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ANDY MILNE & UNISON/reMission: Nothing like beating cancer to make you rethink your career goals. The piano man beat the big C, refocused his efforts on forging a trio and doing it while relocating. He's always known his stuff but here, in a classic format revisiting some classic tunes, he brings a new flavor to the proceedings. Nothing is radically turned upside down, you just taste his new zest for life in the grooves. Solid stuff that charts a new chapter nicely.
(Sunnyside 1576)

LAILA BIALI/Out of Dust: Let's just say it really sucks when you don't get a hot second to savor your win for a Canadian Grammy because life as you know it is falling apart all around you with all deliberate speed. Biali found the inner strength to stand her ground and make an equally strong, forthright album that builds on her jazz foundation but goes into a powerful affirmation with nary a cliché in the lot. Why she has to make killer vocal sets like this on her own dime is a mystery but taking control of your own destiny is an admirable goal. Hot stuff from the unstoppable.
(Chronograph 85)

LENNIE TRISTANO/ Duo Sessions: A little bit of a valentine for classic jazz fans here. This collection of previously unreleased duet sketches of Tristano and others stretches back to the newest recording on it being 45 years old. More of a master class kind of thing than a record record, fans of the piano man will certainly hear him here like never before as this really takes you behind the music.
(Dot Time 8016)

BOBBY SELVAGGIO/Live from the Bop Shop: His first live recording in his 30 year career happened at a 150 seat club where the faithful turned out to hear what the improviser would do in a live setting with all ears turned in. Blowing like a classic sax man, he covers all the bases from skronk to harmonic runs and back to invention with equal grace. Just a right stuff for the committed after hours type fan, if this set came with a can of canned smoke to release as you see fit, it wouldn't have been more perfect.
(Dot Time 9091)

CLAUDE DIALLO SITUATION/I Found a New Home: Certainly one of those times it's good to get back to basics, this is a smart, smoking swinging piano trio that doesn't over do the runs and fills and explores the gentlemen of jazz type vibe like real pros. Not at all background music, it's front and center stuff expertly played that's at home in any setting. Tasty throughout, this chases away the blues in fine form.
(Dot Time 9089)

RACHEL THERRIEN/Vena: A Canadian trumpeter that fell in love with Cuba and Latin America subsequently traveling the world, she's taken a little bit of everything along the way with her and mixed it into the stew here on her 5th album. A real treat that fearlessly keeps you guessing what's coming next, she fills the bill of what a real artist with first class chops is all about. Also never afraid the let you know when she's getting personal, this wide ranging set fully reaches out and touches you. Hot stuff throughout from every direction.
(Bonsai 200201)

AUBREY JOHNSON/Unraveled: A jazz vocalist that's been percolating her way into becoming an MVP over the last decade finally drops her debut and we find the percolation has been worth the wait. Letting her crew have as much of the spotlight as she takes, it all comes together nicely whether on originals or chestnuts. A solid new breeze is in the air.
(Outside In 2002)

CHARLES PILLOW ENSEMBLE/Chamber Jazz: Stepping back from his take on Miles to a more sedate realm with lots of stings in tow, he might be pointing the needle to chamber music but Monk, Holliday etc are classic in their own sense, not classically classical. Loaded with solid playing no matter which line you want to draw in the sand, this might include Vic Juris' last performance as well. Top shelf sitting down instrumental music with jazz coloration.
(Summit 760)

CHRIS McCARTHY/Still Time to Quit: A New York quintet led by a rising, energetic piano man hits all the right notes the first time out showing that not all millenials are layabouts. Never failing to explore in ways that don't make the wheels fall off, the twists and turns comes flying at your aplenty and you don't have to be a hipster to revel in it. Solid envelope pushing for thirsty ears on the prowl.
(Ropeadope 550)

CHICAGO YESTET/Not There Yet: Big band jazz from Chicago with an often political, lyrical edge, this is the kind of art the Illinois Arts Council should have been funding for years. How nice they finally started. While it is art with a capital A, it isn't insular, egghead stuff and left leaning tastes can really sink their teeth into it. With some of Chicago's top jazzbos on board, this what happens when pissed off whiteys head for the church basement for some activism and organizing.

Volume 44/Number 158
April 6, 2020
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2020 Midwest Record

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