GREGOR HUEBNER/Los Sonadores El Violin Latino V. 3: In which we find Latin jazz having it's civil rights jazz moment in that this is jazz driven by politics that comes out solely in the music. Fired by fiery, passionate playing, you can hear the tenor of the times reflected in the strings and the accompaniment. Certainly look no further if you want music that's full blooded and direct. Hot stuff that won't be used to cool off hot times and totally well done.
RON JACKSON/Standards and Other Songs: Taught by Pizzarelli but sounding like Wes-Benson, Jackson thinks about things you should but saves you the bother. While some scribes put great stock in artist written tunes, Jackson not only turns the other cheek here by finding smooth jazz in unexpected, familiar places---and he mixes such disparate writers into his own mix that this guitar jazz trio (played on seven strings) is a hot time in the old town on it's own terms. Comfy, warm music for a killer, cold winter, playing this set right now makes me glad I can look out the window and laugh at the weather. Well done throughout.
RUSS TOLMAN/Goodbye El Dorado: This set is more of a tribute to producer Jim Rooney than it is an imitation of Ian Tyson or Tom Russell. Falling right into the Tyson/Russell Americana pocket while still keeping his own voice, this former pysch rock rocker has moved along down the road to new frontiers with great results. Americana without mawk, it's got a reality edge that strips away the fantasy often found in the format and connects in a big way. With proven genre vets rounding out the sound, this is going right to the top. Hot stuff.
TONY & JOE/Tin Can Tunes: A pair of Minnesota white boys with the blues that seem like something that should work but turns out to be an organic/back porch delight, this is not a novelty act. Hanging out on the corner where Ry Cooder collides with working man's blues, these guys are so down home and so proficient that one of the crew makes guitars out of old gas and oil cans and all these elements finds them working over 200 nights a year and rising like crème in the blues world. While their originals are spot on, they take covers to places you never imagined as well. Get thee to Amazon and track this artist released winner down. Hot stuff.
MARILYN MAZUR/Shamania: Having been at it for so long that when Mazur started making music like this, it's wasn't called loaded with feminine energy, it's was near the end of record companies subsidizing schmatta queens that were acting out but were still found to be amusing---if the budget was right. Landing firmly on the indie jazz side of new age, Mazur reboots the concept of sisters doing it for themselves with a larger crew almost making this an #it'stime version of civil rights jazz---probably with good cause. A wild ride where improv rules the day.
(Rare Noise 103)
LIEBMAN RUDOLPH DRAKE/Chi: It seems like Lieb is working more than ever these days but with all the ensuing blowing up a storm, the well is not running dry. Here we find three jazzbos that have never played together before getting together to barnstorm some improv without the benefit of telepathy that comes from familiarity. This freewheeling set is the exception to the rule as it shows just what happens when you have people that know how to be in the moment. A one of a kind date that's a must for people wary of jumping on the micro dosing trend, this will get you there without any after effects. Check it out.
(Rare Noise 102)
BECOMING QUARTET/One Track Mind: I've always been amazed at people that can keep in touch with their old classmates. Here's a bunch of jazzbos that met in college and have really taken it to the next level of the game, banding together to be a band much in the same way as a bunch of law students that graduate and start their own firm. Playing with a sound that'll have you convinced this is a lost date someone at Concord found going through Fantasy's acquisitions and was compelled to release, these cats are already there/here and it's just a matter getting the word out. A completely exciting mainstream release, everyone should stream it, but beware, that'll only be an ad for wanting to have a hard copy of your own. Killer stuff.
HOIA /Scavenger: Guitar driven prog rock that'll have you thinking prog is becoming as much of an international language on it's own, like jazz. Loaded with sturm and drang enough to keep the average ‘misunderstood' suburban kid from thinking he's alone on this big, blue marble---the message is there for anyone that wants to find it. The cat behind it all knows his stuff.
SHUMAUN/One day Closer to Yesterday: If the kids of yesterday are the parents of today, will today's parents feel as out of the loop when their kids are digging this prog rock that deals with what alienation is in a connected world? Ah, the more things change.... Hormonal release music for the suburbs where beat driven music just won't cut it.
OERK/Ramagehead: There's always going to be teens that see the dark side and want someone to understand. The latest from a label that's been providing that soundtrack for over a generation, the kids today don't want to share he bad times with the' rents, they wan their own gloom and doom and this is a full on slab of same. You don't even need black clothes to get into it. Even skate punks get the blues.
KINETIC ELEMENT/Face of Life: Prog rockers that are known to take their own sweet time between albums are finally back with their latest. Playing with a passion that finds them somewhere between Zappa and pissed off punks, these vets know how to stand and deliver. A sonic assault that's melodic in it's bombast, is this as mainstream as prog gets? A 21 gun salute to getting through those dizzy years.
BE-BOP DELUXE/Sunburst Finish: Can you improve upon a 43 year old record that had a naked chick in heels on the cover and spurred the band to take guitar driven prog rock to arenas as that's the direction the biz was headed in at the time? You can expand it, add bonus tracks and remix it, but maybe not improve it---although it's been unavailable forever. The set that saved guitar whiz Bill Nelson from being a footnote, he lost his album rock snobbery and found the key to make real rock for the masses, a feat to be applauded. Still a must have for people that worship at the alter of guitar gods.
Volume 43/Number 103
February 12, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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