MARIAH PARKER/Indo Latin Jazz Live in Concert: What's a gal got to do to make a Sun Ra sideman play like a normal person? No, really that's not a rhetorical question---what's a gal got to do? Especially one with her hands so full as Parker? A fellow traveler of Mickey Hart, it's taken seven years and several Bay Area venues to pull this set together from various live tapes with various front line players that know their way around jazz and world music. Not the left leaning stuff you'd expect from the names on board, this is a smoking, near smooth jazz set that sounds like summer. A tasty set with bite, this is one of those pleasant sets you want to keep in easy reach as a go to set for chilling out but keeping some edge in tact. A delightfully killer set that works throughout.
CYNTHIA HILTS/Lyric Fury: A wonderfully wild left leaning jazz outing that was basically 20 years in the making, the whole thing falls into place when you have Hilts let you in on the fact that she wanted to create Mingus meets Debussy music and have all the right players in tow. Hallmarked by the contributions of pros that understand creative freedom and how to use it wisely, you can hear echoes of all your fave 50's daddio jazz hell raisers lurking the shadows as well. Loaded with unrestrained beauty at every tune, don't let this be a well kept hipster secret. This is some of the greatest sitting down jazz around today. Well done.
HOLLYWOOD MONSTERS/Capture the Sun: Just because Beck is hanging out with Joss Stone these days doesn't mean that Bogert and Appice can't reconvene for round two with a bunch of their other hard rocking pals for whom the fire hasn't gone out yet. Reliving the glory days of arena rock with an original program that delivers the head bang in sizzling, non-stop fashion, one listen is all you need to know this is the real deal. A look at the credits convinces you that this is a hard rock super group and the sound convinces you they are doing more than just huddling around the fire together. Hot and heavy without a doubt.
RALPH TOWNER/My Foolish Heart: Don't go thinking Towner has gone soft on you in his old age and started making gift shop records. The only chestnut on board here is the title track--the rest being Towner originals. Going solo, so it's just Towner and Eicher alone in the studio facing off through the glass, this luscious and lovely guitar solo set is a total throwback to the kind of solo guitar records that got your grandpa and grandma fired up for some courting and sparking 40 years ago when the world was young. The sound of a master at the top of his game going beyond jazz and classical into some other instrumental realm, this stands easily toe to toe with all the master class solo guitar records in the canon. Killer stuff.
LANDON SPRADLIN/No More Blue Mondays: The great thing about being a white boy with the blues is that you can record a set with Clapton's gang in 1995 and still have it be relevant when you re-release it 20 years later. Some stuff with real soul just doesn't get dated and simply withstands the winds of change. Sounding like he was illuminated by John Martyn as much as southern soul, Spradlin is a traditional cat that knows how to deliver the goods. There's a lot of white boys with the blues that will wind up using this as a lodestar. Well done.
LISA HILTON/Day & Night: A different kind of release from Hilton, the jazz piano ace told her compatriots to stay home and this time around it's just her, her piano and Al Schmitt. A program that mixes chestnuts with her originals in to a tasty flow and mix, Hilton shows that the marquee names she adds to her mix really are the frosting on the cake and not the real recipe. Letting it fly with just her front and center, you really get a chance to appreciate what a killer pianist she is throughout. Tasty stuff that's a great centerpiece to her canon.
JOHN LATINI/Blues Just Makes Me Feel Good: A white boy from Detroit that's got the blues so bad that he's soaked up loads of local blues awards and accords, this guitar slinger knows how to keep the roadhouse rocking all night without the cops shutting it down for disturbing the peace. Mostly a laid back, easy rolling kind of guy, he's got his show blues down righteously and he don't need no cotton fields in his back pages to make him authentic. Smoky, after hours stuff done right.
JJ WHITEHEAD/Fool Disclosure: Bringing his humor down from the great white north, Whitehead is a nice, solid contemporary stand up that knows how to hit hard and hit often with side ways looks at every day inconveniences and aggravations. With a real knack for holding a fun house mirror up to the things that piss you off and turn them inside out, his observations may not make it go away but it will take the sting out of your dealing with it/them. Certainly a tonic of a laugh riot.
MIKE STANLEY/Shiner: A Michigan kid that made his bones in Chicago, Stanley sounds like your basic normal guy that turns out to be not. The skewed kind of everyman that probably started out keeping the laughs coming in the back of the class room, he's mastered the kind of good natured acerbities that keep him being the life of the party without pissing anyone off. Obviously nimble minded, this cat knows how to deliver the schpritz to all fields and make your sides hurt dispensing all those thoughts you wish you came up with first. Well done.
TREATED & RELEASED
REVEREND FREAKCHILD/Preachin' Blues: Blazingly cool freak folk in the finest tradition of Holy Modal Rounders and their spin offs and friends, this studio set is formatted like a live performance--almost like a college coffeehouse moments preserved from the past. Loaded with the kind of sincerity that let's you know that this isn't a joke and a wink, it's one of those great you had to be there moments you have to experience. Wonderfully eccentric stuff that stands on it's own two feet apart from the rest. Check it out if you know what's good for you.
Volume 40/Number 59
December 29, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record
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