Billboard Bits: Joshua Bell, Dope/Mushroomhead, Chicago

Stories on Joshua Bell, Dope/Mushroomhead and Chicago.

BellViolinist Joshua Bell latest album, slated for release Sept. 20 on Sony Classical, will feature the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, recorded live in Berlin with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and the Berlin Philharmonic. It is an all-Tchaikovsky program: Along with the concerto, Bell performs the Meditation in D and the "Dance Russe" from the ballet Swan Lake.

Bell recorded the Tchaikovsky concerto once before, when he was 19, for a Decca release with the Cleveland Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy. "The way I pace it is different now, and I see more in it than I used to," he tells Billboard. "It's big and beautiful, but there's also such elegance, grace and intimacy there as well."

Bell says this release is a notable addition to his discography in another way. "This is actually my first recording that has been taken from a live performance and frankly nothing can replace the experience of being in front of an audience," he offers. "I don't really enjoy the process of being in a studio setting anywhere near as much as I love the energy of playing live: feeling the adrenaline of the audience and psyching myself up to deliver everything in one straight shot rather than in take after take."

-- Anastasia Tsioulcas, N.Y.

DopeHard rock acts Dope and Mushroomhead will team up on the Music for FREEdom tour, at which anyone with a valid U.S. military ID will receive free admission. The outing begins July 25 in Cleveland and will wrap Aug. 31 in San Francisco. Nocturne, Crossbreed and Pit Bull Day Care will support in various markets, while a local band will also open each show.

Dope is touring in support of its new album, "American Apathy," due July 26 via Artemis. "This tour is a way for us to give something back to the soldiers who put their lives on the line to protect America's freedom," says lead singer Edsel Dope.

Mushroomhead will be out behind a new DVD, "Volume 1," also due July 26. The project features concert and behind-the-scenes footage from throughout the group's career. A new studio album is expected in early 2006.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

ChicagoRhino is expanding the 1971 live album "Chicago at Carnegie Hall" to a four-CD set that includes nearly an hour of previously unreleased music from the band's weeklong stand at the famed New York venue.

The first three-discs of the new version, due Aug. 23, comprise what was originally a four-album set (subtitled "Vol. 1-4") that peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard album chart. The material has been remixed and remastered by Chicago trumpeter Lee Loughnane and engineer Jeff Magid.

The fourth CD includes such songs as "Listen," "Loneliness Is Just a Word"
and "Sing a Mean Tune Kid," as well as alternate performances of "Introduction," "25 or 6 to 4" and "South California Purples." A 36-page booklet with liner notes by Don Heckman is also include, while the packaging will place each CD in an individual slipcase and replicate the album's original artwork.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.


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