EDUARDO MERCURI TRIO/Prelude to a Kiss: The Brazilian guitarist brings classic pop and jazz tunes to South America for a personal trio date that goes down so easy and smooth. Tasty and talented with well forged chops, he doesn't have to set fires to get them to light up properly. A fine debut from a cat on a mission of music.
BOB ARTHURS & STEVE LAMATTINA/Jazz It Up-Ukrainian Songs for 3 Dads: Talk about sort of coloring outside the lines, this duo took up the gauntlet when challenged by a producer that wanted them to tackle traditional Ukie songs. They rose to the challenge but in the end it's a jazzy take on ethnic music that will serve a purpose for those who miss the homeland. Played with a righteous, inherent sadness that goes with the territory, this duo knows the way but not everyone will feel comfortable following.
FRESH SOUND NEW TALENT
RYAN MEAGHER/Lost Days: The jazz guitarist gives his improv side some room to spread out this time around in the company of improvisers that make the Fresh Sound sound so fresh so often. Nearly playing with telepathy even though they hadn't played together before, Meagher shows the move from New York to Portland opens the lungs with fresh air and invigorated the chops. Tasty stuff with a slight daddio edge that plays like a dream.
CY COLEMAN/Jazzman's Broadway: Before becoming a formidable Broadway force of his own, Coleman was a journeyman laboring in the vineyards and turned out three albums of show tunes all featured here. Harburg/Arlen's "Jamaica" sounds like Bob Mitchum's island album which must have fit the bill of how promoters thought they were going to bring Jamaica to suburban rec rooms. Chops are chops and Coleman had plenty, most of which haven't gotten dated in over 60 years. Of course when you've got Rodgers & Hammerstein material to work with... Broadway and jazz fans will kvell over this hidden find.
AZAR LAWRENCE/Elementals: Swinging his saxes mightily and calling his jazz healing music, Lawrence certainly serves up a sonic getaway you can tell was supervised in some degree by label a&r director Houston Person. Playing ably without the need of a mentor at this stage of his career, Lawrence serves it up righteously and knows his jazz well after all these years. It might be sitting down jazz but you'll be bouncing in your seat and standing up and cheering. Hot stuff.
JEREMY PELT/Noir en Rouge Live in Paris: When Pelt and his crew decide to turn it up and turn it lose in front of a French crowd, all are in an appreciative mood for each other. Playing unstoppably, this is a super sized jam that blows the roof off the sucker. Hard hitting and high octane throughout, this is real jazz for real ears.
KRIS LAGER BAND/Love Songs & Life Lines: After 15 years of hard charging party till dawn rousers, Lager hits incipient middle age and tones it down a touch for the rest of us that have to think about paying babysitters after a night out. All the chops are in evidence as this sounds like a classic set the machine would have put out, all done without slight of hand or frippery. Solid stuff for those looking for meaty music that connects with the heart right from the heartland.
ROXY COSS/The Future is Female: It's a minor quibble but Coss is outfitted on the album cover as an action hero when in the grooves she's positing herself as a super hero. Political jazz without words? She making her statement the best way she knows how and doing it most eloquently. Inspired the times we are living in, jazz once again comes to the forefront as the international language as she drives her point home that sisterhood is powerful and certain struggles are universal. Oh yeah, the music? Coss has yet to play a false note and she doesn't start here. Great playing and writing power this one past the finish line twice as it laps itself along the way. Killer stuff throughout.
SEAN NOONAN MUSIC
SEAN NOONAN/Aqua Diva: A four square return to the days of avant poetry and jazz from the 50s when anything was possible. Nearly a theater piece in execution, the outliers will get it with ease.
MAGUIRE TWINS/Seeking Higher Ground: A pair of real cookers, these twins know the post bop, mainstream moves in ways that make you scratch your head they're so young. Playing in the tradition for all it's worth, they are set to take their place with other brotherly jazzbos that tore up the charts. Killer stuff that succeeds at all levels.
Volume 41/Number 143
March 23, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record
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