YOONMI CHOI TRIO/7 Days: Is she jazz? Is she classical? Does it matter? She's a piano ace with a sweeping and grand style. A composed impressionistic piece based on, wait for it, the creation of the world, it's every bit as ambitious as it sounds. For eggheads only? Not really. A wildly different voyage of the mind? You betcha! Remarkably accessible for something so high minded, it might not be your first choice for a party soundtrack but when it comes time for some solid, serious sitting down listening, let her lead the way. Hot stuff that hit's the mark.
(Next Level 2114)
CHRIS HOPKINS Meets the Jazz Kangaroos/Vol. 1 Live: When it comes to a date with Hopkins lurking in the bytes, you can always expect the unexpected. Facing off here against a crew led by George Washingmachine, the unexpected is a swing program played straight. Like a crew playing the Hot Club on Django's off night, their groove is right in the pocket and song list has a few tent poles but veers delightfully from the tried and true giving the musos a chance to add their flourishes without purists complaining. Seeing as how this set is a good 80 years outside it's métier, you couldn't come up with a better sounding you-are-there date. Well done.
(Echoes of Swing 4572)
MAURICIO MORALES/Luna: They used to say there's the right way and the Euro way but this bass cat seems to be taking what Zawinul (the Euro way) left behind and building on it. Certainly bottomed by echoes of Weather Report (who really didn't seem to do it the Euro way), there's a load of genre blending and various textures running through these sweeping grooves. Leading edge, high energy jazz. At the bottom of it all, the way it moves and grooves, you almost feel like your taking a modern ride on Duke's A train. Wild stuff.
(Outside In 2110)
NEW MOON JELLY ROLL FREEDOM ROCKERS/Vol. 2: You know who you are. Anyone who loves records that really shouldn't have been made but got made out of passion and heat of the moment sparks will be glad this second volume of real roots music escaped from the vaults. With the Dickinson boys, their dead dad, Musselwhite, Hart and Mathus on board, this is a bunch of southern boys just having a good time together with th e tape running because the off beat labels like Vanguard aren't around anymore to subsidize these kinds of parties. Fill up the jelly jar, put some of that fancy New York mustard on the baloney to give it some zip and let the good times roll. On the money, once again. BTW--if you aren't one of these streaming only types, Lady Godiva is printed on the disc with all her stuff hanging out. Just a value added thing for real fans.
(Stony Plain 1417)
LAURIE BERKNER BAND/Let's Go!: The downside of Berkner? She makes making great kiddie albums look so easy that there must be a phalanx of manques waiting in the wings for the chance to doff their aprons and be the next kiddie superstar. With a deep catalog of all winners, she could have been forgiven for running out of steam on her 14th release, but if anything she's tapped into a new well of energy and hits it out of the park again. A charming album that never talks down to the kids even while reaching them on their own level, it's clear she's got the shining. If listening to this wouldn't get you picked up by the cops for grooming, I'd recommend it freely to adults looking for something out of the ordinary that delivers. Guess you'll just have to sign the kids up for another soccer lesson to have a little more time to play this in the car.
Volume 45/Number 122
March 2, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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