JASON HARNELL/Total Harnage: You'd have to be a real insider these days to know that this is Joe Harnell's kid (all grown up) and he was given his first real drum kit by Louie Bellson. With certified chops in tow, Harnell takes the concept of drum solo to new heights as he takes this to places even prog rockers never imagined during those 12 minute drum solos. Using everything modern he has at his disposal to pull it off and together, this is a set that goes to new destinations taking off from the drum. A wild set by an open mind, this is fun stuff for the musical explorer on the prowl.
MISS BIX & the Blues Fix/We Don't Own the Blues: This white gal with the blues took some time off to spend some time at the crossroads and soak it all in. The result? A wild amalgam of all kinds of southern swamp voodoo rolled up into the kind of smoky, sensual sound that probably got black men arrested for the crime of non-aversion back in the day. Like the down and dirty side of Bonnie Raitt you always wanted to hear, Bix is the seductress/enchantress that'll work you harder than a striper that has to feed her habit and her pimp. Hot.
NEW HUDSON SAXOPHONE QUARTET/New York Rising: Go figure the vibes you get from something. This collection of sax music mixes old school and new school classical works but the recent vintage stuff feels like it has Leonard Bernstein at the wheel. The crew plays it straight, without the flourishes that announce this is modern stuff, and plays with such grace and panache that it's hard to get enough. Topped off with a world premiere recording about diners, the nighthawks at the diner have a new place to hang out if their old one get urban rehabilitated. Wonderful ear opening stuff by players the obviously put the love first.
B RUCE COCKBURN/Crowing Ignites: Once upon a time, Cockburn was a clever folkie/producer recording for True North Records. Now, a bunch of decades later, the roots pro is back in the saddle making acoustic music for True North. Except for earning every award and recognition there is in the meanwhile, it sounds and feels like not a day has gone by. Still a spry picker, this all instrumental set takes it back to the college coffee house where you could sometimes hear amazing cats play for the cost of passing the hat. A real wake up call for young ‘uns that want to know what real music is all about, this set makes a great case for the basics being the basics for a good reason. Heartwarming music from a once in a lifetime kind of player.
(True North 737)
FRANCO AMBROSETTI QUINTET/Long Waves: Still swinging at 78 and doing it in the company of Scoey, DeJohnette and Colley, the trumpeter delivers a 70s meets something vibe that'll have you making a parlor game about picking out what came from where---even if it all came from him. Simply a tasty jazz workout whether players all know what to do and they do it right with the only embellishments needed are their chops. A straight ahead date that has all you need to have a great time just sitting back and letting it happen. Well done.
RACHID TAHA/Je Suis Africain: The genre splicing world beater sends us his first record from the great beyond after his heart attack last year. Energetic and searching out the new right up until the end, this is the kind of set that could canonize him as the Jimi Hendrix of world beat if there's anything left in the can after this. The perfect set to take you to someplace else, Taha might do it all in his native tongue but the vibe he creates speaks for itself. A must for the modern world beater.
JENNIFER SARAN/Smoky Nights: A few albums into her career, Saran goes for the bag breaker with a sultry, smoky album that recalls the era of broads and dames, always on the make for the unsuspecting pigeon they can bring to his knees. Still working with Michael Walden, this is a bag breaker of sorts for both of them as the protean producer is stretching his wings in other directions as well. A must for orthinologists that are connoisseurs of the thrush, their only regret will be that this is only an ep. Check it out.
DAN PITT TRIO/Fundamentally Flawed: A cat happy to give Manny Eicher some love, this date recalls classic ECM sessions from the mid 70s when no one was really sure what to call it. The kind of stuff they were doing with cats that weren't major label refugees, this is sure to take you back to the day, jetting there in fine style.
DAN MCCARTHY/City Abstract: It's hard to think it now, but without Carla Bley, ECM wouldn't have gotten off the launching pad. When this self professed Bley adherent says his music is like ECM, you might want to question "Watt were you thinking?" even if he doesn't sound like EOTH period Bley in the least. Not having Steve Swallow on board this time but dedicating a song to Bley, this vibe player is one to watch for. Vibes seem so easy--and they are---easy to mess up. He never does. He's a magical player that can take you to the seventh galaxy as easily as he can anywhere else. A delightful album with some heavy Canadian improvisers lending a hand this time out, this is where it's at for the laid back jazzbo. Check it out.
BRAD VICKERS/Twice as Nice: With a cv as authentic as a Paul Butterfield or a Corky Siegel (and I'm comparing this guitar man to harmonica players because...?) this white boy with the blues wants you to party whether you call it roots & roll, west side Chicago or whatever. Since we're so deep in the mash up era, I don't think anyone knows the difference between Piedmont and Central Avenue anymore so when cats like this jam them together, all you can do is let the good times roll. A real player that isn't playing around, this is just a solidly right on set that delivers throughout. Hot stuff.
(Man Hat Tone 2000)
Volume 43/Number 328
September 14, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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