CHELSEA WILLIAMS/Boomerang: Showing an obvious debt to Sheryl Crow, Williams, an LA phenom who has busked her way to 100,000 records sold, often to the town's high and mighty, has learned her performance chops by watching the sun come up over Sunset Blvd. one too many times. With the kind of homegrown, hamish sound you either catch a fire with or not, someone has to step in to that left field pop sound now that Joanna Newsom is busy having babies.
ERNEST McCARTY JR & JIMMIE SMITH/Reunion Tribute to Erroll Garner: Tributes are dicey in the wrong hands. If I wanted to do a tribute to Waylon Jennings, you'd probably say ‘meh'. But when Jimmy Cobb steps up for Miles or Maceo steps up for JB, it's a link to an era that resonates. So it goes here. These two might have been late to the Garner camp, but they were there and know the moves that brought the smiles and toe taps. Unstoppable cats that didn't let the tenor of the times step on their dreams, even if they were diverted a touch (or so), that unstoppableness is reflected in their playing here. With the recent reissue of "Concert by the Sea" showing just how timeless this music is/was, these two old pros deliver the goods they were delivering from the back of the bandstand and have more than earned their spotlight at the proscenium. Killer stuff for classic jazz ears throughout.
GEORGE FREEMAN/90 Going on Amazing: For all the love we show for Bucky Pizzarelli around here, we're happy to have the chance to show some to Freeman. Actually recorded just as the end of the great hotel lobby jazz era was winding up in Chicago around 9/11 (back when the hotels supported great jazzbos that had enough of the road and you could hear amazing stuff any night of the week for just a drink or two), this guitar elder statesman swings mightily and serves up the kind of stuff you can't resist. A recording to be revered, and not just because Freeman is venerated, this is also a direct link to Charlie Parker that can't be broken. A textbook example of great jazz guitar played right.
CAMERON BLAKE/Fear Not: You can't be the nu Leonard Cohen when you are raising a family in Michigan and trying to write introspective songs while doing the dishes. Ah, who knows with these millenials. Earnest and heartfelt for sure---heat up some water if this is your cup of tea.
EMI SUNSHINE/Ragged Dreams: Even in the middle of the Great Depression, the Carter Family had to sing about hard times should stay away from their door. Sunshine is proud of tackling adult themes, but jumping Jesus, life is hard enough without being hit over the head with it in our entertainment. By a 17 year old that claims to have seen it all. Have any of these songs been pitched to "13 Reasons"?
BOB BRADSHAW/American Echoes: Some people have it and some people don't. A charming album of songs about life's loveable losers as told by a mature and foreign born eye, this set of left field Americana is musically on point in a most pleasing way providing the setting for lyrics that you often times don't believe you're hearing. A first rate recording that raises the songwriter bar, all I can say is Bradshaw has the shining and knows how to capture lightening in a bottle. Well done.
NINE SHRINES/Misery: Need a new trip through metal hell? It's hard charging and cuts to the chase and let's you know the direction aimless hormones are roiling in when pent up in suburban bedrooms and basements with no particular place to go.
SHAMAN HARVEST/Red Hands Black Deeds: This crew makes early period Lou Reed look positively cheerful. Singing about having nothing left to lose, sometimes to a shuffle beat with angst and anger in full bore, this is what you get if you wondered what shoe gaze on meth would sound like.
UNHINGED SEXTET/Don't Blink: The consensus is that the only reason to call this crew Unhinged is because they are in different parts of the country and convene once a year to record. This is too much of an ensemble to be unhinged so if you are looking for some pots and pans music, look elsewhere. This is a swinging bunch of jazzbos that show their impressive debut wasn't the product of a life time of wood shedding with nothing to follow it up with. Tasty, swinging full blooded jazz, this is top shelf sitting down jazz sure to get you bouncing in your seat.
THE SIGHS/Wait on Another Day: Generational mash up where the 60's meet the 80s and alt.modern, this is guitar driven pop for nu ears.
TRIOCITY/I Believe in You: When do chestnuts not sound like chestnuts? When this trio of educators gets their hands on them and twists and turns them into sounds like you never heard before. Long time faculty members of Eastman School of Music, this doesn't sound like anything you ever heard on a Chuck Mangione record, even when he was leaning left in his Mercury days. This is a through left leaning set that'll have you wondering where the classics went and continually checking the sleeve to see what's playing. A wildly creative set that finds this crew taking the familiar to the church basement to set your soul free.
JIM GAILLORETO'S JAZZ STRING QUINTET/The Pythiad: Take some lesser Greek mythology, mix it with some 50s flavored jazz into classical and you get a modern thing that sounds like it could be equally at home with the art minded or as a diversion for kids almost ala "Peter & the Wolf". Not exactly something you'd expect to be coming out of Chicago, this is a wild and wonderful set that exists in a time zone all it's own.
LEE ROY PARNELL/Midnight Believer: It's a crime that a new Parnell album has to come out under the aegis of crowd funding or not at all. Old time fans, this is Parnell looking toward the future. His baby might still think she's a train, but he's moved on to bring out the Memphis and soul in his soul showing others how boomer pop is made when it's made right. Still swinging one of the sharpest pens around, this singing songwriter still has plenty on the ball and could give lessons. Hot stuff.
Volume 40/Number 283
August 11, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record
Did you know we dig you linking to us? Go ahead. It's fun and easy. Want to make sure your link opens to your review? See those dates on the side of the page? Click on the one that relates to the page you want. That page's permalink will open in the browser window. Just cut and paste from there and we're off to the races.
Tossing a doubloon, shilling or sheckle in the Paypal tip jar is not only very appreciated but helps keep this site happy and well fed.
FTC Blogger Disclosure: Hold on, we're working on something that doesn't sound lame.