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ONE O‘CLOCK LAB BAND/Lab 2018 The Rhythm of the Road: One thing we know about these kids is that they were raised musically right. The latest edition of these Texas college kids that love big band is they play like to the manor born, just as did all their predecessors. The arrangements, the originals, the fire and fury, it's all here and it's all burning bright and high. If you care about the future of jazz, you should get a load of this bunch and really be the first on your block who knew them when. Hot stuff throughout.
(North Texas Jazz 1801)

MIKE FREEMAN ZONAVIBE/Venetian Blinds: The hard hitting (sorry) vibe player tips the cap to Tito Puente here (as anyone who was an insider back in the day would catch the reference) and Tito, as well as other honoree, Bobby Hutcherson, are smiling down on the Latin jazz fusion that's rising here in their wake. Snazzy Latin jazz from one of the top cats playing today, vibe fans have an enjoyable way to keep the lineage in tact. Well done.
(Vibes Out Front 2018)

RANDY BRECKER & MATS HOLMQUIST/Together: A Finnish orchestra bringing up the rear, Holmquist arrangements and originals filling out the set card and Randy Brecker in front if you still need a tent pole to get into this record---what else do you need for a wonderful jazz excursion? Solid stuff on every count the entire way through, this is playing for listeners that don't want to be played. With a groove you lock into right from the start, this is the antidote for jive that's all jive without jiving. A winner.
(Mama 1056)

ART HIRAHARA/Sunward Bound: The ace jazz piano man leads a smart combo here and pulls off an interesting minimalist trick. He says a lot by saying little. The fingers and notes are always flying but somehow it seem s like there's more than enough white space. A totally tasty treat. Not always linear but always on point, this is a fun set that delivers smiles across it's miles. A perfect sonic getaway for ears that haven't had a real treat in too long.
(Posi-Tone 8186)

EVAN & VANESSA/In Our World There Are No Strangers: With a hippie sounding title worthy of their hippie sound and vibe, they capture the wide eyed, wonder filled side of the Woodstock era that appeals to kids of all ages. Fearlessly doing covers where appropriate and where the can add something, they put their egos aside in service to the music and that's a big plus that sends them over the finish line. Charmingly innocent, parents may never have to hear the kids playing "I spy with my little eye..." in the car ever again if they have this handy. Smart stuff throughout. And when it's all over, they repeat the whole thing in Spanish.

TONE MASSEVE/Amp L'etude: Puns are in the aire as Woodstock cats rock the classics in an offbeat set that could find it's way into head shops that stock cds on a gift rack spinner. Pretty much, you've got to hear it to believe how they layer rock classics over classics and found pairings that work organically. Crazy stuff for musos that still have their senses of humor in tact and appreciate this kind of controlled, musical mayhem.
(Massive Tone)

EMILIANO DEFERRARI/Monty: From Brussels to Brooklyn by way of Italy, this Italian vocalist doesn't give much give to us gringos that don't know whether he's the nu Jacques Brel or not. Brooklyn, huh? It could be there's so much hipster going on here that us flyovers just don't get it.

MONIQUE DEBROSE/Sovereign One: I'm impressed that the publicist behind this set thought I run far enough ahead of the curve to get this. I guess my privileged white guy is showing here as this is a well done set but it's way too #metoo for me to get intellectually simply because I never walked the roads that led to the creation of this highly personalized statement that's loaded with feelings and sentiments I've never had to relate to. However, everything here is solidly and professionally done to the point that I can see this claiming high ground in the underground as the nu version of 70s feminist music taken to heart by millions.

DEB RHYMER/Don't Wait Up: Stepping away from covers and going mostly originals, western Canada's white girl with the blues sounds like she cut her teeth on the west side of Chicago rather than the northwest corner of Canada. Dipping into the great American songbook, she slows down some James Brown and really makes it her own in the deal. In the tradition while moving it forward, this is one gal that you don't mess with. She's got it all on the ball.

KIMIA PENTON/Where the Rain Falls: A classical violinist apparently bitten by the Norah Jones bug serves up a neo folkie ep that fills the bill for those waiting for Jones to return to her debut form to hit it out of the park again. Sometimes, you just have to roll with the changes. And there isn't even any Jesse Harris lurking around the corners but the bill is properly filled.

FRANK BEY/Back in Business: Tom Hambridge takes the blues to Nashville and exerts more of a hand than he usually does to keep things on the track he wants it to be on. With a front man that embodies the blues, this modernistic take on same is what's been missing for a while. Top notch throughout, this cat will remind you of those clubs you braved in bad neighborhoods back in your younger days. Smoking, sweaty hot stuff loaded with the real deal throughout.
(Nola Blue 6)

Number 41/Number 287
August 14, 2018
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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