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RAINFOREST BAND/Peace to the Planet: Since I still have a box full of Merl Saunders/Jerry Garcia matchbooks, I shouldn't have just assumed these do gooders aligned with the Jerry Garcia Foundation who are from the Bay area and are worried about the rain forest were a bunch of hippies. You have to open the record to see three black guys, one of which is Merl's son, who have such accomplished resumes in music that the original resident s of Striver's Row would be prouder of this bunch than a roomful of Howard graduates heading for jobs on Wall Street. Funky smooth jazz cats that know these sounds because they've made these sounds on countless award winning records and productions, I hope they have enough mojo to guilt every hippie and boomer into buying this record so that smug boomers can 1) help save the rainforest and 2) get off their asses because if they free their asses, their minds might follow. Me, I'm just going to enjoy moving easy with this first call trio. Well done.
(San Francisco 8693)

CHURCH ON MONDAY/For Being There: If anyone can make the Continental Club in Austin sound like 52nd St. 70 years ago, this bunch has the know how and the chops. A bunch of pure bred daddios that know the old Blue Note moves but don't feel a need to genuflect to or disrespect the source, in a single serving they give you all the daddio you need to last months. Holding court on a weekly basis only on Monday nights, for those of us that wish we could be there, this has got to be the next best thing. Killer stuff.

STEVE KHAN/Patchwork: Who'd have ever thought Metal Mike would one day be putting out jazz guitar records like this? A master class from the master, Khan takes a bunch of left field jazz, Latinizes it somewhat and calls in his A team to realize the whole thing. It's so hot you'll get blisters just from reading this---listening to it is a whole 'nother story; there's plenty of that low fire caliente that doesn't burn your mouth until a few minutes pass after that first bite (byte?). And then he flashes his sense of humor with titles like "Naan Issue". A thoroughly joyful record because the A listers have gathered around to play for the joy of it.
(Tone Center 4102)

SATOKO FUJII-JOE FONDA/Four: Japan's fave art chick reins it in a touch as she faces off with her new hell raising best friend, Fonda, for a piano/bass duet that almost feels like the two of them are closing in on daddio territory but not straying far from the church basement version of it. Still cerebral but very much a change up for this pair, you can expect eggheads and highbrows to fearlessly check this out.
(Long Song 151)

KRISTIN KORB/That Time of Year: The singing bass player now based in Denmark gives us a different feeling xmas record than the usual fare we're used to. In the mood to celebrate the holidays no matter which mode she chooses to express herself, the vibe that moves to and fro is a nice change up from a one note performance that too often happens to too many. This is the stuff of holiday celebration with friends when family isn't around for whatever reason. Solid work.
(Storyville 14323)

ANNE PHILLIPS/Live at the Jazz Bakery: Some people have it and never lose it. Making her third record in 60 years, this jazz singer emerges from the commercial world to come back to jazz with a mostly original program that doesn't find you excusing yourself to go to the bathroom. Fronting a trio that has her back, this live one woman show is talking and singing and always captivating, as befits a pro that knows how to get it done. A totally dandy find any classy jazz vocal fan will love.
(Conawago 1014)

DAVE STRYKER/Eight Track Christmas: If you've been doing this long enough, Stryker is a perfect example of that split second he gives you wondering why he's doing this on his own. Then reality kicks in and you remember major labels are little more than banks run by Milburn Drysdale these days. A smashing addition to his retro line of guitar jazz, could anyone else have thought of mashing up "Soulful Strut" and "Frosty the Snowman" like it's the most natural thing in the world? With his crew that grooves as hard as he does bringing up the rear, this gold standard jazz guitarist does it again.
(Strikezone 8819)

BOB MARGOLIN/This Guitar and Tonight: With John Koerner's recent birthday sending him firmly into his 80s, it's up to this Jewish kid who stood with Muddy Waters to dust off his acoustic guitar and show us the way back to down home. Original field hollers, contemporary observations and all the things that add up to a wang dang doodle all night long are rolled out here. So organic it almost feels left field, this pro vet offers up a master class to white boys everywhere that want to let out a Howlin Wolf wail but don't want to go emo. You can only do this if you were there.
(Vizz Tone SRR004)

BRODY BUSTER'S ONE MAN BAND/Damn! I Spilled the Blues: Wasn't it Chuck D that said he wanted to manage Vanilla Ice because that's where the money is? In this age of dissing cultural appropriation and dissing not being inclusionary, where does a white boy with the blues fit in? Well, Kenny Neal saw this former tyro blow away the audience and take top prize with his harp leading Neal to get in touch with his inner D and start a label to capture this sound. Smart moves all around. Frequently sounding like Loudon Wainwright, this nu blues for nu times as this do it all cat shows he can do it all. He makes sure the good times keep rolling.
(Booga Booga 1)

CHADWICK JOHNSON/Stormy Love: Talk about coming out of nowhere on the run! A high school rodeo champ from rural Wisconsin decides to move to LA to become a recording artist. Upon arrival, he magically hooks up with everyone every delusional dreamer thinks they'll meet if only the philistines would give them a break. So he rounds up the gang and makes the kind of blue eyed soul that a test pressing was probably leaked to Van Morrison causing him to leap back to his 70s roots to stay in the game on his latest set. This set is so loaded with forward thinking retro vibes that you won't know what hit you. He even knows how to emote without sounding like a car alarm. Killer stuff.

Volume 43/Number 339
October 5, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record

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