ART OF LIFE
CHRIS ROGERS/Voyage Home: This trumpet scion is not someone we have to tolerate because he's a legacy from Harrisburg. Rogers has brass in his DNA and his blood from the connections he made through his pop and the pals that came in and out of his life because of it. This set might have been marinating in the vaults for a while before it escaped, but that's meant the cats on board have had time to become a firm part of the jazz consciousness. A swinging straight ahead session that has aged well while waiting for release, jazzbos are sure to enjoy the engaging playing that celebrates classic modes. Abashedly wearing it's daddio heart on it's sleeve, this is certainly a set whose time has come. Check it out.
MARK LEWIS/New York Session: Having spent his prime name making years as an expatriot, sax man Lewis has the chops to back up any claims and clearly state his case for flying higher than under the radar. Indulging in a session that's a matching of equals, even if the rest of the crew on board is more well known, this set is a real case of real music for real music fans. With clear cut artistry and talent as the lodestone that guides the date, this is the perfect sound for a smoky jazz club owned by a rich doctor, lawyer or hedgy that is more concerned with being around the music he loves than pushing drinks. Does that exist anymore? Well it does on this disc. Killer stuff throughout that'll blow you away.
EMILIO SOLLA/Tributango: You like assurances, do you, but this being the first record on a new label and calling itself a tribute makes you feel a little dicey about it? The great Pablo Aslan is on board and that should be all you need to know the ground is firm beneath your feet. However, the leader of this set plays a weekly tango gig in New York and what he doing here is modernizing tango for modern dancers. Loading the rest of the deck with real pros that know the music, the land and culture, you can hear and feel this being the underscore if they ever remake "Scent of a Woman". An utterly dazzling set that hits the high spots whether you're dancing or listening, this is a first class showing of the grown up sounds of seduction. Ravingly tasty throughout.
BRAXTON COOK/Somewhere in Between: Smooth jazz, soulful vocals and some spaceship flavored Norman Connors lurking in the mix make this add up to a contemporary soul/jazz set that show Hennessey's and sunsets are timeless no matter how you vector the soundtrack. Just right for easy moving times.
PINK FAIRIES/Naked Radio: Perhaps Blighty's answer to Jefferson Airplane, albeit they might have even been crazier, the hard rockers are back together after 30 years off and they are right in the groove they were in well nigh 45 years ago. Is it to much of a flashback to says that Creem Magazine was really into them back in the day? With a bonus DVD in the package, you get to enjoy the full on underground hard rock experience such as it was before Internet, Beavis and all the rest of the current accouterments that codify the form. Dive in if this is your thing, kiddies.
I AM THE POLISH ARMY/My Old Man: The title might be borrowed from Joni Mitchell but the vibe is informed by the Deal sisters and Nina Gordon. After riffling through your mom's old records, you might find you have something to bond over here as incipient adulthood is taking wing. Everyone is pissed off and the detours Emma DeCorsey had to take over the last 11 years to get here resonate with it. This is your ticket to joining the pissed off army.
JOSH HYDE/Call of the Night: Even swamp rock has to change with the times. While you wouldn't mistake Hyde for Tony Joe White, he's a staple on the festival circuit and the standard bearer for contemporary, Nawlins guitar slinging. If you get contemporary outlaws ala Zac Brown, your heads already in the right place to grasp what's going on here as it just ain't your daddy's sounds. Check it out.
DAVE SOLDIER/Eighth Hour of Amduat: What happens when a brain doctor that is into Sun Ra, Bo Diddley and Eliza Carthy wants to push the envelope farther than he has in past musical explorations? Well taking a leaf from Sun Ra, he revisits the oldest known musical score doing it up in a way that would make that unknown bastard progeny of Sun Ra and Carla Bley proud. For the feint of heart and the casual listener? Not a chance. Utterly left leaning without being precious or creative for the sake of being creative, this near operatic release is even too deep for Sunday afternoon arts society poseurs. While there isn't a false note in the bunch, this set is for deep muso fans that really want to go places they've only heard in dreams. Well done, doc.
BILL ANSCHELL/Rumbler: When a white boy can do a solid turn on Monk, we sit up and take notice. A spark plug of the Seattle jazz scene for over 20 years, the piano man is no longer interested in playing it safe. Lucky for us, he has the chops and depth to avoid cliché, pretentiousness and pomo proclivities for the sake of pomo proclivities. With his long standing trio on board and augmented by hell raisers like Jeff Coffin, this joyful noise exists in it's own time zone not really borrowing from civil rights jazz, loft jazz, free jazz or relying on daddio jazz as a back stop. This is sit up and take notice jazz that works throughout. Well done.
HOWARD JOHNSON & GRAVITY/Testimony: The funkiest tuba player of the last 50 years comes down from his Woodstock aerie to round up like minded souls into a tuba orchestra reveling in low brass sounds and loading them with verve. Even showcasing Carole King at her most soulful, Johnson and the gang show that with real musos, age ain't nothing but a number as they lead the way to tomorrow with more vigor that cats half his age. Jazz and soul shown at the top of their games, this is a fine set for the real jazzbo that wants to hear a master at play while he's still with us and ready, willing and able to give it his all. Well done.
Volume 40/Number 71
January 11, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record
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