STEVE HUNT/Connections: The keyboard ace beats back covid by calling up all his fusion pals and making this the fusion extravaganza that wasn't. Sharp, angular modern jazz with world accents, this is what happens when you let a non stop roll call of first call players do their thing. Using his god given skills to pay the bills and augmenting them over the years with well done chops, Hunt knows how to deliver something out of the ordinary that is never off putting and always works. Hard hitting, killer stuff.
(Spice Rack 10150)
MICHAEL WHALEN/Future Shock: In the vein of Herbie Hancock before him, multi award winning multi instrumentalist Whalen puts contemporary jazz in a rocket ship and points it toward outer space with a smoking band behind him that's been an A team for far too long. A real wake up call of a record, Whalen invites you to expect the unexpected and does it with a mighty groove. Well done.
AHMED WARSHANNA/Ishta: A multi culti guitarist influenced as much by post bop as his native Egyptian music has ridden his version of the fusion of the two to award winning glories just as he's finishing his studies and getting ready to take on the real world. He might be too young to consciously notice it but there touches of prog in here too. A wild trip for open eared listeners.
(Three River 1)
BADFINGER/No Matter What: Whether you don't know your Joey Molland from your Joe Tanzen or are hard core fans of this crew of perennial underdogs, this four on the floor rave up revisiting their hits is an arena rock period timepiece but it does deliver the crunch missing from so much these days. A nice, modernized journey through the past.
MONTEIRO ANDERSON NASH/Live at No Black Tie: It's taken a while but Asian piano giant Monteiro has finally find two jazzbos that can play at one with him with the verve of Young and Holt. With a career that's been a non stop winning streak for longer than you've been alive, he knows his music and makes it sound so effortless that you shouldn't even try to imitate him. This is a jazz piano trio playing on one of his home turfs that's nothing but a grand icing on a delicious cake. Top shelf all the way.
(Jazz Note 261084-98)
JOH DAVERSA JAZZ ORCHESTRA/All Without Words: Just when you think you've got Daversa figured out... Here he comes with a set composed around the inner workings of an autistic child composed by the child's father. Like one of the artistic jazz efforts of the 50s when an orchestra showed up in tow where the point was deep music that took you on a tour of something, his trumpet leads that way here. Pure art powered by pure class. A really tasty mix.
MICHAEL MASON/Human Revolution: C'mon, how can you not like a white guy that cites AACM as an influence, has a day job as a fireman (who went to New York to help out at ground zero) and consults for "Chicago Fire" and plays his flute with and for some of the biggest badasses around? He's working out here in kind of a Paul Winter mode and it works. This cat's jazz/world/fusion is second to none and is a sure lift for both mood and attitude. Give your ears a break and check it out.
DANIEL THATCHER/Waterwheel: Shouldn't somebody tell this guy that if you're going to mix music and healing arts you need to do it with cheesy, dated synths that can't be programmed or repaired anymore? Instead we get smoking jazz bass leading a smart, hand picked crew that get it that jazz is being played here. Such nerve! A Chicago music vet of long standing, he's knows his terrain well. Solid stuff even if nothing hurts you.
(Shifting Paradigm 161)
DAN PITT QUINTET/Wrongs: The Toronto jazz scene spark plug let's his creative side run free here as you would almost think this is a sax record the way the guitar man holds himself in check. Sharp, angular jazz clearly loaded with modern edges, this is a welcome home for the ears of tomorrow.
CURTIS K. HUGHES/Tulpa: Once you move off the main playing field, it's easy for things to exist in their own time zones. You could say that the Steve Reichs of tomorrow have to come from somewhere but this set is a 22 year retrospective. Drumming on things, and not at all in the way you might expect, this is art for art's sake but there's nothing boring about it. A collection of challenging works for the listener than doesn't want to take things lightly, the crew on board here is going to take your mind for a ride.
(New Focus 298)
RAHSAAN BARBER/Mosaic: I guess this set proves that if you want to swing more than one sax at once, your name better be Rahsaan. A double album that was written in two weeks and recorded in two days, Barber is a smoking star of tomorrow with wind and control to spare. The band works, but there's no reason not to feature Barber front and center as much as possible. There's no need here for frills and fills the way he takes command of things. Hot stuff.
(Jazz Music City)
Volume 45/Number 146
March 26, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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