FIMA CHUPAKHIN/Water: Apparently those cats from over there still think America has streets paved with gold. A cat with a thriving career in Ukraine music and film ditches to it come over here on a scholarship and basically start over. With his established chops in tow, we're not dealing with a beginner here that's learning the ropes from jump. Trying on several styles in his mostly original program, he impresses at all stops. A tasty jazz piano led date, this set is heavy on listening music even though it's loaded with bebop underpinnings. Quite the auspicious debut.
EVGENY SIVTSOV/Zoo: Recorded near the end of this Russian's stay in New York, this jazz piano man is hanging out on the corner where daddio meets crime jazz, and he makes the meeting anything but surreptitious. Leading a trio flawlessly, he learned his lessons well no matter which corner he was hanging out on. Hammering each string right on the head, fans of this driving kind of sound have a new voice to champion. Well done.
(Rainy Days 5)
MAKAR KASHITSYN/Jazz Animals: Only 19 and this jazz sax man can pull off high spirited improv with best of them. Leading with original chops that don't seem to owe any debts, he never gets precious for the sake of it and never leaves the listener behind in a quest to be too hip for the room. With plenty of room to still stretch out ahead of him, expect this cat to continue to blow up a real storm in times to come. Solid work.
(Rainy Days 4)
EDWIN-DURANT-KOVTUN: It seems like there's a lot of nu wild and crazy guys that really dig electro. Here we flip the script as old Ukrainian folk music gets brought into the electro present by a duo that adds a vocalist to their past and begins the dig together. Is it ethnic? Dunno. The vocalist brings an art chick vibe to the proceedings that sonic malcontents are sure to get. Wild without being too far out.
TROY GONYEA/Click Click Spark: A white boy with the blues that goes beyond Twitter sized explanation, he's played with all the best of the white boys but he's also put in his time keeping it real. One of the highest under the radar fliers, he's been up for a ton of awards and has earned recognition from everyone that matters. On this solo set, he let's that primal wail fly whether vocally or making his guitar scream. Ostensibly he's here for the party but really bringing more than that to the table. 10,000 hours? This cat has put in 25 years to get here. Share the experience!
BART HAWKINS/21 Pulse Eclipse: "Om" was the first sound in the universe. Moving a few million years forward to a mythical Starbucks where Beaver & Krause, Eno and Don Slepian kicked it out over a few coffees, Hawkins was at the next table taking notes. Keying in on Slepian's search for new sounds, Hawkins started sorting out his patch chords then and there looking for a way to merge his vocation and avocation. Then borrowing from Eno to craft "Music for Watching Eclipses", he then grabbed onto Beaver & Krause's pioneering spirit. (I think there's a little touch of Zeitlin and the zombies as well). The result is something where space rock, new age and ambient all meet up and fight it out. Electroheads will know at first byte this really hits it out of the park.
(Spotted Peccary 4301)
JON PATRICK WALKER/Welcome to the Edge Times: No that's not an early picture of Beaver Cleaver on the front cover and no his wife doesn't remind you of Gwen Paltrow. Such a protean talent that he can go from playing King George in "Hamilton" to nailing the 70s singer/songwriter vibe, his new record is another demand you pay attention to all his facets. Honing in on ears that didn't listen to James Taylor finding him too commercial, this is meaty songwriting and deep thoughts for everyone else. Boomers that don't relate to songs made up of the title being repeated 4,000 times will dig this the most. Hot stuff.
(Walksly Songs 4)
JOHN ALLEE/Bardfly: Replacing Tom Waits' whisky/heroin rasp with a passion for Shakespeare, Allee keeps the jazz combo in tact and hipsterizes Shakespeare in a way that's a little short of Lord Buckley's treatment but hip enough for high school students that have to read this jazz to stay interested. A record that finds a sweet spot you didn't know you were looking for, this is one of those cool diversions that slyly moves from appetizer to main course before you realize it. Well done throughout.
(Portuguese Knees 9413)
DAVID HASSELHOFF/Open Your Eyes: Forgive me if my head's exploding. The Hoff facing off on "Sweet Caroline" with Al Jourgensen after hitting "Sugar Sugar" with Steve Cropper? And that's the tip of the iceberg? As insane on paper as Pat Boone gong heavy metal but actually, sonically way more credible, what hath the Hoff wrought? Looks like naysayers finally have to acknowledge him as a protean commercial talent as he does a fine job with a program of malcontent music from some of the top malcontents. Hanging with the Iggy camp? Covering Bowie? Going from there to Gordon Lightfoot and Glen Campbell? How long until we see strippers doing that whirling leg wrap around the pole to this?
HEATHER BAMBRICK/Fine State: A hard working Canadian with her finger in a lot of pies that only serve to deepen her chops, views and interests, the award nominee broadens her vibe here keeping it jazz but adding a significant AOR vibe to the proceedings. Not content to let talent show manques get the glory without the hard work, you can feel her putting them on notice that you have to do the work as well to get stellar results like this. A real leading light vocalist, Bambrick is simply going to blow you away with what she brings forward here. Killer stuff.
Volume 43/Number 332
September 28, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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