PETER LIN/New Age Old Ways: If a trombonist is rubbing elbows with JD Allen, you know he has a progressive bent. In this cat's case, he's also a fan of Sonny Stitt blowing dates and he finds a way to meld the old and new into his own fusion. Seasoned just right to be tasty for both camps he's trying to reach, the bridge from old to new has never been so easy to cross. Progressive but dedicated to joyful nose, this is the kind of listening jazz sure to have you bouncing in your seat.
HAZEL MITCHELL-BELL/Stronger Than Ever: She might cotton to the chestnuts and R&B but she's a classic jazz thrush all the way. With a tight band that knows the ropes providing the setting, this isn't nostalgia, it's a classic sound on a classic date. Well done.
SIMON SAMMUT-OMAR VAZQUEZ/Gravity: Two bass aces from different cultures look toward the future as they take their two basses into realms not previously dared. With electronics, effects and other musicians in tow, they don't make pretty music for the people but take their axes into deeper realms of heavy thought sounds. There's nothing here you would expect from either of these cats and they prove you should always keep your ears and mind wide open so something new, different and striking can drift in and open them wider.
KENNY POLSON/For Lovers Only: You gonna pass up a smooth jazz set from a sax man whose Outlook contacts list includes Michael Henderson, Fred Wesley, Phil Upchurch and other hitters, all of whom show up to play in the ensemble, sometimes on tunes they wrote? Nah. A right in the pocket set that would have been a major label release when they still knew words like ‘jazz', this might be smooth but it hits so hard. Tasty throughout, this is an example of how getting into a groove is light years away from getting into a rut. Hot.
(No Slop 3)
TUOMO UUSITALO/Stories From Here and There: A piano man with a taste for the classics that can also hold his own with the downtown crowd has a way of writing/playing originals that sounds like they fell out of Oscar Peterson's notebook. A wonderfully killer piano date, whether he's kicking it out on Ellington and Monk or his own creations, this will give everything the jazz piano fan wants served up on a silver plate. Even with a lack of rehearsal, his knack for picking co-horts that take it as seriously as he does gets them covering all the bases well. A winner.
(Fresh Sound New Talent 575)
STEVE EARLE/Guy: The companion set to his tribute to his other compadre, this overview of Guy Clark's greatest might be well stocked with a fat load of tunes but it doesn't have "The Cape"? No matter, he captures the great writer and makes this dimensions more than a gift shop record. Not only doing a great job of capturing the flavor of Clark, he's corralled a bunch of mainstays of the Clark universe to bring and add their special sauce as well. At this point in time, this is the closest, next best thing to getting a new Clark record. Killer stuff throughout.
(New West 6455)
JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE/Saint of Lost Causes: With two of his names being those of great Texas songwriters, young Earle is cursed/blessed with carrying on the legacy and he does it in fine form. A modern version of the old masters, he knows from what he writes and lets all the honesty hang out directly. He could hold a master class for today's pack of trust fund manques that think they know about the dark side, which they might have experienced but only tourist class. Well done.
(New West 6454)
GREG FELDEN/Made of Strings: A modern singer/songwriter with heart that knows how to connect with yours delivers the complete package, solid writing, singing and playing. Not needing anything but chops and depth to power it, anyone one with some folkie in their soul will find this a real garden of delights to tarry in. Tasty throughout.
LARRY KOONSE/New Jazz Standards v. 4: This 4th volume of the explorations of Carl Saunders 300 deep songbook finds Koonse in the lead chair even though Josh Nelson isn't far behind and a couple of other stalwarts bring the rhythm. If you don't know the tunes, it doesn't matter. The crew makes them all their own and this is a delightfully swinging and bopping set. Solid Friday night/weekend jazz, the main thing here is pros on parade having a great time---as you will too. Check it out.
JUAN ALAMO & Marimjazzia/Ruta Panoramica: A jazz cat finally embracing his Latin roots bangs the marimba for all it's worth as his pals keep it caliente in the rear with the smoke rising in fine form. A playful date that can't help but make you feel happy, this impressionistic ride across Puerto Rico's tourist highway will make you want to book a flight to a ‘foreign' destination that doesn't require a passport. Muy caliente in all the best ways.
MAVIS PAN/Set for Love: A jazz piano lady that can do more with bacon than bring it home and fry it up in a pan, she serves us a modern jazz vocal date of all originals that have a knack for feeling like old friends. Easy going but propulsive when it needs to be, jazz vocal fans will know this is the real deal. Never less than tasty, this is on the money throughout.
Volume 43/Number 172
April 11, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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