WAYNE ALPERN/Skeleton: What we have here is what happens when an egghead gets outside of his head and decides to have a good time. A serious composer/arranger meets a mystery woman from an old Dylan song and turns in a contemporary set of songs he didn't write that sound like what would happen if Friends of Distinction was making music for white people. Eggheads everywhere should take note, you don't have to go through life as Sheldon Cooper. Rounding up a large, brass heavy combo to kick it out on loads of familiar tunes and doing everything not to make it sound like a gift shop record, a good time is on tap here for all. The underlying theme of this record is connecting and it does that more than quite well.
(Henri Elkan Music)
ALAN ROSENTHAL/Elbow Grease: A solid mainstream jazz piano/instrumental music date where various tracks are presented in various configurations with piano man Rosenthal always at the core. Not easy listening but always easy to like, this is nice comfortable music powered by chops that know how to underplay but are always front and center. Slightly old school but a graduate of the right school.
(Street of Stars)
BATTSTONE/SANTORO/Dream Notes: Artists and musos form a mutual admiration society inspired by playing improv flute/piano duets to the artist's works. Very much an in the moment listening date where a magical experience takes place, this is foremost a listening date that takes you places you hadn't really expected. A head and shoulders above many impressionistic dates that leave you with nothing to gauge the listening against, this set fills in the blacks leaving nothing to guessing and opens the mind as well as the ears.
TERRENCE WINTERSMITH/Walk in the Woods: Here's a Nashville jazz piano cat that knows everyone and has done it all over the last 40 years finally serving up a set of original jazz that has a tasty, easy going edge and doesn't try to impress with anything other than killer smooth jazz chops honed by a world of experiences centered around making the audience go away satisfied and happy. With an almost Herb Alpert-ish vibe to it, rec room jazz like this will keep nuclear families together in the modern age. Totally sweet and on the money throughout.
(Deer Ridge/Addictive 2 Music)
TAMUZ NISSIM/Capturing Clouds: Recorded in an afternoon, old school style, with Harvie S leading an intimate trio, Nissim breaks stride here with a set that sounds like cabaret jazz from tomorrow or another planet. As intimate as it gets, this is a must for when you're feeling that left of center vibe and have a real yen for something out of the ordinary that never lets the wheels come off. A real boundary pusher that scores high marks.
(Street of Stars 1003)
CLEMENS GUTJAHR TRIO/Monster: It might be part of the Next Generation series but these jazzbos have a handle on 50s jazz into poetry and quasi experimental sounds. Loaded with modern sensibilities, this piano trio is skilled in the art and plays as slyly as you can imagine----and then some. A really tasty diversion that grabs hold and doesn't let go, there's a lot of pure creativity on tap here that is always engaging. A winner coming in from left field.
(Double Moon 71366 Jazz Thing Next Generation vol. 80)
LUKAS MANTEL SEXSTET/Vardah: Music inspired by a destructive 2016 cyclone that really made a mess in it's path of destruction, Mantel and his crew have a real feel for making you feel it. The drummer bore witness to the destruction and draws deep from the well to make you feel what was going on as well. Stopping short of making music that really angrys up the blood, this is more of a hark back to 70s free range jazz/rock when inner mountain flame often spread like wildfires. A must for the open eared that like it really energetic.
(Double Moon 71362)
SABINE KUHLICH & LAIA GENC/A Swinging Xmas With Friends: As forces convene to make Christmas less fun and more of stress Olympics, this singing, swinging vocalist duo is here to beat back the forces of evil. With a well known, comfortable set card underpinning it all and a wealth of jazzbo pals that want to have some fun as well, this duo doesn't break any new ground but they bring the fun back to Christmas. With a Euro accent singing the words, they could have easily made this a jive gift shop record but they never even get close. A winner throughout, I'm going to their party for the holidays.
(Double Moon 71365)
MORGENTHALER/ROLLIN/RUBEN: Mister Z: If you would think a free wheeling jazz trio couldn't pay tribute Jazz From Hell Zappa without playing any of his tunes under that penumbra, this record is here to prove you would be wrong. A set of originals that you don't already know, this bunch underscores that the present day composer will not die. A dandy undertaking that shows just how large a shadow the Zappa legacy casts, the Zappa allegiance will gather round this set and convince others to hop on board. Viva Zappa-patta!
(Between the Lines 71248)
JOHNNY RAWLS/I Miss Otis Clay: The first time I heard Rawls and thought he was an anomaly, it swiftly reminded me how much I'd forgotten about Chicago's Record Row heritage. A great singer with a smoking record basically coming out of nowhere. What else do you need? A soul/blues vocalist that writes and sings from the heart, especially here, it's hard to be from one place in this mobile world but this mix of Chicago and down home works in ways you wouldn't imagine. This is a seven course blues feast on a platter.
(Third Street Cigar )
Volume 43/Number 359
October 25, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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