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ALEX WEITZ/Luma: The way this young sax man can bounce from mad to mellow, you can almost close your eyes, sit back, let your mind wander and think you're listening to Getz. While his young pals were getting baked in the Arizona sun, he was baking in the music of Ellington and Basie--and getting good grades to boot. The kind of high flying student that seems to have the smarts to adjust to the real world, this is jazzbo to the core with a lot on the ball. This set of all originals shows that he's on board to be a power hitter to all fields. A smoking second album that blows away any thoughts of sophomore jinx. Check it out.

RAY LYON/Trinity One: Transplanted from Florida to North Carolina, Lyon brought as much sun as he could with him to power this trio where he's joined by Jimmy Haslip and Bill Berg. Moving easy jazz with keyboard leading the way, Lyon has been at it long enough to know how to make a fun sound that let's your cares roll off your back and hopefully down the street and into the gutter never to be heard from again. Tasty throughout, this set works on a lot of levels and shows you can't discount the chops of an old pro that keeps them in fine shape.

MARK MASTERS ENSEMBLE/Blue Skylight: Celebrating Mulligan and Monk at the same time, once these cats bring their big band to the fore and the core, these two innovators don't seem so desperate in execution. A reined in free jazz vibe permeates as this date careens madly but never rolls off the rails. A solid date with a unique voice at the wheel, this is one of those dates that's both a welcome throwback and modern at the same time. Mainstream jazzbo have a winner on their hands here.

KEITH OXMAN/East of the Village: Time for a sax man to lead the way on some burning B3 that brings the grease and smoke as well as the hot cha cha. A sure fire date to chase away the blues, this trio knows the way to hop and bop along in fine style. Whether blazing on original or chestnut, this is one of those wonderfully timed dates that can chase the cold winter away. Hot stuff throughout.

CAROL MORGAN QUARTET/Post Cool-The Night Shift V. 1: You could almost call this the Palmetto record that wasn't as Morgan dips deep into the Palmetto talent pool and resource reserve to dish up a free flowing, swinging date that highlights originals and standards, all stamped with her brand of high octane blowing. Straight ahead swinging stuff that never runs on fumes, this is a real night away from the kids where you give those stifled corpuscles room to run. Great stuff from a trumpet ace that proven herself over and over again no matter what guise she jazzily slips into. Well done.

CHIEKO HONDA/Aquarelle: Samba by way of Japan that seems to have some "Flower Drum Song" leavening in the mix as well from time to time. A sweet cross cultural date that has a little something for everyone and enough divergence to cover any and all bases. Sweet sounding throughout, this date doesn't need anyone to apologize for it as it deftly genre hops around and pleases throughout. A tasty, out of the ordinary set that's sure to grab the ear of anyone looking for a well done change of pace.

CHARLIE SEPULVEDA/Mr. EP: Tipping his cap, on this set of mostly originals, to his former boss, Eddie Palmeiri, who turns up in the mix as well, this is one of those modern, forward looking dates that doesn't ditch it's salsa or jazz roots but doesn't trade on them exclusively as well. A hot, happening modern take that knowingly brings the past into the present, just call it a first class party on a platter and enjoy the proceedings. Smoking stuff that'll never leave you high and dry. Well done throughout.

JEREMY PELT/Make Noise!: Hard to believe the trumpet ace has over 20 years under his belt already as he still maintains the drive to keep it fresh. Rounding up a specially hand picked crew to realize his vision this time around, Giving everyone some in the course of this expedition, this is a fine example of how you can make jazz wild and wooly and still keep it deeply in the pocket. Certainly leading a crew of future leaders, this date smokes in the best way imaginable. Brightly shining stuff sure to open your ears in the best way possible. Check it out.

CHAMPION FULTON/Speechless: For her 8th album as a leader, Fulton ditches the multi tasking of having vocals and gives us some full on whorehouse piano played with just the right amount of speak easy vibe that says ‘after hours spoken here'. A wildly charming date that brings a female perspective to the barrelhouse that Tatum couldn't, this trio hits it out of the park throughout no matter where they veer stylistically. A low key date that wins you over by being full of fire you didn't see coming. You bet, hot stuff throughout.

REUNION PROJECT/Varanda: So what happens when you get real life Brazilin pals playing the Brazilian/jazz fusion sounds they grew up together on? A wild date! A totally smoking session that doesn't recognize borders too well, this is real pals doing real playing bottomed with real telepathy. Years of playing together and knowing each other doesn't diminish the freshness they bring to their actual recording debut as a unit. A must have for anyone looking for a solid listening date with some bite, these cats brought their A game, not their cocktail game. Well done.

Volume 40/Number 101
February 10, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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