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TIFFANY AUSTIN/Unbroken: Rightfully so, there's been an up swing of civil rights jazz coming out these days. Austin applies her magic wand to bring the sound out of the 60s and into the 10s, keeping the spirit in tact. With a veritable A team backing her up at all positions, this swinging jazz vocalist defines the unbreakable spirit of people of color making ‘black don't crack' more than just a statement about keeping your looks as you age. Hard hitting stuff at every level you can imagine, this rising star vocalist makes a good case for her arrival being a done deal with this outing. Killer stuff.

JUAN ANDRES OSPINA BIG BAND/Tramontana: Feeling very much like a throwback to arty big band dates of the 50s, this set rounds up an international crew to play in service of an impressionistic look at Mediterranean winds that really can blow up a storm. Once again, we don't know about the imagery but we do appreciate the playing. A set of mostly originals, it plays to us like a trip down a coastal California highway--and we like it. Talent abounds here at all levels and it's a solid dose of real music for seeking ears. Well done.

WEBB WILDER/Powerful Stuff: Unreleased sides from before Wilder went to a major, when it was all but a done deal that he was supposed to be the next big thing, this is a fine dose of heartland rock from the south that shows how they were making moves others would pick up on ride to glory. A cult act the cult has never outgrown, the faithful will be happy to rock the night away with the bunch of ‘new' sounds powering the night. He always did have that something extra on the ball and it shows here.

MIGUEL DE ARMAS QUARTET/What's to Come: Proving once again that music is the universal language, with all the Latin names on board here, if you casually wrote this off as a Latin jazz date, it would be proof you didn't listen. With enough guest hands on deck to weave this into sounding like a big combo date, sure there's Latin elements but this mainly sounds like killer, straight ahead piano jazz that provides a good time any time or place. Well done moving and grooving that's a real gasser to dig into.

GRETCHEN & THE PICKPOCKETS/Falling Rising: Boston genre blenders that have been lighting up the northeast set it down in bytes with some heavy hands helping bring it home. A solid party band that hits lots of right notes as they traverse their own terrain of blue eyed soul and then some, frequently their joyful nose becomes so infectious you just don't care which direction it's coming at you from. Tasty stuff from a tasty crew that squarely has tier eye on the prize.

JOSHUA TRINIDAD TRIO/In November: The Colorado trumpeter heads to Norway to warm up the Artic Circle with some Miles inspired improvisation along with some cats that have been poached from the ECM stable. Bringing modal jazz into the 10s, this clarion call to egghead fans of sitting down jazz is sure to wake up the dormant corpuscles that are looking for new thrills to get them flowing. A dense, deep date that qualifies as top shelf thinking man's jazz.

WORLD SERVICE PROJECT/Serve: This punk jazz crew continues to answer questions like what if Eric Dolphy really did jam with Frank Zappa with Edvard Varese producing. Taking fusion to places you've only heard in dreams, it would be an accident if you didn't hear your fave prog jazz and rock echoes lurking in the grooves here. Wild stuff for wild tastes with wild ears that like going well beyond the pale.

Volume 41/Number 179
April 28, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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