LIZANNE KNOTT-JESSE TERRY-MICHAEL LOGAN/Sunset Avenue Sessions: Three nu Americana pals join forces for a stunning set that finds their strengths at their strongest complimenting each other and raising each others bars. A back porch folkie deluxe set, this smashes the clichés and delivers nothing but sounds that'll haunt your ears when you're not playing it. Tasty throughout, this is what winning sets sound like.
INA FORSMAN/Been Meaning to Tell You: You can't expect a white girl with the blues from Finland to play by the established rules. Mixing a gospel vibe with show soul, blues and more soulful styles, she's not trying to be Koko Taylor but she knows the blues even at her whitest. The accent is on the vocal prowess no matter where she wants to take it, and you'll be sure to follow once she spins her web on you with her amazing and mature second set. Killer stuff from a cat that's more lynx than kitty.
JAMES SUGGS/You're Gonna Hear From Me: Opening and closing the set with chestnuts that are played with no dust on them, this Florida trumpet ace hooks up at Van Gelder Studios with Houston Person in the producer's chair and it's hard to tell who's following whose lead. A solidly swinging set from a gang of pros that don't disappoint, especially when your hard earned money is at stake, these jazzbos are having a grand time, infectiously throughout. Solid throughout, this is one that you just have to hear. Hot stuff.
JUSTIN MORELL/Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra: With a concert band under the direction of the hot as a pistol John Daversa, who puts on his egghead cap here, this concerto is a progressive work that breaks new ground and will hold listeners in thrall. High spirited without being too high minded, this three movement work covers a lot of ground deceptively acting like background music but turning out to be anything but. Art but not for art's sake, this serves as either a palette cleanser or gateway drug. It really opens your ears to nu possibilities.
BETTY BRYANT/Project 88: It's easy to give somebody props for being 88 and not senile but when they are 88, still writing great melodies and performing them like a champ they deserve more than easy praise. The grande dame of LA jazz, this spry 88 year old is a link to the era of well arranged jazz that just flat out hooked you--and she still knows how to serve it hot. A tasty romp that makes you hope she keeps at it and gets wider recognition than the interesting circles she already runs in, here's a wonderful master class in jazz and vocals that easily and breezily hits all the right notes throughout. Well done.
MAGELA HERRERA/Explicaciones: From Cuba Herrera and her flute come. Breaking out from group mode to over due solo debut, she brings passion, fire and a muscular angularity to the proceedings where the caliente is of a different heat more than not, but never less than hot. More indigenous than tourist, this still manages not to be an ethnic recording letting jazz proceed as the universal language. Just the thing for waking up dormant blood cells, this knowing set knows just how to get to you. Hot stuff.
ERIC SCHENKMAN/Who Shot John?: More than just another white boy with the blues, this former mass market rocker knows the secret on how to strip things down to mass appeal without reaching for the lowest common denominator. This gives him the oomph to tackle how it was a generation before his ears got wet and white boys were traversing bad neighborhoods in search of the real thing. Stripped down blues rock that cuts right to the chase, there's a party going on and he knows how to fire it up just right throughout. If you're ready not to be serious, this spin doctor will spin you around just right.
GAYE ADEGBALOLA/The Griot: Despite the title, this ain't no kumbiya record. At 74, she's still plenty pissed off serving up some hard rocking blues with lyrics that reflect troubled lyrics for troubled times. A highly charged political record culled from songs she's written over the last 30 years (hence the lead track "Nothing's Changed") last gen peaceniks can't lay a hand on Adegbalola, one of our fave uppity women. Even without the message in the music, the word play in the lyrics couldn't be duplicated by the craftiest millennial. This is a set that never fails to color outside the lines and should be at the top of your must hear list. A real killer throughout.
RAN BVLAKE & JEANNE LEE/The Newest Sound You Never Heard: A double disc of 50 year old recordings by this art jazz duo that turned a lot of ears in their day. Tackling a load of jazz classics in their voice/piano fashion, if you have that art jazz jones where freedom rules the roost, this set that takes the familiar to unexpected places will fill your bill. Wild stuff that never was for everyone, those in the know will know all about it in no time. This is art for art's sake.
(A Side 5)
BOB BALDWIN/Presents Abbey Road and the Beatles: Giving Beatles classics a soul jazz refashioning without adding sacrilege to the mix, the latest in his line of tribute record is a delightful tonic. Giving us a look at his own back pages, Baldwin takes us back to the first white sounds that caught his fancy on the way to becoming a fully, well rounded muso that could play it all. Familiar and different at the same time, this pro knows how to make it all work without breaking a sweat. Tasty.
(Red River 1)
Volume 43/Number 51
December 21, 2018
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record
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