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URBANITY/Urban Soul: A smooth jazz date with a misleading title, this is Albare working under a different guise with his long time keyboard sidekick along for the ride. Sundown, summer jazz just right for cocktail hour, no real new ground is broken here but a very pleasing row is hoed. Guitar, smooth jazz that sets a very nice mood, this is custom made for the Friday afternoon you can always use---no matter when it falls. Check it out.

JANET LAWSON QUINTET: And for those deep thought jazzbos, here comes a reissue of a 1981 date that answers the question of what Ella would have sounded like as an art chick. A progressive date that found great favor in English soul/jazz circles, the original has been reissued with bonus tracks giving the full on Lawson experience. Art without preciousness, Lawson was a real jazzbo and she was doing things her way. With a crew that still sounds fresh despite these tracks being laid down almost 40 years ago, those that like something different will like this set again or for the first time. Check it out as this underground classic rears it's head one more time.

VADIM NESELOVSKYI TRIO/Get Up and Go: One of those piano cats that can get the left and right sides of his brain working together, he hits those keys with a blend of gentle percussiveness and has a long history of the history of piano at his finger tips whether pulling inspiration from jazz or classical. Leading and writing like the kind of cat that in charge of his destiny, this is a must have album if you want to sit back and enjoy the ride while someone else does the driving. Dazzlingly ear opening, piano jazz trio work is getting a new chapter written here. Well done throughout.

LARRY NEWCOMBE QUARTET with Bucky Pizzarelli/Living Tribute: A jazzbo guitarist with nearly half a century under his belt pays tribute to his influences either by doing a signature song of theirs or writing something from the heart that shows how he feels. Very much a classic, straight ahead swinging date, Newcombe has the nimbleness to keeps things fresh and modern throughout. Tipping the cap to the senior Pizzarelli, we see where his sprightly vision gets it's inspiration. Lively, jumping hard charging stuff that reminds you why you dug jazz in the first place. Well done.

GERRY SPEHAR/I Hold Gravity: With a back story worth Googling, Speher looks back at life with the love of his life for 50 years as they look a long, drive across country as cancer was winning it's war with her. A long time muso that gave it up for family life, he's newly untethered and returning to his old ways showing he hasn't lost much off his fast ball. An album that you clearly have to be a grown up to get, this set isn't about regret, it's loaded with optimism and observation. A different kind of singer/songwriter country flavored back porch set, Spehar is certainly a better late than never discovery. And everything here really comes from the heart. Well done.

MICHELLE BRADLEY/Body & Soul: An opera singer with a gospel background and hipster pals serves up a set of oldies that have no dust on them. Pulling from differing chapters of the great American songbook, and then some, Bradley turns this into a recital of sorts where you have to acknowledge she has the right to be front and center, delivering the goods. Erroll Garner & Chick Corea? Well, they did have piano in common---and she knows how to make them all present. A killer, straight up jazz vocal date throughout.

ART FRISTOE TRIO/Double Down: An outgrowth of the soundtrack to an art house pic the producer was making, the gentle giant of Texas jazz knows how to swing with hard hitting hands. Presenting a diverse set card on this properly named double disc set, Fristoe and his trio have plied their trade long and hard enough that they know how to play anything and make you listen. At times feeling almost industrial in nature, it might be hard pounding Texas piano but this wasn't meant to be played in no barrelhouse. Something familiar that rides and out of the ordinary tip.

KATHY SANBORN/Recollecting You: An album of original love songs recorded with some swift up and comers that are cleaning up the town fast, Sanborn serves as a bridge between classic cool jazz vocal and nu cool. This atmospheric set is a throwback to when an album was a statement in it's whole and didn't need a single to power it when the chops and smarts ruled the roost. Contemporary jazz vocal fans will know this is one to take to heart. Well done.

JAH SUN/Between the Lines: An aimless white boy from Humboldt county discovers Bob Marley and has a spiritual awakening. He thinks he's into reggae but his version sounds more like Paul Simon's 1980s world beat excursions--not that there's anything wrong with that. Clearly a wild and wooly set for those looking for some fun escapism that gives them the sunshine their soul needs. Armchair travelers are sure to welcome this set that takes them where it will and goes where ever you'd like it to. Solid stuff.

JOHN STEIN-DAVE ZINNO/Wood & Strings: For the sitting down jazz fan that wants it done right by real pros, here's a guitar/bass duo date that relies on telepathy that connects as much as it does on built in simpatico. Like a trip down to your grooviest club where it's always after hours, these two let fly with an intimate date that leaves them no room to hide---and they don't need it. Art for art's sake in it's purest form, this is music really meant to take you away. Hot stuff throughout.

Volume 40/Number 200
May 20, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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