KENNETH BROWN/Love People: So, we have a drummer that finds the sweet spot between AACM and smooth jazz and can stack Nirvana with Nancy Wilson and a slew of originals and make it all work. Whew! A subversively left leaning date, this is the course of modern jazz if you need the head's up. A smart set from a smart crew, it simply hits all the right notes. Well done.
(Space Time 2151)
LOVE LIGHT ORCHESTRA/Leave the Light On: A tip of the cap to Memphis from when your grand parents were kids. Quit being so uber hip and check out what they were grooving to back in the day. The generation that's getting into vinyl and typewriters should quit posturing and dig the real deal and presented by these cats that have the feel and the touch. This feels like how it was before Stax hit town and it's not at all a throwback. Big fun here.
(Nola Blue 17)
ERIC NATHAN/Missing Words: There are those that are flying so far ahead of the pack that those left behind may never catch up. Here we have two discs of contemporary classical music based on a work by a writer that made up a bunch of German words for things that really have no words to describe them. Then Nathan tossed those words and gave them sounds. This work is deep and thought provoking---far from being pots and pans music to scam dull witted arts councils. Obviously, you have to be in the mood for exploration to get into this, but when the urge strikes, you will be amply rewarded.
(New Focus 314)
EUGENIE JONES/Players: One of those ladies that's actually a force of nature, her third album is a double disc that was recorded at different places around the country---not because it was done on the run but because she wanted to collect and distribute the different flavors. A certified jazz singer throughout, she's rubbing elbows here with real jazzbos and delivering a solid, mature performance that leaves the ‘commercial' divas way back in the dust. Whether original or cover, she makes sure it's all her own no matter whose shoes she's stepping into on the covers. A full on jazzbo delight.
VAL STARR/Healing Kind of Blues: With Bonnie Raitt kind of hair and Maria Muldaur kind of voice, this guitar slinging white gal with the blues stares down getting older by getting the party started and keeping it going. Loaded with original, modern blues that doesn't take itself too seriously, everything fits together nicely here and it sounds like a good time was had by all. Easy rolling blues that's a sure antidote for the blues.
MARTIN WIND NEW YORK BASS QUARTET/Air: I just love albums that stop me in my tracks and make me go ‘huh?!?!?!'. It figures the German had to find a label in Germany that would put out fine art like this. The bass ace handpicked a band of bass players, gave them difficult arrangements of everything from classical to modern and backed them up with Lenny White, Matt Wilson and Gary Versace. If you don't think that's a mouthful as well as a brain full, just go back to the Spotify top 50. Stuff like this wasn't so rare back when the labels actually funded creativity and we couldn't get enough of it but a recording like this today is positively a unicorn. It's jazz and so much more and all of it is guaranteed to blow your mind. Killer stuff.
LE COQ ALL STARS/Jazz All Stars V. 2: Just forget it. You probably figured you'd have to die and go to seventh heaven to hear this august assemblage of jazzbos playing together in such fine form. The only constant here is Bill Cunliffe did all the charts. Beyond that, the original crew is joined by a whole bunch more and the end result probably has Norman Granz spinning in his grave that he didn't have access to so much talent at once that could be captured by modern techniques and equipment. Outrageously killer stuff, this is how you really swing, daddio! This leaves hot stuff in the rear view mirror.
YANIV TAUBENHOUSE/Hope: Leave the gun, take the cannoli. Something like that. Take the Jarrett comparisons seriously, forget the ‘this is my pandemic record' baloney. This jazz solo piano record doesn't need that or any other crutches to lean on. Well acquitted as a trio leader, here he takes the spotlight for himself and shows he doesn't need to work and play well with others to get his point across. Showing off loads of different textures and moods, his name might be a mouthful but his playing is really a handful. Well done.
(Fresh Sound New Talent 629)
BILBAO SINFONIETTA/Falla 1915: In this age of rebooting "West Side Story", why shouldn't "Love the Magician". deFalla's 1915 classic get the same treatment? With Maria Toledo, this work's Lotte Lenya, at the wheel, a killer performance is assured since she's played the part so many times. Rounded out with a collection of period folk songs also by deFalla, this cinematic audio is a great session of theatre for the mind. It might be all in Spanish but anyone that's really old school will easily compare this to anything Masterworks put out back in the day when quality ruled. A fine session of music that matters from people who care.
KEN DUNN/Anthology V. 1: A look back at the 25 years this Canadian folkie has been at it, he has those old soul qualities that make it seem like he's been at it longer. There's protest music, touches of classical into folk, singer/songwriter and more moods and modes. Going at it like a well seasoned journeyman, this is going to hit the target for anyone that wants some folk from a road warriors perspective.
January 22, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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