2/3 GOAT/Let it Rise: Too often the thing that separates the B+ record from the A record is purely subjective. Once in a while it's mysterious and magical. This set is loaded with the kind of mystery and magic that made Lucinda Williams' white record make you stop and go ‘huh?'. A high water mark for the whole roots/Americana/folk rock thing, maybe the intangible here is that the lead vocalist is an actual eastern Kentucky McCoy that decided her time was better spent honing her vocal and performance chops than shooting at Hatfields. In any case, this highly accomplished record is going to make you go ‘huh?' again and again and again. Killer stuff.
ORGANIK VIBE TRIO/Things We Did Last Summer: So, three refugees from Maynard Ferguson's world walk into a jazz festival with their B3 trio and blow away everyone, including the cats that wind up being guests on their second record. With the kind of impeccable vitae that make you say fugetaboudit, this organ trio is a little lighter on the grease than most of the others plowing this particular field---and that's not a bad thing as everybody gets some and they sound more like an ensemble than an organ hot shot with coloration. In any case, organ trio fans will not be disappointed. Make no mistake, your ears are in good hands here. Well done.
DANNY MARKS/Cities in Blue: My goodness, this is exactly the kind of record real muso fans love to discover. Culled from the soundtrack to a Canadian TV show about the blues no one I know ever heard of, Marks has one of those deep rumbling Paul Bunyan kind of voices that matches up with his blues guitar picking in the finest form imaginable. On top of that, his program of all original tunes sound like deep blues originals that you're sure you heard before and have forgotten. True to the real stuff with a little tweaking for modern ears, even if you aren't a traditional blues fan, this set will spin your head around. Way to, way too, way too cool. This cat is magnificent!
SONNY ROLLINS/Holding the Stage Road Shows V. 4: The cool thing about Rollins late period dipping into his live vaults is that these recordings have nothing to prove giving the chance to focus on special moments that happened as they happened. Pulling out tapes from 1979 to the 2012, with this set including a smoking 23 minute jam from a 9/11 concert and tunes he‘s never before recorded, this set let's you hear Rollins as a survivor, an originator and pretty much the last man standing. Whether improv, solo or cooking with the band, this is a wonderful set that puts Rollins center stage with the light shining on him brightly. Well done throughout.
QUEEN DELPHINE & the Crown Jewels/Come and Get It: Only an ep? Bummer. Delphine and her court grew up eating Koko Taylor records for breakfast and got their nutrients in the blues that way. Classic sounding Chicago migration blues that sounds as authentic as it gets. Let's hear more, soon.
OATMEAL JAZZ COMBO/Instant Oats: A bunch of college pals who originally decided to make a record for fun before going their separate ways appear to think a real busman's holiday is to reconvene every few years and make a new record making this one fifth in a series. A load of 50s cool played from the heart as opposed to a marketing plan, they sound like they've been gigging together all this time. With a current of Sunday afternoon smooth jazz running throughout, the end result is a pleasing, good feeling set that's as welcome as a foot massage. Tasty stuff from a bunch that you hope keeps at it.
ALEX GOODMAN/Border Crossing: A non stop Canadian award winning guitarist that had to get arts council funding to make this set, he should only have to go on Kickstarter if he has to do hat in hand funding. And his stuff is so tight, he's one of these cats that shouldn't have to give out premiums to get funding, contributors should to it just to be part of something so cool. He's that good. With a technique and a vision that will make you think he's got some Ralph Towner blood flowing through him somewhere, he may not be mainstream now but if he ever decides to go George Benson on us----this cat is a sure thing break out star of tomorrow. It sounds like there's nothing he can't do with those six strings. Hot stuff.
DYNAMIC LES DeMERLE BAND/Comin' Home Baby: The great thing about not being a hipster is that I can freely admit I like this record and this band. Here's a solid set without pretension where a piano trio with a vocalist is kicking out the jams on chestnuts on a cruise ship for people that would rather gorge themselves at the midnight buffet than dig the solid jazz being laid down. Certainly not the environment for breaking down walls and making statements, DeMerle and company's prime directive is to entertain. And they do it to the max without an ounce of jive in the set. This is an essential element in any good time play list. Well done.
HUNGARIAN NOIR/A Tribute to the Gloomy Sunday: Ok, this set delivers 12 different versions of a song from the 30s that inspired so many suicides the BBC banned it. And you thought early Leonard Cohen was music to gargle razor blades to. It doesn't sound Goth and Billie Holiday covered in in the 40s so who knew this song was the 51st way to leave your lover? The things that go on in this big, wide world when you take your eyes off Wikipedia for even a minute!
DAVE NACHMANOFF/Spinoza's Dream: No one is ever going to accuse Nachmanoff of indulging in humblebrag. I first heard of him a few years ago when it just seemed like he was a side kick come lately of Al Stewart in Stewart's post hit years. Surprise! This cat is more like a guitar folk rock version of Denny Zeitlin. Putting the things he's always wanted to combine in purely his own way, this album is the result of hanging out in England for three weeks with like minded first call folk rockers that were all in synch. A real treasure of a folk rock session that organic ears are going to flip for, there hasn't been stuff like this so consistently hot since, dare I say it, the pre-disco years. Not exactly a post card from another time zone or a time piece, the only throwback here is a return to the kind of killer under the radar record that fueled rabid cults. A winner throughout by one whose the better for paying dues and none the worse for wear for it.
TOO SLIM & THE TAILDRAGGERS/Blood Moon: In the world that exists under the radar, Slim has been flying high for over 30 years. With a power trio/blues rock assault that shows no sign of slowing down, the shredding and power here are unstoppable. If you haven't heard of him yet, catch up with what the award presenting societies already know by way of the awards they've laded on him. High octane stuff throughout that roadhouses were invented for. Well done.
VICTOR PRIETO/Three Voices: Now here's a killer multi-culti mash up you wouldn't expect. Prieto is an accordion player who has the energy and fire to have started a power trio if he wanted to. Keeping true to his Spanish roots but mixing in things he's picked up from his travels, Prieto sounds like Piazzolla on speed. A lot of people pay lip service these days to liking Piazzolla without actually listening to him any more. Prieto has the oomph to impress on his own and also send listeners to You Tube to brush up. Perhaps the wildest ride you can take with the accordion in modern times, this set is a total mind blower that you don't have to be locked into jazz/world to fully enjoy. Wonderful, wild stuff throughout.
Volume 39/Number 172
April 21, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record
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