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BEN RICE-RB STONE/Out of the Box: This duo isn't just some white boys with the blues. Perennial award nominees and winners, they are celebrating the primitive here focusing on the joys of cigar box and washboard guitars. Talk about keeping it real! Whether tearing up the joint or not, they are out of the box and outside the lines careening with well chopped but wild abandon. A no holds barred juke joint raver, in lesser hands this would be a mess. With this, if you like it raw and wild you have to jump on board. Wildly daddio in it's own special way.
(Middle Mountain 30120)

WHITNEY SHAY/Stand Up!: This sizzling San Diego redhead takes it to Texas and stirs it up like she's a local. A hard charging white gal with a soulful of hard hitting R&B, this high octane set lays the groundwork for her to be a belting superstar of tomorrow. If Warners hadn't been grooming Bonnie Raitt for mainstream success on "Give It Up", this record might have been redundant but with Ruf letting Shay do her thing her way, well, there's a lot to be said for the nobility of indies. Killer stuff from a real killer diller.
(Ruf 1279)

SASHA'S BLOC/Club Rendezvous: A nifty little under the radar set populated by a bunch of high flying names. A little Maria Muldaur, a little vaudeville, a lot old timey--this is a fun set with a sexy siren at the fore and real players here to really play bringing up the rear. A great way to take your mind of whatever ails you for a spell, this is equally at home on a village green or a smoky club. Certainly a fine way to chill and get your cool back.
(LLSB 1)

MICK KOLASSA/Blind Lemon Sessions: Luckily for us, this white boy with the blues never seems to have wandered out of the college coffeehouse he wandered into 50 years ago and plays stuff old and new with a timeless vibe and energy that let's this exist in a time zone all it's own. The kind of cat that commands things from front and center, these sides that grew out of some sessions in Germany just need a stomping foot to complete the first class back porch vibe. Proof you never had to pick cotton to be an acoustic blues master.
(Endless Blues 12020)

TOM BREIDING/Love Commits Me Here: The lineage from Joe Hill to Woody Guthrie to Pete Seeger to Phil Ochs to Si Kahn has a new, modern link in the chain---and probably not a moment too soon. The artist in residence for the United Mine Workers of America and hailing from West Virginia, he might not get rich from doing protest/labor music but he's got the skills to be mentioned along with his august fore bearers and makes his impact just as clear. Easily lumped into roots/Americana, this telegram to the fat cats is something more and deeper. Hard hitting stuff that needs to be heard as jobs are getting harder and paying less. Well done from a voice that comes from the heart.
(Ameritron 190609)

SINNE EEG/We've Just Begun: Long a well established star in her native Denmark, her face off here with the Danish Radio Big Band is a hotly swinging outing that feels like something that might have gotten lost in the vaults at Reprise during Sinatra's ring a ding years and finally escaped. Not to imply that it sounds dated, it sounds like it swings in the most natural way. Having a hand in writing most of the songs, Eeg is an original throughout that could single handedly revive the genre and put a stamp on it that signifies that she's not just manqueing around. A real crème of the crop jazz vocal date.
(BFM Jazz 7621834675)

RYAN PERRY/High Risk, Low Reward: Doesn't that title sum up the life of a bluesman? Still in his 20s with a lifetime of guitar slinging under his belt, Perry takes traditional, post war electric blues and fuses it with a bunch of modern woke lyrics for a tour de force date that blazes new trail and hits new heights. A dyed in the wool cat that has the blues in his soul, this has the chops to fuse mainstream and cutting edge tastes into a choogling whole. Hot stuff.
(Ruf 1278)

MARINA ALBERO/A Life Soundtrack: Is under the radar the new FM or MTV? With crowd funding as a base, loads of new music gets the chance to escape into the universe when it once would have only been the province of a privileged few willing to go out of the way to make discoveries. A triple cd set that began life as online, crowd funded works, this set, recorded over a decade and around the world takes it all in from flamenco improv to Miles Davis played in Seattle with her kids. A keyboard player that really knows her stuff and how to enchant everyone from locals to gringos, Albero's different flavors gives you all you need to spend an afternoon with her leading the excursion into all the various places you might have thought you were the only one that liked. Often low key, always full of fire, world jazzers and armchair travelers have a killer treat on tap here.

GINA KRONSTADT/October Comes Too Soon: Not afraid to be proud of a resume 47 years deep that finds her and her violin being the secret weapon for every A lister and every A list project, the drive that drove that career also drove her coming back from what could easily have been a series of career ending shoulder surgeries. Giving a new dimension to jazz/cabaret on this set of originals, this jazzy lady of a certain age is a marvel of fearlessness on all fronts---particularly being a product of Hollywood and living in the superficial culture of today. While past albums were solid busman's holidays, this time around she's here to firmly let you know she's here. A jazz vocal date in the classic sense, this is the real deal. Hot.

JOHN VANORE & RON THOMAS/Primary Colors: No stranger to duo recordings or getting big sounds out of little bands, Vanore really rattled the crates here to come up with the tapes from mid 80s session that were closer to falling apart and being lost than being turned into new records. Showing he had it under control at that early age/stage, the trumpeter and his piano pal play with the confidence of youth but with the chops to back it up. A solid recital, these two jazzbos recorded whatever the mood graced them with and the results turned out to be one for the ages. Well done.
(Acoustical Concepts 54)

Volume 44/Number 79
January 18, 2020
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2020 Midwest Record

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