RANDY BRECKER/Rocks: One of the main instigators of jazz/rock looks back at over 50 years of highlights with a bigband behind him blowing away but not letting anything get blown away. With long time fellow travelers in tow, this is the long over due recording of jazz/rock that is often promised live but never really makes it to recording in this high style of fine form. Chops plus time equals a killer date from a cat you know that still has a few hurricanes hiding in his lungs waiting to get out. Hot stuff throughout.
JAKE LECKIE/Abode: Tricky cat there is here. He starts out making you think this a high tone classical oriented date and then shifts gears into the swinging bass ace he is. With a long history of getting things done on both sides of the glass, he really cuts loose here with a date that takes you back to the day without it being a stroll down memory lane. High octane throughout, there's just as much steak here as there is sizzle. Well done.
(Outside In 1903)
ELLEN ROWE OCTET/Momentum Portraits of Women in Motion: From civil rights to Joni Mitchell, Ringmistress Rowe brings together some damn immanent women jazzbos that show they might play different stuff but they know how to play together when it's called for. A wonderful trip throughout, music might be the international language but this set shows it's (getting?) gender proof as well. Hot stuff.
(Smokin Sleddog 1158)
BIRCHHEAD: Here's a nu jazzbo whose mash ups are just as much rooted in politics and activism as they are jazz modes streaming from past to present. A sure fingered sax man that has a clear vision of what he wants to express, this singularity of his message and vision will grab you as much as they playing. A grand voyage for nu ears and moldy figs willing to shake off the past and embraced the future. A killer wild ride.
ON THE CORNER LIVE!- The Music of Miles Davis: Dave Liebman, the cat who was there might be the top liner here but the date was put together by Jeff Coffin who brought along Victor Wooten and Chester Thompson so as to make sure he could leave some impressive fingerprints on some pretty impressive work. With the vision of Liebman in full force on this date that was a turning point for Davis, do not mistake this for a trip down memory lane. The music here is as vital and full frontal as it ever was---and It's no recreation, it's the real thing on it's own terms. Killer grooves throughout.
(Ear Up 426)
APE SHIFTER/II: A prog rock power trio with a difference--they have the chops and the flying time to make this more than just a hormonal release for suburban kids with ennui that don't even know what that is. With cv's that would get them teaching slots at music schools if they weren't so inured to doing it their way, they'll just have to be content to blaze a trail of power riffs that set things on fire. Hot stuff because it can't be anything else.
ALLY VENABLE/Texas Honey: The sweet little girl with the big bad attitude is almost old enough to buy her own smokes legally in most places but that doesn't deter this white girl with the blues from amping it up and letting the riffs fly. With that extra something that could bring this home to pop audiences as well, producer Mike Zito pulls his back pages here together as well getting everyone on board to play their hearts out and make mainstream success eventually assured. It's good to the last drop.
TYLOR & THE TRAIN ROBBERS/Best of the Worst Kind: Wow! The kind of Americana that would have burned down triple A years ago if only they were old enough to have made this years ago. A tribute to an 1800s bank robber? Yep, and it really works. Capturing the back porch/organic feel of a long time ago, these pros know how to shake it up and shake it loose. A load of perfection right down the line, sit back and get to know these musical wordsmiths that have it all together.
CARA BEING BLUE/Grit: The grande dame of white girl blues in Nashville, this set finds her fearlessly getting down and dirty and going way past bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan. Hard hitting stuff loaded with sass and soul that stakes it's claim early and defends against all claim jumpers with ease. Heavy duty stuff that's a natch for blues party people.
PORANGUI/Live: It's always fun when something that doesn't even look like it's going to work on paper works out better that you could have imagined. A multi instrumentalist that isn't afraid of electricity and does nothing but improv used this as the opening ceremony ‘music' for a Santa Fe festival. You don't have to be an outlier to get into what's going on but you do have to appreciate something out of the ordinary. Wild stuff that goes to left field and stays there, but it doesn't look down at hot dogs pop corn while hanging out near the bull pen. Strap on your left leaning, left field ears to get down here.
CANNONBALL ADDERLEY/Swingin' in Seattle: If search terms like Adderley Brothers, Joe Zawinul, unreleased live radio broadcasts don't float your jazz boat, you're still wet behind the ears. Recorded around the time this crew was about to go over the top with "Mercy Mercy Mercy", the playing is unbeatable and the discovery is monumental. A collection culled from 4 nights, here's a grail of the legend they forged that showed just how much they smoked. Killer stuff throughout.
(Reel to Reel 1)
ETTA JOMES/Soulful Sunday: The series of records from tapes made at Left Bank seems to have died out a few years back, but the archives live on and this date that finds Jones backed by Cedar Walton's trio is a fine lesson in swinging. An amalgam of vets that knew jazz and blues inside out, you'd think they'd been doing this together forever. With polish that doesn't come off even if you are in the middle of a recording dry spell, this bunch can make the hoary sound great and the great sound exemplary. Jazz vocal not to be missed.
(Reel to Reel 2)
LAWSON ROLLINS/Dark Matter-Music For Film: The great guitarist goes out on a limb here but it doesn't break and he doesn't fall. These are themes and underscores for movies that should be made but makes the listener think these are soundtracks to something. Enlisting a new version of a stellar crew to help give rise to the proceedings, once again, this is an amazing instrumental music collection that grabs you and doesn't let go. Once again, we find the master working at the top of his game and long may he stay there. Hot stuff.
Volume 43/Number 109
February 18, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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