john luther adams
/ recordings
Darkness and Scattered Light

2024 Grammy nomination for Best Classical Instrumental Solo

"These patient reveries and airy dances, suffused with luminescence and shadow, could only have been created by Adams. The music is ethereal and visceral at once, and Black is responsive to every challenge and nuance." —Steve Smith

"The music of John Luther Adams inspires a certain devotion from a core group of collaborators—whether JACK Quartet, percussionist Doug Perkins, or conductor Ludovic Morlot—and this astonishing new collection revels in his connection with double bassist Robert Black, the long-time member of Bang on a Can All-Stars." —Peter Margasak

Darkness and Scattered Light is an album of three works—two solos and the title work for five basses—written for and performed by double bassist extraordinaire Robert Black. Beautiful, mesmerizing, virtuosic music.


John Luther Adams is a Pulitzer- and Grammy-winning composer who lived for many years in Alaska, where his work derived much of its unique character from the landscape and weather of the Great North. About a half-dozen years ago, he moved from Alaska, living in various desert and mountain areas in South and Central America—places that also inspired and found expression in his music. He currently resides in rural New Mexico. He is a long-time associate of the Cold Blue label; his music has appeared on eight previous Cold Blue CDs, including Arctic DreamsEverything That Rises, and the Grammy-nominated Lines Made by Walking.

“This is one of the most beautiful albums I have heard in years. And so emotional. It seems strange that an album about the vastness of nature should be so human, and so emotionally resonant. As the music goes deeper into exploring the stark, mysterious slowness of the natural world it becomes clear just how little this world cares about what we think about it. Nature doesn’t need us – the majesty of this music reflects our smallness back to us. It is a humbling, devastating kind of beauty.

“It would be hard to imagine a better match of composer and performer than John Luther Adams and Robert Black. Collaborators for decades, they have both dedicated their professional lives to pushing their fields forward, at the highest possible levels. Robert Black is, himself, a national monument, and his playing here is rich and pure and plainspoken. He presents the music to us, unornamented and honest, and painfully direct. And therein lies its beauty, and its power.”—David Lang

“Spectacular bassist Robert Black pairs up with John Luther Adams, one of the most important composers of our time. Black’s visionary commissioning and his realization of and advocacy for the music of our time is unmatched.” —Julia Wolfe

Adams's swelling orchestral work may be the loveliest apocalypse in musical history. - Alex Ross, New Yorker
john luther adams
From time to time we put out a newsletter of JLA's musings on work in progress, new recordings and publications, and forthcoming performances. Enter your email address below to subscribe.
Copyright © 2024 All rights reserved.