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RICH WILLEY'S BOPTISM FUNK BAND/Conspiracy: A sassy big band led by a vet of both Lab Band and Army bands, this long time jazzbo's crew is full of under the radar hitters that keep working and keep turning it out in fine fashion. This date of al originals has plenty of swing and funk all served in righteous fashion. Never digging up any clams, there's plenty here for you to dig when you want that groove to really kick in. Tasty throughout.
(Wise Cat)

MIKI PURNELL/Midnight Bloom: A hard working doctor finds a great way to beat occupational stress that we can all enjoy, jazz singing. Purnell covers Denny Zeitlin, rubs elbows with Mark Winkler, sings with Tamir Henderson and Bob Sheppard and delivers a solid swatch of the classic songbook with a charming little girl voice that doesn't betray the chops life has thrown her way. A fun after hours set that never loses it's real jazzbo roots and feeling, she's a thrush through and through that knows how to steer you to good times with a solid listening session.

FLEUR SEULE/Standards and Sweet Things: New York's 40's jazz band, complete with a glamour girl thrush at the fore, this is no serving of pomo nostalgia---they play it real and pretty much straight, Recalling an era of supper clubs and late evenings, this bunch let's the good times roll in a post war way; and for it to feel so authentic, we must be pretty embattled today. A can't miss set that should pave the way for wider recognition west of the Hudson, you don't have to be a period fan to dig it. Well done.

ACUTE INFLECTIONS/Electric Psychology: A sultry voice/bass duo, they manage to sound close but never claustrophobic. A real throw back of a set, even when they are doing their thing in covers of modern and contemporary works, this is sure to strike a chord in any hipster worth his old time hat. It may be too intimate to many but the intrigue that flows from when they really turn things on it's heads will provoke quite a few regardless. Fun stuff for those times you really have to color outside the lines.

SHANNON GUNN/Gunn's Ablazin': The preferred trombonist of the DC area and a tireless proponent of making jazz less of a boy's club, this modern jazzbo shows the rest of the country that there's more than one big wind in DC and not all of them blow bad noise. A snazzy set that opens the ears nicely, this is a listening date sure to keep you on the edge of your seat as your try to keep up with what's going on. Smart throughout, it's never to smart for the room with displays for the sake of display. Actually, dis plays! Well done.
(Jazz to the Bone)

SPYRO GYRA/Vinyl Tap: After more than 40 years of showing how it's done, the seminal smooth jazz crew does their first covers album, and they do it with such an incredible wink and smile you just know they had a great time doing chestnuts and classics their way and the fun is infectious. Playing with the abandon of having nothing to prove, they circumvent their worst fear of sounding like a wedding band and make everything hip, not that there's really anything here hoary. This might start out as a great guilty pleasure but stay tuned for something more.
(Amherst 2000)

PETER HAND BIG BAND/Hand Painted Dream: Not relying on tent pole tunes to bring you into the tent, this modern big band is all about the chops. Loaded with the jazzbos that keep the big apple steaming from the background, these jazzbos are loving the chance to step out and really blow. Loaded with shining moments from all on board, this is straight ahead jazz that never misses a beat no matter where and how it's traveling. Zesty and tasty, this is how an art stays alive.
(Savant 2175)

WALLACE RONEY/Blue Dawn Blue Nights: Once given his chance by some of the jazz greats, Roney is now giving back and letting some youngbloods step to the fore showing he knows how to give back and secure his place by encouraging the future. Showing a little bit of what he learned hanging around with Miles, with Lenny White and Dave Liebman part of the grooves, there's Miles floating around here somewhere as well. Edgy stuff that could easily have found a place in the Miles 70s universe, these cats really make it happen. Smoking every step of the way.
(High Note 7318)

RENAISSANCE/Tour 2011 Live in Concert: Performed and recorded right around the time acts were putting on shows consisting of playing entire albums, Renaissance took it a step further by putting on a show where they played two of their classic albums. Rounding up the core of the original bunch for what would turn out to be the last time, Haslam, Dunford and their pals work up a sweat without seeming to break a sweat delivering a flawless and ageless performance on "Turn of the Cards" and "Scheherazade". Included with the package is a DVD of the entire proceedings that accompany a disc devoted to each of the original albums. Prog rock finery moved to more of a symphonic vibe, this is a mighty crème puff for fans new as well as old.
(Esoteric 32692)

ANNIE HASLAM/Annie in Wonderland: Arguably the original Buckingham Nicks, Haslam and her then boyfriend, the under rated Roy Wood, really went to town when Renaissance was on a break. Imperfectly timed to come out on Sire just after they'd become a joint venture with Warners whose mission was to exploit punk, they had no impetus to figure out what to do with a prog rocker singing Broadway and Nat Cole (as well as a slew of Wood originals). An under rated debut that just missed the boat on when eclecticism was valued, there should have been follow ups to this auspicious debut. Structured as a timeless set, it remains timeless and as always, classic.
(Esoteric 2688)

Volume 43/Number 331
September 27, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record

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