’s Bach Cello Suites was a sleeper bestseller in 2010 and he is following up with another stellar release. This time Bailey teams up with longtime pianist and collaborator Awadagin Pratt, for Brahms: Works for Cello & Piano.
Bailey says, "Of all the records I've made, this is the one I'm most proud of. It was a great experience working in the studio with one of my oldest friends, and I feel like Awadagin and I really caught the comet's tail on this one - it was intense, that's for sure."
Along with Johannes Brahms' two Cello Sonatas, Brahms: Works for Cello & Piano includes the composer's "Sonatensatz" (transcribed from the violin original) as well as transcriptions for cello and piano of seven songs (including the famous "Brahms' Lullaby"). Bailey & Pratt have performed in recital for thirteen years, but this is their first recording together. Working with Grammy-Award winning producers, it's also the first made in the Oberlin Conservatory's new state-of-the-art studio facility.
"The music of Brahms feels perfect for the cello," Bailey says of Brahms: Works for Cello & Piano. "It's so from the earth that there is something almost molten about it."
Bailey & Pratt met twenty-five years ago over a game of ping pong, later both studying at Baltimore's Peabody Conservatory, where Pratt became the first student in the school's history to receive diplomas in three performance areas – piano, violin and conducting. Pratt went on to win the prestigious Naumberg International Piano Competition and Avery Fischer Career Grant. Bailey is one of today's most sought-after cellists, having played with several of classical music's most recognized performers, from Ithak Perlman to the Julliard String Quartet to cellist, Janos Starker. Not lacking in good looks, Bailey also played a minor role on HBO's first dramatic TV series, Oz. On Brahms: Works for Cello & Piano, Pratt & Bailey create a magical combination rarely heard with these two instruments.