DIANE SCHUUR/Running on Faith: When you're making music this strong, you don't need major label distribution to get the word out---the music will speak for itself.
A marvelously mature, swinging after hours record where Schuur takes the wheel with Ernie Watts at her side, this is as close to a civil rights jazz record as a white girl can come. Personal, eclectic and delivered with a bristling edge, you'd almost swear these are some pissed off Abbey Lincoln or Nina Simone out takes. A blistering ear opener that proves new tricks can always be taught to the willing. Killer stuff.
TNEK JAZZ QUINTET/Plays the Music of Sam Jones: Jones was one of those cats that brought the daddio special sauce to a load of jazzbo greats's sessions and live dates but blended into the background and made the star shine so well that he's almost forgotten 40 years after his death. Bassist Kent Miller is an astute daddio swinger that can play the music without paying tribute or watering down the sound keeping it pure and as on point as it was meant to be. A clarion call for dormant daddios, this modern take on a classic sound hits all the right notes all the time. A winner throughout.
LOU VOLPE/Before & After: We're always a sucker for crafty electric guitarists that can ap-reciate Wes and Pat Martino without having to ape them. Adding his own distinctive licks to the canon, Volpe shows more of his jazzbo deluxe moves on this set that doesn't need a tent pole to get your attention--it's all just solid playing that can't be beat. Showing he knows how to commands the spotlight, this set hits it out of the park with room to spare.
(Jazz Guitar 918)
TYLER MORRIS/Living in the Shadows: This little white boy that looks like he still uses Clearasil and hasn't drunk enough whisky to give his voice the proper blues rasp straps on his guitar again and turbo changes some blues rock guitar slinging that will amaze you as much as it amazes the modern blues stars that gather to warm their hands by his fire. And there is fire here. With everybody playing for the sheer joy of playing, this is how a house rocking party sounds. Smoking.
(Vizz Tone TM2)
JOHN PRIMER & BOB CORRITORE/Gypsy Woman Told Me: This white boy with the blues and his real deal mentor make a record that is so Chicago it sounds like it was recorded last week in the back of the Mocombo Lounge for Aristocrat. With loads of modern Chicago cats on board that can play in the tradition without being slaves to it, you can't go wrong if you're looking for something that sounds like the real deal with a pedigree that proves as much. You'll feel the sweat when you give this a spin.
(Vizz Tone/Swmae SWMAF14)
REVEREND FREAKCHILD/Bodhisattva Blues: Several records ago, it wasn't clear if the Rev was a novelty act or what. With loads of Dead associates on board here, he's making it clear that the Dead were his influence but he has carved his own path in the generations since. You can hear the jam bad gumbo loud and clear and a lot of people have shown us that it's not a bad career move to hop on the Dead train and make your intentions loud and clear. Less jokes, more smokes (if ya know what I mean)
(Treated & Released 12)
BLIND LEMON PLEDGE/Goin' Home: The white boy with the blues that turned a Martin Mull joke into a career strips it down to the essence here in an acoustic blues performances that's straight from the college coffeehouse of the early 70s. Mixing tent poles with known obscurities, Pledge puts his heart and soul into this unplugged outing that's sure to find resonance with college kids of all ages. A fine journey through the heart of the blues.
TROY ROBERTS/Stuff I heard: With echoes of Four Brothers all over this set's landscape, the sax man enjoys his ax and issues such an effortless sounding performance you almost think you could duplicate it. Go ahead and try. A multi instrumentalist with a Todd Rundgren mindset that lets him bring it all home in fine form, this jazzbo knows how to set the table righteously. With just a drummer at his side, this tour de force is a first class ear opener.
(Toy Robot 9)
ENRIQUE HANEINE/Unlayered: A jazz drummer with a deep affection for art jazz takes you some place different this time around letting your mind wander through the various precincts only you can only imagine. Like taking the A train, but by foot, the graffiti and everything is there as it passes by your mind. Not merely egghead stuff but it comes close.
(Elegant Walk 3)
RADHA THOMAS & AMAN MAHAJAN/Bangalore Blues: And we get more and more global as this pair of India musicians make India cabaret music that's not for whitey as they play to audiences that look like them and feel the same feelings---but it's not an ethnic record. As much as some feelings are universal, you have to be experiencing a particular kind of Diaspora and relocation to really get what's being sung here. Or you can just enjoy it as the singer and the pianist know their stuff.
HERB SILVERSTEIN/Looking Back...Play it Again: The good doctor has such a deft touch on the keys that if you ran into him in real life, in the operating room, you wouldn't have any second thoughts or trepidations. Playing like someone that has mastered the art of after hours jazz, these originals seem comfy and familiar. With just a bass at his side, this set reminds you that it's well past 5 PM somewhere in the world. Classy, classic sounding stuff that's deceptively simple and a real gasser throughout.
Volume 44/Number 151
March 30, 2020
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2020 Midwest Record
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