STEPHEN COOPER & the Nobody Famous: Old school party people that started as a concept and morphed into a kick ass band that revives the show band ethic with a high octane energy and style. Cutting to the chase at every turn, this is a band with a message and the message is to amp it up and let the good times roll. Try do it just fine.
BACKTRACK BLUES BAND/Your Baby has Left: They come from Tampa, overdub in Muscle Shoals, capture the spirit of Chicago and Texas and know how to play the real blues. They aren't kids and have rubbed elbows with some of the major august blues personages letting the lesson rub off on them. Right in the pocket throughout as they spread the word.
(Vizz Tone BTB7)
CASEY HENSLEY/Good As Gone: The young lady looks like she could have a nasty edge to her but unless you grabbed her debut a few years ago, there's nothing about her that prepares you for what a belter she is once the disc starts spinning. A high octane white gal with the blues that a lot more down and dirty than her Taylor Swiftian looks would imply, it's no wonder that she's lit the fuse on a rocket to the moon that everyone knows to hitch a ride with. Hot stuff that comes from that place that you can never figure out.
(Vizz Tone VTCH 2)
ALEX GOODMAN/Impressions in Blue and Red: The award winning guitarist has always had a thing for associating music and color and this disc really gives him free reign to indulge. A double disc set with one disc dedicated to his feelings about blue and the other about his feeling about red, if you didn't know that going in, you would just be impressed with what the skilled ax man could do with two discs to stretch out with his crews in tow. Everything else aside, it's a double dose of killer sitting down jazz that takes you to places you don't expect and want to come back to. A hot, happening set, this is a great place to take a break and let the music do the work for you.
(Outside In 2005)
RON ADDISON/Testify: Not your usual lawyer or doctor taking a busman's holiday to indulge in his musical fantasies, Addison has kept true to his roadhouse roots through stints in the military and with the cops and is kicking it hard in his ‘retirement' years. With stale roadhouse beer pumping though his veins, this is what you hear leaking through the walls out into the parking lot that grabs your attention and makes you come inside. Apparently no longer needing to toe the line, the pent up energy with knock you flat out whether its shredding, howling or just plain tearing it up. A wonderful surprise of hot stuff that just doesn't quit.
SHUNZO OHNO/Runner: You can't tell me that a guy that was a fellow traveler of Gil Evans, Wayne Shorter and other revered modern masters hasn't picked up a thing or two along the way. Turning his 18th album into a real jazz opus, it almost plays like a spiritual tribute to Evans serving up a smoking dose of the kind of art and music that just isn't made anymore and is always welcome regardless. A wide ranging set of vastly encompassing works and playing, this is a must for the jazzbo that's old enough to appreciate and lament they just don't make big works like this anymore. Listening jazz at the top of the form.
MYRDDIN/Monstruos Y Deundes V. 1 Myfyrio: Anybody out there remember masters like Sabicas? This cat plays right in the guitar tradition of hot shots like that. Switching from clarinet to guitar at an early age, the ax must have been speaking to him loud and clear for such a solid bond to be formed. Nowhere near tourist music, this is real deal flamenco as filtered through his sensibilities making a trip well worth taking. Art that breathes, this is only the first of a four part cycle and we hope he holds true to that promise. A deep guitar fan's delight throughout.
HAYOUNG LYOU/Metamorphosis: One of those clever young people that started with classical piano but found her calling in improv jazz, she's a serious practitioner as this isn‘t noodling--it's stuff that goes places. Her sensibilities might lean toward the left and she's got an open enough mind to draw inspiration from almost anywhere, her debut shows her to be as serious minded as you can be without giving yourself a stroke. A delightful ear opener of a player, this set is the start of something big. Well done.
GRANT DERMODY/My Dony: A delightful strange duck of a record that will have your head spinning. A white boy with the blues that sounds like a white boy with the blues, there's more parmalfait here than hellhounds in this second go round from Dermody and Dirk Powell. Backed up by Rhiannon Giddens as well as her back up band, this is as real and from the gut as it can be. This is probably how things sound when the zydeco band is winding it down after the party and playing for themselves. Killer organic stuff.
FARNESS NEWTON/Rippin' & Runnin': A remarkably mainstream trumpet player considering he's Sunny Murray's nephew, he must have gotten his ya yas out when working with Bootsy. We find him in fine quartet company here with everyone raising each other's game making the resulting set a real cooker. The kind of set that makes it's presence felt by being loaded with that something extra, jazzbos have a fine time on tap here. Get with it.
JOHN DiMARTINO/Passion Flower-The Music of Billy Strayhorn: The vet piano man proves that some records just have to be made. Surrounding himself with killer players to do justice to the killer music he's surrounded himself with, time has a way of trampling over everything but there's more to Strayhorn han "Take the A Train" as this set so ably demonstrates. A real jazzbo treat that recasts Strayhorn a lot of years later, this bunch hits it out of the park with every at bat. Tasty stuff from real pros tipping the cap to a real pro. Must hear listening.
SCHAPIRO 17/New Shoes-Kind of Blue at 60: A little disappointed with these records that ‘finish' unfinished works Miles left behind? This set rounds up a big band to extrapolate on the Miles opus and amplify it rather than diminish it. Taking the original themes and interspacing them among tracks inspired by them, this all star aggregation does well by themselves as well as the material. This is the innovative and inspired new look at "Kind of Blue' that you've been waiting for. Hot stuff.
FKAJAZZ/Lineage: Deepening his chops as a real artist with each new outing, FKAjazz wants to make money but he's not about sacrificing his art to do it. Taking nu jazz to nu places, he's inspired by the past but intrigued by the future as well. The next generation of listeners has been bid into the tent with this set, let's see what they do with it.
MATT WATROBA/The Far Si-The Si Kahn Funny Song Sing-along Songbook: This could have only happened in organic music land. Watroba was playing a house concert in the sticks. Pissed off folkie Kahn was in the audience having a great time. The next day, Kahn gave Watroba a sheaf of unrecorded songs that were as giddy and unexpected as finding out Pete Seeger had a sense of humor. As gleeful a set as befits the happy people in the cover art, this is a glowing example of one of those fun for the whole family kind of records. Yep, it hit's the target for kids of all ages and shows us that age is just a number as Kahn recently turned 75 and this is way too sprightly for a senior to come in with. Great stuff from a bunch of great players throughout.
Volume 44/Number 120
February 28, 2020
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2020 Midwest Record
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