CODE QUARTET/Genealogy: Saxy lady Christine Jensen and her pals bring the daddio on this set that's inspired by Ornette Coleman in the 50s. Writing for themselves as a self contained unit, they find the sweet spot where improv and composition come together and have both ends playing off themselves. Quite the nice breath of fresh air, the crew spent three years putting these master strokes together and the wait was worth it, particularly if you dig daddio jazz. This is playing for the soul before the pocketbook. Well done.
(Justin Time 88622)
PILGRIM/No Offense, Nevermind, Sorry: This set opens with a riff that feels familiar and drives you crazy until it hits you that this has a feel of "Texas Cooking" From there, this Texas takes you on an organic trip that feels like a guitar pull with some real talent---and then it hits you: this cat can fill Guy Clark's shoes and follow in his footsteps without any traces of being a self conscious manqué. Ain't nobody can replace Clark but some can capably follow the trail he blazed. And you can dig this on it's own merits. Hot stuff.
PAUL COLOMBO GROUP/Rio Crystal: The guitarist here first heard the piano man here on a Pat Martino record, sought him out as a teacher, they became friends and here you are with a hot contemporary Philly jazz crew that a real group of pals that get it right. Not locking themselves into any groove, bag or style, this is simply dandy after hours playing where you can break out the good stuff and sink into the whole thing with ease. Solid stuff that works throughout.
WEST OF TEXAS/Heartache, Hangovers & Honky Tonks: Asleep at the Wheel started out as hippies doing something different and having fun eventually growing in the band they would be. West of Texas gets it right just as the gate swings open. For real Bakersfield sound meets Texas dance hall, this modern honky tonk set gets it right and puts sippy cup bro country out to dry. This is the real deal and this rendering is just way too good to miss.
(Pleasant Valley Ranch 2)
ALEX LOPEZ/Rising Up: Five albums in and there's still no mistaking this cat originally got his mojo from the first generation of English blues/rockers. Working the Cleveland/Florida blues rock axis, there probably isn't a frat boy along that trail that wouldn't have this crew play at their wedding. Blue collar blues rock is alive and well.
BOB HOLZ/Live in New York & LA: The timekeeper behind all your fave jazzbos rounds up a bunch of your fave jazzbos for a series of after hours live dates where the club sounds intimate and the chops are firing on high. With a nicely mixed set card of old and original, it all jazz baby and it's done right. This is a load of tasty stuff with nothing to prove but leaves it's mark regardless.
AARON GERMAIN/Bell Projections: The ace guitarist wanted to do an adventurous album of guitar quartets but trying to find the right repertoire and right musos led him to the inevitable moment of ‘god damn it, I'll just do it myself'. Such began his journey to write all the songs and play all the parts (with the exception of some cats to bring some color on instruments he doesn't play). The journey took a little longer than he thought, but the journey is a success. Simply a gorgeous album that never wears out it's welcome, he is monstrously talented and has a most elegant touch to boot. Great all the way around.
(Aaron Germain Music 1002)
LOUIS ARMSTRONG/Complete Columbia and RCA Victor Studio Sessions 1946-1966: OK, let's not get all Katie Porter gotcha because it says complete but they left off some damaged masters and alternate takes that didn't add anything to the discussion. Anyway, Mosaic shows their love for us geeks by including "Music to Shave By", originally a flexi disc magazine insert that finds him with Crosby and Clooney for Remington. In ‘46, he was still doing his whorehouse/tea pad sounds and in ‘66, he was finishing his run at Columbia with Bob Johnston at the helm getting ready for his "Hello Dolly" comeback elsewhere. Pops made some of the greatest music of the 20th century as well as arguably inventing jazz, and this two decade swath that is summed up in too few discs documents it (almost) all in as best a modern fashion as reproduction techniques will allow. This is way more than just another nice slice of music history. Pops was way cooler than us whippersnappers that got off on imitating "Dolly" and "Wonderful World" were probably ever aware of. Hell, who realized just how much he influenced Tex Avery cartoons? Way cool throughout.
Volume 45/Number 170
April 19, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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