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IDEE MANU/Oktopus-The Music of Boris Blacher: Blacher, a young man who landed in Berlin in the 1920s, wore a lot of hats to make ends meet until he found his footing in music. Presented here almost as a Euro Raymond Scott, leader Manuela Keller finds the place where the wildness in Blacher's music isn't so wild and makes perfect, if way left leaning, sense. Certainly most welcome in places where everyone is smoking Galousies and clove ciggys, this crew finds the way to not make this sound dated and historical giving it the proper malcontent edge. Wild stuff for ears ready for it.

JAZZ MARATHON 3-TWO QUINTETS/Doug MacDonald Quintet-Roger Neumann Quintet: These jazz marathon sets are a real treat for those of us that couldn't be there. Once again, this is the audio record of jazzbos just playing all day and letting the fur fly. With the crew switching off and pros getting the chance not to get rusty, straight ahead jazz, live, doesn't always sound this heavy duty. Playing with the pressure off for an appreciative audience, you really get to hear what these cats are all about. Solid stuff that works from start to finish, if this isn't something that can make your workday commute less tedious, you love your job too much. Killer stuff.

FRANCOIS MOUTIN & KAVITA SHAH DUO/Interplay: One of those uber classy voice/bass jazz vocal dates with just the smallest hint of extra coloration added along the way. Capably mixing originals with chestnuts and smartly chosen covers, this is classy, after-hours martini music equally at home in cabaret or jazzbo ears. Solid, simply and always engaging.

THOMAS KOLARCZYK ENSEMBLE/Halbtraume: A guitar man that found himself becoming one with the bass serves up an angular, Euro jazz session specially geared for left leaning ears. An obvious fan of experimentation, he might follow his muse but he doesn't always let the muse lead, keeping a grip on the proceedings. Not quite egghead jazz, this is a solid sitting down listening session that can easily take your head to places you didn't expect.

JOE HAIDER JAZZ ORCHESTRA & the Sparklettes/Back to the Roots: What this jazzbo crew and their four thrush pals pull off here that's really interesting is giving a modern Euro slant to the classic civil rights/church basement jazz vibe and sound. Tackling stuff easily laid down before their time, they do a great job of finding the feeling, even when the program is all original to boot. A wonderful jazz head trip, if you want something that feels old school but not dated, this is exactly wheat you've been looking for. Well done.

CHARLOTTE ILLINGER/But Beautiful: Even if you are a high flying product of the Euro musical education system, chops are universal. While this should come across as a decidedly German jazz date, the vocalist on display front and center could be from any place at any time as she has the depth to deliver a solid, straight ahead vocal date of the kind you always come back to no matter how far a field your ears take you. A right on set throughout, she is a welcome addition to the sisterhood of jazz vocalists that know how to knock it out of the park.

MARTIAL SOLAL/My One and Only Love: And if you're a sucker for those classy, timeless piano solo dates, one of Duke Ellington's fave piano men shows you half a century later what he can still do. Coloring boldly outside the lines to provoke thought as well as smiles, Solal delivers as only a true master can. With every note played like a flourish, Solal gives a wonderful tour de force on a date that will live longer than all of us. Killer stuff.
71327 (European Jazz Legends 15)

DAVID AKE/Humanities: The piano man leads a bunch of jazzbo leaders and everyone falls right in step admirably. A tasty, sitting down set, all you need to bring to the table is an appreciation of elegant piano work and let the record do the rest. Hot stuff throughout.

WENTUS BLUES BAND/Throwback: Finnish white boys with the blues crank it up to pay tribute to the blues brothers of the road they've met along the way. A solid rollicking set, they have the sound and fury as well as the feel to make this feel like an original set. Tasty stuff that provides a solid addition to the contemporary blues canon.

JAY RODRIGUEZ/Your Sound: The wind/reed ace that's played everything with everyone gets his own spotlight with a set kicking off him bringing attention to himself. Solid stuff from a cat that knows his way around jazz, this is a mighty sitting down listening set sure to keep you on the edge of your chair. Well played throughout, this is a dandy throw back to jazz before the accountants got involved.

Volume 41/Number 123
March 3, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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