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EMMET COHEN/Masters Legacy Series V. 1: Well, here's the kick off of a worthy concept we'd like to see mature farther. A rising young piano lion wants to revere the jazzbos that blazed the trail before him so he could be doing what he does now. Kicking off the series with a set that is structured around Jimmy Cobb as a player, with Cobb at the center of it, this is a right on set where Cohen doesn't feel like he has to shine the light on him, and except for a few of his originals in the mix, he doesn't. Cobb proves he's not an old man when he's sitting behind the skins and this set is a straight ahead jazzbo delight. Right on playing for right on, hungry ears. Hot stuff.

NORBERT STACHEL/Shades of the Bay: A funky sax man that has the usual bullet points on his musical resume also has it loaded with bullet points that show he can play anything with anybody. Such diversity is neglected here as he loads his own deck with jazzy, funky cats you know and sets sail right out of the box with those squiggly, funky lines that let you know this is a smooth jazz party with loads of nads in effect. With a sly nod to "Living Stereo" records in his cover art, his sense of humor and sense of funk merge grandly on this set of originals that show there's still a lot of power in the pen out there just about the time you're sure the eight notes we get to work with have been beaten to death. Killer blowing powers this throughout.

PAUL YONEMURA/Kindred Spirits: Straight ahead, swinging and with chops to spare, the long time Bay area drummer lead from the back of the riser, directing the proceedings like Coppola in his prime. If you're not one of those listeners that has to be a snob about direct, solid playing that closes out the festivities as time well spent, this jazzbo has just the platter for you. Well done.

MANITOBA HAL/Live in Ghent: Yep, this is what college coffeehouses were all about in the late 60s. Hal is a growler, playing and singing the blues solo with his ukulele. The proper mix for passing the hat as you passed a joint. A charming pro that holds his own against time and tide in fine style, it's easy to say this is as good as white boy blues gets (and with few exceptions, that's pretty accurate). If you aren't too cool for school or too hip for the room, you'll dig this as much as his fans in Belgium did when this live two cd recording was made. Check it out.

JO ANN DAUGHERTY/Bring Joy: The leader of a Chicago jazz trio when she's not busy letting what life brings her way fill her time, Daugherty turns the Chicago jazz standard on it's head by crafting hot toddy jazz. While most sounds chase the sounds of summer, this set is geared to being the perfect soundtrack to hunkering down in winter when you want something warm and inviting buffeting you on all sides. A load of tasty instrumental work on a set of mostly band driven originals, the frills are left in the trunk for another time as this is a load of simple, direct, straight ahead playing. Well done.

LEHCATS/Out of the Bag: Funky sax man Nobert Stachel spells his name backwards and brings the wife down to the office for a set of world/funk/jazz that sounds like a chopified version of the hippie version of same. The missus follows capably in the steps of jazz/classical flute women like Ali Ryerson and these co-leaders are assured they'll never have to play weddings and bar mitzvahs during the slow season. The things you hear deep in the mix here are what separates this from a typical busman's holiday set. The many hats are worn well.

DARIN & BROOKE ALDRIDGE/Faster & Farther: You like the Roys? This duo is related by marriage and not blood but they are totally in synch. A nu new grass duo that has pals like Vince Gill, Pat Flynn, John Cowan and Darrel Scott hanging around, there's a damned good reason why they have such a can't miss sound. There's a load of gospel lite in the song mix, but it's easy going enough that even hellions will be tapping their toes in time. A dandy set that does a most righteous job of mixing tradition and vision. Well done throughout.

TOMA/Aroma: A bunch of Austin lads that like power pop as much as cheesy Farfisa band together to give Austin a serving of pomo. This band will probably make it because one of the cats looks like a Baptist version of Walowitz and after a few beers, the audience will be rapt in trying to figure out who this guy reminds them of.

Volume 40/Number 72
January 12, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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