MICHAEL WOLLNY/Nachtfahrten: A sitting down jazzbo, Wollny is a piano man that wants to keep reinventing himself and his sound and doing it in a way that doesn't roll off the rails but doesn't sound like anything that has come before. Tall order. With a Keith Jarrett like vibe, Wollny is introspective and probative without noodling or being pedant just for the sake of it. Already a darling of left leaning tastes, he's not arts council music for a Sunday afternoon but he's not late night club material either calmly finding his place somewhere in between. Fans of egghead jazz are sure to make him one of their own.
A. T. MUSIC
LYN STANLEY/Interludes: In these deconstructed times, it feels like you're spitting in the wind when you try to extol the virtues of an indie act. Stanley was right on the money from the start and the public has born this out. It's hard to be a successful jazz singer in the best of circumstances but Stanley has been doing the best of old school in all levels of the game and the public has responded. Doing it her way on her own label from songs to personnel to tech specs, she's been proven to be the proverbial hostess with the mostest. In her case, three isn't the charm, it's the monster. With loads of talent supporting her letting her have the room to shine, even if she's occupied the producer's chair as well this time around, you are not a jazz vocal fan if you don't accede that she's at the top of her game at the top of the genre. Making both "Black Velvet" and "I'm a Fool to Want You" her own in the same session---all I can say is what do you expect from a gal that records in Capitol Studio and has both Al Schmitt and Bernie Grundman working in the background? Killer stuff throughout like they don't make anymore---and should!
RIK WRIGHT'S FUNDAMENTAL FORCES/Green: The guitar ace that seems to love writing for sax players rounds up the gang once again for a set that feel suspired by early 70s Miles. That may sound like a peck of contradictions but we already know how many hats you have to wear these days just to get through the day. No matter, let the bitches stew about this bitches brew, Wright isn't manqué-ing around here and his crew is on the money throughout. A winner of a date for anyone looking progressive jazz that doesn't roll off the rails, Wright is doing even more of his right thing here. Check it out.
BRIAN FIELDING/An Appropriate Response V. 1: Improv piano jazz driven by Zen? That's what's on tap here. The players let it happen and it happens nicely. Certainly jazz for your head, this really does put a whole new spin on sitting down jazz, particularly for the masses. Check it out.
ROB TARDIK/Moments: If Ottmar Liebert were up in Canada trying to create some heat rather than ward off the New Mexico variety, this is probably the next record he would have made if he chose to make his next record pop instead of reggae. Calling himself a smooth jazz guitarist, Tardik starts out with Latin guitar, rocks it up, adds volume and serves up bouncy playing that you'd never call smooth jazz. Like the kind of bright buoyant jazz that solid players were making in the gulf between fusion and smooth jazz, this is the kind of adult pop feeling stuff that just plain makes you feel good. Like a summer afternoon on a disc, you just don't want either to end. Well done.
SHAREEF CLAYTON/North & South: The in demand session ace and long time trumpet chair of Bobby Sanabria's Grammy winning crew finally takes a minute for himself and serves up the kind of debut that removes all doubt about why he's an A lister all the way. With an energy and verve, as well as an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz to draw upon, Clayton doesn't need to be related to those other jazzy Claytons to wear the mantle just as proudly. Clear out the ear wax because this is something much more worth while to fill your ears with. Hot stuff throughout.
AMOS HOFFMAN/Back To the City: The award winning jazzbo guitar ace comes back to the big apple after a 14 year hejira and doesn't take it back to the downtown he left behind---he takes it old school. Feeling like a modern take on something Wes Montgomery would be doing today, Hoffman hits that blue note with a lot of verve. A solid bet for the mainstream jazz fan, there's just no way to go wrong with this winning, pleasing set that shows why his peers think he's paying at the top of his game. Killer stuff.
COWBOYS & FRENCHMEN/Rodeo: Here's a bunch of young jazzbos trying to do something original in an overly programmed world where too much is within easy reach. Without sinking into musical anarchy, the crew often fulfils their mission if by nothing else than by showing what a bunch of creative players and improvisers they are. A nice mash up of contemporary and modern jazz styles, this is contemporary jazz for contemporary ears. Tasty stuff if you're ready for a nu kind of ride.
MOUSE-ROBINSON-BORLA/Three Story Sandbox: This album by three improvisers with divergent talents lies somewhere between free jazz and new age with nature sounds thrown in for coloration (even if they are instrumentally driven). Stressed out adult music or something else? At times running like an audio documentary, this takes a lot of the tropes of both genres and gives them all a sharp left turn keeping them from turning in to clichés. A fine examples of what you get when you give creative talents that know what to do with free reign free reign and let them run wild. This is progressive music for people that didn't know they would like it. Check it out.
GEORGE VARGHESE/Back in Time: With this title, he's not kidding. A real chopmeister of a shredarooney guitarist, this is like one of Zappa's 70s bands having a street fight with a 70s progressive rock crew with some jazzbos in each corner. Mind blowing stuff for shredding fans, this is a club house that almost has a ‘no girls allowed' sign on the front door. A most delightful wild ride that leaves no variety of shredding unshredded.
Volume 39/Number 13
November 13, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record
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