MIKE LeDONNE/Partners in Time: When they want to bitch slap you, they tell you your skill sets don't transfer. Here we find B3 ace LeDonne kicking it out with long time accomplices McBride and Nash but he's switching from B3 to piano. Does he hold up his end? Please! Hard charging and hard swinging throughout in the friendly confines of Van Gelder's studio, the trio plays up a storm of the kind of stuff that makes you show up out of rightful FOMO. Hot stuff of the highest order.
JD ALLEN/Barracoon: You sort of knew this would be coming but here we find Allen returning to a trio format and going civil rights jazz on us. Commemorating the 400th anniversary of slaves being brought to America with a title that means something along the lines of what you think it does, Allen's sax leads the way in blowing up a storm with sounds that often reflect the miasma that must have been going through the forcibly captives minds. Music with a message that can be conveyed without words, this rising star's rocket fuel is nowhere near burning out. Hot stuff.
POTTER'S DAUGHTER & ANNIE HASLAM/Blood & Water: In the midst of the Renaissance reissue program comes a new prog folk single Annie Haslam recorded with some locals that walks the line between Pentangle and Rennaisance but is welcome nonetheless. The only regret is that it's only a single. Not losing a step in her emeritus years, Haslam is still every bit the pre-Stevie Nicks enchantress she always was. Well done.
SETH JAMES/Good Life: The Texas bred roots rocker heads off to Delbert McClinton's stomping ground to get in synch with the gang that'll help show he's the next gen road house rocker that sets his watch to his own time zone. With cover art reflecting a Martian trailer park, this is certainly heartland roll from a place that it calls it's own home on the range. Fun stuff that gleefully colors outside the roots lines.
ERIC LEGNINI/Six Strings Under: In which we find the pianist returning to his acoustic roots after hitting it to other fields for a while and celebrating guitar by having half of his quartet be guitarists. Fusing Bowie and Benny Goodman along the way in his song stack, Legnini shows why he's long been the ivory tickler of choice for real jazzbos that want the job done right. Tasty stuff that knows how to swing mightily, this small group has the flair and pizzazz that grabs you and doesn't let go. Well done.
BRUCE KATZ/Solo Ride: The Jewish kid from Jersey that became a roots rocking, blues award winning pianist rather than doctor humble brags his ways through his first solo piano set with totally unneeded trepidation. Kicking things off with some whore house piano jazz that stands up well next to the cats that invent the genre and keeping it all evening side from there, this stacks up as an unexpected treat where solo piano fills your ears with all the sound they can handle. His parents should sheb nachas and stop busting his balls about not knowing a stethoscope from his tuchas. Killer stuff.
(American Showplace 7766)
ITAMAR EREZ/Mi Alegria: A world guitarist that really walks it like he talks it gives people that never really dug world because they've been listening to stuff that takes it too seriously the kick in the ear drum they need to come over to the right side of the street. A joyously joyful, buoyant date that skims over the waters like a light craft on a sunny day, his expert playing and passion add up to a rare find fueled by breathing rarified air. A real instrumental delight, this genre buster session is real music to your ears. Killer stuff.
LEONARD COHEN/Lost Sessions: In which we find the missing link into the artist's psyche. Performing songs from his second and third albums with his first album having just been released, it's no wonder he followed up his third album with a live album, a nervous breakdown and several lost years that caused him to have to claw his way back into being Columbia's prestige artist. Culled from 3 BBC sessions in 1968, there's no real new ground reveled here but it's a great walk down memory lane for dyed in the wool, early Cohen fans. A veritable early years ‘best of' set, this is a nice look at how legends are forged.
(Left Field Media 611)
MOY ENG-WAYNE WALLACE/Blue Hour: As record making becomes more decentralized, there's been more and jazz jazz records by thrushes that are embarking on late career moves away from accounting, law, medicine etc into jazz singing. This set is a different vector of same for vet trombonist Wallace and former arts administrator Eng. Eng has always been enamored with writing and finally got around to it. These two met in songwriting class and have given each other's talents a new course. A different jazz course for Wallace and an auspicious debut for Eng, this personal set comes right up to the line of art jazz without crossing over. Those looking for more of a pure listening experience have a solid one here. Art without being artsy or precious, there' still a lot of warm days left to this year that feel like this would make most appropriate listening on.
CAMILLE HARRIS/Baby on the Subway: Inspired by Bullwinkle cartoons not really being for kids, the self professed silly jazz singer makes a kids record that's not really for kids, even if it sort of feels like it should be for kids. Certainly a set for kids of all ages, Harris deconstruct kids classics, adds a few of her own new ones and makes a genre set that defies genre. A wonderful set that never fails to make you crack a smile as well as tap your toes, Harris is really onto something here. Well done.
JASON VIEAUX-ESCHER QUARTET/Dance: A nice dose of classical music for people that think they don't like it. Vieaux, a modern classical guitarist that you can mention in the same breath as Williams, Bream, Segovia and/or Parkening and the Escher bunch, serious cats with senses of humor, have known each other for over a decade and have finally decided to join forces in a set that's so deceptively simple no manqué could ever duplicate it. Playing complex pieces with not only ease and grace but sprightliness as well, these chestnuts were ripe for a new roasting. A lovely listening set, if this doesn't bring new ears into the tent, things are hopelessly broken beyond all repair. Just give this one a Grammy now and let's get on with it.
HOLY BEACH/All That Matters is This Matter: Showing there are other cities in Georgia beside Athens that rock the edges, this hard hitting bunch leap frogs right to the arena sound that gets the masses fist pumping. Loaded with the kind of thoughts that give voice to the voiceless, this shows there's more to the sound of the suburbs than beats and repetition. A must of kids that wonder where the angst went.
Volume 43/Number 279
July 27, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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