GREG MURPHY/Cool Water: Don't look for cowboy music here. The jazzbo piano man got the idea for the title of this set from the Nairobi translation of ‘cool water', and he doesn't even need his consciousness raised. Wanting to tackle a African theme this time out, the white boy has captured the feeling of the people and the continent delivering an upbeat, tasty set that doesn't smack of world beat but has worldly considerations at hand. Except for some mood changes, this set is basically joyously upbeat and just out of the ordinary enough to be a real grabber. Check it out.
(Whaling City Sound 125)
IDIT SHNER/Live at the Jazz Station: All you need to know about this saxy lady, if you don't know anything about her, is that she's an alum of North Texas. Nuff said? She can honk, she can purr, she can coax and she does all that here on this mostly original set that finds everyone jamming in top form. Tasty throughout, the more you listen, the more you'll like. Right on the money.
CHARLIE PORTER/Hindsight: This high octane trumpet man never heard of laying out and here we find him trying to pack as many notes as possible into each byte, but it isn't blowing just for the sake of blowing. With some distinguished cats playing next to him just as hard, this is straight up jazz that gets you going. Always on point, this cat shows you the way to be a gasser. Hot stuff.
THE DYNAMIC LES DeMERLE BAND/Hot Night in Venice: A working muso for over 50 years, he knows how to give a crowd what it wants but this is an important recording for him. In the past he's seemed like an affable cat playing pretty for the people but this time around, he's more in touch with his hard hitting jazzbo side than he's shown in the past. Leading from the back of the riser, he's energized here giving something new and sharp to this collection heavy on oldies. There ain't a jive lick in the bunch and with his chops, that's really appreciated. He really get the ears open here.
JOHN STOWELL-DAN DEAN/Rain Painting: Nothing here but a guitar and a bass in the hands of pros that gently push the envelope on a set of Stowell originals that just let the improv vibe lead them where it will. It may not seem like it at first, but this is an adventurous recording that's under pinned by a good time. A perfect set for when you just need some musical whimsy in your life that‘s played straight.
ED SWEENEY & YANG WEI/What Lies Ahead: An outgrowth of when Sweeney hooked up with members of the Silk Road Ensemble, this cross cultural mash up is serious but has none of the seriousness of too much world beat. But there's no disrespect in it's air either. Ya heard much Chinese Celtic lately? Equal parts ear opener and door opener, the armchair traveler has a treat here that hasn't been his way in some time. Well done.
EVA CASSIDY/Acoustic: She may be gone but luckily for us, Cassidy is the gift that keeps on giving. Certainly in her time, the majors couldn't hear what she was doing but just a few bars into "Time After Time" the lovely longing and aching beauty makes it self clear and is the total antithesis to the last four years. You don't even have to be a granola eating hippie to get it. This is a vulnerable side of Nicks and McVie that clearly lives on the other side of the mirror and can't be captured by just anybody. There's 20 acoustic tracks from various sources here and not a clinker in the bunch.
(Blix St 10117)
JOE LEWIS BAND/Up Next: The mash up is here to stay. This power trio comes from deep in the land of gumbo and they bring contemporary Christian blues. With an out there mix of sin and soul, this is a wild way to spend a Saturday night where the roots grow deep. When you do it right, you deserve your shot.
SONIC TWIST/Unity: Judi Silvano goes art chick here with an ambient guitarist. Both of them have the chops to pull this off. And you never have to reach for the Tylenol. Certainly an out of the ordinary set, except for those really into ambient, she knows how to swing but this ain't where swing is the thing.
BRUCE BROWN/Death of Expertise: With Frish well up into his 80s, Brown is a really timely find. He's totally channeling Frish here. Swinging jazz, sassy lyrics, wry delivery. Damn, if Bernie says we sign, we sign. Up market and slightly brainy, if this is what they've got going on in New Zealand let's have more of it. Well done.
Volume 45/Number 97
February 5, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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