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JEREMY LEDBETTER TRIO/Got a Light?: A super group of sorts culled from jazz, world and rock, this trio plays it light and easy--but they sure make it deep. With the airborne sound of freedom pulsing through it all, these are the kind of jazzbos that pull new believers into the tent and bring moldy figs together with newbies with seemingly hardly any effort. Solid stuff throughout that can easily become and old friend, this disc has got such well played moves you won't even feel how things are shifting around. Hot stuff.

MARK WENNER'S BLUES WARRIORS: Just because you're the leader of Nighthawks doesn't mean that you can't come up with some stuff that doesn't fit the format, even if you're the boss, and you have to open the side door to let the good times roll. A soul/blues/R&B tour deforce, this set feels like it must have felt when Butterfield and Bloomfield first looked at each other in wonder over a beer at the Checkerboard. Back in the day stuff but not retro, this is just plain pros having a fun time from DC to you.

LITTLE RED ROOSTER BLUES BAND/Lock Up the Liquor: Way to classic Chicago for a bunch of white boys plying the blues to the greater Bucks County area for 30 years. Some stuff just pings you the right way and this set does just that. The chops are melded with just the right sense of history, often having been there when it was happening, for a fine time that'll make you think white men can jump---when properly motivated. Rollicking stuff that should have come from the west side (seeing as how we know it didn't). Well done.

RAFAL SARNECKI/Climbing Trees: This piano man and his crew know what to do to make creative jazz but the effect will be lost on non left leaning ears. An envelope pushing sound that never devolves into pots and pans music he's a natch for people that don't like it nice and easy but prefer it nice and rough.

AL GROMER KHAN/Sky Worship: A minimalist, non new age set calibrated to be music to (day)dream by, Khan's various subtle instrumentation captures the sound of living that goes on around you that you identify in almost a subsonic way. So subtle that you really have to shut the world out to get into it, this is the next wave in mediation music that really sends you within.

SONS OF RHYTHM: Funky white boys from Canada gives roots a kick in the pants with this high spirited romp that finds them hitting that four on the floor with a boogie stomp that just won't quit. Rocking roots cats, they know the real mission is to party and keep things in high gear which they do quite well. Hot.

AL BASILE/Me & the Originator: To celebrate 20 years as an indie, Basile draws inspiration from Louis Armstrong's talking and musical biography serving up a set that pulls the various elements of his interests and careers together under one roof. A song and story trip though the life of an imaginary blues man, this multi media piece continues to show that there's something in the water in Rhode Island that gives it so many wonderful creatives per square inch. With Duke Robillard sitting at his side, these pros just make the magic happen doing what they do best. This white boy with the blues has taken the blues someplace else.

THE EYEBROWS/Volume: Producer Mitch Easter dusts off the controls and takes this band back to the days when alt sounded vaguely like Byrds. In that pre-grunge element before angst ruled the roost, jangly guitars showed they never went out of style. When paired with edgy lyrics and the proper attitude, the mix reminds you what it is to be young. That's the heady brew on tap here.

PROVEN ONES/Wild Again: The hottest bunch of modern white boys with the blues you could ever find that doesn't have Mike Finnigan lurking with his B3 somewhere, this bunch of award winning leaders get together for this all star romp where they really kick it out. Eclectic and electric, this is dandy hot stuff that you need to play outside so you can play it loud and proud. A real cooker.

TORONTO JAZZ ORCHESTRA/20: This cracker jack bunch of young Canadian jazzbos bring the big band from deep in the pocket and never let it stray far away. A dazzlingly smoking way to celebrate 20 years with the same cat at the helm, there's loads of talent on both sides of the studio glass, all pulling in the same direction to make this a real statement. High octane throughout, call this a jazzbo dream date.

Number 41/Number 231
June 19, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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