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JEREMY PELT/Art of Intimacy Vol. 1: Wow. The trumpeter leads a George Cables piano trio on a date that is simply a jazz summit. Sure it's a ballad album but this isn't something slow and meandering. A solid date joined in with Peter Washington on bass that takes it right to the head and heart. These jazzbos wrote the book and continue to write the book and this set is just one of series of probable penultimates. A solid dose of real music for real muso ears, this is the listening date you want to see come rolling your way. Hot stuff throughout.
(High Note 7334)

JIM SNIDERO/Project-K: The sax man, who has been domestically immersed in Korean cultured for 2 decades, realizes that K-culture is more than boy bands--and this set was in the works before "Parasite" was a big winner. Calling in a bunch of flexible, modern jazzbos, he steers world jazz away from India and into Korea. It might not be as foreign as you think. Sounding like free-ish jazz to uninitiated ears, this is a nice diversion and solid gateway. Great stuff for open ears to celebrate.
(Savant 2185)

SARAH ELGETI QUARTET with Friends/Dawn Comes Quietly: A Danish multi-instrumental pro leads with her sax and adds sonic colors from there. Quite accomplished at making sitting down/listening jazz, this set is loaded with the kind of deceptively simply stuff that you mistake for background music until you notice the room has gotten quiet except for the record. Loaded with smart moves and brilliant chops, this is some really tasty Danish. Well done.

GLORIA REUBEN & MARTY ASHBY/For All we Know: The guitarist and the vocalist take a trip through the Great American song book of writers without leaning too heavily on songs you've heard too many times. One of those glorious jazz vocal sets that's just vocal and guitar proving that you don't need more when the right hands are on the wheel, this is a killer of a grown up album that all adults (and those who want to be) need to have handy in tier bag of tricks. A most solid outing throughout.
(MGC Jazz 1050)

PETER HUM/Ordinary Heroes: Longtime Canadian piano man Hum, who got bit by the jazz bug back in the day, shows that you don't have to take to the church basement to make protest music that speaks volumes without words. Addressing the miasma of times today with his crew feeling the same way, he manages to keep it modern and mainstream without letting things roll off the rails in imitation of the times inspiring the sounds. Whether you want to protest along or not, it's a great listening date throughout that makes you think as well as feel.

AVEY GROUWS BAND/Devil May Care: They might be a bunch of white kids from Iowa with a case of the blues that sound like a bunch of white kids from Iowa with a case of the blues but they have show band roots in their psyches and play like they know more about the chitlin circuit than a bunch of frat cats that turned off on the wrong road would know. The kind of set that reflects the changing times of the blues, this gang has the skills to pay the bills and presents a mighty front without fronting. Solid stuff.

GERALD BECKETT/Mood: A solid set of jazzy flute juice from San Francisco, he's a cat that knows how to swing and bop sure to turn you out if you don't think of flute as a lead instrument. Maybe it just needs to be in the right hands, like it is here, but this is a set that's a fast ball down the middle for any modern, mainstream jazzbo to dig completely. Well done.
(Pear Orchard 101)

WOLFGANG MUTHSPIEL/Angular Blues: A skilled, economical, tasty guitarist in the Ralph Towner mode, Muthspiel leads a classic guitar trio with Scott Colley and Brian Blade rounding things out. On the money throughout, this crew doesn't underestimate the value of just being entertaining and doing it most skillfully. A date you can't say enough good things about, sit back and let the e music do the talking---as well as the enchanting. It's the epitome of ECM's quiet fire school.
(ECM 1655)

HAUSER/Classic: Is one half of 2 Cellos as great as the sum of it's parts? Facing off here against London Symphony Orchestra on a set that looks like it should be called "Classical Music's Greatest Hits", it's a tent pole of a set that would be a budget priced gift shop record in the wrong hands. The august presentation hits the nail on the head for newbies or vet ears that want to hear a new take on the baseline repertoire. No matter, execution is flawless and the good times are rolling no matter where you enter on the classical spectrum. Smoking.
(Sony Classical)

KATE MILLS/Each Bittersweet Drop: There's always room for another singer/songwriter that can deal with life blows without whining like a professional victim while still keeping it real and relatable. Very much inspired by 70s confessional singer/songwriters, Mills has heart to go with her heart and soul and you can see how she could be the Joni Mitchell of her generation.

SENCALAR GLASSMAN QUINTET/Realization: A young trombone duo with in demand, wise beyond their years chops that already has Rodney Whitaker and Michael Dease on board make you wonder how much longer they are going to be hiding out in Michigan before the big time beckons. Swinging and bopping like true old souls, they are perfecting the modern version of the blowing date showing it to be in fine hands. Killer stuff that's pure daddio throughout.
(D Clef 161)

BEN BOSTICK/Among the Faceless Crowd: If you weren't there for the 70s version of alt.country, you might think this is a strange duck of an album, but it's right in line with a lot of stuff that Nashville recorded but didn't release in those days. Looking at the down side of life without being down about it, this is the soundtrack of the America that isn't even acknowledged as flyover country. This is a Raymond Chandler look at the invisibles out there, the nighthawks at the diner and other nocturnal types. Brilliant in it's observations and execution, this is utterly solid writing, well interpreted for all fans of meaty songwriting that's tougher than leather.
(Simply Fantastic 4)

CLIFFFS/Panic Attack: This crew has found the key that fits the lock that opens and brings the Ramones to the masses with heir pop/punk mixture that grabs the mainstream without selling out. At the core, they're a raw and ready power trio that has underground written all over it. Poised for a break out, this is the crew to bet the ranch on if you want to bet on the next big thing to rise up angry and stage a full scale take over.
(We Know Better 4)

Volume 44/Number 102
February 10, 2020
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2020 Midwest Record

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