REBECCA ANGEL/Love Life Choices: All this time, I thought Angel was a tyro and here she is with her debut album and it's her debut album as an old married lady as well. Just for the crew Jason Miles assembled for this set the price of admission would be met, but it doesn't stop there. Miles takes her well beyond the place all those jokers on talent shows hope they could be. He also shows that he has his ear to the ground and can make a contemporary pop album showing he's got no dust on him. An all around satisfying package of adult pop, this one really hits it out of the park.
(Timeless Grooves 360)
EAMONN McCormack/Storyteller: A white boy with the blues, Dublin style, issues forth with a sincere, heartfelt set that just might be above the heads of us stateside. With deep writing on topics not the usual fare, he gives a passionate performance on his seventh outing that seems right up the alley of the hard core folkie looking for real stories and real storytelling. A guitar slinging blues rocker at the fore, he really takes the songs back to the 70s when you could hear stuff like this pouring out of every campus coffeehouse. He knows his stuff and knows how to cover the waterfront. To really enjoy this, you have to be the one that steps up.
CHELSEA GUO/Chopin in My Voice: Talk about your auspicious debuts! Guo fearlessly immersed herself in Chopin, so much so that while the material may not be new, it's loaded with her own special sauce. As Jules Winbush might say, she really got in character for this role all the way down to recording this on a 1876 built piano. From the opening notes, you know and feel that this is going to be something special and different with you being in good hands throughout. A solid set from a rising classical star.
JACK GRACE BAND/What a Way to Spend the Night: A solidly left of center singer/songwriter that draws his inspiration as much from Loudon Wainwright as he does Lux and Ivy. Delightfully offbeat, it's the stuff of guilty pleasures and audio side trips that makes you stop and wonder if you just heard what you thought you just heard. A rallying point for those that follow their own drummer.
ST. PETER-HEFFNER-BARNES/Honestly: A Wes inspired guitar trio that came together at North Texas proves that far flung spirits can unite in a non-disparate way. And they dare you to tell them what standards they are disassembling in their flights of fancy. A tasty crew that knows how to make it sound deceptively simple, these are some easy going jazzbos that just like to make it look way easier than it really is.
SEAN MICHAEL GIDDINGS/Red Willow: A piano trio led by a neo hippie that doesn't look like he would make originals that sounds like Charlie Brown music. If his opening Charlie Brown riffs don't grab you (and they will), there's plenty more stuff here that will. Spending the last decade as sidekick to a host of biggies, the pandemic forced him to realize it's time to shine his own star. Taking the chops he honed in the 1 a.m. Lab Band and pointing them toward the future, he knows how to stylize in the tradition of all your fave piano jazzbos---and do it without diminishing himself in the process. A welcome tonic of a date that clears the palette in fine style.
LAUREN HENDERSON/Musa: Really finding her métier as a whispering, jazzy chanteuse, you have to keep this set away from horny teenaged boys trying to wean themselves off video games---you'll never get them out of mom's basement. The perfect intersection of jazz and sex, she comes on like the genie that comes out of the bottle and beguiles Bugs Bunny with her index finger under his chin eventually pulling him sideways through the air. A must for those evenings you think you just want to chill out.
WOLFGANG LACKERSCHMID/Summer Changes: The protean German vibist tears it up with some long time pals whose relationships go back decades. Real jazz for real jazzbos, this crew is so in tune and so in the moment that the telepathy will make your head explode. Nothing here but the real deal, this is a sizzling fast ball right down the middle that's always right on the money.
(Dot Time 9103)
MEHMET ALI SANHKOL/Elegant Ritual: Continuing to take world jazz in deeper directions, Sanlikol takes traditional Turkish music and steeps it a little more in contemporary jazz for a fusion that seems currently at home in ethnic restaurants in hipster neighborhoods----but isn't that how revolutions gets started? More up the world jazzers alley than the casual listener, he's never less than a pro throughout and sure to tempt the adventurous listener into delving deeper once the bug has bit.
SAM PILNICK'S NONET PROJECT/Adler Suite: Do you have to be local boy to get this? A transplant to Chicago, Pilnick was inspired by a trip to Chicago's Adler Planetarium to begin work on a work that explores space---and not in a 7th Galaxy kind of way. A large group that at times seems to approach this in a symphonic way, this is clearly sitting down instrumental work with an impressionistic bent that's powered by a magical flow that never ceases. You don't have to be Captain Kirk to join Pilnick on this journey through the last frontier.
(Next Level 2122)
Volume 45/Number 223
June 11, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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