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SIMON FRICK/Solo: Euro sensibility jazz time as this cat takes his solo violin on the kind of set Rachel Barton used to rock out on when the confines of classical were getting to her---except she often had a band in tow for those outings. Frick knows how to play but his not here/not there outlook will scare off all but the most violin hearted aficionados. Nice stuff if you like it from deep in left field.

ISAAC DARCHE/Team & Variations: A jazz guitarist that makes you sit up and take notice, he's got the daddio thing down cold, but he's enough of a modern cat that you don't have to go around dressed like a steam punk to say you like it, even if he‘s hanging out in Brooklyn these days. A post bopper that can hold you rapt just playing the scales, Darsche has it going on as a player and leader making this date a real contender. Hot stuff that just doesn't quit. Well done throughout.

KAZE/Uminari: As long as AACM is celebrating it's 50th anniversary, why shouldn't Japanese jazz's fave art chick get in in the fun as her off shoot band with dual trumpet leads raises a comparable ruckus? If a word like Actuel makes you think I spelled something wrong, you just won't get this, but on the other hand... This gal's energy seems to know no bounds and she lays it out on display here once again in the service of blowing open your mind.

MARY STALLINGS/Feelin' Good: Time to clear the air. The title track was not written by Nat Adderley and Oscar Brown and you really can associate Tony Newley with soul music. Singing like you can still make a living playing clubs, Stallings kicks off a new phase of her career with youngbloods in tow showing everyone else how it's done. This is a jazz/soul vocal date by a real pro that can still blow your mind and not even use all her fire power. Well done.

PAT MARTINO/Nexus: Another one of those Martino dates that's been hiding in the closet under some old sports equipment for the last twenty years, here we find Martino facing off against his piano man of ten years right at the beginning of their run. Does a Martino date with him out front and center really need any recommendation? No, just recognition. Not originally intended as a record, here's to all those cats in jazz clubs and corners that just kept those tapes rolling because stuff like this goes beyond being a record. Hot as always.

MICHAEL FALZARANO/I Got Blues For Ya: So when is a Crowmatix record not a Crowmatix record? How about when NRPS fellow traveler tells the rest of the Woodstock Records gang that it's time to put on a show with him out front doing his white boy blues shredding and growling on tracks that are of mostly recent vintage and of special meaning to him? If this don't take you back to the Fillmore, nothing will---and Falzarano was actually there. With pot getting more and more legal, the young ‘uns are probably about to really discover classic rock, underground style. Hot stuff.

RAMON VALLE/Take Off: A piano man that's redefining modern Cuban/Latin jazz, Valle brings the caliente on this set of mostly originals. Packaged with a DVD of live performance so you can bring the hot times home, this is a man that knows his way around the night. With a classic club jazz attitude, Valle respects tradition but wants to claim some turf as his own. Smoking stuff that's sure to please if any piano trio jazz has caught your fancy since Ahmad Jamal first got that ball rolling, this is a winning set you have to check out.

BILLY LESTER/Unabridged: Hmm, one of those solo piano records that makes you initially think ‘my kid could do that', Lester is a master of angular flip flop piano playing that will find favor with the artistically minded---and your kid couldn't do this without a lot of practice. A very deceptive, wide ranging set that never gives you the opportunity to pin it down, no matter how many times you think you have, arts council music lovers will have a field day here because the chops are well done.

KEVIN STOUT & BRIAN BOOTH/Color Country: The players say this is their sonic portrait of Utah but it really sounds like a wonderful throwback to when 70s fusion was just about to turn the corner into smooth jazz and players still respected cats like Kenton, Holman and other pioneers whose attitudes seeped into their works. Working together for over a decade, this first thing that will strike you about this set is how they found the real jazz in local Vegas as this has no smacks of Sammy/Joey jive hipness to it. Easy rolling jazz with some bite, this is a set that's sure to take you back to some real good times. Well done.

ANTHONY GOMES/Electric Field Holler: A Canuck blues rocker that has been putting on the miles since his recording debut in 1998, anyone that knows how to rock out has been giving Gomes the adoration all this while and he keeps repaying the love with dividends. An all night rocker of a set, he doesn't need an arena to serve up a credible arena rock sound. Hard and heavy, this is what kids in the heartland would turn up for after work on week nights two generations ago. Things coming full cycle? This is a worthwhile addition if it all is. Well done.

Volume 38/Number 147
March 27, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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