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SHERMAN IRBY & MOMENTUM/Cerulean Canvas: All it took was 2 dates with the corporately owned Blue Note of the 90s for Irby to find his inner old school tendencies to rise up angry and get what he needs done by any means necessary. Hopefully, it's served him well personally because the listener keep profiting with each new date. Forever too young to ever really be considered old school, Irby really defends the old school here with his sax echoing the greats that opened the doors and cleared there way for him. If you don't hear Adderley and church basements here, you aren't listening. Bringing the 60s into the 10s, Irby is a leader in full command of his art and his troops. There's nothing radical here except great playing in an era when that seems to be getting less and less important. Here's to this defender of tradition while keeping it organic. Hot stuff throughout.

SCOTT WOLLSCHLEGER/Soft Aberration: We can always appreciate a well though out mash up just as well as we can appreciate nu classical music that is left leaning while not being pots and pans music. Wollschleger's debut gives us both. Echoing crime jazz with 80s EDM with sinister sounding stuff and more, you can easily hear stuff here turning up in the soundtrack of a indie, urban crime/action pic for chase scenes. Nu stuff for nu ears, the masters of the past are going to have to make room for this nu cat elbowing his way in. Check it out.

GABRIEL ALEGRIA AFRO-PERUVIAN SEXTET/Diablo en Brooklyn: If Wendy Waldman can give us "Gringo in Mexico", Alegria can give us "Diablo en Brooklyn". Because he brings us his fusion from a whole other coast, we get a whole different flavor of Afro/Latin fusion, all brought into the present, that might scare off moldy figs with it's urbanality (inspired by living in Brooklyn for the last 10 years) but nu ears that don't even think they like jazz will cock an ear in this direction. Far from being dry and ethnic, this living, breathing date hits loads of high spots without even breaking a sweat. Solid modern stuff that sure footedly follows it's own course.

JOANNE POLK/Gershwin & Wild: It's all in the special sauce kids and let that be a lesson to you. If you're the kind of person that drops ‘whatever' into every sentence at least twice, you'll hear this and think Polk sounds like the piano player at Nordstrom's----and you'll be showing your ignorance. Polk has the accomplishments to fill the vitae of at least ten and sparks a magical electricity where her fingers the caress the keys. Tackling Earl Wild's transcriptions of Gershwin classic, she formidably tackles this formidable pairing serving up a dream date for the classic pop music fan in a date that's one for the books. Killer stuff from a master, this is what real listening music is all about.

CASE GARRETT/Aurora: Just like there were reggae bands behind Bob Marley that weren't second tier but were left leaning, there were Outlaws behind Waylon & Willie that weren't second tier, they were just left leaning. Garrett finds his Outlaw/alt.country chops in that left leaning bunch, additionally leavened by things being 40 years later and acknowledging things have changed. However, betcha ‘the devil has me on speed dial' becomes the new ‘the devil made me do it the first time'. No stranger to the dour side of life, someone needs to step up to fill the Townes Van Zandt void and it takes some real living to be able to do that. This is the long awaited antidote to sippy cup country. Check it out.

JOHNNY SUMMERS/Suite Jubilation: The Canadian jazzbo most worthy of greater stateside recognition really changes it up this time from what his past efforts would lead us to expect. When you say he's taking it to church this time, he's really taking it to church. A modern liturgical date that's not for eggheads even while presenting itself as high minded, this set has big time jazz echoing from every pew, often with different flavors along the way. Taking care to make this stand out record be a real stand out in many ways, this rises above being a genre date to being some grand, expansively produced listening music that'll blow your mind whether your religious or not. Killer stuff from a Canadian national treasure.

UNLEASHED DREAMS/Dare to Dream: While the Canadian duo admits up front that their music isn't for everyone, because it helps to hear this if you are in the mood to upgrade your spiritual life, that doesn't mean this is something cheesy recorded on the cheap. With scads of their fellow first call Canucks giving this set heft, it's not noodling and pablum sentiments. As fully realized as any pop record, this new age/spiritually leaning set is a sure chart topper for the dissatisfied, middle aged seeker looking to give voice to their scattered thoughts in search of cohesion. Quite the interesting listen that touches the soul.

Volume 40/Number 305
September 2, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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