THEO HILL/Reality Check: The striking keyboard player returns for a third set of forceful playing in the company of other like minded young lions that help him channel his inner Monk. An intriguing player for solid, listening jazz, Hill has a clear vision and it firmly stakes out it's piece of the future. A winning, ear opening date that has force and energy to spare--enough to bowl everyone over.
KEN FOWSER/Morning Light: Showing us that Roxy Coss isn't the only one missing Mabes these days, Fowser blows up a storm in appreciation of his inspiration in this richly dense date where he stakes out the high ground and blows for all the bandwidth the bytes will hold. High octane throughout, he never noodles when he can underscore the melody and provide a fusillade of notes at the same time. Hard hitting stuff that continually grabs you by the ears and doesn't let go.
ROTT'N DAN & LIGHNIN' WILLY: This old soul harmonica/guitar duo celebrate easy rolling blues by kicking it off with some John Hurt and finishing it off with Bob Neuwirth's biggest hit making all the personal stops they can along the way. Pure back porch in the finest sense, there's no hell hounds on these guys tails and we could all use a break from that kind of chaos when the rest stop plays out this nicely. Solid stuff that comes from the heart and rewards us with enjoying it's directness. Solid stuff from a duo that needs to visit more often.
HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES/Cinema Swing: Not just another bunch of trust fund hippies calling themselves the Hot Club of something or other, this bunch of hard core LA sidemen and session cats has been holding forth for almost a decade turning out their gypsy jazz that doesn't limit itself to Django manqueitude. A seriously swinging bunch that sound like they can do it all, this is really something to kick up your heels to whether they are dipping in the old school bag or getting ready for juke boxes in space stations. First class all the way.
JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRRA WITH WYNTON MARSALIS/Music of Wayne Shorter: It doesn't get any better than this---a double disc, high minded appreciation of Wayne Shorter with Wynton Marsalis leading the charge and Shorter himself on board. With plenty of room for stretching out and really getting inside the music, it's wonderful to be in on this kind of tribute while you are still living. Leading itself to this sort of full blown treatment quite handily, it's gives Shorter's canon a whole new light and airing keeping it relevant and contemporary throughout. A great set with no dust on it---this is just how it is when the front line is given free reign. Killer stuff.
(Blue Engine 23)
DELFEAYO MNARSALIS UPTOWN JAZZ ORCHESTRA/Jazz Party: While Wynton is the dazzling urbanite, Delfeayo is keeping the fires burning back in Nawlins, serving up a new distillation of his sound of the avenues (it's a touch too mature to be the sound of the streets). Well played and smartly written, Marsalis rounds up a crew that would never let the seventh ward get washed away no matter how hard the storm blows, this party is loaded with the spirit that put Nawlins on the map in the first place and keeps it there. Not afraid to genre splice the sounds that make it all happen, this nearly cinematic romp is a pure bred gasser from the front to the back of the second line. Hot stuff throughout that's sure to pop your ears wide open, especially if you can't make it to Mardi Gras. Hot stuff.
(Troubador Jass 83119)
ERIC BRACE & THE LAST TRAIN HOME/Daytime Highs & Overnight Lows: With newspapers going to hell, this journo turned muso probably made the right decision to become his own subject a long while back and make some totally cool roots/Americana in the company of some real movers of the genre. A totally charming back porch record that lets you feel the wind in your hair and smell the anhydrous in the air, this set is so on the money you feel like you can spend it. Hitting the target throughout, this is one of those wonderful sets that gives genres the kick in the pants the occasionally need to keep it real. Hot stuff.
(Red Beet 25)
GLENN JONES/Ready for the Good Times: Returning to music after finding out the hard way that law wasn't for him, Jones is a spark plug in North Carolina music these days and this folkie flavored outing shows that you really have to do what you love and the money will follow. Easy going stuff that shows how nice life on the back 40 can be, this is a fine outing for anyone that's thinking songwriting is a lost art these days.
AUDREY OCHOA/Frankenhorn: An eclectic trombone jazzbo whose only constant is a nice, fat, round, distinctive tone that takes her everywhere she wants to go, just lets it all hang out this time around mixing imagination and chops into one mighty fine stew. Hitting it over the fences without even aiming for them, this is a sure bet for solid listening to take hold and steer. Well done throughout.
AL GROMER KHAN/Silence in a Blue Room: Revisiting ambient places he wanted to go as much as 40 years ago, today's noise level has finally given Khan the springboard to dive in and find the voice he was looking for then. Easily taking his place with the Terry Oldfields and James Ashers, and easily leaping ahead at this point in time, this ambient set is the perfect mind and palette cleanser for anyone in deep need of a sonic getaway. Not at all hippy dippy headphone or girl friend music, this is a bright new experience of ambient for all where the only thing broken down is angst. Quite an amazing statement throughout.
Volume 44/Number 78
January 17, 2020
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2020 Midwest Record
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