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01/24/20





WILL LIVERMAN-JONATHAN KING/Whither Must I Wander: Due to the fact you never know what those wacky millenials will latch onto, this Paul Robeson flavored vocal recital might exist for no other reason than it needed to be made. Powered by a gorgeous baritone, Liverman tackles a repertoire themed around songs about traveling, culled from the modern classical masters. Certainly the kind of record you want to get your hands on when you want to feel like a grown up, no matter what your age, this is exactly the kind of record Sunday afternoons were made for. Solid stuff that shows how well both players know their stuff.
(Oradek 389)

MARK SEGGER SEXTET/Lift Off: You've got to have righteous chops to pull this off as a bunch of white boys from the frozen north heat things up in the civil rights era church basement blowing free jazz that's as hot as a long, hot summer. Those who are up for a wild ride will appreciate the basic creativity on display here as there are no precious moves or gratuitous licks in the air. A wonderfully wild ride for those not feint of heart.
(18th Note 2018)

PACIFIC MAMBO ORCHESTRA/The III Side: It's caliente, gringos!. You want classics, you want classic jazz, you want David Foster, you want multi generational top flight guests, you want note perfect soloists that don't waste a breath? This Grammy winning gang has it all and more---and the current tarnish on the Grammys doesn't dim their accolades at all. A super smoking party that even those with two left feet and all thumbs can raise the roof to,, it just doesn't smoke any harder than this. Killer stuff.

HARPER & MIDWEST KIND/Rise Up: Talk about a blues rocking white boy that brings something different to the table, this lad from Australia has powerful lungs that give his vocals a righteous resonance and his harp playing licks that won't quit. With a healthy dose of Chicago filtered through a journey through the international dateline, he knows how to choogle and keep your attention while subtly smoking his way through his song stack. Deceptively powerful stuff that hit's the target with room to spare.
(Access 4)

PHANTOM BLUES BAND/Still Cookin': They still have hair but most of it is gray---and it doesn't matter. Playing like frat boys with advanced chops playing for a frat party, there's no slowing down this bunch of first call cats with blues and R&B fever. You know this super group has played with all your fave rock and blues acts. You know they couldn't play a bad note if they tried. You know they wouldn't send a weak song your way. This wild bunch is the real bunch and they kick ass solo or en masse which makes this set such a delight. Killer stuff throughout.
(VizzTone VTP 002)

BLUES CHRISTMAS/various: Nice going post office, Christmas was only a month ago and this shows up now? What? Ten months early for the next one? Well, the joke is kind of on the post office. Even though this is a Christmas record, in true Putumayo fashion, you can enjoy it any old time. Assembling a set of cats from the tradition and placing them next to younger bloods that play in the tradition, this is a well rounded set that pulls from all quadrants and makes it all work as a delightful whole. Certainly our kind of blues Christmas and proof you should leave the Christmas lights up all year to keep the spirit in the air. Fun stuff that chases away the blues.
(Putumayo 379)

SARAH MORRIS/All Mine: Answering the question of who you should like now that Nanci Griffith isn't around that much, this under the radar high flyer falls right in the country/folk/rock pocket that got Griffith her following without being a manqué. A winner and a finalist at loads of award competitions, if Americana had a strong infrastructure, she'd be well on her way to being a household name by now. If your taste runs to Griffith or the genre, Morris will fill the void without leaving a bad after taste. This singer knows how to carry out her mission with sincerity and soul. Hot stuff.

THE FLYIN' A'S/No Holds Barred: Texas music is alive and well in the hands of this domestic duo that might make music light years away from what you would hear through the walls in Guy Clark's parking lot but isn't wimpy and watered down. Masters of the modern dance hall sound, they have the sweet sound that's a tonic in these roiled times. With a nice drive to it and good song smarts that show up in both originals and covers, they know how to get the party started and keep it going in fine form. Everything you could want for a good time is on board here.
(Flying A 191)

TIM RAY/Excursions and Adventures: A piano trio made up of cats that have never played together before but have chops and resumes that own the modern history of jazz come together for a swinging, after hours set that's totally irresistible. Without sounding like a curmudgeon, these cats came up when knowing how to play was something that you needed in your bag of tricks and they've probably forgotten more than today's bunch will ever know---if they've indeed forgotten anything. Classically in the traditional piano trio pocket but with absolutely no dust on it, it's always a mind blower when it's only January and you think you've heard the best record of the year. Killer stuff.
(Whaling City Sound 119)

GIORGI MIKADZE/Georgian Microjamz: Taking ethnomusicology into the 22nd Century, you might have no idea what's going on here. Liturgical music from deepest, darkest Russia gets infused with modern microtonal jazz as engineered by some forward thinking jazzbos and the result is a wild ride of a mash up that'll have your head spinning. Played by a bunch of pros that aren't just doing this for grant money, this is an exploration that really goes to someplace else. Check it out if your ready to take the next wave seriously.
(Rare Noise 116)

Volume 44/Number 85
January 24, 2020
MIDWEST RECORD
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2020 Midwest Record


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