HENDRIK MEURKENS/Cobb's Pocket: It was only a matter of time before the harmonica ace corralled his old pal (and his trio) into the studio to make a record for the ages. Except for the addition of contemporary recording techniques, this sound sounds like it could have come from back in the day when musos on tour as sidemen would make a jam for a local label when the had time on their hands. Dead solid perfect throughout, this is one of those glorious times when the whole is greater than the sum of it's impressive parts. Killer jazz just the way you like ie it and want it.
LAURA NOEJOVICH/Laura Has New Standards: Ah, the dawn of the era of the pomo thrush. Brain scientist by day, classically trained singer by night, this is the classic sound of the broad as brought forward for the millennial 20s as opposed to the roaring 20s. With a song stack varied to reflect her personal tastes above all else, this is an impressive debut that comes together in ways you wouldn't expect--but eclectic is the rule of the day. There's got to be a bunch of your old faves here as well and she really knows what to do with them. Well done.
KARL BERGER-JASON KAO HWANG/Conjure: A meeting of the minds of two experimental cats owning cv's you can't argue with tune it up for a date that sounds more like contemporary classical than it does experimental jazz improv. With the kind of simpatico that comes from a relationship of long standing, those that want to hear sounds from some corner of the cosmos will enjoy what these two can come up with all on their own.
(True Sound 2)
MAREIKE WIENING/Metropolis Paradise: A tasty Euro flavored jazz date from the bicontinental drummer that's been making her mark in New York. Working with a varied crew that gets her, this is a solid listening date where texture counts for a lot in the sonic weave. While her label debut seems to have well chosen 70s echoes, it's firmly rooted in today. Atmospheric without reaching ambient, this is a solid workout that gives fine display to well toned jazz muscles.
DUKE OTHERWISE/Kith & Kin: More proof there's a healthy musical underground out there that you probably don't know a thing about. A kid's performer that really might not be-this sure feels like a kid's record but it's loaded with accessible world beat vibes and a sophistication that's not above the kids heads but will fascinate them if you can get them to put down the god damned phone ever that you shouldn't have gotten them in the first place. An expertly realized work, there's a lot going on here and all of it interesting and engaging. This opens the mind and ears in fine form.
ROD McCORMACK/Fingerprints: A cat that sounds like he's the whole non-rock music industry in Australia comes to Nashville to record with people he admires and turns in the kind of record that would have kept the owners of Rounder from selling out for a few more years if they had this record back then. With a lot of the Rounder stalwarts in tow, this organic, back porch set has got way too much polish to be just another back porch set. Loaded with fire, fury and chops, this is the kind of act boomers and their camera phones should turn out for as it's a great reminder of how it was back in the day. Killer stuff.
(Sonic Timber 6)
LESIBU GRAND/Legend of Miranda: Alt.pop from the future as a duo with diverse backgrounds meet over common love of past alt.sounds bring their dream world into the present as a launch pad for the future. Multi culti in under the radar way, this could be the next sound of the suburbs.
AGAIN AGAIN/Listen Love Repeat: Heisting their name from the familiar battle cry of the younger set, these two moms serve up a kiddie set for the younger end of the demo that need some sophistication so they don't feel like they are being talked down to but aren't ready to be real big shots yet. Gently woven, this tapestry smartly uses well worn musical tropes the kids get via commercials and oldies radio that they're still young enough to find comforting before flexing their wings and getting into trouble. A very nice, set of new tangents to keep the little monsters quiet for two seconds in a row.
MICHAEL HARLEY/Come Closer: There's more to making outsider music than just being weird and if this bassoon player takes his inspiration of Steve Reich, we don't accuse him of manqueing around a bit. Start at the top we say. Basically turning this into music for one musician, time, tide and technology allows him to go where no soloist has gone before. A real tour de force for any serious lefty, this ear opener just doesn't know when to quit. Outside the margins and loving it.
(New Focus 240)
GHOST TOWN BLUES BAND/Shine: This bunch of Memphis white boys with the blues have such an amiable attitude that you cold easily think they are a bunch of affable underachievers doing their thing. And you'd be wrong as they played with everyone and soaked up a load of awards and recognition. Possibly taking the Stax sound into today, these are guys you'd think you could go drinking with after the show. Whether speeding it up or slowing it down, they have the right intensity for any occasion and deliver the goods in fine form.
LESLIE PINTCHIK TRIO/Same Day Delivery: A live set from the ever reliable Pintchik made it to disc because the whole night just felt right to her. Leading her jazz piano trio with nothing but pro moves, this is such a right in the pocket date that she makes it look and sound deceptively effortless. Whether hitting original or chestnuts the standards are always high and the good times just don't stop flowing. A wonderful snapshot of an artist at the top of her game
(Pintch Hard 5)
JUDE JOHNSTONE/Living Room: With Guy Clark gone, it looks like Johnstone is set to take his place as America's best well known hidden treasure. Making records that may or may not be heard, like Clark, her records manage to get heard by the right people leading the right things happening. 40 years in, she fearlessly lets her work get more personal yet she keeps the universal touch close by. A fine set of stellar songs you'll surely be hearing a lot of in the future, you can get the first taste now as it comes to you directly from her living room. Well done.
Volume 43/Number 335
September 21, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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