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ALEJANDRO SANTOYO/Dreams for a Better Tomorrow: A piano man with a mission, he's gone from instrumental tyro to boy band member to world class composer/player taking a tip from Robert Kennedy. Looking to inspire through his playing, he's certainly on the right track toward getting that done. With pieces that go from solo to full orchestration, Santoyo is a talent to be reckoned with. Loaded with instrumental prowess that can take him anywhere, this set is a real joy for those who like their music without labels or pretense that cuts right to the heart. Well done.
(Banade 5)

JARRED WALKER/Becoming Tomorrow: A piano man that acknowledges an obvious debt to Jim Brickman, he also admires John Williams, Henry Mancini and Vince
Guaraldi to name a few---but he's inspired by them, not imitating them. He's fit himself in to the new age niche for marketing purposes but he can attack those keys with the ferocity of a rocker when the mood and mode fits. An instrumentalist you certainly have to keep an ear out for, this auspicious debut is clearly one for the collection. Well done.

EMI TAKADA/Why Did I Choose You?: Despite moving back to Tokyo, Takada keeps a toe dipped in New York waters as she continues her journey as a swinging, old school thrush. Turning in a delightful that keeps the feeling of old school jazz clubs alive and well, this note perfect set makes all the right moves in all the right places so that it's joyfulness is limitless---even when doing down mouth material. A wonderfully solid romp throughout.

RAY BLUE/Work: Leading with a deep, full tone, this sax man keeps it light and bouncy making some happy, party jazz that works really well. Rolling out a bunch of lesser known oldies he puts his sure fingered stamp on, Blue and the gang keep the good times rolling in a fine, easy fashion. Tasty stuff that doesn't need to make a statement any deeper than ‘smile!'. Killer stuff that's just so much fun.
(Jazzheads 1235)

ERIC WYATT/Golden Rule for Sonny: Sonny Rollins played frequently with sax man Wyatt's father so the influence and the tribute here come naturally. While it's hard to imagine a tribute to Rollins not including "St. Thomas", it's also a little cliché so here we get "Don't Stop the Carnival" in it's place. A tasty set that's as much from the heart as it is from the head, you know this is the real deal as you get flashes in your head of Rollins sitting up in Woodstock taping his toe and laughing through his COPD. Hot stuff done right.
(Whaling City Sound 117)

SUREFIRE SWEAT: Sounding like a much bigger band than they are, this drummer led crew knows how to kick it out in fine style. A perfect example of making a joyful noise, this bunch is high octane all the way and more than worth the paper their union cards are printed on. Anyone with an ear for mainstream, instrumental music will find their ears perking up for this groover. Easily and surely well done throughout.

JC SANFORD QUARTET/Keratoconus: Yep, the former unpredictable Brooklyn bad boy is naming records after eye diseases--and contributing a portion of sales to fight the disease. Veering from musical madness to introspective themes without hesitation, Sanford shows once again why he's a talent to be reckoned with as he goes his own way to the cosmos and back showing off some moon rocks he picked up along the way. This is tomorrow's jazz today.
(Shifting Paradigm 152)

Volume 43/Number 314
August 31, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record

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