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AKUA DIXON: A cello player with a dandy feeling for how to merge jazz's past with it's future, Dixon really revs it up for her second solo outing. Calling on a wealth of chops to power this set along, while merging the past and future, this sounds like something that could have come marching out of the 60s as well. A solid bet for any one that ever wanted to hear more jazz from Leonard Bernstein, this pro knows how to hit to all fields and make it all come out right. Sold stuff for the jazzbo that appreciates a visceral edge.

MICHEL REIS QUARTET/Capturing This Moment: Reis might be a piano man but you can feel the unmistakable influence of working for Dave Holland in his palette. Loaded with the kind of angular jazz ECM gave Holland free reign to use even if it didn't fit the label's format, this set shows how skill sets can transfer. Using his ear like a photographer's eye, this is a set of jazz for the senses with each track being a full work unto itself. Easy to relate to while being out of the ordinary, this is a real sensory treat, just like the artist planned it. Well done.

PC ENERGETIC/Illusion: And why should you pay attention to this rising, young, guitar hot shot? Because he loves 70's porno funk and he's got almost no competition challenging him for the high ground. Sure, it's got switchbacks and digressions that youngsters have to add to the mix to make it their own but this is glorious 70's porno funk. Maybe next time around, if the label pairs him with Pretty Purdie.....
71147 (Jazzthing Next Generation Vol. 56)

LATHAM CARNIAUX EGAN/Constellations: Ah, Bjork and jazz. Jason Miles led us to the Bjorkestra a decade back and now Mark Egan leads us to a Miles Davis fusion/funk era take on Bjork. If you dig that period Miles (Davis) than you probably won't care whether this crew is serving up Bjork or not because they do a great job of hitting your ear dead center. Check it out.

REZ ABBASI ACOUSTIC QUARTET/Intents and Purposes: So what happens when a hot shot guitarist that didn't like fusion back in the day turns his gaze to doing a set of acoustic covers of fusion mainstays? Abbasi has shown over and over again he's no slacker and this is a set for like minded musos that didn't like fusion back in the day but find themselves interested in finding out what they missed. A set that will never be confused with an homage outing, Abbasi takes your ears to places they've only heard in dreams, without puncturing your neck to wake you up. On the money throughout, this is a delightful ear opener that serves the dual purpose of keeping cats like Tony Williams, Pat Martino and Billy Cobham out of the dustbins of history. Check it out.

ELLEN LaFURN/C'est La-Furn: Leading with her offbeat but captivating voice, LaFurn tackles the great American songbook, but she isn't afraid to take it on from a broad's perspective. Coming on like gangbusters in the classic, swinging thrush mode, she does a great job of re-roasting the chestnuts while adding some special sauce of her own to keep them moist and fresh----just right for the classic jazz vocal fan that needs some softer food these days but doesn't want to give up any of the taste along the way. A solidly swinging date that gives you all you want and more. Check it out.

MIKE OSBORN/In the Dog House: A blues rocking white guitar slinger who stepped away from early success to raise his family comes roaring back to prove that you can really kick off your musical career in blues in your 40s with little loss for wear. Super charged choogling, Osborn is a classic in the classic mode that knows how to keep the house rocking all night long. Tasty stuff that goes the distance, this record is loaded with the kind of talented chops blues fans will recognize without even looking at the credits. Well done throughout.

BRUCE LEVINGSTON/Heavy Sleep: A ground breaking pianist that's running a little too far ahead of the curve for most works his minimalist magic on Bach as well as some cosmos inspired originals. Certainly Sunday afternoon wine and cheese stuff for arts council supporters, this set is a must for people that have soundtracks floating around in their heads with no movie to alight on.

JULIE LYON QUINTET/Julie: It's interesting to see that the new generation of jazz divas can draw water from the same well but still manage to spike the drink with a special sauce of their own that gives them some distinctive real estate to plant a flag on. Certainly a classic feeling thrush, Lyon is sassy and saucy seemingly taking Birdland to the tea pad after hours with the jam going in full force. Same church, different pew---this one's filled with the bad kids hanging out in the back. Fun stuff.

MATT LAVELLE-JOHN PIETARO/Harmolodic Monk: They used to tell me Monk's music was difficult because he wanted to trick Charley. They also told me his music was difficult because his fingers were to fat to hit's the keys. In any case, this improvising duo of horn and percussion have succeeding in making Monk's music even more difficult. This is as art's councilly as improv jazz gets.

Volume 38/Number 39
December 9, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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