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SPORTIELLO PARROTT METZ/Strictly Confidential: Here's a piano trio of vet jazzbos that can play the kind of mannered cocktail jazz hotels demand in their sleep, but they wink at each other and slip in loads of swing when nobody is looking. Tasty stuff from a crew of unmistakable pros that love their work and have proven their mettle over and over again behind A listers than enlisted them, the set card has a few familiar tent poles in it but for the most part, they've done their homework to make sure the program is interesting and populated with goodies that shouldn't be forgotten from several different eras. State of the art piano trio work throughout.

THIRD COAST PERCUSSION/STEVE REICH: Now that he's turned 80 and has a Pulitzer under his belt, it's finally time for Reich to follow up "Music for 18 Musicians" with another percussion on parade outing. With a young crew that's been at it for the last decade picking up the slack, this is the antidote for everyone that thinks Blue Man Group is just too much banging. This dude shows no sign of slowing down. A wild ride for those that really want to explore the beauty of sound in all it's complex simplicity, this is creatively in it's peak form.

JEMAL RAMIREZ/Pomponio: Latin jazz and then some by the SF drummer that teaches by day and travels the world with a who's who by night. High octane stuff that uncovers goodies in danger of being forgotten as well as giving spotlight to up and comers, this party on a platter might seem like a heavy duty workout, but there's really more and deeper stuff than that going on. A killer date throughout, this is where the heat meets the feet.

GLADIOLA/This Year's Storm: Somebody go wake Beavis and tell him college rock is back but the kids that were playing it back then are playing it still. Since 30 is the new 18, you might as well relive it all like you never left it behind.

KEVIN KASTNING & CARL CLEMENTS/A Far Reflection: Kastning takes his 36 string guitar to the opium den--or does he? His latest, a duet with sax/wind ace Clements finds them squaring off again and refusing to retrace any steps already taken. A mysterious audio excursion, these two modern masters seem to be in a small circle of contemporary musos that can take flight on a purely creative date and not have it run off the rails at some point. An introspective date that could counter intuitively widen their fan base, this is as much of a head trip of any of the genre's best from the 60s. Well done.

RUSS NOLAN/Sanctuary from the Ordinary-Live at Firehouse 12: When you can lay claim to being a 10 year old influenced by Weather Report, it's no surprise that after being steeped in Chicago and New York jazz that you'd show your not just an accomplished sax man but one that's keeps getting more proficient each time out. Showing the benefits of open ears and attitudes, Nolan can alternate between blowing up a storm or letting it all flow organically, both to pleasing effect. This live date checks in as a real winner.

YAIR LOEWENSON TRIO/Old Bottles, New Wine: In which we find a guitar man influenced by the greats giving some back. A date that succeeds because all it wants to do is entertain, the jazzbos on board here jam up a storm and let the good vibes flow. Tasty stuff that will always have a home in your ears after 5 o'clock.

Volume 39/Number 83
January 23, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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