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JAMES HOULAHAN/Multitudes: So Kris Kristofferson, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits got together for an afternoon of Grand Guiginol and... An utterly nutty but serious record for confirmed left field tastes, you'd think this is steeped in a load of southern gothic until you realize the mover behind it all is from Boston. This is the kind of stuff that's not for everybody but leaves a rabid cult in it's wake. Check it out---if you dare.

CARLOS VEGA/Bird's Ticket: With a foot in several worlds at once, sax man Vega can tear it up in Chicago while teaching in Florida while going straight ahead with Doc Severinsen after tearing it up Latin style with Arturo Sandoval. This is one cat that can make your head spin. Here we find him with some local Chicago cats mixing improv with experimental with free form tying it all up in a nice left leaning bow. High octane stuff with loads of genre blending for those who prefer nice and rough over nice and easy.

FLORIAN HOEFNER GROUP/Luminosity: Furthering his dominance in the sitting down piano jazz field, Hoefner and his long time pals add a vet new kid to the mix on sax as the newly expanded four piece crew seem to assert ownership over cinematic playing that commands your full attention. Practically playing as one, weaving things so seamlessly that they get past you as you get lost in it, this is what so many other ensembles aspire to. Well done stuff with all the sounds your head desires.

RAY VEGA & THOMAS MARRIOTT/Return of the East-West Trumpet Summit: It worked before and it works even better again. Right in the pocket of all the great trumpet duos of the past, this is a high octane outing in which the fire never runs out. Smoking and hard charging throughout, it's amazing how much of a joyous racket so few cats can stir up when they stir it up together. Hot stuff.

ROXY COSS/Restless Idealism: The latest in a long time of jazzy, saxy ladies, Coss brings the heat on this original set of originals. A long time sidekick of Jeremy Pelt, he returns the favor by being all over this date, blending right in with her regular band. Certainly a right on combination of restless and ideal, this date steams along mightily, not letting any grass grow under it's feet as it merrily takes you from here to sonically there with loads of tasty stops in between. An upbeat, sonic funfest full of good feeling, feel good jazz, Coss is indelibly making her mark all in fine form and with good cause. Check it out.

ED CHERRY/Soul Tree: The vet guitar man that more than earned his spurs in Dizzy Gillespie's last stand kicks an organ trio into gear on his latest that explores the past with a big ear open to the future. A real swinging groover of a date, all you need to do is sit back and let Cherry and his crew do all the driving--which they do in a big, bold way. Hot stuff that never let's you down, this is a solid date from start to finish.

Volume 39/Number 81
January 21, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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