MICHAEL ZILBER/East West-Music for Big Bands: After earning high praise from Dave Liebman, Zilber redefines what ambition and drive mean by coming forth with a twofer that features a bicoastal recording in which the sax man pulls out all the stops in arranging for big band. Highlighting what makes each coast special rather than pitting them against each other, this is a modern monster of a set where the blowing is unbridled and uncontained fiercely sending a joyful noise up through he holes in the rafters. Whether original or chestnut, he leaves everything in the bytes and it all blows your mind. Killer stuff.
DAVID FRIESEN CIRCLE 3 TRIO/Interaction: A twofer made up of a studio recording and a live set, the bass ace finds himself in the company of two different drummers, each bringing a different coloration to the sound. Never straying far from his jazz/new age/world vibe, if you listen to this on a play list and don't check what's going on, you could almost mistake this for an Oregon record you thought you missed. A defining alt.jazz set, Friesen sets sails for uncharted waters but never slides into creativity for the sake of creativity headed for the abstruse. A fine set for left field ears looking for something more.
HAL GALPER TRIO/The Zone: A geezer who could be forgiven for playing pretty as he thinks about checking out, label stalwart Galper is having none of that. Still a forward thinking piano man, he stands as one of the greats that could teach the young ‘uns a thing or two about turning out great jazz. The recording is so in the moment that when he listened to is a few months later, Galper didn't even recognize himself playing. How bad ass is that? Solid stuff as far from the cocktail lounge as you could want, this is a real mind and ear opening set.
BOB RAVENSCROFT & Inner Journeys/Phantasmagoria: A little prog, a little seventh galaxy, a little church basement, Ravenscroft and his gang mixmaster a load of influences that have influenced them along the way, put it in their own mixmaster and take off for the outer reaches that players have been reaching for since George Russell first blasted off. Space heads rejoice--it's done right here.
CHARLIE PORTER/Immigration Nation: If you had great grand parents who came here not knowing how to speak English but able to push a cart through alleys 12 hours a day while they figured how to support their families and prosper, you don't have to be a guilty, white, liberal to feel for what immigrant families are going through today. This set, cut into ‘leaving home' and ‘new beginnings' sections underscores the immigrant experience sonically with a diverse crew that doesn't appear to have any native
American blood in them. Impressionistic with an almost symphonic sweep, this is an old school/modern set with a real boots on the ground feel. A sterling merger of politics and music.
LOLLY ALLEN/Coming Home: We haven't heard such a nu tent pole release since Roxy Coss first came our way. While we are in the middle of a rampage of nu saxy ladies, we find Allen on the path not taken as we get just the right vibes from her. Allen has us wishing we could come up with a cute coefficient for vibe players on a par with saxy lady for sax players. Firmly in the now with admirers on the Nelson/Koonse axis, Allen hits it out of the park as she hammers her point home swingingly and gracefully. A tasty romp throughout, this classic in the making is a jazzy joy for all.
TEYMUR PHELL/Master Volume: Leaving his tyro years in the dust, this self taught bass mad man uses his flying fingers to the fullest to show why he's been a darling of left field jazzbos since first hitting New York from over there. Sounding like he grew up on the best 70s fusion even if he was born in 1987, this isn't a nostalgia tour--it's in the now, just giving a solid nod to the best of the past. Hard hitting stuff that keeps you on board throughout. For those who want to know what they are really getting, a lot of his A list left field pals are here to return the favor.
JEFF PIFHER/Anthem: A concept album that feels like fusion lite and feels like it tells a story? Well, that's a mouthful. The young sax man expertly leads a sizable crew through some solid, contemporary jazz where he isn't shy about letting you know who his pop, jazz and classical lodestars are--but he skillfully makes it all his own. A first class listening date, this is jazz you can ease into as well as sink into. Well done.
DOGGY CATS/Daikon Pizza: Here's a special find for you---a kid from Japan infected with a real case of Nawlins that only likes to bring his act out to small rooms so everyone can get the vibe makes a record that really captures it in fine form. Mixing in lots of other stuff he just plain likes, this is a grand gumbo that will blow your mind from start to finish. This cat's a keeper.
JOE McCARTHY NEW YORK AFRO BOP ALLIANCE BIG BAND/Upwards: A music first and everything else second, McCarthy leads like a master maestro on this multi culti big band raver that does nothing but hit all the high notes. Thoroughly modern and a real driver all the way, you might need oxygen when you make it to the end of this set. Killer stuff.
Volume 44/Number 9
November 9, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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