CAROL BACH-Y-RITA/Minha Casa-My House: A Brazilian art chick (that doesn't feel like an art chick) with a well stamped passport and a brain that's firing on both lobes, Bach-y-rita brings a new perspective to decades old songs that haven't been beaten to death that strips them of their baggage and allows for them to be presented in a new light that doesn't make you feel like the vocalist doesn't understand the song. With a crack band behind her firing on all cylinders, this is a well woven date that feels like Brazilian jazz with a little bit of so much more added to the mix. Tasty stuff for jazzbos and armchair travelers looking for that something new with something extra.
DEB RYDER/grit Grease & Tears: As deep and wide as blues are, it's only every so often that an act or a record that come flying out of the big fish in a small pond niche. Ryder nails it right from the start with the opening track "Ain't Gonna Be Easy", but if this one isn't the record that comes flying out of the small pond like a bat out of hell, music has officially become nothing more than a service and a fashion statement. This record could get dead people up and moving faster and easier than splashing a bunch of ishkabi on the corpse at a wake! A killer set that sounds like Chess, Stax and Duke/Peacock are tearing it up at an insane trade show in the sky, this record pulls off the amazing trick of using the most recent high be just a stepping stone to the next high that's even higher. Turn this one all the way up and have some oxygen or an ambulance at the ready. Whew!
SLAUGHTER & THE DOGS/Vicious: It just doesn't rattle around in my head right that a punk band can be celebrating a 40th anniversary, but here we are with this bunch. It's even funny that it doesn't feel like time has passed when listening to this. I mean, things basically suck as much as they did back in the day when the punks first arose from the morass, but, wow, I don't know. All I do know is that the sound and the fury is alive and well for both dad, lad grandkid to enjoy all together. Maybe some of Jake Riviera's original angry young men that still want to seem that way should pick this up on the sly as a refresher course on how to get it done. Just sayin'.
KAT GANG/Love & the Lack Thereof: If you were dumb enough to miss out on Gang's set on Arbors a few years ago, this set let's you pick up right where she left off. With the sister now doing it for herself, Gang enlists a crew of top big apple jazzbos to give her soaring voice the proper setting any jazz vocalist could wish for. Mixing a few worthy originals with a trip down the back pages of the great American song book, this only thing typical about this jazz diva release is that Gang knows the pas de deux and is hip enough to wander off the beaten path from there. Certainly a set that sets the standard, this is jazz vocal that knows no limits. Hot stuff.
SHAWN MAXWELL'S NEW TOMORROW: What's a sax man to do when he wants to do something new and different without seeming precious? Rather than find some new country to exploit for world beat purposes, how about an era mash up? There are passages here when you can hear Louis' Nawlins, mixing with 50s daddio, mixing with Miles pushing his sax man du jour farther in to outer space mixed with a bunch of funk while tipping your toes in the waters of St. Thomas----all at the same time. And it works gloriously! A nu synthesis that works without feeling derivative, Maxwell won't be Chicago's own much longer with new ideas like this leading the way. A progressive date that doesn't leave you in the dust, this is a fine example of nu jazz sans intimidation. What will they think of next? Check it out.
TIM DAVIES BIG BAND/Expensive Train Set: So much action coming from the back of the riser! The big band ace relocated from Austrialia to LA and this set finds him giving star time to aggregations he's led in the past in both places. There might be an easy familiarity to his work since he's one of the top hot shot TV and movie orchesrators these days and you've probably heard his work without knowing it. This set is the perfect place to start knowing him by name. An old soul probably in habited by the spirits of Bill Holman or Neal Hefti, Davies makes music so glorious that you don't have to be a big band fan to get lost in it. Simply a grand listening event that holds your attention throughout and makes you a fan. Well done.
DYAD/Plays Jazz Arias: This piano sax duo, made up of a long hair and a jazzbo, are back with Randy Brecker and Ted Nash helping them unleash the jazz force in classical music. Turning august composers works on their heads, often with some blazing improv in the laminar flow, the results are as far removed from classical music as you can get. Killer players with well honed chops, several of the first takes on display here will simply blow your mind, as will the rest of this pure listening date. Real playing for real ears on the lookout for hot new sounds, this date brings it all home in fine style. Check it out.
GIANT PANDA GUERILLA DUB SQUAD/Make It Better: Skanking music from Rochester recorded in the shadow of the gaping office complexes abandoned by Kodak and IBM, this bunch is serious about taking steps to make things better with starting with the smallest moves on the local level. Keeping the social protest vibe of classic reggae alive and well, this is what happens to world music when you turn the telescope and look through the other side of the lens. Delivering the goods in fine form on their fifth album, they certainly get a pat on the back for not letting the demands of adult life interfere with their passion and making it all work. Smoking stuff throughout.
LUPA SANTIAGO 4TETO/Ubuntu: The Brazilian guitarist sets his ear toward Africa and even though this date doesn't have a sax on it, the vibe and attitude feels like something you could expect from Paul Winter (there is a trombone--but it's really not the same). Recorded with some urgency because of the players various schedules and locations, this is a grand mix of jazz/world/new age lite that distills into a mighty, after hours, yet heady brew. Never losing it's international flair no matter where it wanders, this is the perfect music to have around when it's five o'clock somewhere in the world. Well done
JASON ELMORE & Hoodoo Witch/Champagne Velvet: Think about it. If you're going to be a blues rock power trio from Texas, how are you going to distinguish yourself yet live up to the legend of everything from ZZT to SRV without getting a hernia from lifting all the baggage? In today's short attention span/no memory world you could just a wait it out and let everyone forget what came before no matter how much You Tube is available to remind them (yeah, check out some of the play counts on legendary stuff---that'll happen) or just freely dip into the well and let the party roll on. On this set of all originals, the third time around for this crew, they forge their own link in the chain by accenting the blues more than in the past and letting their vision serve as a beacon. The kind of set that can bring moldy figs and frat boys together to let some red cups go splashing, Elmore shows he knows you just can't go wrong with a non stop party. Hot stuff throughout.
Volume 39/Number 315
September 13, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record
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