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ELISE LEBEC/Origin: Inspired by her pop digging Loreena McKennitt, Lebec pushes that nostalgia forward as she takes her new age vibe to Egypt and fulfills her vision with a well rounded, large crew that knows how to plant the spooky sound of the souks at sundown into your psyche. Wildly exotic without being off putting, this is quite the dazzling date for the modern armchair traveler to sink into with a do not disturb sign on the door. A full scale ear opener throughout.

SERGIO PAMIES/What Brought You Here?: A piano man takes a decade off to write a thesis about Paco deLucia and Chick Corea's effect on jazz and comes back with a set that almost blows off his flamenco and classical background? What gives? A piano man showing how it's done. A young lion no more, he's still got his award winning chops at his beck and call---and call on them he does. With a hand picked crew that appreciate and understand his vision, this is a swinging, bopping set that opens the ears nicely. Solid stuff for solid listeners.

FIONA JOY/Into the Mist: Just when you thought the world was safe from bored, aspirational mommies with electric pianos trying to convince us how deep they are, along comes the delightful Ms. Joy with an award winning solo piano set. Then she does the unthinkable and comes back with a set that's even more enchanting and sure to fire up a phalanx of mommies that should stick to their knitting instead of invading Guitar Center looking for deals on electric keyboards. The kind of set that could have kept both Windham Hill and Imaginary Road in business, this is where the gold standard bar is set. Killer stuff where so much is said by so little. Hot stuff.

NATHAN BROWN TRIO/This is the Moment: A lot of cats seem to be remembering Walter Davis these days, and Brown is no exception, but this bass ace has so much more to offer than nostalgia. With originals that sound comfortingly familiar up his sleeve, the Brown crew knows how to serve it up just right. With cool school bopping leading the way, this is a cat that easily convinces you to stay out late on school nights to dig. Solid jazzbo work throughout, there's that under current running through this that cool rockers can dig it too. Well done.

SOUNDS FROM THE CIRCLE IX/various: The cool thing about being a cool cat is that you get your hands on these cool, MP3 only samplers that are stocked to the gills with upcoming music you should be aware of. If you are a new age fan, some of the top hitters in the field are behind this fatly tracked compilation that has lots of somethings for everyone, all of it geared to blowing your ears wide open. With so much life left in the genre, it might not be as fashionable as it once was but it's going to be a long ride from here to history's dust bin. Pop is getting so dull that it's almost like the stage is being set for when this sound had it's first glory days after he fall of disco. There's a lot of smart stuff out there much of it featured here.

PETER CALANDRA/Road Home: Taking a break from doing rousing sports anthems for TV, Calandra offers up a peaceful set inspired by an actual road trip and what was going through his head while on the road. A right in the pocket, classic feeling new age synth powered date, the cat pushes his skills to the fore to make sure this isn't some set of samey samey. Solid stuff.

Volume 40/Number 237
June 26, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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