ECHOES OF SWING/Bix-A Tribute to Bix Beiderbecke: Who better to tackle the legacy of Bix McLix than Echoes of Swing? Rather than make this a tribute by way of homage, they gently refashion the classic works for contemporary ears but not in a way that'll agitate moldy figs or keep the young ‘uns from coming into the tent. Without the hiss of old recordings, the limitations of the old technology and any of the negatives that can be associated with a project like this, Bix is brought forward with nothing of the original lost in the translation. Included with this set is a disc of originals so you can A B the tunes and make these decisions for yourself. Once again, the premiere swing outfit earns their spurs and keeps their lead over the pack. Killer stuff.
25 MAGIC YEARS-THE JUBILEE ALBUM/various: The ice cream cone punching the smiley face in the eye should tip you off that this isn't the usual label retrospective collection---especially since most of these tracks are previously unreleased, many recorded specially for this collection. Making sure you'll never mistake ACT for ECM, the label that prides itself on seeking out the new does a lot of that here. Never precious just for the sake of it, this is a fine collection of forward thinking jazz sure to grab your attention and keep you entertained. Fine stuff throughout.
JOHN LAFAYETTE RAMEY/Exposition Lines: Time for a little exporting from the LA roots scene as roots meets power pop from one of the cats that's a spark plug on the scene with the ability to break out of a little box via his versatility. Tasty, ear opening stuff from a cat that's paid enough dues to cash in with good conscience. Check it out.
PAUL McCANDLESS/Morning Sun-Adventures with Oboe: Pretty much having only two jobs in the last 50 years shows McCandless to be a pretty stable cat. His playing on this retrospective might have you thinking he's a lot more wild and wooly than that. While jazz oboe isn't normally given a treatment like this, producer Paul Winter realized just how much McCandless added to Winter recordings as he traversed the tapes and the years. A collection that's pulled from a host of classic albums that hangs together here as a whole, this is a wonderful look at an American treasure that you might not have been appreciating fully. A jazz/new age/world high water mark recording.
LONGLEASH/Passage: Progressive contemporary classical music well tailored for nu ears, the mash ups here go well beyond what would be expected. Debuting a bunch of new works by a bunch of new cats, this trio delves into the work making an oft times uneasy experience proving it's for progressive ears. For those that appreciate the genius in the abstruse.
NORA GERMAIN/Go For It: Enjoying the freedom Pledgemusic funding can inspire, the swinging fiddler saws and sings up a storm in Nawlins letting the fur fly in a way that shows more labels should have given more worthy artists the creative control they earned and deserved. An energetic and engaging romp, there's only a few licks that underscore her inspiration from Stephane Grappelli showing her to be quite the artist in her own right. Tasty, contemporary jazz inspired tunes keep this mash up from being something in the shade of muddy brown. Hard to resist.
MATT WILSON/Honey & Salt: Wilson is just unstoppable, as you should know by now. Losing his wife and brother in short order, he channels his energy into finding the jazz in the poetry of his distant relative, Carl Sandberg, in time to commemorate the 50th anni of Sandburg's death. With a bunch of serious as a heart jazz cats on board as readers, Wilson takes you to places that only one of his readers, Carla Bley, could even imaging taking you to. Even Jack Black shows up to do a few verses. Art jazz in the best sense of the word, this set is one mighty ear opener that left field lovers will celebrate to the highest order. Utterly wild.
Volume 40/Number 280
August 8, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record
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