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At Home With Friends

4.5 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 29, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

2009 album from the violin virtuoso featuring guest appearances from Sting, Regina Spektor, Josh Groban and Jazz trumpeter Chris Botti. The sixteen song set, which also features appearances by Dave Grusin and Anoushka Shankar, was born out of the informal jam sessions Bell regularly holds at his house. Bell shows off a wide range of styles, from Jazz to Classical to Appalachian-inspired instrumentals, as well as dipping into Opera, Latin influences and Pop music.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 29, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: SONY MASTERWORKS
  • Run Time: 72 minutes
  • ASIN: B002LMSWSC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,711 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
After listening to At Home With Friends by Joshua Bell, I found myself envious of Bell for having such great friends. The album features renowned violinist Bell performing duets with various musical friends of his: Josh Groban, Marvin Hamlisch, even Sting. There is a great variety of musical styles presented, but the overall feel of the album is relaxing.

My favorite is probably "My Funny Valentine" with Kristin Chenoweth. "Left Hand Song" with Regina Spektor struck me as very odd/"out there" the first few times, but it's growing on me the more I listen. It's a neat side of Sting to hear him perform the classical "Come Again."

All in all, quite a musical treat!
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Format: Audio CD
I grew up listening to my Dad playing the violin and my Mom playing the piano. I loved their duets. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for violins since then.
This album does not disappoint. I love the soulful tunes of Joshua Bell and his many talented friends. Two songs played with the bandoneon, Oblivion and Il Postino, really have captured my heart. I have never been to Paris or Italy, but I imagine this is the music of those beautiful places.
Kristin Chenoweth teams up with Joshua singing My Funny Valentine, one of my all time favorite songs. And Josh Groban singing Cinema Paradiso just takes my breath away.
My favorite piece though is Eleanor Rigby with Frankie Moreno. I had never heard of Frankie Moreno before this, but this fantastic arrangement of piano, vocals and violin had me as soon as it started.

This album is a great mix of classical, modern and international. You will not be disappointed in this album at all. I love it so much that I am going to buy a copy of it for my Dad for Christmas, and I am also going to buy more of Joshua Bell's work. Fantastic.
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Format: Audio CD
Bell is a a near genius when playing his violin and has enough power with the recording companies to make any project he wants. On this CD he tries to show the breadth of his musical interests from classical to jazz (smooth and mainstream); pop standards (Gershwin) and movie scores to world music. It may show off his talents but for most listeners it may be too broad a spectrum. While the tracks with Josh Grobman, Marvin Hamlisch and Kristin Chenoweth make nice background music, the NINE-minute duet with sitar player Anoushka Shankar, goes on way too long. (And this is the ABRIDGED version of the piece.).

While many of the artists who accompany Bell on the selections just might be his friends, Sergei Rachmaninoff obviously could not be one of them. Bell plays along with a re-performance of the legendary composer and pianist from a 1928 recording using the fascinating new Zenph computer system which transfers the performer's recording to a real piano. (Sony/BMG has two other CDs utilizing this process.). It works well here too.

This is obviously a "crossover" album similar to Yo-Yo Ma's CD of last year (which I found superior and play often. But if, by using these better known "friends" - like Sting and Grobman- Bell gets more folks interested in classical music, this certainly isn't a bad thing.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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Format: Audio CD
Lots of variation in the guests--everything but a musical saw. Two things hold this evening together. First, a similar mood of quiet intensity in a small, simple setting pervades everything. Some quiet is wistful, dreamy, and reflective. Some feels like it is about to explode, unable to contain the passions within. Second, Bell's fluid, high Romantic style seems simply to flow from him into every setting, no matter how much he and his guests differ. He seems to have an inner energy that must reach out and touch all the variation around him.

Track detail (S = stand out):

1. I loves you Porgy (Gershwin). With Chris Botti (trumpet) and chamber ensemble. Mellow, musing, effective evening music. Quietly content, happy, dreamily carefree.

2. Come again (John Dowland). With Sting and chamber ensemble. Sting fairly convincingly croons a Baroque song that could easily be from Handel. Quietly spritely in a very well-behaved way.

3. Oblivion (Piazzollo) (S). With Carel Kraayenhof (bandeneon) and a group in standard tango configuration. Slow, deliberate, but wistful tango. Bell swoons in his full, high Romantic style.

4. Cinema paradise (Ennio Morricone/Josh Groban) (S). With J. Groban, who sings in Italian with complete command. Bell supports Groban from behind. Quiet, heartfelt, Groban and Bell swoon grandly along different lines within a confined space; they suit each other well.

5. Para tí (Jorge Gómez). With Tiempo Libre. Hot, jazzy salsa in a quick step. Bell breaks in to slow things down. TL tempers its pace, but steadily works back to their high-stepping, swinging salsa. All come together, Bell swaying in slow motion, TL locomoting to brazen rhythms behind.
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Format: Audio CD
Wow!I was not familiar with Joshua Bell.Only heard the name.I was so curious to get is and listen.Wow!I listened the CD probably 30th times!What a talent!What a musician!I love also the other artist on this CD-Sting, Josh Groban and Regina Spektor.In particular Josh Groban is an excellent companion for this instrument and of course Tiempo Libre who bring such verve to this albumn with unexpected Latin flare."Come Again" with Sting seems to have a Celtic feel . The misic is so soothing and relaxing and help ease the stresses of day-to-day life.When I am leastening the misic I feel At home with the friends ".This cd felt to me like Joshua Bell and friends were inviting us just to take a seat,relax and enjoy the beauty of the misic.I was very lucky to received this album as a promotion from the One2One Network. I highly recommend Joshua Bell: At Home with Friends. Album Tracklisting (Originally performed by):
I Loves You Porgy featuring Chris Botti, trumpet
Come Again featuring Sting, vocals
Oblivion featuring Carel Kraayenhof, bandoneon
Cinema Paradiso featuring Josh Groban, vocals
Para Tí featuring Tiempo Libre, various
My Funny Valentine featuring Kristin Chenoweth, vocals
Maybe So featuring Edgar Meyer Sam Bush and Mike Marshall, strings
Grieg: Sonata No. 3 featuring Sergei Rachmaninoff (Zenph re-performance)
Eleanor Rigby featuring Frankie Moreno, piano & vocals
O, Cease Thy Maiden Fair featuring Nathan Gunn, baritone
Il Postino featuring Carel Kraayenhof, bandoneon
Left Hand Song featuring Regina Spektor, piano & vocals
Chovendo Na Roseira featuring Dave Grusin, piano
Look Away featuring Edgar Meyer, bass and Chris Thile, mandolin
Variant Moods: Duet for Sitar & Violin featuring Anoushka Shankar, sitar
I'll Take Manhattan featuring Marvin Hamlisch, piano
Left Hand featuring Regina Spektor, vocals
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