ARJEN ANTHONY LUCSSEN/Strange Hobby: A Dutch prog rocker released this in 1996 without putting his name on the cover. Out of print forever, this busman's holiday set where he leaves his normal sturm and drang behind for an album of 60s covers from a wild swirl of sources sums itself up as psych pop of the highest order. Groovy head music from the next dimension, this is a wild ride that's one for the ages and one for the books. Check it out if just for his cover of "Daydream Believer" sounding like Monkees on something. Utterly fun stuff for those with the right sense of humor.
CURVED AIR/Rarities Series V. 1-Tapestry of Propositions: Oh, let's just call them the
Grateful Dead of UK prog rock. Together over 40 years, playing hour long jams every night, never playing the song the same way twice, keeping the faithful in check. It's all here. Curved Air is one of those groups you either get or you don't, and if you get them, you can probably tell me which night they played what which way. The hour long jam on the keystone cut, the improvs that follow---it's all here and the faithful in the audience sound like they bring the thrall that makes it all worthwhile for the group and their gang.
ABBEY LINCOLN/Love Having You Around: From the vaults comes this 1980 live date showing later period Lincoln playing her voice like an instrument and delivering the goods. With an eclectic set list and crew behind her that's doing ore than keeping time, this is a sure bet for those who dug her later stuff where it was all about the music. 40 years in the vault hasn't dimmed these sides a whit.
IN AND OUT OF FOCUS
FOCUS/Focus 8.5-Beyond the Horizon: I still think lame ass music supervisors are missing a solid bet by not inserting "Hocus Pocus" as a great chase scene music bed that ends with the bad guy getting away from the good guys losing himself in the urban night. What do I know? Thijs is here, Pierre is here, Jan (Akkerman) isn't, but it's still Focus with 40 years under the bridge and bunch of new Brazilian jazzbo buddies in tow. Bringing their prog edge to Brazil a decade or so back, this was recorded in South America between concurrent commitments and their vibe is still alive. Still fun Euro flute driven fusion by the barrel full, this is a sure bet to whet your taste for the 70s when Watergate was in the air and everyone needed something zesty to take their minds off it all. Nice to see geezers that can still kick it out. Well done.
GUNHILL/Night Beat-One Over the Eight: A twofer that pretty much is the complete output of John Lawton's group after leaving Uriah Heep. Pretty much right on proto arena rock, these are extremely rare releases as one was a cassette for the fan club only and the other has gone with the ways of time. Remastered for maximum shred and head bang, rockers will know this is the real deal throughout.
LARRY WILSON/No Secrets No Lies: The B3 playing drummer leads a date with a bunch of styles fused together into his own brand of fusion. A jazz plus kind of date where the soul and gospel aren't afraid to show their heads, Wilson generally is upbeat and energetic with a touch of a civil rights jazz edge to his work. Tasty stuff that shows there's still plenty of solid stuff out there just waiting for the chance to bubble up. Check it out.
JAN KUS QUARTET/Faith: From Slovenia to New York by way of Holland, the sax man is an unabashed Euro jazzbo playing with the kind of edge the Euros bring to modern jazz. Calling in the chits form all his marquee downtown pals, it feels like they might have moderated to keep this edgy without getting to Euro artsy. Forward thinking throughout, this is a winning ticket for millennials looking to come into the jazz tent.
JIMMY O'CONNELL SIXTET/Arrhythmia: This isn't a set of free jazz, it got it's title from a medical condition O'Connell has had his whole life. He hasn't let it stop him any. The rising, young trombone ace rounds up his pals for a date that respects the tradition and it's practitioners while it looks to the future. Playing and writing with an old soul, he plays in the pocket of the forefathers he admirers and he shows them he can shine on his own as well. A dandy straight ahead date with loads of polish dripping off it, this is a straight up jazzbo outing for the purist that want sot hear it done right. Well done.
JIM SNIDERO/MD 66: As we celebrate what would have been Miles' 90th birthday, we have our Miles adherents helping play the ‘what if' game nicely. For his 20th album in his 30 year career, Snidero rounds up downtown pals old and new for a blowing date that feels kind of like it might have been recorded on the next corner (wink). Boundary pushing stuff that never gets artsy just for the sake of it, Snidero wails framing the course of action for his next 30 years nicely. High octane stuff not geared to the passive listener, his chops lead the way making this the kind of leading edge stuff you can be at home with. Hard hitting stuff that works throughout.
JERRY BERGONZI/Spotlight on Standards: An organ trio date with the sax man leading the way, this date takes it old school and is way more than a trip into the way back machine. While it might have the trappings of your grandpa's organ/sax trio date---it isn't. Smoking and hot throughout, the date might be loaded with deceptive simplicity but it's a mutha that just don't quit. Must hearing for the straight ahead groover, this is what they're talking about when they say a good time was had by all. Well done.
SILVANO MONASTERIOS/Partly Sunny: Latin jazz with a lot of New York straight ahead leavening, this is a piano man to really take note of---and listen to. A cat that really knows his stuff and knows how to keep it in the pocket throughout, this is sort of a throwback to when the hippie labels would try to feel their world jazz oats and really pull it off. Tasty stuff that makes you want to hear more, piano jazzbos have a real winner here. Well done throughout.
Volume 39/Number 277
August 5, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record
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