CLAIRE CHASE/Density 2036: You have to love these MacArthur geniuses that take the money and run---as fast as they can to create something new and out of the ordinary that's going to be a work of lasting impact. Chase isn't afraid to let her egghead side show. This collection is a four disc set broken up into two twofers that are demarcated by the time they took to put together with the long range goal of celebrating the centennial of some Varese action. Surrounded by jazzbos and instrumentalists of a high a caliber as her, Chase goes deep into her chosen world of flutes, doing it all in single takes with no editing, giving a master class in having the chops to really lay it all on the line. A deep work as you might imagine, if you've ever traveled farther a field with ECM or Watt, there's nothing here that will take you by surprise in concept. Sure to become a prized serious work for serious listeners.
(Corbett v Dempsey 76)
BILL TOMS & Hard Rain/Keep Movin' On: Nice, solid blue collar rock that's a great antidote for pandemic times when only the hearty refuse to be sidelined. The tenth outing for this crew, they still know how to rock it right down the middle with soul, grit and style. And through it all, the message is to have a good time.
CATALYST QUARTET/Uncovered Vo. 1: The beginning of a series that focuses on the works of marginalized, classical composers, this set serves up Samuel Coleridge-Taylor who most people probably didn't realize was black and will probably hear this and say something stupid like ‘gee, he didn't write black' (face palm!). People, the Duke said it best when he said there are only two kinds of music. A stately, lovely work throughout, this is a fine jumping in point for any classical tourist that's been too intimidated by the genre's breadth to take the plunge. A winner throughout.
WILD & BLUE/Restless: Something's get passé, something's don't. A family harmony duo that's making their recording debut after singing together since the young ‘un knew she could sing, we're on the money throughout here. Country all the way, they write good ones and have a since for choosing good ones. A far cry from over done bro country, this is the down home stuff that brought us into the tent in the first place and it's as relevant now as it was then. Hot.
GERRY SPEHAR/Lady Liberty: Not exactly the kind of cat that a knee jerk response would think would make an album celebrating Trump's loss, this country boy turned hippie turned capitalist turned full time muso after all his obligations were done, sends a message without needing Western Union or hitting you over the head. Nu protest music, he had the chops all along, he just had to put them on the shelf when the real world came along and now he's reclaiming them in fine style.
JEFF COFFIN-DEREK BROWN/Symbiosis: Is that Zoot and Al going modern on us? Nope, it's Jeff Coffin and Derek Brown doing a modern blowing session where everything from Quincy to where ever you want to go is fair game. The set is all original no matter what paint buckets it sounds like they are dipping their fingers in, this is real music for real listeners that can easily get lost in the sounds two pros can serve up on their own. Hot stuff that's a must for daddio jazzbos.
MIKE FREEDMAN/Into the Daybreak: Easy, breezy, groovy jazz guitar from an old Canadian pro that's been finding success in the new world of nu charts while playing with everyone in Canada that needs a tasty guitarist by their side. Unabashed in his love for everyone from Wes to Mike Stern, he can take it all in and still be his own man. Right in the pocket of all the other summer jazz you love, especially when looking ahead to 5 p.m. Friday. Well done.
FLO & FAUNA/Wald: I'm not exactly sure why this smoking bass led piano trio has been called headbanger jazz but it's certainly a banger of a set. Right in the pocket with left leaning and progressive edges, it's just what the doctor ordered for young moderns that dig piano trios but just can't get behind their dad's daddio sets. Sweet sounds, high energy and loads of good vibes that never let you down. Call it what you will but it's a stone cold winner to me.
SOO LINE LOONS: Americana of a different stripe as it's almost Americana by default but it's Americana because it takes in a slew of sounds that make up the breadth of America. Like a musical noir, it examines the dark side of the human condition and isn't afraid to peer right into the abyss with almost a theatrical presentation. Wild stuff that comes across as a complete musical experience.
(Don't Quit Your Day Job)
TED RUSSELL KAMP/Solitaire: Kamp flips the script here letting pandemic isolation bring his folkie side to the fore, as well as his multi instrumental prowess. Recorded with remote help at some points, this is a first class, intimate set where the songs are as intimate as the recording itself. Tasty stuff that shows he's a long way from repeating himself or running out of gas as he now present his 13th record which would have normally been offered between playing 200 shows a year. One of our contemporary talents well deserving of wider recognition.
KAREN BELLA: In which we have an ep that proves not all talent show competitors are jive. A pop princess that's paying the dues live and was working a schedule that would have exhausted anyone else before the shut down, she knows the moves and can do other things than front for beats. There's something going on here worth lending an ear to.
VERVE JAZZ ENSEMBLE/The VJE Very Live: In which we find one of the swingingest crew of jazzbos serving up a veritable live greatest hits set as they turn up the heat on some of their best charts on classics. With no one blowing a false note anywhere in this passel of fine ones, this is the stuff you'll pay the babysitter extra for when you stay out a little later to get into the groove. Killer stuff.
Volume 45/Number 114
February 22, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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