JOHN COLTRANE/Coltrane 90: A decade back, Fantasy put out three well stocked box sets covering Coltrane as session cat, sideman and leader. 50 years after his death, his playing still sounds as strong and vital as ever. While Acrobat doesn't face the a&r licensing decisions Fantasy did, freeing them up to cull sides from far a field, this set takes you to places you have to go but is loaded with places you didn't know existed let alone would want to go. A four disc set with the most lavish book we've ever seen from this label, the two and a half generations that have come since he left can be just as educated in the ways of the Trane as the vet fan all in one step. Doing a great job of going beyond covering the waterfront with the inclusion of private tapes and live/broadcasts that have never been on record, this is a master class in the fine art of blowing. A fine study in how one man can make it all sound so easy, this is the basic primer for anyone that isn't a believer.
ERIK LINDGREN/Yin Yang A Go Go: There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear. I haven't thought about Lindgren in years but the week before this retrospective was released, I found my 10 inch flexi disc of Space Negros with the booklet in tact. Back in the day, he was one of my fave left fielders, punk provocateurs and more from the offbeat/strange side of the ledger. That often veered wide of Zappa. I couldn't image how he made a living but I was glad he was doing what he did. Who knew his day job was high toned classical player, commercial/industrial cleffer and sound librarian? Ah, people and their secret lives. You want a double disc of madness that hasn't become dated? I can't recommend this enough. If that ain't enough, this is dada you can play for your mama. A 40 year look at a life well lived.
JOHN LEWIS/Complete Albums Collection 1957-1962: Milt Jackson might have been the coolest daddio in MJQ but Lewis was the one with the most Euro sensibility and that's what gave them legitimacy in the rec rooms of the neo sprawling suburbia. The one that displayed the most openly classical chops and Euro collaborations, Lewis was the cat that could take jazz out of the clip joints and into the homes in the 50s. While not taking his voluminous early years output in order here, this four disc collection focuses on Eurocentric and Third Stream sets as well as showing his versatility in getting along with anyone. Classy piano jazz that set the bar back in the day, who'd have thought a cat that played like this came out of bebop? A solid journey through the past.
PAUL CHAMBERS/Complete Albums Collection 1956-1960: Back when Borders was circling the drain and EMI wasn't far behind, the Borders cash register was spitting out 30% off coupons for your next purchase with regularity. Most of the albums on parade here were in print on Bluenote at the time and they maddeningly never turned up in the Borders bins where they would have been a steal at $8.33 per disc. Tempis fugit... A bass ace tyro that burned out and faded away at 33 before Miles turned his attention to bitches brews, beside these classy, swinging sets, Chambers can be found on too many of the most influential jazz sets of the day. A great look back at how far you can go not taking care of yourself, kids, you can enjoy this to the max but don't try it his way at home. A delight to remember.
LEONARD COHEN/Once More for Marianne: Let the floodgates to the late Lenny's archives spring open and unleash the various live tapes that CBS deemed unfit for release. A double discer of a radio broadcast from the casino in Montreux in 1976, this is a veritable greatest hits set of anything you want to hear by him prior to "I'm Your Man". The sound may be a little thin, but really, this is Lenny and he powers through it mightily showing sly humor and diversion that you certainly wouldn't have expected from him back then. And who remembered Laura Brannigan being one of his background vocalists? Go ahead, tell me this isn't the album "Live Songs 1973" should have been. Thin sound or not, it captures the thrill of him really being on back in the day. Check it out.
REFLECTIONS IN COSMO: Hey, not everyone in Norway is doing death metal. Some people are doing death free jazz. Finding that spot were "Metal Machine Music" meets fusion, this is the soundtrack to "Freddy and Jason Go to Hell II". A real treat for the far left leaning.
LED BIB/Umbrella Weather: It might be from England, but this is the next wave of old school no wave/loft jazz. Careening improv, this is music to let the malcontents rejoice.
RAY DONOVAN season four: IMDB hints at a season five in the ether, but the way this season plays, it feels like I didn't get the memo that Ray has moved on. Ending with what passes for a happy ending for this bunch with Ab's cancer going away, Mickey actually pulling off the big one, Terry getting the girl, Bunchy's wack wife saving his life and Ray getting out from under getting his stride back in shape. Also, the Russians get dicked and the kid becomes the champ, freed from is ghosts of the past. That's a mouthful. Maybe it ends the way it does because they needed a breather because they could have painted themselves into a lot of corners here. Whether it's the end or not, bad ass fans are sure to enjoy the latest anti-hero and his continued exploits.
Volume 40/Number 65
January 5, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record
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