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JACK GATES/Bring the Flavors: A protean guitar player, Gates wonders out loud what would happen if you crossed Kevin Kastning with Ottmar Liebert and let all the times and tides that have influenced you come into the mix. With a resume that takes him from GRP to Native American music, Gates is one open eared cat that loves his musical salmagundi properly spiced. Sort of world beat of different stripes, this is a well done set for the listener that wants it all at once. Smart stuff that takes guitar to new places at all the points on the curve.

JIM ROBERTS & the Resonants/Beneath the Blood Moon: Of course you're going to pay attention to this set, that's Mike Finnigan hitting the B3 in the background with those unmistakable licks that grab you right out of the box. Finally abandoning real life to come back to music, Roberts, a former associate of the Seals & Crofts gang, comes on like a real midnight rider loading the chamber with southern, white soul from the soul. Americana for ears that don't follow fashion, this is a wild ride through the part of the night where the light don't shine and the whisky flows freely. Wild stuff for the left of center rocker that wants it raw, rough and real.

MASON RAZAVI/Quartet Plus v. 2: The interesting thing Razavi does on this second ‘quartet' outing is show that you can be a classically styled guitar jazzbo without having to show that you can chase the ghost of Wes and catch him. Firmly his own cat, this solid program of mostly originals is right in the pocket of great playing making for great listening. A real winner of a set, this is the kind of stuff that fools you initially into think it's dinner music but gently elbows it's way to the fore without you noticing. Well done.

TOM RIZZO/Day & Night: An ace guitarist that can play with the shimmering lines of Joshua Breakstone or Pat Martino covers songs even though he can write interesting stuff and calls in first call hands to lend a hand because it's obvious he cares. A solid, swinging date that sure to delight jazz guitar fans, everything you could want in a smoking performance is delivered here. Well done throughout.

JOHN McLEAN-CLARK SOMMERS BAND/Parts Unknown: Ditching Larry Hobgood wasn't the only radical change Kurt Elling made a few years ago as he jettisoned the rest of his backing crew on board here as well. The dismissal doesn't seemed to have done this duo any harm as they picked up some new pals and proceeded to embark on an easily progressive but still swinging route. With a four on the floor forthrightness that cuts throughout the clutter, straight ahead jazzbo will enjoy this trip while in good hands all the while. This is the real deal.

WEATHERBOY: Left of center lite pop from a multi instrumentalist that has some pretty interesting friends and associates leaving finger prints here. Bowie influenced starman pop, this set will get you through to the next dimension if that's your cup of tea.

STEVE GILLESPIE/Alive on State: A contemporary, in your face comic that been at it over decade but is still young enough to be called a young ‘un, Gillespie has his take on the contemporary world at the ground level. A great break from relevancy and current issues, he's got his eye on the everyday stuff that really concerns us and pokes it's underbelly with a big, sharp stick. A really fun cat that might hang with stoners but delivers with crystal clarity. Strap in for a laugh riot.

SUNTRODDEN/III: Twee as Belle & Sebastian ever were, this twee pop is right in the pocket of the twee pop fan.

TIMOTHY WENZEL/What We Hold Dear: Talk about music that makes a stunning visual impact! Wenzel reaches back for the vibe and sound that broke Windham Hill open into a mass market phenom as he ventures this time into the sound and feelings that comes about in the aftermath of upheaval when you see that what matters and that what counts is in tact. A well textured outing that gives you a feeling of calm after the upheaval passes, this is a smart work that feeling people will have room for in their collections. Tasty stuff from a keyboard ace that is not noodling around.

Volume 40/Number 190
May 10, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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