JACK RUSSELL/Shelter Me: Why compete with your younger self when you can just reissue what he was doing then? The lead singer of Great White brings back his 1996 solo debut with all the Zep lite moves in tact for the younger generation. 90s nostalgia without the misty water colored memories, if you were once bitten and twice shy, put on your mom jeans and shake it up one more time.
AARON SHRAGGE & BEN MONDER/This World of Dew: Nu hippie dippie Paul Horn stuff or what? These two might not have had the budget to go off and record this at the pyramids or Taj Mahal but the dragon mouth trumpeter and the guitarist show that they are two of the leading edge New York improv aces for good reason. A well conceived left leaning date, this will certainly freshen up the music collection for your opium den.
MAURICE FRANK/Mad Romance and Love: The debut from a cat that's been at it for a while and has an obvious affection for Tony Bennett's jazz man side knows what it is to deliver a show. Working mostly on the classic American songbook tunes that often are overlooked, the freshness and feeling loaded into the tunes make it all a welcome new go round. Full of the smarts that records used to have when they were virtual magic carpets, this swinging cat knows how to take off and land like a real pro. Well done.
WAYNE POWERS/If Love Were All: Life might have taken him away from his jazz vocal roots but life's twists and turns kept him in the performing arts so it never really gave his chops a chance to get rusty. Returning this roots after 25 years away, Powers sticks with the tried and true but imbues them with that certain something extra. Working with a smart crew that knows how to support him properly, he sounds like a classic jazz vocalist that might seem like a cocktail jazzer but is running several levels above that. Got a taste for something tasty? This is right in the classic jazz vocal pocket and it's a winner throughout.
MND FLO/From Time: They might want to give the impression they are a bunch of indie artists that banded together over similar vibes but there's no manqueing around here. Individually, this bunch has played with everyone everywhere that matters. With an international vibe that is a little too hot to fit the usual cool school ECM vibe, this international cultural mash up has enough different vibes to it that it'll open your ears mightily no matter how much subtlety it hides behind. Perfect stuff for some summer evening chilling.
DOUGLAS BOYCE/Some Consequences of Four Incapacities: Contemporary classical has entered a new realm when the composers behind it admire Bartok as well as King Crimson. Boyce is a serious cat that isn't out to foist some pots and pans music to snare a grant from some insiders. Probably as cutting edge as Stravinsky or Hindemuth were in their time, some leading progressive classical crews do the material justice here as they follow it's twists and turns through often subterranean climes. Wild stuff you don't have to be a Sunday afternoon egghead to enjoy or penetrate.
ARMONITE/And the Stars Above: Some pretty crazy Italian prog rock, this set is loaded with you having to expect the unexpected. Part of the label's initiative to home grow some acts for music for it's nascent film division, this crew vibe fills the desired left of center opening easily. Positively filmatic in it's approach, their sound is bigger than the culty film stuff the label is developing but that makes it obvious they have an eye on the future. If you were wondering where the Hans Zimmers of tomorrow were going to come from...
RAM 7/August 1791: Heard any good voodoo music lately? Well, mash up is everywhere as this set that celebrates the birth of Haiti reflects the joyful nature of the experience---and the tribal grooves go from there. Not content to be a journey through the past, this set has it's jet pack in tow as it puts the future in it's focus as well. High octane party music that has nothing to do with the current pop culture notion of zombies, this has got to be the sound of hipper suburban backyards this summer. A real world beat treat that delivers in fine form, it's hard to ignore it once you've gotten a taste. Well done.
SAM BEVAN/Emergence: An interesting mash up of tomorrow and yesterday vibes, this jazzy bass player has an interesting vision sure to grab those with ears cocked toward tomorrow. Not holding his arranger chops in abeyance, his various interests, chops and views take this firmly into the realm of something you should checkout. A solid work that never becomes precious for the sake of calling it creative.
GUILIA MILLANTA/Conversations with a Ghost: An Italian native that moved to Austin and fell in with the right crowd shows no traces of her background and serves up an atmospheric singer/songwriter date that has spooky elements to it giving this a depth that goes way beyond what's typical. Crazily tasty stuff, this is for people that want to go deep without dealing with something impenetrable. A real ear opener, there's nothing here that's what you'd expect but you'll welcome it all throughout. Killer stuff.
Number 41/Number 238
June 26, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record
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