ROBERTA PIKET/West Coat Trio: In it's own way, this is a jazz piano trio reminder that girls just want to have fun. Leading her crew on a set of standards with new life breathed into them, she leads the swinging charge showing why she's the hostess with the mostest and all the other lightly sexist things we can't get away with saying any more. Playing with chops as serious as a heart attack, Piket has this way of subverting them into making you think you're at the hippest cocktail lounge around anyplace this set is playing. Sure fire hot stuff throughout.
LISA MEDNICK POWELL/Blue Book: Only her third album in 25 years despite rubbing elbows with Tommy Malone, Victoria Williams, Greg Leisz and Ray Wylie Hubbard among others, this recidivist to the early days of Lucinda Williams reminds you of when emo was creeping into Americana but seemed natural to music that proclaimed hard times should keep away from it's door. Dark without being dour, this is folk music for people that like to think about what they heard. She has stayed true to her cause over the years.
FLYING HORSE RECORDS
FLYING HORSE BIG BAND/Bat Swings!: Everybody knows (?) Neal Hefti wrote the Batman TV theme but do they remember Nelson Riddle wrote the cues and underscores? Jeff Rupert spins the Rolodex to round up the gang, including Harry Allen, and a good time is had by all. No matter how much of a Batman geek you are or are not, this is a fun set that subversively can make you a jazz fan even when you think you aren't. A total gasser that shows just how much 60s superheroes swung. Dig it, daddio!
KING CRIMSON/Earthbound: A strange entry in the Crimson log, the live album that would not go away where prog met heavy metal and sounded like it was blowing out the sound board, this is a photograph of a band that had broken up and hated each other but were determined to stick it out through their contract. Culled from 1972 dates but originally released later, this is an under recorded version of Crimson still dependant on the early days giving time and tide a run for it's money. Odd ducks and strange dogs are what legends are made from as they grow legs of their own and go on their merry ways. This set also includes a DVD in case you really want to feel like you are there.
ERIN McDOUGALD/Outside the Soiree: If she wasn't recording for a label like Miles High, it would be easy to write McDougald off as an art chick with a blasť attitude, but if that were the case, she wouldn't be able to swing so ably and capably through a lot of the jaded, outsider lyrics and she probably would have though she invented jazz singing while not bothering to find out who Dave Liebman and Tom Harrell were let alone call them in as sidemen. Always delicious, never warmed over, this is a great example of in music for the out crowd. And these days, that's a badge you can be proud to wear. Delightfully left of center and a treat for jaded ears everywhere.
ANDREW GOULD/First Things First: The unmistakably New Yorkish sax man pries his sax away from the cutting edge pros that make him their first call to put himself front and center while he's still young. Hard hitting post bop to the max, Gould ably leads his charges with a sure hand guiding them to maximum results. Left leaning all the way, this really kicks out the jams. Smoking throughout.
QUEENS JAZZ OVERGROUND
OKB TRIO/The Ing...: A 9 minute jam on "Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" that keeps you interested and isn't corny? Well, these three swingers that met fortuitously in Queens away from the hipster eye of Brooklyn have something going on. Tasty, straight up jazz played straight ahead and with simple elegance is this crew's calling card. A well done set that serves newbies and moldy figs equally as well, they know how to cook up a great gateway jazz drug to bring new ears into the tent.
PETER KATER/She: As the recent, long overdue Grammy award after 12 nominations proves, who doesn't like Peter Kater? In the award's wake, Kater turns it up a notch adding vocalist Peia Luzzi to add more color to the background that his battery of synths could. As always, a sweeping, engrossing recording full of mental getaway music, Kater takes new age to an after hours place of it's own where those looking to escape are always welcome. Another winning entry in the canon.
STU HAMM/Diary of Patrick Xavier: The bass ace runs smack dab into the life crisis's that seem to settle in at a certain age and responds to it by crafting his own view of heijera. Covering everything from mellow to turbulent, he blows out the carbs with his ax as his pal. A busman's holiday with sonic lessons we can all learn something from, you don't even have to be a proghead to love it---just someone crafting their own view of new age to refit the pieces back together.
SUNDAE + MR. GOESSL/When You're Smiling: They seemed like they might be a one or two note joke/diversion but here they are on album 5 and the charm and fervor seemed to be turned up to levels not heretofore expected. They always did their stuff righteously but who could have seen they've find so much steam in this 20s music box kind of sound? An utterly charming, skewed Euro cabaret style set with a set card that still finds the gold in the old, this duo is so far off the beaten path that you'll think you've been a path to their door even though they've cleverly cleared the way for you. Great stuff that never fails to bring a smile.
Volume 41/Number 129
March 9, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record
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