BAD LUCK/Four: When you have electronics in your bag of tricks, it makes it easier to be a duo of free jazzers that likes to traverse the universe. Paring their tunes back to a mere 12 minutes at most cracks, this pair strips down Miles' elephant funk years, shakes it up and shakes it loose for a progressive, good time. Jazz of the future for malcontents right now, it's not bleeding edge but it will take you to extremes. Well done stuff for forward thinkers.
ANNA SNOW/Is This Us: It might sound like a bunch of recidivist hippies at first blush but this crew evolves into ambient folkies trying to reach you from the hearts of space. Contemporary stuff for listeners that like some meat on their musical bones.
DAVID GERALD/N2U: It might have taken 10 years for this musical scion of the Muddy Waters school of electric blues to put out a new disc, but here he is, with guitar attack in full flower. He might have never worked in the cotton fields or worked on an auto assembly line, but he knows how to keep it real and bring his original self taught passion to the fore.
(David Gerald Enterprises)
CALM WATERS ROLLING SWELLS & ROILING SEAS/A Whaling City Sampler (various): When an indie label can bring you a sampler boasting of Reggie Young, Dave Liebman, Jason Miles and Terry Gibbs before moving on to it's bench strength, you might think this is a label real music fans should pay attention to. They lean heavily toward jazz and they know how to do it right so you can count on this sampler to be a real buffet. Check it out.
(Whaling City Sound 112)
DEBRA MANN/Full Circle: Mann comes out hard and heavy channeling jazz period Joni Mitchell on this tribute to the iconic artist of her generation. Making the right tent pole choices as well as some nice out of the ordinary choices, her Mitchell leaning vibe almost makes this feel like a Mitchell album you missed. The backing crew knows how to bring their LA Express best and none of it feels derivative. This is a fine example of what happens when you aim high.
(Whaling City Sound 109)
OCTOBOP/Live @ Savanna Jazz: The always engaging combo that knows how to kick it out like a big band fills the bill yet again. Recorded live at a top Silicon Valley jazz club, all the right snap, crackle and pop is in the air as they mix their originals with war horses and not tip their hand which is which, especially since they expertly control the arrangements. A real jazzbo dream date, the special sauce is flying as mightily as the good vibes as these cool school swingers heat up the night. Well done.
(Mystic Lane 070100)
MI AMIGO HAMLET/Happy Land is Tierra Feliz: A really different kind of kiddie album, especially for gringos. A bilingual Spanglish experience, Hamlet's music alone is all encompassing, inviting everyone into the tent, and it's topped off with a subtle message that what's in the air now won't be there forever A massively interesting experience on so many levels, he's been making this work in Chicago for almost 2 decades which is more than an accomplishment in itself. World beat for kids that educates? What a concept! Well done.
MIKI YAMANAKA/Miki: A pomo looking Asian minx, Yamanaka sweeps aside all the #metoo stuff once she sits down at the keys and begins to play. Letting fly with an old soul jazzbo vibe, she could have easily replaced Ramsey Lewis in his own, original trio. Going farther on her debut than others have gone in their entire careers, it feels like she's going to be making you forget a lot of other piano jazzbos in very short order with her attack that‘s original on every level from playing to writing. Killer stuff.
(Cellar Live 20718)
JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR/Wild: This guitar slinging white girl with the blues is the lead off artist on the newly revived Silvertone label. A hard hitter that's never failed to surround herself with the best since originally being discovered by Dave Stewart, it's easy to see how Sony will give her the extra oomph to become a standard bearer. This zesty reissue is being served up to set the stage for what's to come for this slinging belter that has the sound and fury to inspire a nu generation of riot grrls to be belters in their own right. Hot stuff.
MIKE SPINRAD/Horns: A drummer that has no problem with letting horns leads the way shows us that it's no big deal ot go 17 years between albums. A swinging mainstay of the Bay area jazz scene, this is wonderful palette cleaning jazz so full of right on playing that it can make instrumental music fans out of the hardest of hard core beats fans. Loaded with the kind of swing that just means summer water front bars, he's got the chops that make this hard to resist. All that and his father discovered water on Mars. Talk about a cat that covers all the bases. Well done.
Number 41/Number 283
August 10, 2018
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record
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