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EMMET COHEN featuring Ron Carter/Masters Legacy Series V.2: Is there any way you can go wrong when you pick up a record that says Ron Carter on the cover? Especially when he's given the space and respect to do things his way? I think not! An utterly smoking piano trio date that seems to slyly take you on a history trip through jazz, this is the kind of well played date that ranks in the good as it gets pantheon. Killer stuff by pros that are shining.

SUSAN KREBS CHAMBER BAND/Spring-Light Out of Darkness: A first class kind of art chick vocalist, Krebs leads her chamber crew through a hybrid kind of session that would be at home as a Sunday afternoon cabaret performance. With music focused on renewal, highly appropriate for these times, don't go looking her over for tattoos. She's not that kind of art chick. A very interesting, out of the ordinary session.

CHARLIE BALLANTINE/Life is Brief: Everybody has done a jazz Beatles album, how many jazz Dylan records do you remember? And this is often so atmospheric, I'm not even sure if it counts as jazz. Taking the tunes to places you'd never expect them to wind up, this guitar excursion may well serve as an introduction to the venerable artist since so much of yesterday is already forgotten. Feeling like he's taking Dylan to church, this is a new, different look at the cat that Ballantine feels should bring it all back home.

TOM BRUNER/Plays the Ballads of Wes Montgomery-Homage to a Hero: A guitar jazzbo of long standing with impeccable credentials does something he's wanted to do for the over 50 years he's been plying his trade, pay tribute to the ballad side of Wes. A loviningly and lovely played set, the touch of the maestro is in evidence as Bruner plays from the heart and finds the heart of the matter. A double disc set, this is certainly one of those times when too much is never enough. A winner throughout.

OAK TRIO/Liminality: A new piano trio serves up their debut indie style, with no one telling them what to do, and they seem to do a good job of knowing exactly what to do. With a swinging club feel to the proceedings, they move through various moods and modes wrapping it all up into a well delivered package. Solid stuff for those on the prowl for tasty, new kicks.

BENJAMIN BOONE-PHILIP LEVINE/Poetry of Jazz: In which we return to the 50s when poetry and jazz seemed to collide in hipper hotspots. A sax man and a poet laureate take you back to those San Francisco hot spots where hipsters ruled the earth. If billionaires can still be held in thrall by Jack Kerouac, betcha there's an underground market for the wares of this unlikely duo. Is spoken word that far from pod casts? Hipsters, start your engines.

MICHAEL MORREALE/Miles Song: Self admitting this is an unnecessary collection that's a labor of love, it's the love here that matters. The trumpeter with chops to spare finds every sweet spot that can be mined on this double album, volume two to what might well turn into a series seeing how much music Miles Davis left to be explored and re-evaluated. Utterly tasty stuff throughout, this 14 song sideways glance at his entire career gives you all you need to feel what Morreale feels and dig deeper. Hot stuff that's a helluva gateway drug.

SUZIE VINNICK/Shake the Love Around: A guitar slinging singing gal that heats up the Canadian nights is no stranger to awards and nominations. Serving up a set where it shows she's a long way from getting jaded and losing her mojo, this girl most likely to...has more chops than the meat department at the Costco warehouse. Blues, folk, rock? She's got a toe in all those waters and handles them all with the ease of wrapping them around her little finger. A real blast of fresh air, this set hit's the target every timeout. Killer stuff throughout.

DAVE TULL/Texting and Driving: You have to compare this guy to Dave Frishberg because he swingingly skewers the foibles of contemporary topics and he attracts the kind of sidekicks you would expect to see hanging around with Frish. Totally his own man, he might evoke Frish but he isn't trying to ape him. A wonderfully crazy, loose limbed set that puts the fun back in things and keeps the good times rolling as you stop and wonder if you heard what you think you just heard. Great stuff that works throughout.

CLAUDETTES/Dance Scandal at the Gymnasium!: Chicago's own musical maniacs that fire things up with punk rock energy no matter where they take the sound debut the crew they've been working out with over the last two years to really change up their sound and vibe. More like the Cramps than what you world have expected from past outings, the darker, deeper sound with more mysterious lyrics turn things into a malcontent's party on a platter. It's a matter of time before they stop being high flyers in the underground and get loads more ears turned their way.

Volume 41/Number 125
March 5, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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