ADAM CARROLL/I Walked in Them Shoes: You can't exactly give Lloyd Maines credit for discovering Carroll, who produced Carroll's ninth album, but you can give him full credit for helping birth the set that finds Carroll among the pantheon of Texas songwriting greats as recognized by his peers that should know. A wildly personal and intimate solo album that bristles with raw knuckle intensity, this is a smoking set by the official scion to Guy and Townes. Killer stuff that sets the bar for a new generation.
LOUIS KARCHIN/Dark Mountains-Distant Lights: The funny thing about some of these contemporary classical cats is that they can blossom in obscurity for years which is why it's so important for the right ones to get the largesse of grants and commissions. Compositions that range from 2004 to 2017, Karchin rounds up some of his usual suspects for some left leaning impressionistic tunes that aren't afraid to go where angels fear to tread. You may well draw your own conclusions as to what is being represented here, but the wheels never roll off and the scope of the playing is quite cinematic. Almost like listening to instrumental music that feels literary, this is a nice mind blower for the open eared looking for that new kick.
(New Focus 225)
RAND STEIGER/Coalescence Cycle V. 1: An acolyte of computer music pioneers, at times this exploration may remind you of a Beaver & Krause test record, at other times, it might feel like out takes from Tomita's "The Planets" as he cranks it up to go to galaxies beyond the stars. Experimental or well composed and plotted? You decide. Listening to textures and more that go beyond music, you can just picture long hairs at a Sunday afternoon wine and cheese things nodding appreciatively and really grooving.
(New Focus 13)
PATRICIA BARBER/Higher: Returning to her indie recording roots, Barber has the usual suspects in tow and still knows how to put all the right notes in all the right places, but here she's going in a different direction taking a cabaret vibe to new places. With a new art song cycle under the arm, she shows how she can change with the times, keep things fresh and not lose her way in trying something new. Her long time fans are sure to follow her anywhere when she maintains quality like this.
LARRY FULLER/Overjoyed: A hard swinging jazz pianist, Fuller has the right touch to keep serious listeners in tow but still has the sprightly touch to keep things upbeat and buoyant bringing new listeners into the tent. Feeling like an old school club date where you'd find Ramsey Lewis or Oscar Peterson at the wheel, his trio are like minded pros that want to keep the party going. Right in the pocket throughout, this is a fun set for jazz piano fans of all stripes. Well done.
STEPHEN WALLACK/Chapters: Influenced by George Winston and soundtrack music, Wallack bounces right out of the box with a debut set that arrives fully formed and brimming with love for instrumental music. Loosely billed as new age to give it a marketing peg to hang from, he shouldn't be afraid to call it top shelf instrumental music that blows your ears wide open. This is a zesty new find that's hard to resist.
JC SANDFORD'S TRIOCRACY/Pyramid Scheme: Left leaning jazz improv that finds the trio riding off in all directions as they let telepathy be their guide. The white version of church basement civil rights jazz, get your copy now because in 30 years they'll be calling this stuff legendary.
(Shifting Paradigm 148)
MANX MARRINER MAINLINE/Hell Bound for Heaven: Certainly one of Canada's MVP around strings, Manx has known Marriner for years but this is their recording debut and it crackles with the energy of a debut. Showing themselves to be first call white boys with the blues, their dip their toe in gospel waters as well and basically make an old school blues rocking record where the music is the thing first and foremost. They've learned their lessons well, they know their stuff and they give you a record that has to be played in the basement after hours. Well done throughout.
(Stony Plain 1404)
PHILADELPHIA HERITAGE ART ENSEMBLE/Crossing the Bridge 2: How about we call this a set of right on gentlemen jazz? They swing nicely without raising the roof and play so pretty that you are captivated by it's beauty. Consummate pros throughout, this group has been at it 25 years and you know they know their stuff here. Totally tasty stuff that'll make you appreciate the value of professionalism.
JAY ANDERSON/Deepscape: The protean bass ace returns to the leaders chair for the first time in almost 30 years and shows he's been saving up a boatload of ideas just waiting to be unleashed. More than a busman's holiday there's so much variation going on here at all levels that you just have to sit back and strap yourself in for this ride through downtown recorded upstate and released via Denmark. Check it out jazzbos.
Volume 43/Number 156
March 26, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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