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ANNE WALSH/Brand New: It's no coincidence that Walsh captures the 60s A&M lite jazz vocal vibe since there are covers of songs by Sergio Mendes and Lani Hall on board in this mix of old and new that celebrates renewal. Powering a flexible soprano voice that lilts among the lush instrumental setting, Walsh knows what laid back is all about. Fun stuff that serves as a first class audio getaway.

EMI FERGUSON/Plays the Flute Music of Kendall Durelle Briggs: Everything about the vitae of Ferguson and Briggs would have you believe this teaming up of the two would be art chick/egghead music---and you would really blow that call. Ferguson, a flute player that has made more trips to the center ring that you would realize, is classically trained ace that plays like she doesn't have to unlearn everything she learned in her various schooling along the way. The same could be pretty much said for Briggs, a piano player that composed for flute. Without an ounce of pedagogy in evidence, this is the kind of classical duo recording that truly crosses over into the realm of being quality instrumental music anyone can enjoy. Set aside any pre-conceptions you may have about contemporary classical music and let the good vibes flow. Killer stuff throughout.

STEVE DAWSON/Solid States & Loose Ends: The Juno award wining string bender fires up an Americana outing that seems informed by 70s Ry Cooder and Dan Hicks. Focusing on working with a band this time out and letting electric slide guitar lead the way, this set is more off the clock than it is after hours. Loaded with a structured looseness that gives you the confidence in Dawson's confidence that he won't let you down, this is a sure bet for both old hippies and nu hipsters who appreciate sounds that color outside the lines but make a great mosaic just the same. Well done.

JASON PAULSON/Crow River Ramble: College campus coffeehouse recidivist alert. This Americana cat sounds almost like a one man Brewer & Shipley. A solid dose of back 40, Americana folk/rock, Paulson is the kind of cat that seems a little off beat but come sin under the radar and really gets to you. Tasty stuff for folkies that want some after hours feelings without any affectation. Well done.

BLUES FOR BIG WALTER/various: This tribute/charity fund raising set pays tribute to Walter Horton, the blues harmonica great, and the producers leave all the funky, greasy, west side Chicago vibes in tact. Sounding very much like these could have been forgotten Chess Aristocrat recordings that are finally seeing light of day, traditional blues fans will have no quibble with the new generation and how they kick out with the real deal. A dandy trip to back in the day to find the music from the true vine that led to their collective inspiration. It's authentic all the way down to them singing ‘main' for ‘man'. Hot stuff.

SARI KESSLER/Do Right: A shrink that decided to make the mid life career move out of the office and into the clubs as a jazz thrush opens a new chapter on the great American songbook in which she hits a bunch of standards but adds her own special sauce to songs that are well loved but standing on the edges of inclusion into the realm. Tasty stuff that shows she knows how to pick her songs as smartly as she knows how to pick her sidemen, Kessler easy going, familiar feeling makes a great lounge sound turning your headphones into the club you wish you could hang out at. A totally delightful debut.

TONY LUSTIG QUINTET/Taking Flight: We know there's something in the water in Flint, but there must be something of a different sort in the water in Detroit as well since this set proves that white boy from Detroit can bring the soul and jazz, with some funk on the side, as well as anyone. With the sax man having only a one day window to get his dream team in the same place at the same time, the set was recorded old school and plays like a nu version of old school. Tasty, mainstream post bop that's a sure bet for any straight ahead jazz fans, the playing here is purely killer throughout and this set hits nothing but the highest of high notes throughout. Check it out.

Volume 39/Number 150
March 30, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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