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KAT RIGGINS/In the Boys Club: Mixing some #it'stime with her blues belting, Riggins would never think of bringing Alfalfa and the rest of the He Man's Woman Haters club cupcakes to curry favor. She'd just huff and puff and blow their shack down to gain entry. Taking hard hitting soul/blues to the next level of the game with a totally modern set, there's no doubt this is where the action is. Never letting her love for all things blues falter, this s a sure set for those who like to experience the blues continuum, all at once. Hot stuff.

LYNNE ARRIALE TRIO/Give Us These Days: You can expect something different in the air when a Canadian is recording for a Euro jazz label. Certainly experimentation is encouraged and you will find it here. You may not think a jazz piano trio has any walls it can knock down at this date, but improv reined in as spontaneity rules the roost here so much so that their take on "Woodstock" fits in with the originals that follow as one of their own. A high water mark set for creative jazz with plenty of swing to spare.

CHALWA/Concentration Time: A moody, after hours kind of set for mash up fans that like it with an island lilt. Mellow stuff to mellow to with.

GIN BLOSSOMS/Mixed Reality: In which we find several alt.90s rock camps converging around the camp fire as Gin Blossoms regroup for their first new album in a decade and do it in the REM camp of Dixon & Easter. All dig down deep to get in touch with their younger selves and you will find yourself doing the same if you were there for the initial ride. Melodic alt all the way, it's a far cry from alt.sippy cup so you might as well sit back and enjoy the ride in the hands of a known quant that refuses to let you down.

GIN, CHOCOLATE & BOTTLE ROCKETS/Lean: Wilson Phillips for the #metoo era? Yep, that's what this crew of out of the box award winners serves up---and right from the heart of the heartland no less. If you don't change with the times, the times will change you and here's a the sonic proof. Insidious protest music for times that have run amok that sounds almost like anything but.

LADY A/Doin' Fine: There's something in the water down in Muscle Shoals because Lady A turns in a set that's loaded all the jumping, bumping action you could find packed in to a hot Malaco release--and she didn't even need them to do it. Steeped in gospel but digging the secular, Lady A is a sister that can do it for herself and shows the blueprint to skeptics. A hard hitting set encompassing all forms of southern soul from the church to the juke joint, this is smoking slice of the real deal from someone that has more than earned a keeping the blues alive award. Hot stuff.

TUCKER ANTELL/Grime Scene: Just like alt.rock made bass the province of the ladies in the 90s, sax has come to be dominated lately by a passel of saxy ladies but here we find this Boston cat taking back some real estate for the boys. A solid player that doesn't honk when chops will prevail, his face off with his B3 player opens the ears nicely. Subtle but taut playing keeps the attention focused on this even tempered but fiery set. A solid find that should have his word spread beyond his Boston home base.

JAROD BUFE/New Spaces: Music and tunes birthed in the eclectic sidebar of a well known Americana road house, smoking jazz can emerge from unlikely places as long as the air is nurturing. A Chicago sax player playing like a New Yorker let's his cool school admiration parade in fine form. Backed by Chicago's incipient A team on the rise, this is a right on set for the jazzbo with daddio leanings that likes to groove from his chair. Well done.

KOBIE WATKINS GROPTET/Movement: From Chicago and Sonny Rollins he came but now Watkins is based in North Carolina and finds himself kicking it out with a group that came together at the entrance of Yellowstone. Not wide open spaces music, this is solid, straight ahead jazz informed by chops well heated in the crucible of nightly playing with some other real hitters along the way. Almost a decade since his debut as a leader, this second set will be almost unrecognizable to those who showed up early. The real deal all the way.

JAN HAMMER/Seasons Pt. 1: The keyboard jazzbo that hits to all fields as well as out of the park missed you so he tuned up his electronics and fleshed out ideas kicking around his head for the last decade waiting for just the right moment to serve them up hot. Loaded with his trademark touches from all the various skins he's worn, long time fans are sure to give him a heroes welcome as his stream counts make it seem like they thought he was never away. Solid stuff from a sure fingered ace.

Number 41/Number 228
June 16, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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