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MIKE METHENY/Twelve for the Road: I don't think we've heard from Pat's big brother Mike since his Headfirst days, but he's been at it all the while and this is his 12 outing. Putting aside the brass he's known for, Metheny goes all Todd Rundgren on us playing solo keyboard throughout. Sounding kind of like he's been immersing himself in Denny Zeitlin's experimental/spooky side, Metheny has crafted something that's not new age, not ambient, not easy to pigeon hole but is just right for forward thinking young tastes that want a classic feeling head-trip that is professionally done without the noodling flourishes so common to youngsters trying to make that run. Clearly wild stuff that successfully opens new doors in your mind.

RAZTERIA/Aventurera: A perfect record for the mash up generation. Is she Jane Birkin? Marisa Monte? Latin? French? Reggae? All of the above? Go with all of the above. A mash up that doesn't sound like a mish mosh, this is a killer summer party record that brings everything to the picnic except the ants. With not a note you won't like, this is an all time top ten armchair traveler session. Killer stuff that you have to get down with.

ARI EREV/Flow: Sounding very much like this piano jazz date could have been recorded in New York, it just goes to show that there's a real, post bop jazz scene in Israel that has nothing to do with Klezmer and wedding party music. Total jazzbos to the core, this trio could move to Brooklyn tomorrow and convince you there were there all along. Straight ahead stuff that swings, this is the kind of stuff piano trio fans of most stripes dig the most. A solid date that's a winner throughout.

JON LUNDBOM & BIG CHORD FIVE/Make the Magic Happen:
JON LUNDBOM & BIG CHORD FIVE/Bring Their A' Game: Not falling far from the Mostly Other People do the Killing Tree, these apples from the gang's guitarist roll just enough to gather most of the rest of the gang in this free jazz set of eps that shows Ornette Coleman the love in both cases. Part of a new series that finds them continuing to disassemble things in their own style, these are sounds church basement walls could not contain. This bunch has set sail for Mars and they've left enough room in their starship for you to join them.

LYLE MAYS QUARTET/Ludwigsburg Concert: In 1993, Mays got the long overdue opportunity to say neh neh' to Pat Metheny whose shadow he'd long been in. Stepping out with Marc Johnson, Bob Sheppard and Mark Walker must have made such tongue sticking easier. And it only took 23 years for a recording of this live concert to surface. Very much in touch with a heavier version of the then current ECM vibe, this double cd is a real find in that it not only captures a special moment in time but it seems to have none of the rough edges that go with live recordings---and these guys were still young lions. Contemporary jazzbo that love sitting down jazz will wonder why this was in the vaults soloing. Killer stuff by nascent pros strutting their stuff.

WILL BERNARD/Out & About: An unabashedly, left leaning progressive guitarist of long standing, Bernard isn't afraid to pluck fearlessly here. Not church basement or egghead stuff, this is sitting down jazz that does hit you in the gut. Finding some new, able bodied hell raisers to make this trek along with him, Bernard knows how to take it to the modern side of mainstream making something worthy for listeners ready to venture outside their typical comfort zones. Hot stuff where everybody on board gets some.

THAD JONES/MEL LEWIS ORCHESTRA/All My Yesterdays: The year was 1966. Like everything else in their wake, Beatles had all but obliterated big band jazz. Many cats in this assemblage had been doing their thing since the 40s and all had nice day jobs in TV and movies leaving them room to peruse their passion without worrying about putting food on the table. And so began the Monday night residency that has gone on for 50 years at the Village Vanguard. This twofer cd set captures the first two night the aggregation kicked out the jams in mighty and fine style. Originally recorded by this label's owner when he was still in his teens, everybody that's still around can feel free to take a deep waist bow in recognition of what they created and the legacies it left. Big band the way it should be by a load of cats that were there to make it in the first place, along with some then young charges, this is real jazz that smokes! Check it out.

WESLI/Ayiti Etoile Nouvelle: He comes from Haiti and his sound is homegrown but wide ranging enough to mash up as much street/party sounds of Afro-Caribe as possible. Most o f the time, you have no idea what the lyrics are but the power of the voice reaching out is all the connection gringos have to be concerned about. A world wide world beat set that pretty much covers everything from the s of the world the Northwest Hemisphere doesn't cover, this is a gasser that's it's easy to hit the repeat button for. A winner.

BRIAN REGAN/Live From Radio City Music Hall: The kind of guy that proves comedy is still existing in a vast underground, the cat that has logged the most appearances on Letterman than anybody, he constantly sells out halls to big grosses and seems like the current go to guy for laughs but still feels like he's operating under the radar. Turning the laughs up high on this hour long special, he's sure to make your sides hurt with his regular guy observations about contemporary life more than running a marathon would. Clearly a high octane laugh fest from one of the hottest stands ups out there in a pretty crowded field of hot, he's even more fun than current cable news shows. This guy is a rock star.

Volume 39/Number 100
February 9, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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