CLARE FISCHER/Out of the Blue: Here's one of those posthumous records that doesn't have to piss you off as the younger Fischer is doing a fine job of keeping the elder's legacy alive. With 14 performances that are previously unreleased, this set has fellow travelers on board from the highest jazzbo ranks, something entirely fitting for a cat that was frequently ahead of his time. As out of the ordinary as Fischer was, this is not something that you typically give a quick listen to and pass by. The master has joined us one more time for another killer set that exists purely in it's own time zone. Killer stuff throughout.
MAGENTA/Songs for the Dead: That's right kids, this is Al Jourgensen going commercial---taking a Swede industrial band and bringing out the darkness they forgot to. Picking up on Lou Reed's 60s vision, Alain probably won't be alone in championing this sound of isolation that casts a different light on the heaviness from the frozen north. Perhaps Leonard Cohen will have competition in making soundtracks to kill yourself by.
14 JAZZ ORCHESTRA/Nothing Hard is Ever Easy: If the title is on target, this must have been a bitch to record because the players make it sound so effortless. Of course, these are the kind of first call pros that are paid well on the clock to make it look/sound easy. A swinging big band date with a set card heavy on classic Miles and related cats period stuff, this crew smokes and the presence of some rock oriented cats gives it that little extra zotch. An utterly wonderful contemporary swing set, this is what smiles are made of. A knock out throughout.
ZORA YOUNG & LITTLE MIKE & the Tornadoes/Friday Night: Let's face it, if Koko Taylor wasn't the reigning queen of the blues during Young's prime time in Chicago, Young would have worn the mantle. A well loved international act regardless, Young and her old Chicago pals get together for a 25 year later reunion and tear it up without missing a beat.
Slow, fast, howling, purring, whatever, Young nails it each time she steps up to the mic. Hell, you can even hear echoes of Bonnie Raitt using some of this as a template for her next recording. Hot stuff throughout that shows the blues are alive and well.
FERRIS & THE WHEELS: 90s grunge/alt brought forward from the heartland to you. The antithesis of shoe gaze throughout, let your parents enjoy Foo Fighters on late night TV, this is your time to rock.
THE LIZARDS/Reptilicus Maximus: Hard power rock meets some prog rock on the corner of killer head bang and delivers the goods for kids with raging hormones in need of release. This bunch shows up to play and they do more than that by raising the roof in the process. This is the contemporary sound of being young away from groovy diversions. Hot stuff played loud.
INTELLIGENT MUSIC PROJECT III/Touching the Divine: An interesting collection of jazzbos and rockers get behind driving wheel Milen Vrabeyski for a mixture of inspirational music and prog jazz/rock that stands for the goal of being uplifting. Wild stuff from a bunch of players that feel like they've found their métier off the clock. Check it out to find something cool and out of the ordinary.
LOU VOLPE/Remembering Ol' Blue Eyes: With the cool of a bebopper at the wheel, master guitarist Volpe gives Sinatra his dun on a swinging album that doesn't needs words to get it's point across. Another reminder of the Sinatra centennial upon us this December, this joyous set is a fine way to get the remembrances started in fine style. Hot stuff throughout from such a cool cat.
VINNIE MOORE/Aerial Visions: A vet arena rocker shows the fingers haven't stiffened up yet as he checks in with a killer dose of melodic hard rock featuring loads of shredding. Like a one man mission to bring back the 70s, this is how it felt to hear a rising rocker in a dump back in the day and feel like you were the first one there although the record company had already dumped a ton of dough behind him just to get to that place. This papa loves his work. Well done throughout.
NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN/Evolution: After 40 years of being the go to guy for everyone for every type of music, Walden is enjoying having young kids and feels like taking it back to the clubs. Using just a fraction of his chops to bring this party platter home, here's a look behind the curtain at what made so many great records great stretching back to stuff your grand parents enjoyed. Deceptively simple, this is really the distillation of getting it right for long time. High octane throughout.
ELAINE ST. GEORGE/Don't You Know Me: It's a triumph that there's singers like St. George that take it upon themselves to keep Goodman and his works from being forgotten. He's been gone a while and even his own label hasn't been putting things out for a while, but jazz/cabaret singer St. George finds the jazz and timelessness in his work and does a killer job of bringing it back front and center. You don't have to be a melancholy old Chicago folkie to appreciate this love letter to a cat that really had the music in him. This is a great bet for old fans or newbies to the tent. Well done.
Volume 38/Number 344
October 9, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record
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