JACKIEM JOYNER/Main Street Beat: Inspired by recent fatherhood, Joyner puts the funk back in smooth jazz as he ups the ante to make this set something you don't just listen to in the background. Zippy, zesty and packing real punch, this is the kind of muscular sax playing that you can only find deep in the pocket. A winning set throughout.
QUINN BACHAND'S BRISHEN/Blue Verdun: This 21 year old Hot Club inspired swinger is going to scare the beans out of you with the kind of chops he trots out. With a sound that would have made him the house band at the hotel in "The Shining" tucked really well under his belt, this award winner has got a mastery going on that's wise beyond his years. Leading a crew that'll have you believing you're in a different time and place, this is a wildly magical, out of the ordinary set that'll have you wrapped around it's finger in no time. All right on for something so familiar sounding yet so out of the ordinary. Really, well done throughout.
SPIKE WILNER TRIO/Odalisque: You don't get that many people that remember Walter Davis any more yet cite him as a hero, but Wilner is one to step up. Kind of a jazz underground recording as he has his own jazz club but this was recorded in a pal's club at the other end of the country, the after hours/you are there feel is riding high here. With his crew playing as a unit all the way, they stir up some impressive jazz to celebrate the centennial of jazz recording---that's why the cover looks kind of like the old records you found in grandpa's basement. Other than being firmly in the tradition, there's nothing old about what's going on here----just the right stuff by the truck load. This is solid, straight ahead jazz that's as good as it gets. Well done.
GRANT STEWART TRIO/Roll On: Not exactly the kind of sax hell raising Sonny Rollins gave us in the late 50s, this set is in the pocket of that tradition but it isn't loaded with the kind of skronk that'll give the children nightmares if you play it too late in the evening. Solid sax trio work that pulls well chosen tunes from various points around the canon, sax fans have a full on dose of New York done right going on here. Solid stuff throughout with a groovy after hours feel.
KELLYE GRAY/Rendering: How's this for a concept? After all these years, Gray got the rights to her debut record back and she's packed them as a double disc set giving her the chance to compete with her younger self before your very ears. What was a jazz singer doing on a country label anyway? With a distinct cabaret edge to her jazz vocals, she's wisely pursuing an avenue that lets a singer deepen their chops in a timeless way as time goes by. Turning her set into more of a performance piece, this is great way to spend an evening going out without leaving the house---just add a cocktail. Solid stuff from a pro in command of her instrument and her art.
TO BE CONTINUED/Poetry from the Future: If two of the four members of this crew weren't guys, we have some kind of commentary about how this is a crew of art chicks hooked on a "Wonder Woman" vibe. Instead, we get four New York improv-ers with solid resumes pushing the free jazz envelope but not so much the wheels roil off. Eggheads, take note!
HYESEON HONG/Ee-ya-gi: A Korean composer/arranger that learned her Carla Bley lessons well adds her New York stay to her style and comes in with a solid, left leaning jazz date that's quite encompassing in scope and has some stellar guests along for the ride rounding out the sound. Mixing a lot of things deftly without feeling like anything is borrowed, this is someone who can say she leads a jazz orchestra proudly. Solid stuff throughout.
ED NEUMEISTER & HIS NEUHAT ENSEMBLE/Wake Up Call: Focusing on his skills as an arranger and conductor more than his playing and writing, this set stands toe to toe with anything cats like Bill Holman were gloriously doing post Kenton. An engrossing kind of date with a scad of first call jazzbos doing his bidding, this is a text book of first class, sitting down jazz played the way it should be. Elegant without being stuffy, this is a mega feast for your ears.
DAVE LIEBMAN-JOE LOVANO/Compassion-the Music of John Coltrane: A record that was never really meant to be a record, this is what happens when you let improv-ers improv and things go really right. Originally recorded 10 years ago for a radio broadcast to mark the 40th anni of Coltrane's death, the hell raiser that filled the commemorated hell raiser's chair in Miles band rounds up his compatriots in Saxophone Summit and let's the fur fly on a program of all Coltrane, released to recognize the 50th anni of his passing and it all seems so much more melodic than hell raising. Time & tide? Great playing from the first byte, this is the stuff heartfelt tributes are made from. A killer date that needs to finally be let loose, Liebman hits it out of the park again in stellar fashion.
STEVE BILODEAU/Sun Through the Rain: The guitar man rounds up a crew for a jazz improv date that sounds like he felt 2016 felt. Highly left leaning stuff that is just the tonic the chaotic mind is looking for to feed on and embrace the chaos, it ain't easy listening for easy times.
Volume 40/Number 223
June 12, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record
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