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ANN LICATER/Beyond the Waves: Like a spiritual step child of Paul Horn, Licater raises her flute to charter trips into Native American, world, acoustic and new age, often at the same time, without it sounding like something mixed up in the kitchen sink. Centered music with a beginning, middle and end, this set finds Licater working in a fully instrumentated setting and delivering more of the kind of performances that have made her an award winner at the top of her game. Solid stuff for adult ears that wonder where the real alt.adult has gone, this is more than an audio getaway, this is a wonderful listening oasis you'll return to again and again. Well done.

MATT BAKER/Almost Blue: Leaving the comforts of being a big fish in a relatively small pond in Australia to conquer New York, the piano man brings a flair to the keys and isn't afraid to play some great songs of the past his way. He knows how to make it all work.
A tasty, straight ahead set that is loaded with swing as powered by some downtown types that aren't afraid to show their midtown side, this is just one of those sets that hits all the right notes and does it so well. With more brass to it than the usual after work piano jazz cocktail outing, the bite is what really gets you. Find stuff from a sure conquering hero on the march. Well done.

PEGGY DUQUESNEL/In the Garden: The collection of piano reveries culled from the soundtracks to nature videos hangs together as an album nicely. Mixing hymns with secular music in a flow that finds you not caring where the source material came from, this new age/instrumental set comes in handy when you want some peaceful tunes swirling around you. With a real pro at the wheel, our ears are in good hands throughout.

FIONA JOY/Signature Synchronicity: If you liked her last solo piano set, you'll like this one as well since this takes the solo tracks and puts them into an instrumentated setting where augmentation runs rampant. There are some pretty heavy cats brought in here to add to the festivities and it's a way to really get inside the music and the muso. The ‘unplugged' version was a winner and this one is as well. Check it out.

DAVID GIBSON/Inner Agent: This trombone man almost has enough wind in him to sound like a big band by himself. A high octane set with a mystical bent, Gibson smokes his way through this set delivering the kind of high energy blowing that is sure to put him on your list of those to keep an ear out for. Obviously playing from the gut and the heart, this music connects and opens your mind as well as your ears. Solid stuff from a cat that's here to stay.

JEFF DENSON QUARTET/Concentric Circles: Fusing two of his groups together on his latest outing, Denson finds the sweet spot were the differing vibes can mix it up in fine style. Angular, with a crime jazz vibe in the under current, the bass ace goes for the tour de force here where the driving rush never backs off. Solid stuff that offers nu stuff for forward thinking ears, Denson has his hand firmly on the wheel to keep these circles form spinning in mere circles. Solid work that opens the ears nicely.

URBAN PIONEERS/Feast or Famine: Why is this fun stuff? They might profess to doing old time music but they do it with punk rock energy and I'll bet there isn't a granola eater in the bunch. This is the incendiary kind of music that should set off a rage of nu hootenannies and a whole nu urban folk music scare. Whether they speed it up or slow it down, it's high octane throughout.

Volume 39/Number 205
May 24, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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