LOMHEIM O'BRIEN EPSTEIN/Triage: We don't give out points just for being venerable---there has to be chops that back up the venerability. This piano trio launches their first record after being high level jazzbos alone and together for over 20 years. The together part really comes together here. Finding that sweet spot where commercial moves get right in synch with some real playing, the long simmering period has yielded a great gateway drug to get nascent jazzbos to cross the line for good and start swinging. Using their myriad influences as lessons rather than cop outs, this set is really loaded with what you want from a piano trio. Just stellar throughout.
(Shifting Paradigm 147)
TODD SNIDER/Cash Cabin Sessions Vol. 3: Snider may have tempered his smart ass tendencies in these tracks but his skewed vision is still coming through on this personal set that finds him in awe again of recording at Johnny Cash's old home studio. A wondrous organic set that finds him getting in touch with some seriously recidivist folkie roots, Snider hits it out of the park in a most unexpected way. This is the right way for angry, young men to age properly, keeping old fans and making new ones as well. Killer stuff.
ROSS OSTEEN BAND/Williwaw: Not your normal white boy with the blues, Osteen leads a blues rock power trio that shows how it's done for a new generation. Untamed and unleashed, this is the kind of stuff that turns young ears on to the possibilities in the blues that lie beyond the cliché cotton fields. Primal stuff that wakes the soul in soul.
CARLOS XAVIER/Vive Todo Ahora: If it seems like the chops are well seasoned for a debut set, Xavier has been laboring in the vineyards for over 20 years and one thing he's learned properly is all his salsa lessons. A thoroughly happy, bouncy set that isn't old school and isn't from the streets, he's a Bay Area cat that knows jazz as well and mixes it up in a such a tasty mix that even gringos will get in the spirit of things without knowing the language. Muy caliente!
TANK/Re-ignition: Cherry picking the hottest and hardest from their first four albums for re-recording, the filth hounds are still kicking it out hard and heavy and show on this greatest hits set of a sort that there's still no holding them back and the badass underground is still alive and well, kicking ass. Hard and heavy, just the way disenfranchised suburban kids love it, they can show the young bloods a thing or two about rocking.
SKOLD/Never is Now: Industrial metalloids are back in the harness after sojourns in other top shelf noizemaker crews. The leader and his minions haven't lost a step as this is the kind of malcontent sound that may come and go but never goes away---and now it's back right in the pocket of the repressive times it's needed to rebel against. On point throughout, this is the kind of show that's needed to cut through the dross.
THOR/Hammer of Justice: Did Thor really envision this when he first brought his thing to a disco label over 40 years ago? Still kicking it out metal style, he rounds out his young crew with some vet pals and the noize is complete. Hard hitting imagery backed by a metal wall of sound, the underground appetite for this is hugely biggarly than you might expect. Thor really knows how to use his hammer here. This outing also includes a DVD that'll bring everyone up to speed.
NEW THREAD QUARTET/Plastic Facts: I say give this sax quartet a lot of credit. While the recording is funded IN PART by some arts council money, they are more concerned with bringing new ears into the tent than impressing the givers that be. A modern classical crew with their ears firmly planted in tomorrow, they are actively commissioning new works of an unpredictable and sprightly nature that are eminently listenable even if you aren't a fan of the genre. Sets like this bode well for those who never want to hear Pacalbel's Canon at a wedding ever again. Check it out.
(New Focus 221)
FOUR/There You Go Thinking Again: I think this record is wonderful because it's sure to make you dizzy. A sax quartet teams up with five other sax quartets and let's the fur fly. Even Jeff Coffin steps up to admit this whole thing amazes him. Something that probably looked a little specious on paper probably inspired everyone involved all that much more. The saxiest date that's ever been recorded up to now, this is going to be a real knockout for jazzbo ears everywhere.
(Jazz Hang 701)
BENNETT PASTER/Indivisible: For his latest, the keyboard ace wants to under score that the groove is everywhere and it can't be separated no matter how you try to separate the genres. He proves his point mightily. With loads of swing throughout, his jazz isn't always purely jazz but it's welcome no matter to which extremes he takes it. Tasty and assured throughout, this is jazz that's always welcome. Well done.
STEVE SLAGLE/Spirit Calls: After all this time of getting you to take him seriously as a sax man, Slagle shifts gears and serves up a tasty bunch of flute juice poured from different spigots. Not abandoning his jazz roots--he does Jarrett and Coltrane compositions and has Scoey drop by, this is something different that perks up the ears with the sounds of an ace perking up his own. Solid stuff.
DWIGHT TRIBLE/Mothership: Yow! Old school soul jazz so authentic it even has an Oscar Brown tune on board. Grabbing a vibe from before John Lennon discovered primal scream, this is how it sounds when the lid has been kept on too long and is about to blow. Make you think about it's timeliness? Clarion wake up call or something else? Hot stuff.
KENNETH BROWN/2nd Chances: A rising young drummer with a lot of good friends finds the key to taking it back to the day with some free jazz that careens but not too wildly. A tasty romp where joyful noses mix with aggression, this is a sound we haven't had in a while and it's played in such a right on way that it's easy to welcome it back. Brown is a well versed jazzbo through and through.
(Space Time 1946)
Volume 43/Number 176
April 15, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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