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MATHIS SOUND ORCHESTRA/World Unity: A multi culti tyro grows up and is running ahead of the pack of genre splicers since he's been pounding this beat for so long that it's totally natural to him. Mixing acoustics with electronics and bringing in everything but the kitchen sink, the result is a surprisingly satisfying mainstream release that might have it's zigs and zags but never jars you into turning it off. Bringing a bunch of the past to a flashpoint as it narrows to thread the needle to the future, the leader is a jazzbo to his core but you'd never accuse him of being an agent of the jazz police. Fun, satisfying stuff that starts off the after hours in a fine form.
(Outside In 2019)

AJOYO/War Chant: Forward thinking world jazz that skirts pop edges with smart moves and funk that brings everyone with modern ears into the tent. Well played throughout, this ensemble is loaded with talents that work and play well with others giving their forward sound a spot that's not far out of reach. Solid party music for nascent hipsters that haven't yet become too hip for the room.

SISSY CASTROGIOVANNI/Terra: An award wining Italian jazz singer seems to be going the art chick route in her tribute to Mother Earth but don't be alarmed, this is music for everyone. With a crew that knows the right moves in tow, she sings it in her native tongue but always keeps it vocally mesmerizing even if you don't know what she's talking about. With a comforting hippie early 70s world jazz vibe running through it, she makes it easy to take her to heart. Solid stuff.
(Manu 1)

CAROLINA CALVACHE/Vida Profunda: With a bunch of all stars on board and many tracks being densely populated, this set is never an overblown, windy affair that's loaded with ‘look at me' moves. Remaining simple and elegant, you have to listen to it to see that it does not come pre-loaded with a bunch of egghead pretensions despite what should be a lot of touchy feely lyricism. You probably don't speak the language anyway. A classy foreign jazz date throughout, it opens the ears in that gentle South American way that works it's magic more often than not over all. A sure and tasty bet for when you need something delightfully out of the ordinary.
(Sunnyside 1587)

ED BENNETT/Portland Calling: If you're going to be playing one of those big stand up basses and you can turn out some solid, original daddio jazz, you're probably going to be welcome where ever you go. One of those cats that isn't afraid to give everyone some, this gang knows how to really kick it out. Tasty stuff that shows daddio jazz is alive, well and in good hands, this is a taste of what really being hip is all about. Well done.
(Saphu 5)

JOSH NELSON TRIO/Discovery project-Live in Japan: Whether or not with his regular sidekick, Nelson is a money player that always shows up ready, willing and able no matter where he has to show up to show it. Playing all originals but playing them with the mastery you'd expect from a Bill Evans piano trio live set, Nelson owns it throughout. A sure bet for piano for fans that want something that feels up close and personal.
(Steel Bird 8)

WALK-A-BOUT/20/20: Straight ahead New York rockers that aren't looking over their shoulders but know what the sound was about before punks took over the roost, they have a feeling for heartland, fist pumping anthems that knowingly rock the heartland nights. A nice reminder of what it was like to rock out on a Wednesday night because you could, this'll take you back whether you were there or not.
(Shred the Evidence)

ELIZA NEALS/Black Crow Moan: Some belters are just forces of nature. Neals knew she had it going on right from her debut in which she arrived fully formed. This time around, she continues to up her game bringing in a crew of pros that has to keep up with her. A white gal that rocks the blues with gale force, this is smoking blues that chases away the blues. Neals is a star with substance in a world that sorely needs one and this set backs up all claims which is why Detroit claimed her as blues artist of the year. Hot stuff.

BRIAN ANDRES TRIO LATINO/Mayan Suite: The vet drummer pairs down his orchestra to a piano trio with some new pals and loads the crew up on energy drinks or something to get them racing like the wind with chops flying in all directions at break neck speeds. Hard driving mainstream jazz that doesn't believe you need a second or two for catching your breath, there's not a wasted note in the bunch as this crew of already established hitters take things to new heights. This will blow away all your pre-conceptions about Latin jazz in no time flat. Totally caliente!

STEVE FIDYK/Battle Lines: The vet drummer that has smoky club hang outs with his jazzbo pop and time at North Texas in his back pages is only now making his third set as a leader after keeping time for so many for so long. A really daddio to his core, this is set hits it out of the park early and often as it's sound is as New York as you can get. With everyone on board delivering the goods, they come together to make a sound that real night owls know and understand. Totally hot stuff.
(Blue Canteen 1)

Volume 44/Number 184
May 2, 2020
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2020 Midwest Record

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