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ADISON EVANS/Meridian: Another of the nu hard charging saxy ladies taking advantage of #myturn, Evans came in after two years on the road with BeyZ and found herself in Tuscany soaking it all in. Something rang a bell with the funky white girl that graduated Julliard and it opened her senses to something new. Letting her freak flag fly, she takes in almost a telescopic history of jazz and finds a way to bring it all into a fine whole in a mostly original way. Solid playing from a solid player that needs to find the time to step out more often.

ITAL KRISS & Telavana: Smoking world beat that nixes the usual Afro Caribe beat for Middle East/Caribe. They say you should go for what you know and this hot Israeli flute players does just that---with smashing results. A wondrous armchair traveler set, it'll get lazy bones in touch with funk they never knew they could find. Delightfully out of the ordinary and delightful throughout.

GEOF BRADFIELD/Yes, and...Music for Nine Improvisers: You can be a real hipster and call this set smoking since it was financed by a grant from the Doris Duke foundation. A musical tribute to the pre-Second City comedy troupe that invented modern comedy improv, these top jazzbos that aren't in touch with limitations do just the same, except with instruments. It's hard to catch a flight of fancy in motion, but this first set for the nu Delmark does just that. These cats never roll off the rails and show just what can be accomplished in the heat of the moment.

JOHN ALAN ROSE/Ineffable Tales-The Music of: At first blush, this set played with a Czech orchestra seems like a John Williams parallel universe recording---then it hits you that this is the real deal. Bringing Disney qualities to his Tolkien tales, Rose is actually as serious as a heart attack, he just does it without the expected bombast. A serious composer/muso that should be taken seriously, one good break and Rose can find himself in Hollywood leap froging over the established pack. By all means, check it out.

AXIOM QUARTET/Axioms Moments of Truth: There's something in the water in Texas. We know we get great country/troubadour music from there but the well spring of blues, jazz and classical shows that you shouldn't look at them provincially. This Houston chamber group is thoroughly modern with no dust on them as they bounce between pop, classics and originals with equal grace and style. A recital with too much energy to be restricted to Sunday afternoons, this crew is like musical Rice Crispies as they bring so much snap, crackle and pop to the fore. Hot stuff throughout that will comfortably bring newbies into the tent.

RYAN MACEVOY McCULLOUGH/Hipster Zombies From Mars: The pianist and composer Nick Vines spend two discs answering the question of what might have happened if Frank Zappa had the time to really take "Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny" to Pierre Boulez for further exploration rather than chasing jazz from hell. Wild stuff destined for the left leaning hall of fame, in addition to Zappa/Boulez fantasies, you can hear Leonard Bernstein taking "West Side Story" through hell and so much more that you never imagined. Way out there, but with chops.

JAMIE SAFT QUARTET/Blue Dream: The piano man leads his quartet through some next gen nu cocktail music for hipsters that think they have seen it all at an early age. Moving from subterranean crime jazz to cacophony is a single stroke, Saft's chops have been fermenting in upstate New York, away from the maddening crowd, and it's made his vision true. A joyful noise of a darker hue, smoky jazz clubs aren't going to know what hit them in the age of vape.

THE END/Svarmod Och Vemod Ar Vardesinnen: You think all they have is death metal in Norway. Here's a twin sax led fearsome foursome that wants to let you in on their take---death jazz. Celebrating melancholy, this is or isn't the gift you want to give your suicide leaning friend in light of today's headlines----depending on how you feel about them.

SCOTT BARTON/Stylistic Alchemies: Manqué will tell you other wise but experimental pop might well be left in the hands of eggheads. The merging of sunshine pop, robots and the spirit of Varese all come together here in a set that sounds like it should be processional music at Sheldon and Amy's wedding. A room clearer for some, party music for today's nerd/hipster, the deconstruction and reconstruction of pop constructs here is a real hoot in these right hands. The scions of Raymond Scott have arisen.

TOMISLAV GOLBAN feat Toni Staresinic/Velvet Space Love: You won't know what to make of it and you won't be able to put it down. Croatian music award winners merge their piano and harmonica and make it a soundtrack Elon Musk's space voyages. Blues and new age merge in outer space? Something like that. This is what they'll be picking cotton to on Maggie's Farm on Mars? Something like that. Some of the wildest instrumental music we know of, white boy blues has entered the next century ahead of schedule.

RORY BLOCK/A Woman's Soul: Since we're prone to follow the delightful Ms. Borealis where ever she leads, now that she feels she's exhausted her tributes to the fathers of the blues, she's now setting her sights on the mother's of the blues. Kicking it off with a tribute to Bessie Smith, she leads us into the land of jellyrolls, poodles and all that other sexy stuff we never really got as kids wondering what they were singing about. A modern musician as well as a great historian, all Grammy voters within the view of my words ought to make a point of moving down the ballot to the blues category this year and giving Block the sugar that belongs in her bowl. Killer stuff. The mantle has been passed to the new empress of the blues.

Number 41/Number 220
June 8, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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