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JON LUNDBOM & Big Five Chord/Accomplish Jazz: Not for the faint of heart, this is aggressive jazz that isn't afraid to go anywhere, even tackling songs by the Louvins made famous by the Byrds. Like when the Brits overtook civil rights jazz in the late 60s, Lundbom and his crew delight in the asymmetrical and off beat making a fine stew for those who like their jazz sitting down. Clearly a wild ride.

JOHN FUNKHOUSER TRIO/Time: He prides himself on making the most of odd meters but this sounds like a wonderful, low key straight ahead set with a lot of club feel in the classic piano trio mode. Simply a tasty set with lots of wonderful playing, it's right up your alley if you want to settle in with a set you can comfortably enjoy. Very much a fine set of sitting down jazz you really need to play in the car.

PANDA TRANSPORT/Monorail: Breezy contemporary take on sunshine pop that is a delightful dose of aural cotton candy and is just what you need in the headphones when the palette needs clearing. Nothing to sink your teeth into that won't disappear into the ether and that's what makes it so much fun. A proper antidote to the current times, the only gripe is that it's only an ep. Clear the decks and let this make you smile.

DAVID LIEBMAN GROUP/Live at MCG: One of Miles' former sax men left the tape rolling in 1995 to capture a new edition of his 1991 crew that is still together. With reliable tracks from luminaries amid the originals, this is energetic but meditative playing that hallmarks what he's been about for lo these many years. With so much good stuff laying hidden in drawers it is any wonder why it's so hard for anything new to get any traction in a world that's caring less? Jazzbos aware of and in search of the real deal will be glad the cosmos hit the rewind button and let this escape from the vaults.

STEVEN SCHOENBERG/Live--An Improvisational Journey: If this piano cat reminds you of Jim Brickman, it's no accident. He travels the same scoring route as Brickman and has an intuitive feel for following his fingers across the keys to places he sometimes can only follow instead of lead. A polished yet in the moment collection, if you don't know him already and love piano and contemporary instrumental music, be sure to make this the next stop on your play list. He's got the goods.

BASSEKOU KOUYATE & NGONI BA/I Speak Fula: An African banjo man that's played with every old school rocker you can think of shows that Eddie Murphy was right when he said if you bring someone from the bush to Hollywood, they will adapt. Wild world beat set from the people that originally brought you grunge, it's as far outside the lines as you might imagine and on point throughout just the same. A wonderful ear opener, adult and mature ears looking for that new kick to move sluggish blood along will have a winner on their hands here. Hot stuff that sets a new bar for ‘indigenous' African pop. Check it out.

U.O. PROJECT/It's Time for U: Ok, contemporary jazzbos, it's time to step up. This young brother has chops to spare and is going to be one of the mainstay jazz drummers of tomorrow and the future. Having learned his lessons well from Blue Note, Verve and Impulse, he knows how to get a groove going with the finesse and style of Art Taylor while adding his own spice throughout. A zesty debut from a well seasoned player that is one day going to look back at this date and think it was recorded by The Flintstones. Mark my words and pay attention, this is the real deal.

PABLO MENENDEZ & Mezcla/I'll See You in Cuba: Menendez loves Cuba so much that he left California to pursue it's music and one of it's actresses. Bringing forth his take on futuristic Cuban music, he builds upon the rhythmic traditions but this ain't no Ricky Ricardo session. A very creative outing that adventurous ears will take to gladly, this is how civil rights jazz would sound without the civil rights underpinnings.

Volume 33/Number 31
December 1, 2009
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2009 Midwest Record

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