WIDE MOUTH MASON/I Wanna Go With You: A gold record earning act in Canada for 25 years, this duo isn't your basic bunch of white boys with the blues. With more of a primitive folkie bent, direct from the off beat college campus coffeehouse, this duo knows the blues but they manage to avoid every cliché there ever was. You like freeek folk? Get to know this duo before anymore time goes by. They are so delightfully off beat and out of the ordinary that you're going to wonder how you didn't know about them sooner---and got to enjoy them.
THOR/Rising: With Ozzy now playing the old man card, it looks like this dark horse candidate from the 70s is getting to be the last man standing as he proudly proclaims he's too old to act his age. Ok boomer this ya damned milennials! Showing how to turn it up to 11 to get his message across, this is a reminder of what it was to be young and rocking in the free world. Power badass, the Mighty Thor shows no sign of slowing down while showing the grand kids how to get it done.
META ZERO/Prometheus: Too young to appreciate ECM's cool school and want something of your own? This Swiss ‘jazz" trio might be just what you are looking for. Stripping down cool even farther making it something you can cruise the cosmos to while loaded, it's angular without being antagonistic and just plain nu cool school. It certainly helps to have your ear cocked towards art jazz to get it quicker.
TOMMY CECIL-NATE NAJAR/American Melodies: One of those simple and classy jazz records that'll make you wonder how this didn't wind up at Arbors or Blujazz, this guitar/bass duo take a sonic trip up a lazy river on a festival of oldies, most to which will be unfamiliar to most of today's ears. Always elegant without being stodgy, these axes work so well because they are simply in good hands. A great sundown record for when you really want to mellow out in fine style at the end of the day. Killer stuff.
(Blue Line 1119)
CHRIS TITCHNER/Already Gone: The musical equivalent of a novelist blossoming in obscurity, Titchner has taken the long way around to get where he is now but the wait was worth it if the result is such a killer back porch set like this. A cat that writes from the heart and plays with unbridled sincerity, this is top shelf folkie find showing once again that organic music is still plenty vital. This is the kind of record that easily becomes an old friend.
(Bridge Folk 3002)
JASNAM DAYA SINGH/Ekta-The Unity Project: Well, wow. Take a large bunch of jazzbos, give them a decorated Brazilian cat with world wise eyes and let them create. What happens is something deep and awesome. Always close to feeling like something you already know and like but never quite crossing that ridge, this is art jazz that isn't arty. Always intricate, perhaps it's hard to put a finger on this because they just don't make smoking records like this that define themselves rather than be defined by the surroundings. It's good to see American arts councils getting off their butts and funding music that people should be hearing that just doesn't fit into what the mainstream wants to write checks for and should as they should be thinking about things that need to be preserved and supported just beyond this quarter. Hot stuff.
KEITH OXMAN/Two Cigarettes in the Dark: If Houston Person goes there, we'll follow. He shows up here on this twin sax date to bring the daddio and the after hours sparks fly. A smoking jazz outing without pretense, there's nothing here but good vibes and stellar chops on parade. A fun listening date, everything you need to put you in a good mood is swinging through here right on time. Well done throughout.
CLAIRDEE/Love Letter to Lena: A timely record in that Lena Horne was an important part of the struggle in that she could have easily passed for white in the 40s but chose not to. MVP bay area jazz vocalist Clairdee digs down to get some recognition for someone that deserves it as much as Harriet Tubman. You can hear her fundamental appreciation of Horne as this set is all about soul and not being held back by anything. Do you think anyone else could have made Jim Croce sound as soulful as Billy Strayhorn?
AIRMEN OF NOTE/Air Power: Admit it, you didn't think the USAF band could be so swinging and hip---but they are. A brass lovers paradise of a set, they do some barrel rolls and other wild flyboy stuff in these grooves and generally do Chuck Yeager proud with their take offs, landings and everything in between. A rollicking brassy big band, let's hope the world calms down so they can do more swinging like this.
SUZANNA ROSS/Bewitched Not Bothered, Not Bewildered: So, when millenials go to cabarets they sing the theme from "Bewitched". S'okay. As long as everyone is having a good time, it's all good. This young jazz vocalist knows her way around a world of songs so there's no damning her with faint praise. The debut of a vocalist you'll love spending some time with, this record finds her nice enough to bring her New York stomping grounds to your ear buds. A thoroughly enjoyable set.
DENISE MANGIARDI/Brown Book: A New Yorker living in London, Mangiardi is fashioning a nu kind of jazz vocal that builds upon what came before but isn't dependant on it. Reuniting here with some mentors, she's deeply artistic and brings out the art in the people around her. The kind of set that's really cinematic in scope, you can enjoy it as audio or as an audio movie. It's always nice to come across things that make you think and feel when they're done so well.
Volume 44/Number 113
February 21, 2020
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2020 Midwest Record
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