THE JIMMYS/Hot Dish: When Otis' plane went down in Wisconsin waters, they must have left something in the water since this award winning crew is from Madison but they certainly sound like a chitlin circuit show band--even if they are a bunch of white boys from the exurbs. You can picture this horn section working it at the Dexter Lake Club with Otis Day and the Nights, but we aren't talking about that Otis. This set is an R&B show you can take with you where ever you go and the party never quits. Killer stuff.
ANDY SANTANA & the West Coast Playboys/Watch Your Step: Here's a perfect example of a local legend that eventually becomes too large to be contained. Defining NoCal blues for 35 years, this super smooth and suave ax slinger wants to invite everyone to the party and this set couldn't make it more inviting. With loads of Chicago and Nawlins blues and R&B powering his sound, there's plenty of his own NoCal jump blues special sauce in the mix giving this ring master plenty to hold your attention with. Electric blues through the white boy filter, cats like this do a mighty job of filling the blues void when all the young black cats moved on to rap. An ace of a set from stem to stern, I'll bet he even plays in clubs that aren't in bad neighborhoods. A winner throughout.
ANTHONY GERACI & THE Boston Blues All-Stars/Fifty Shades of Blue: First the bad news. It takes 40 years of non-stop playing and connection making to make a record this good and toss it off like it's nothing. Now the good news. This record is a stone cold killer. An organ/piano ace that has nothing but loads of high spots on his lengthy resume since first being smitten by a Jimmy Rogers record on Leon Russell's label, this jumping, jamming, jiving smoking set has the feeling of being the last word on the subject. If the classic black bluesters had the budgets and backers to make records like this, who knows how much sooner droves of white boys would have taken up the sound. Words like monster, killer and all those just begin to describe what's going on here. Well done throughout.
JOSH SHPAK BAND/Astatic: It's one of those full circle things. Clark Terry snuck young Miles Davis into clubs in St. Louis. Shpak was a protégé of Terry and he's playing like the untamed Davis of the 70s and beyond. A young blood with a vision, he could easily be the standard bearer that takes the progressive jazz cats of modern times into the future opening young ears like his own along the way. An accomplished date by a young award winner, you can expect this trumpeter to make his mark on jazz in short order. Solid stuff.
LITTLE BOYS BLUE/Bad Love: Together for over 20 award wining years, this crew that grew up in the shadows of influences as diverse as Muddy Waters and the Allmans find the sum total of all those years coming together here in this glorious tribute to west side Chicago blues sounding like of like Butterfield and company might have if Paul Rothschild wasn't in the background trying to tell them what to do. Unreconstructed electric Chicago blues from a gang that's from the south, it's like a reverse highway 61 migration distillated on these tracks. Proving white boys can have the blues in mighty style, this bunch has had it with being regional heroes and is going for the gold here. Badass throughout and a sure bet for those who like it real.
BILL KIRCHNER/An Evening of Indigos: Saxman Kirchner is one of those cats that's been in the background most of the time making others look more than good. Here we get in him an evening of recital with some like minded jazzbos that are out to up each other's game and give the traditional music fan a good time without resorting to props and pyrotechnics. Recorded at the site of his day job, at The New School, these four serve up a program of classic feeling sitting down jazz whether doing originals or chestnuts with none of it feeling like an exercise in nostalgia. Purely elegant and soulfully musical, this is a must for the jazz fan that wants to here it played as purely as possible. Killer stuff throughout.
RANDY BERNSEN/Grace Notes: Back to his 80s swagger, the fusion guitar slinger rounds up a bunch of pals that outsiders would call the usual suspects, and lets his fusion flag fly once again in full unfurl. A sidekick of Joe Zawinul and one of the keepers of the Jaco flame, Bernsen has been soaking up that Florida sunshine for good cause if it's helped him achieve this result. A throwback to when fusion hadn't become fuzak, Bernsen shows how to get it done with a wonderful set to take you back to the day without a hint of nostalgia. Hot stuff.
OLD BOY NETWORK
JJ APPLETON-JASON RICCI/Dirty Memory: Reviving the acoustic blues duo Piedmont tradition, award winning harp ace Ricci teams up with a resonator guitar sympathizer for a killer, wild man of a set that almost sounds like early Holy Modal Rounders played straight. Raw and unreconstructed, this is way more than a couple of white boys acting out. The closer you listen, the more righteous it sounds. Above all else, it sounds like they are having a really great time kicking this out. By all means, blues fans have to check this out---it's close to being epic.
TED RUSSELL KAMP/Low and Lonesome Sound: Quite simply an unassailable Americana MVP, for his tenth recording Kamp just brings his voice, pen and bass making a set that might not be the ideal place for you to meet him if you haven't already---or it might be just the right place. Got a taste for classic singer/songwriters making records that sound lo-fi like they were recorded with candle light and wine bottles strewn about the 4 track studio? Hmmm. You've never heard anything sounding so intimate and professional at the same time as you have here. Once again, Kamp is unafraid to push the boundaries and he sounds so righteous doing it. Check it out.
FRANK KOHL/Invisible Man: Sure he lives in Seattle today, by way of San Francisco, but he hasn't given up his New York roots or the days at Berklee where he rubbed shoulders with Scoey, Metheny, Burton, Swallow and others. Knowing this was what he wanted to do after having his mind blown at a Tony Williams show where McLaughlin was in the guitar chair, Kohl is fully in touch with his New York roots here turning in a jazz guitar date that sounds like something you'd hear pouring out of a club in midtown---none of that hipster/Billyberg stuff. A solid set throughout, anyone with a taste for mainstream jazz guitar dates should miss this only at their own risk. Fine stuff.
Volume 38/Number 326
September 21, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record
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