BOSTON CELLO QUARTET/Latin Project: These renegades from the Boston Symphony show they can play anything and do so within the realms of keeping it Latin whether plucking out Piazzolla, Corea, Albeniz or Barrosso. Known for their unbridled versatility in the Boston area, their latest fine collection is another chance for the rest of us to find out what's going on with this bunch whether they're rocking out or jazzing up the joint. Impressive that they can ring so much depth from all the cats playing the same instrument, this set will find you saying ‘hello, cello'. Tasty stuff that any one with open ears will enjoy as if they were a hard core classical fans. Well done.
BACK PORCH SYNDICATE
JEFFERSON GRIZZARD/Daydream of Hope: With a couple of generations of Nashville session aces providing the setting for his fury, Grizzard is a most welcome addition to the rocking singer/songwriter tradition in which we find his old school ways tempered by punk rock energy. Not a down mouth whiner even when his subjects aren't the sunniest, this is modern Americana for younger tastes that don't get the lineage from Springsteen and Petty to the modern Americana rocker. This is high octane stuff that won't leave your ears they way it found them. Check it out, this kid's a winner.
JASON VIVONE & the Billy Bats/The Avenue: One of the main spark plugs of the Kansas City blues scene fires up the band for an autobiographical tale of being an Italian kid moving to the Italian section of Kansas City but finding the housing bargains are in a decaying neighborhood and recounting the adventures that flowed from there. Certainly not your usual white boy blues outing, the deconstruction of everything gives this set a comfortable place on any musical shelf. A wonderfully wild ride that comes right from the heart, it might not be a fast ball down the middle but it's one helluva curve ball just hanging there for you. Hot stuff throughout that never let's you down. Check it out.
CC/In the Moment: Soul vet that's been in the background and foreground a million times over the years is doing it for himself on this outing where he's really doing it for himself with a little help from Michael Walden from time to time. Bringing old school into the present, you can bet there's a home for this at XM channel 50. Fun stuff that bridges the gaps nicely.
THE TREWS: This bunch looks like a bunch of Woody Guthrie wannabes but play like arena rockers. From Canada they came armed with anthemic rockers, it's obvious they are prepared for rhythmic radio backlash when the kids want to rock again. Hot, hard and heavy.
CYRILLE AIMEE/Let's Get Lost: Checking in with the antidote to miasma, Aimee purrs her way through a mixture of oldies and originals also showing why Sondheim is smitten with her along the way. Without histrionics and pyrotechnics, Aimee and her interestingly chosen crew might be low key but they play with the passion of a crew that want to break through the clutter to reach you. A sassy, smart jazz vocal date loaded with so many hooks you might want to get a tenuous shot, Aimee sounds like she's singing just for you in this song cycle about relationships. Whoa tiger, enjoy the record without looking her up on Tinder---there are stalking laws! Well done.
JOHNNY GOLDSTEIN/An Elegy for the Lost City Chapter One: So here we are in the midst of the cable unbundling revolution and the deconstruction of everything and it only makes sense that audio books join the party. Not so much a record as a multi media audio book presented in radio drama style, let's just say that if you like Nawlins music, this first part of a projected seven part series will grab your mind in a whole new way. If you like audio books and real radio, you're ahead of the curve in getting the most from this set. With 27 songs woven into the mix, a few minutes in you might just feel like you're watching an HBO special without realizing you're missing the visuals. A real high point for people that enjoy real creativity, this is a very satisfying step into a brave new world. Well done.
BENNY TURNER/When She's Gone: Some bloodlines are just steeped in talent while others are loaded with relatives along for the ride on the coat tails. Turner is the younger brother of Freddie King and has along list of talent, chops and experience that find him in good stead to be a standard bearer for old school Texas blues, even if he has brought them forward which he's done in quite a synchronistic way. Heavy on originals with all the right moves in all the right places, you don't have to be a moldy fig to enjoy the festivities. The dude has been at it for 50 years and sounds vigorous enough to give it another 50. Well done.
SVETLANA & the Delancy Five/Night at the Speakeasy: Guy Eckstine might not be able to put his feet up on the desk at 825 8th anymore but he still has all the verve his daddy left on his DNA in tact. Surrounding a New York treat that convenes on Monday nights with a crew of players that would be household names if there was still a real record business investing jazz, this genre twisting trip to the 30s speak easy in the back of your mind is simply classic, jazzbo thrush all the way. A most grand adult listening diversion, this is the kind of record that should be on year end top ten lists instead of the usual knee jerk picks. Killer stuff that's sure to have you saying ‘23 skidoo' to everyone but Svetlana, it's fun stuff to the max that shows what happens when you let creative people with chops do their thing.
JOYANN PARKER & Sweet Tea/On the Rocks: A big voiced white girl with the blues hooks up with a local Minnesota crew that's been heating up the northern nights for some real combustion and are sure to mess up the jet stream of Canadian air that wants to descend below the border. Rocking the house with her own originals, she can belt without manquing Janis and doesn't feel the need to purr to wrap you around her little finger. Hot stuff from a hot lady that knows how to bring the heat. Check it out.
BERDON KIRKSAETHER/Voodoo Sessions: One of the prime movers of Norway's blues scene, Kirksaether basically reconvenes his last crew for an ep that shuffles up the deck with a more industrial blues sound that'll make you feel like Muddy found his way to the frozen north. Norway? These are real white boys but they know what it is to pull from the true vine. Check it out.
STEINWAY & SONS
KLARA MIN/Scriabin: Solo piano in the right hands can be such a majestic thing. After probably screwing up the curve in math class for the rest of us, now this hot looking Asian chick comes along with the right hands and makes the rest of us feel like we wasted our time with all those piano lessons we took. Deftly handing a modern classical composer's romantic works, this low key session goes way beyond the typically nice Sunday afternoon wine and cheese fare. Playing with deep motivation and an understanding for the music that shows she's ready, willing and able to go beyond, this set open the ears in so many directions are once you probably can't keep up with it all right out of the box. Lovely stuff showing off a player that will be enchanting ears for years.
URI CRANE-JENNY LIN/Spirio Sessions: The difference between today's jazz/classical fusions and the fusions of old is that today we aren't trying to clean up jazz and jazzbos for suburban rec rooms where junkies probably weren't welcomed. Between that and modern recording techniques, records like this are a lot more enjoyable than the shot gun marriages of old. With a jazzbo and a classical cat facing off for a set of improvs on some well known classical works, this duo hits it out of the park so hard you hope this meeting of the minds will reconvene on a regular basis. Melding the best of jazz and classical vibes on two pianos, this is a fine example of long hair music that ain't just for long hairs. Check it out.
Volume 39/Number 67
January 7, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record
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