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ANDREW COLLINS TRIO/Groove: The Canadian mandolin ace revs up his trio for an instrumental set that puts him right in the pocket of Jethro, Dawg, Mike Marshall and Hamilton deHollanda playing with charm, style and grace showing why his such a national treasure up north. A delightfully deceptively simple set, instrumental music fans have a lot to behold here. Well done throughout.

ANDREW COLLINS TRIO/Tongue: The other half of a double album you can buy separately, Collins adds vocals to his instrumental work to craft a solid folkie set that hits all the right notes. Covering songs from a wealth of diverse sources, Collins and crew show how to do it right and make it all work. Jaded folkie ears make note, this will get them opened back up to new possibilities. Well done.

JERRY VIVINO/Coast to Coast: The American Express card of jazz in that he's everywhere you want to be, the Conan band member found himself creating an album because Bucky Pizzarelli and Vivino's pop were old pals, and there was this phone conversation...and next thing you know sessions were booked, archives dusted off and a killer straight ahead jazz set was born. Solid playing from a roster of cats with nothing to prove but plenty to show for, I'm sure the classic Blue Note look of the package isn't just co-incidental. Simply killer stuff from a dream team of a cast with the right leader at the core.

PAUL KREIBICH/Thank You Elvin: You gonna argue with a cat that kept time for Ray Charles, Gene Harris and a zillion all stars in between? Taking a tour of his back pages, Kreibich goes back to a time when Elvin Jones turned in some legendary work at The Lighthouse creating esteemed sides in it's wake. Here we find him paying tribute to Jones and the date by going back to The Lighthouse and really letting it swing with his sax players letting loose, Coltrane style. High octane and high energy throughout, he's paying it backward and forward leaving classic jazzbo ears amazed and astounded. Well done.

MARIEANN MERINGOLO/Between Yesterday and Tomorrow: At first blush, Meringolo strikes you as Streisand scaled back for cabaret settings. As you listen it grows on you that what she's really doing is breathing down the necks of Betty Buckley, Patti Lupone and others that can hold a cabaret in the palm of their hands. With an all encompassing vibe, she takes you on a tour of cabaret and jazz vocal using the lyrics of the Bergmans as the jumping off point. Almost as much of a tribute to Michel Legrand, there's no scatting so she can only sing his notes. Chops galore abound and this set is a winner throughout, not just for the genre.

BLACK ART JAZZ COLLECTIVE/Armor of Pride: The Civil Rights era sound of the band's name is no accident although this is more about Black pride. Showing the love and respect for the forefathers like Miles and Blakey, they are forward looking while echoing Tom Paine who proclaimed ‘the price of freedom is constant vigilance'. Jazz's A team of tomorrow plays with telepathy and style showing why some of the cats here that aren't really known outside New York yet soon will be. A classic straight ahead date, this is simply one of those dates that has it all on the ball. A winner from a bunch we hope gets together to do this on at least an annual basis.

JD ALLEN/Love Stone: If there's been any doubt about Allen being an artist that arrived fully formed, this ballads album in the Davis/Coltrane tradition should remove them once and for all. Doing a fantastic job of making the hoary fresh and new, everything he tackles here with his long time trio, plus guitar this time out, has all the things that make his playing distinct and recognizable, but he let's the song shine front and center. The tasty kind of album that welcomes all comers in to the tent, a lot of listeners are going to fondly remember this as their entry to jazz recordings.

DENNY ZEITLIN/Wishing on the Moon: What better invitation to the good doctor's 80th birthday than an invite to a killer 2009 date with his long time trio live from Dizzy's recorded when all the stars were perfectly aligned? The set is stuff Zeitlin recorded before, but not like this. The jazz piano trio is so in the moment, it almost feels like they weren't aware they were being watched by an audience. A marvelous throwback to the time before they called records ‘product' and treated them as such, this wonderfully played date is a solid reminder of why we became music fans in the first place, no matter what sounds we gravitated to. Real music for real musos at it's best.

DONGFENG LIU/China Caribe: Here's a chance for gringos to open their ears wide with some world beat of a different vibe and mash up. Cuba had the biggest western population of Chinese in the 1800s and this set is a mash up of Chinese, American jazz and Latin rhythms. A mouthful, huh? Strikingly different from world jazz that has come before? You bet. Worth it? You bet again. So delightfully out of the ordinary, you will stop what your doing to concentrate and make sure you're hearing what you think you're hearing. Subtly played so much that you think it's high tone stuff that's over your head, that feeling diminishes quickly once you get into the rhythm. Solid stuff from well beyond the pale.

MICHAEL SARIAN & the Chabones/Leon: Easy going Latin flavored jazz from a trumpet cat that calls his band ‘the schmucks'. Having spent too much time in a world where gingers are discriminated against, he turns it back, as well as his back, on his tormentors and shows some real playing that's well above the schmuck level. There's a lot of personal bag breaking going on here but most listeners won't care because they'll come to hear the music. Solid playing throughout, this set is proof that the third time is the charm. Well done.

Number 41/Number 213
June 1, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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