GRETA MATASSA/Portrait: Away from recording for almost a decade, this regional winner with a worldwide reach (when she wants it) shows how classic jazz vocal is done right. With a great eclectic sense of material, Matassa knows how to dive into every note and find even more than was put there originally. A real pro that's glad to do all the heavy lifting so you can sit back and listen, you might as well let her carry out this agenda to the max. Hot stuff.
XAVIER LECOUTURIER/Carrier: A contemporary crew of drummer led jazzbos that serve up easy moving stuff with some edge and bite make the most of the debut impressing every step of the way. These youngsters have learned their lessons well, respect the elders and have their eyes and ears on the future. In short, everything you could want from some talented young lions is here by the truck load. Well done.
MARLENE ROSENBERG/MLK Convergence: C'mon, albums like this write their own reviews. Rosenberg surrounded by Kenny Barron and Lewis Nash with Chris McBride and Robert Irving lurking in the background? What else is there to say? With music informed by years of knowing each other and living now in unsettling times akin to the good old civil rights days, this is a bridge date that links the 60s and now almost without saying a word. Meaty jazz that doesn't have to be at the top of the charts to be at the top of your mind, this real playing by real pros taking the trio format exactly where you want it to be. Hot throughout.
MATT OLSON/789 Miles: A smoking trio with sax and B3, which way to do you want to take it? With chops galore powering the date, this is the perfect date to put yourself on auto pilot to enjoy to the max. Way more than just a tasty collection of licks and scales, this trio starts out in overdrive and takes it from there. Solid stuff that never lets you down.
ERIK SKOV/Liminality: A Chicago guitarist leads a local crew on a set of art leaning jazz that moves and breathes rather than makes you labor over it. Delighting in some Zen ambiguity that works it's way into the grooves, this is music of discovery that never signals it's left turns ahead of time but keeps you paying rapt attention for when they turn up. Extended length tracks dominate this set where all thoughts are taken to their logical conclusions in fine form. A wealth of fine listening awaits.
HEATHER NEWMAN/Rise From the Flames: Following up an auspicious debut with a set that never heard of sophomore jinx, when you are in the blues, you have lots of source material to work with. This break up album could teach Alanis Morrissette a thing or two about kicking one to the curb---and making sure they stay kicked. Ragingly hot with a noirish edge, if you ever see this blues babe at the malt shop it's probably because she's getting ready to burn it down. Totally hot throughout.
(Vizz Tone HN002)
NANCY WRIGHT/Alive & Blue: The high octane saxy lady, roots division, owns those King Curtis alleles she has and covers one of his main tracks along the way on this blues/funk/R&B rave up. There's no doubt she's cooking on all burners with the gas high on this live date as you start to sweat listening to it. Killer stuff that takes that greasy sax to places you've only heard in dreams, you better wake up and get a load of this. Killer stuff.
(Vizz Tone/Direct Hit DH 112)
CLIFF STEVENS/Nobody But You: Such a dyed in the wool white boy with the blues, he's been at it so long that he recently was the opening act for Wishbone Ash. Knowing blues rock inside out and doing it without any clichés this cat whose been at it since before your parents even though about you, he a shining example of that back roads Sherpa that's finally doing it on his own. He knows how to get it done right.
(Red Flag 557)
DEBRA POWER/That's How I Roll: A piano thumping white girl with the blues from Canada has the chops to know how to light up the night with her hard charging, rolling piano that can lead the way through the darkest night. A cat that's been knocking them dead, expect her to continue to do so as she's riding a rocket 88 here. She might not have ever cleaned toilets for rich people during the day but she sings like she knows how it feels . Hot stuff throughout.
MAX PETERSEN TRIO/Divine Traces: A mercurial set in which the German piano jazzbo fuses jazz and classical but does it by mixing US and African sensibilities with a soupcon of Euro aggression. Music for murky after midnight clubs that not even ESP Disc might have imagined, this stuff takes the off ramp before hitting hipster land and goes to uncharted places hard to imagine.
Volume 43/Number 229
June 7, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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