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LEONISA ARDIZZONE QUARTET/All in Good Time: After watching the two DNC candidate debates, someone should whisper into the steering committee's ear that all 20 candidates should be dumped and this protean gal ought to leap frog over the ranks to run for President. Since past experience in politics doesn't matter anymore, with the various interests and fields she's conquered and tucked under her belt, politics should nothing more than a quick study for her. Turning her attention to jazz vocal here, she a nu voice that finds the jazz in everything from the usual suspects to the highly suspect. A delightful, out of the ordinary set that covers new ground but doesn't let the apple fall far from the tree. Tasty stuff throughout that tailor made for right now.
(2 Strange Cats)

JOEY BERKLEY BAND/Moving Froward: Leading a crew where all the players bring a little different special sauce to the table, the vet sax man keeps it right in the pocket on this set of mostly originals and serves it up like 52nd St. is still jazz jumping all night long. A savvy cat that uses white space as well as he uses notes, it all comes together in a buoyant way that kind of never gives you a minute to take it all in---until later. Well done.

VERVE JAZZ ENSEMBLE/Night Mode: Continuing to find a way to make jazz accessible enough to be the pop music of adults, this crew reconvenes itself six different ways throughout this set to keep things really hopping. Accessible, but not in a way that'll piss off moldy figs and the jazz police, this wild and wooly set will bring nu and new ears into the jazz tent whether the jazz police like it or not. Fun, high octane stuff that's hot enough to make major labels re-open their jazz departments, for right now, the machine's loss is the listeners gain. Killer stuff throughout.

SOUL BRASS BAND/Levels: Second line funk with soul direct from Nawlins that sounds like it's recorded in the moment, this crew has been serving it up hot and a lot of a long time. With some interesting mash ups and genre splicing mixed in along the way, the net result is a smoking party on a platter that never fails to deliver. It really makes you feel like you are there.

BEN LEVIN/Before Me: A white boy with the blues from Cincinnati, home of King Records, he might be barely beginning college but he's getting his education in the grooves. A hard-hitting piano man that has plenty of west side Chicago in him hangs here with modern blues mainstays and stands toe to toe quite righteously. A bluesy old soul, it's all right on to let the tradition res tin his hands.
(Vizz Tone BL 002)

TERRY HANCK/I Still Get Excited: An appropriate album title for a singing, saxed up silver fox that blows the roof off the sucker, this time out with some more special sauce than before. Chicago meets Memphis meets LA, Hanck shows his Chi bonafides with putting Wolf and Bobby Charles on the same record. A honking, smoking good time where white boys with the blues don't let it get them down, this is a straight up party on a platter that is just made for after hours. Hot stuff.
(Vizz Tone/TVR 407)

AUGIE HAAS/Dream a Little Dream: A change of pace in which we find the trumpeter putting down his horn for a few bars so he can croon and vocalize on his fave oldies. With a late night kind of voice that hasn't kicked back enough whiskey and a lushly presented back ground, the smart moves are in the air and the chestnuts get a proper roasting. Fun stuff in which you can feel his breath of fresh air.

JELENA JOVOVIC/Heartbeat: With an eastern Euro sensibility that you could easily mistake for jazz art chick stuff, this long time award winning vocalist brings her moves to our shores and probably is going to make some waves as we'll find her out of the ordinary. Jazz always was about new routes and this set carves out a few.

MARK ROGERS/Laying it Down: Letting his guitar gather dust because of the demands of adulthood getting in the way, it was a Jesse Winchester tune that brought him back to reality. Jumping ship a few years before Americana found it's course, Jeff Tweedy could learn a thing or two hanging out with Rogers rather than vice versa. An Americana cat that picks above the genre's norm and writes with the sharpness maturity can foster, this set holds great promise for adult ears that don't feel a need to compete with their kids. A winner at all levels.

INTERNATIONAL ORANGE/A Man and His Dog: This is a dandy throwback to what jam bands sounded like before they were called jam bands and knew better than to indulge in 18 minute solos that went nowhere. Tossing in everything including the kitchen sink before it was called mash up, these instrumental recidivists aren't going for nostalgia, they're going for a good time---and it works. Check it out.

Volume 43/Number 257
July 5, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record

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