ROCKY DAWUNI/Beats of Zion: Probably the only thing that keeps Dawuni from being the next Marleyesque toast of Jamaica is that this ambassador of skanking is from Ghana. A highly known quantity in international/world beat circles, this is a high octane set that really pulls together where he's been and charts a smoking course to the future. Following in Marley's footsteps on many fronts, from music to messages, he's a musical ambassador for anyone with a conscience or anyone that just wants some heat for the feet. A killer set from every angle.
JOEY DEFRANCESCO/In the Key of the Universe: Grabbing Pharaoh Sanders, who was one of the originators of spiritual jazz, the organ/trumpet man goes the spiritual route here looking at his place in the universe, musically. Without the dryness many of the back in the day records had when following this course, he's more in touch with exploring the seventh galaxy, all done with his impeccable organ chops in tact. A sweet beyond the pale kind of record, his inner space explorations leave their secular side in tact making this a great set to kick back with when you want to mellow out without exactly being mellow. Well done.
(Mack Avenue 1147)
CHOCOLATE WATCHBAND/This is My Voice: Has the world changed that much in 50 years? These geezers and their associates still kick ass in the way that affirms their status as psych rock legends, but the sounds doesn't seem as over powering as they once did. The kind of gang that's mentioned in the same breath as either the Velvet Underground or the Stones, depending on which direction you are approaching them from, these are still sounds meant to angry up the blood of young bloods---and it does a fine job thereto. Wild stuff never meant to be tamed.
FREDERICO7/Exotico Americano: A guitarist in Austin by way of Brazil looks to the future with his mix of Pan American soul as opposed to taking the easy way out with flamenco guitar. Pulling a host of contemporary sounds of the street into his mix, he crafts a tasty salmagundi of underground sounds that blend properly under his watchful eye. You don't have to be young to appreciate this but having a restless soul helps. Solid sounds of tomorrow.
BIG JOE & THE DYNAFLOWS/Rockhouse Party: A bunch of white boys with the blues add the roots and soul elements into this house party of a set that finds them rollicking along, cruising for some blues awards that are sure to follow. With a breezy feel that finds them not taking much seriously other than putting all the right notes in all the right places, the vibe is just right to grease the wheels of millenials looking for a beer fueled night out. Rubbing elbows with Anson Funderburgh and Delbert McClinton, if you haven't experienced Big Joe yet, he comes with a cv that tells you he's the real thing. Fun stuff throughout.
ODDYSSEY QUARTET/We Are All Branches of the Same Tree: If sailing way to the left isn't normally part of your listening wheelhouse, trying to stick it in your ear can be a tricky endeavor as the margins aren't all the clear to the novice. That's where chops and pedigrees come into play. When you've got cats that worked with Albert Ayler and Sam Rivers on board, it's not like you are entering at your own risk. You don't even have to be put off by statements like this is improv music by cats that have rarely played together. Church basement overhang? You bet. Scary pots and pans music? Not at all. It doesn't even feel like arts council music even if it's way out there. A sure bet for when you want something cohesive that's really out of the ordinary.
MICHEL MEIS 4TET/Lost in Translation: A forward thinking drummer from Luxembourg aspires to be much more than timekeeper and stakes his turf by making his originals sound like mini suites as he can veer from muscular, angular jazz to easy going stuff all in the same song and make it all work seamlessly. Certainly a real jazzman in his heart, his inventions and passionate playing speak louder than words could on this instrumental gem. Solid stuff throughout.
(Double Moon 71354 Jazz Thing Next Generation V. 76)
SIGURDUR FLOSASON DELUX 4TET/Here and Now: The cover and the music will have you thinking Windham Hill and ECM but the playing isn't cool school enough for ECM no matter how cool it is and the ethnicity doesn't match the Windham Hill esthetic. That doesn't mean this set with an ear toward the future can't exist in it's own time zone. With the leader's sax leading the way, this isn't cocktail jazz unless you still have a job where you wear a suit to work and have a kooky girlfriend. Then... A solid listening set all the way through, you really have to hand it to these young explorers that are pushing the envelope to create new sounds and textures and do it without the wheels coming off. This lad shows the kind of stuff that makes you think he'll have a bright future in soundtracks for offbeat movies with respectable budgets.
(Double Moon 71360)
JUAN JOSE MOSALINI ORCHESTRA/Live Tango: Major props to Double Moon for sailing wide of their comfort zone by reissuing this 2006 double live album of real tango as realized by a 75 year old master that's the last one left standing from back in the day. While there are a lot of solid leaders with links to Piazzolla turning out great stuff, this cat that was there when it all started doesn't tip the cap to Piazzolla and serves up a program that will have you as enthralled as the audience that turned out for this magical night. Underscoring the label's commitment to excellence, this set is a hallmark for it. A totally grand penultimate tango set that has to be experienced and enjoyed.
(Double Moon 71512)
EDDIE ARJUN/Transition: A blistering guitar driven power jazz/rock trio that could easily have called them selves "Trio of Doom II' if there probably wouldn't be legal problems ahead for them, this set shows music is the universal language as multi culti fades once the grooves over ride everything else. The kind of jazz/rock that could make girls as scarce as they are at a "Star Trek" convention, gear heads need their space too. Killer stuff.
KRISTEN LEE SERGEANT/Smolder: An actress whose trajectory should have landed her as a cabaret act finds herself being a Chris Connor thrush for millenials. Handily wrapping a lyric around her little finger, as easily as she will you, with a great, clear voice expressing what the writer wanted from the 30's to the 80s (and then on to her own stuff from now) this is a solid work of jazz vocal that's modern but in the tradition. A most solid bet for those who appreciate solid vocal work surrounded by ace cats allowed to do their thing.
Volume 43/Number 89
January 29, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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