ERIK GRISWOLD/Four Places in Queensland: An impressionistic piano work about the sights and sounds of four places in Australia that hold special intrigue for the composer and the fellow travelers along for the ride. A solid modern classical work that is composed pieces that doesn't leave you wondering what member of the local arts council he shares relatives with. You aren't going to come across musical travelogues like this every day.
AGNESE TONIUTTI/Subtle Matters: One of those people that doesn't just play the piano, she plays the piano--going beyond just hitting the keys and even bringing toys into the arena. An experimental work that doesn't feel like it's just pulled out of the air on a whim, this is less a recital than a journey in habited by stops and starts, twists and turns. Often becoming head music for cosmic experiences, if you start with Varese and go from there, this might just be the musical comfort food you want on your plate.
KEN FIELD/Transmitter: Forced off the road and putting his rock projects in moth balls for a while, Field indulges his at home side of soundtrack making and pursuing experimental moves. The sax man's idea of avant garde doesn't synch with Sonny Rollins' ideas of same as he crafts some nu jazzbo moves that tend to make him his own sax summit. Far from being art for art's sake, this is going to take you to some far out new places and make you re-evaluate how you think about ‘solo' sax. Quite the lofty achievement here.
HARRY PARTCH ENSEMBLE/Bewitched: One of the ultimate outsiders of classical and experimental music, here we have a new version of his 1957 ballet that has only been produced a handful of times. In fact, this recording is taken from a 1980 performance. He may have been an outsider, but you really can hear a bunch of stuff that seems to have influenced the pop works of Leonard Bernstein in the 50s. Actually, it seems like we now have a baseline. It takes 70 years for something outré to become mainstream-ish. Check it out, this is too cool a work to keep under wraps for another lifetime.
AFRO YAQUI MUSIC COLLECTIVE/Maroon Futures: Egghead, political funk by a crew that's impressing the eggheads. Made up of oppressed, migrant community members for a political statement that takes funk to nu corners of the world. Hang on to your hats, it kumbiya for a new generation and a new century.
MAI-LIIS/On Life: If Elizabeth Gilbert wanted to be a jazzbo, the results might have been something like what we have here. Coming into her own after years of stops and starts, Mai-Liis isn't a thrush or a cabaret type mainly using jazz to give her voice a voice. It's jazz for women of a certain age that want to hear a voice that knows what they are thinking.
BEN PATTERSON/Push the Limits: A spark plug in several big bands of long standing, the bone man really fans the flames when he kicks it out on his star turns with his own crews. Opening this proceeding with an original 10 minute tour de force, Patterson brings it hot and heavy making his mark and tattooing your ears. A really fierce cat that ain't afraid to use his claws. Hot stuff throughout.
AMIT FRIEDMAN/Unconditional Love: An Israeli sax man that gives your personal jazz more than he does world jazz, even when there's a bunch of middle east woven through it, you just can't take the jazz out of the jazzbo. Kind of a tip of the hat to the father than inspired him, you can feel the personal vibes that keeps the bond alive and well as they easily spring forth. Well done.
WILLIAMSON BRANCH/Heritage & Hope: A wildly ambitious set from a young crew that's harvesting the power of the Internet to take bluegrass and gospel to places it's never been before. A double album that is divided into traditional stuff, done in modern fashion and original songs about hope and aspiration, it's easy to see why the lead vocalist here has just been copping some major awards. It's all gospel throughout and it's just the kind of right on set that'll bring a raft of newbies into the tent. Well done.
BOBBY & TEDDI CYRUS/My Wedding Day: Members of the other side of the Cyrus clan that apparently don't feel the need to act out and act screwy to get attention in the music world. Gospel/bluegrass vocalists/writers that let the music do the talking for them, this is a nice return to well done, mainstream music that was made for listening. Well done.
Volume 45/Number 135
March 15, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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