REGGIE WATKINS/Avid Admirer: Serendipity, synchronicity and promises that were made to be kept led to the making of this fantastic tribute to Jimmy Knepper played on the late bone masters own horns. Pure music, pure jazz and pure gold every step of the way when he steps into the Knepper's shoes and finds his own sizable talents augmented with the magic that's hard to explain. Backed by jazzbos that get it and want to be there, this romp through some of Knepper's greatest moments sound as fresh as today as when they were written and first played making this simply an album that needed to be made. Killer stuff throughout.
DAMIAN DRAGHICI/American Dream: Ok, so if you think your life sucks, take a listen to this set made by someone who was once a kid that wanted to escape Communist so bad he walked from Yugoslavia to Greece to get away from it. Inspired to reach greater things after being spirited into a Randy Brecker concert at 17, we now have an album by a pan flute player that has everybody in jazz and Latin jazz on board. Maybe not EVERYONE, but it sure sounds and feels like it. Learning his licks methodically and climbing the ladder slowly, this album really is 30 years in the making. The set card is almost a contemporary history of jazz from Charlie Parker forward and Draghici adds his own special sauce liberally. This cat really believes in what Emma Lazarus once said and this set is his official welcome home---to his new home. Check it out
NOBUKI TAKAMEN/Live in Japan: Isn't it fun when you discover the sixth album by a cat you ever heard of but really should have? Better late than never is the case with this double cd of guitarist Takamen recorded during his tour of his native Japan last year. A nice, solid jazz trio set of mostly originals, this bunch knows how to stand and deliver in righteous fashion. Staying solidly in the jazzbo pocket without crossover or commercially pandering flourishes, jazz guitar fans are up for a new treat here if they haven't discovered Takamen already. Winning stuff throughout.
PRASANNA/All Terrain Guitar: Frank Zappa was facing off with Indian musicians as far back as John McLaughlin was so it should come as no surprise that Prasanna cites FZ as one of his big influences. With angularity, precision and chops that fly off the charts, this isn't laid back guitaristics or jazz from hell. It lands somewhere in between, smack dab into territory it's staked out as it's own. High octane guitar fans will love the jazzbo shredding that powers this along in high style. A total original for nu times throughout.
WHALING CITY SOUND
GREG MURPHY/Summer Breeze: Murphy might be playing as a leader here but his piano artistry fills your ears with so much sound he might as well be playing solo. Blasting and blazing his way right into your brain from the first note, this former Chicagoan gives new meaning to doing it ‘the Chicago way'. Tasty, straight ahead jazz that's sure to get even the moldiest fig nodding his head (imperceptibly, of course) to this action. Well done throughout.
ERIC HARGETT TRIO/Steppin' Up: In Yiddish, ‘vergeharget' means get killed. How appropriate. On his debut as a leader, young Eric is really killing it. Strong enough to attract Joey DeFrancesco and Gerry Gibbs as the other 2/3s of his trio, this is a smoking sax date augmented by a smoking B3 date that comes on like a clash of the titans. With killer jazz flying in all directions, it's like everyone here is playing like they are the Jimi Hendrixes of jazz. Smoking stuff that'll lower your cholesterol and get your blood flowing. Listen to it before your next A1C test if you've been cheating on your carbs. If not, listen to it any way. Hot stuff throughout.
BARETO/Impredecible: Peruvian cumbia adds some skanking and sometimes sinister electronic washes to a set that makes the mixologist the extra player on the field. A pure street party record, it's one of those deceptively simple sets that pushes the boundaries when you think you aren't looking. The kind of music that makes you forget your cares and drift along with the beat, this is fun stuff for when fun stuff is really called for. Check it out.
Volume 39/Number 252
July 11, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record
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