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BUJAZZO/Tribute to Clarke-Boland Big Band: The route these tapes of the international jazz band from 50 years ago took to their debut release is an interesting story you can look up on Google, but let's concern ourselves with the here and now, as it's been handed to us. One of the top crews of it's time, in the waning days of big band when the sound was quickly becoming dinner music to survive, they play like it's the glory days with a set card that reflects the era in it's prime. See what a springboard founding MJQ and playing with Miles was? There's no slip ups but you should find this as compelling as "Ella in Berlin". A great trip down memory lane for the first time.
(Double Moon 71379)

TRANSORIENT ORCHESTRA/Zip Zip: You know, we don't have the market cornered on world beat over here. This German based crew is loaded with multi culti players from across their part of the world and they make sprightly world jazz fusion that sounds like it should be playing in the CBD lounge at Disneyland. Fun stuff that's a sure bet to chase away the blues, this gang knows how to deliver something new and different that really delights. Well done.
(Double Moon 71514)

MICHEL MEIS 4TET/Kaboom: It takes a real knack to make something new that sounds familiar. This drummer lends a real New York feel to his jazz but what he does is rooted in Luxembourg. This kind of feels like Duke's A Train might feel as it left Sugar Hill to head back to the city. A record that kind of winks at you and lets you know the players are playing because they love playing, it's easy to get swept up in it's myriad good vibes as it merrily rolls along. A winner.
(Double Moon 71388)

GILLES GRETHEN QUARTET/Time Suite: An associate of drummer Meis, this is Meis' serious alter ego, sort of. With so many ideas flying through his classical into jazz head, this is a serious but not dark work. First class listening jazz where the soloists get a real chance to solo and make their statements, it might not be egghead jazz but you'll feel smarter for having listened to it. A real plus if you admire chops that are well done.
(Double Moon/Jazz Thing Next Generation Vol. 88)

PROCOL HAREM/Missing Persons: Fear not accuracy fans, Reid and Brooker as still at it. A sample from the complete Procol Harum box, symphonic rock fans, you know who you are, and you know this is sure to take you back to the day.
(Esoteric Antenna 1002)

JON ANDERSON/Animation: All it takes is 40 years and laying the proper foundation for a flop to become a cult classic. The former Yesman, already putting in time with Vangelis, was facing the collapse of the record business and the coked out malaise of everyone still left in it so he rounded up a bunch of pals with great names and rolled tape. It was a valiant effort and one that will resonate with prog fans even if doesn't have the requisite imagery to seal the deal. Y'know, Anderson could use this as a springboard to score cartoons ala Billy Joe Shaver. Just sayin'.
(Esoteric 2757)

SKIDS/Songs from a Haunted Ballroom: The Scottish punks that were even more punk than the front liners they supported take a trip down memory lane ala the Wiggan Casino anthologies, except they do it punk, covering all the songs that shaped them and their world. While the angry young man thing often doesn't work 40 years later, they are true to their vibe and the punk rock energy here is audacious. Still playing like the are fighting off the oppression of a no tomorrow life, this kaleidoscope time piece is a real hard hitting date for the ages.
(Cleopatra 2286)

JUDY WEXLER/Back to the Garden: A jazz vocal tribute to the softer side of the hippie years? Yeah it works. It's not just in the hands of a pro, it's in the hands of many pros. The song list really is the next chapter in the Great American songbook (these tunes are 50 years old) and Wexler does a great and proper job of re-imagining them for modern ears. Not pomo and not ironic, these songs are songs for these times and if you are old enough to remember them from the first time around, that might explain why you keep thinking you've seen this movie before. A tasty side trip down memory lane.
(Jewel City Jazz 1214)

JOHN PIZZARELLI/Better Days Ahead: How I've waited to use this wise crack. Pizzarelli is one of those cats that could play the phone book and make it compelling. There, I did it. A dream team match up of performing and writing talents, this set of Pizzarelli doing solo takes on Pat Metheny works is the bomb. The perfect late night record for when you aren't in the mood for anything heavy, this can be a worthy companion to put on repeat until the sun comes up. A perfect depiction of less being more.
(Ghostlight Deluxe)

REBECCA LUKER-SALLY WILFERT/All the Girls: A first class studio recreation of a prepandemic revue staged by these two modern Broadway luminaries/old pals that mixes new and old and original into a seamless whole that doesn't need any interstitial material (if there was any) to hold it together. Whether relying on fall backs like Sondheim or setting old poems to new music, sets like this don't get put together as bald cash grabs. Solidly tasty stuff for show music fans even if this is the kind of record that falls between the cracks of easy pigeon holes.
(PS Classics 2043)

Volume 45/Number 195
May14, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record

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