SATOKO FUJII PIANO SOLO/Hazuki: When Fujii plays the piano, it sounds like she plays the whole piano. This solo set, safely nestled somewhere between her being the Art Ensemble of Tokyo and boundary pushing ECM, is an egghead delight throughout. Playing with sound itself and the piano itself, there's a wily depth here that takes this beyond the realm of pots and pans music even as it's not for everyone anyway. Out sound at it's best.
ALEXA TARANTINO/Firefly: One of Posi-Tone's primo saxy ladies, Tarantino leads a crew of label all stars through a set sure to get her more admiration from Wynton Marsalis. Not afraid to be yielding, not afraid to be muscular, this is a gal with a vision and chops to match. A real modern take on after hours at Blue Note, this set goes the distance with room to spare. Well done.
REGGIE QUINERLY/New York Nowhere: A drummer that knows how to lead a date that feels like an ace blowing session, he bids adieu to the Apple, setting sail for LA and leaving his post bop moves behind, airing them one last time. Don't know what terms he's leaving on, but this is certainly a jazzy valentine the city that never sleeps. Right in the pocket throughout, soul comes to mind even if this isn't a soul record. Solid stuff.
FELY TCHACO/Yita: She might have ditched the Ivory Coast for the Bay area but she hasn't abandoned her African roots. This is the kind f set a gringo can't help moving to but he can never quite put his finger on where these sounds originate. Inspired by trips to refugee camps, you wouldn't know it from the vibe going on here. Zippy, high flying world beat that catches your attention and wont let go. A zesty platter of hot stuff.
JESSE AYCOCK: Get ready to have your preconceived notions turned around. A
Tulsa based conspirator with the crème of the alt.country underground, the multi instrumentalist turns in a rascally sunshine pop set that almost seems worthy of something from the fevered mind of Van Dyke Parks. A dandy switch up, this is a wonderfully trippy experience that's way too easy to get caught up in. Check it out.
SHIJIN/Theory of Everything: Euro art jazz the way it was meant to be played. There's no swinging for the fences or swinging at them either. It's just four cats with minds of their own coming together to make it happen in a cogent way that goes it's own way mixing fusion, space and cadences that have minds of their own as well. Out there sounds for out there cats.
IAN CHARLETON BIG BAND/Fresh Perspective: The never of some people. This cat, an alum of the Lab Band and a former educator at the Naval Academy, rounds up his big band to make some happy, bouncy jazz the jazz police will hate and no one will like except---oh, just everyone that comes in contact with it. With loads of swing, sharp arrangements and plenty of good vibes just right for sitting around the fire pit, this stuff is irresistible for the rest of us. Check it out and have the good time Charleton wanted you to have--on him.
SCHAPIRO 17/Human Qualities: When it rains it pours, you big band fans. Here's a 17 piece crew firing up for a new set that simply hits it out of the park. With a bunch of pros under the leader's baton, everyone here is out to shine and succeeds completely. You want tasty? This platter has loads of helpings. Fun stuff that remembers what Ellington said about there only being two kinds of music. Dig it.
ALYSSA TRAHAN/Baby Blues and Stilettos: Sometimes it is in the water. This protean gal escaped from near the Hudson Valley to bring her multi faceted attack to Nashville where she showed she can capture the modern country pop sound with just the right commercial punch that is loaded with repeatability and no jive. She's also racked up over a million plays on Tik Tok. Tell me this gal doesn't have it going on and doesn't know what the public wants. Check it out.
NEW YORK POLYPHONY/And the Sun Darkened: Yes, everything is specialized. Here's a crack vocal music crew serving up chants for the last two weeks of lent. They are award winners and this is not done in gift shop, Johnny come lately fashion. Mixing some new works with archival works, anyone wanting to experience the real gravitas of the season will have it done right for them here.
Volume 45/Number 111
February 19, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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