DENNY ZEITLIN-GEORGE MARSH/Telepathy: Some people bang pots and pans together and call it jazz improv----and then there's Zeitlin and Marsh that are such dexterous moving targets that just when you think you have them figured out, they change directions so easily that all you can do is say ‘huh?'. With a different sound and feel from their last few electro-acoustic voyages, they rein it in this time riding a jazz/new age tip that may have it's roots in the past but certainly isn't rooted in the past. As sprightly as anything you'd hear from the Lab Band kids taking a break from their studies, the good doctor proves he knows what's good for what ails ya yet again. Just plain fun listening throughout.
DEXTER GORDON QUARTET/Willisau 1978: Recorded live in Switzerland just as Gordon was riding the tip of his career renaissance, the sax man is in fine form here. The set list isn't very challenging but he doesn't shy away from giving it his all. With bench strength provided by George Cables, Rufus Reid and Eddie Gladden, this is a solid collection of bop that just won't stop. Never before released, it might not be a real wish you were there moment, but one listen will make you glad you are there now. Solid.
(TCB 2452/Swiss Radio Jazz Series Days 45)
BEADY BEAST/On the Go: A guitar duo of guitar adventurers Christy Doran and Franz Hellmuller, they bring out only the acoustic guitars this time and serve up a unique set that has the vibe of those Kicking Mule sets where young white boys were digging into the blues. No blues here though, just guitar adventures and excursions. If you've ever gone down the paths John Fahey opened the gates to, this is a natch for your guitar loving ears.
(Between the Lines 71250)
MARIEKE KOOPMAN/Chapter One: There comes a time when every jazz vocal fan really wants to be serenaded by a swinging broad---not one of these contemporary porcelain divas. With a deep musical background and theatrical training, as well as a love of songs from the 30s and 40s, hence we have a new swinging broad that knows how to deliver. Great new performances on great old songs make from the real deal package. Hot.
JOHN HENRY CRAWFORD/Dialogo: Here's a youngblood that doesn't need my help. By the time his debut record got here, this set was already #7 in Billboard. And he was already the 2019 Classical Recording Foundation Artist of the Year. And he's got what it takes to shine on this classy cello/piano duet. Focusing on three composers from recent to modern vintage, Crawford digs deep, often spurred on by his accompanist, and shows he has what it takes to go down the silk road one day as well. A real ace of a recital set.
COLLINS/BERG/LATHAM/Together: Three New York jazzbo jazz pros band together to step out of the shadows and more into the spotlight of their own. Serving it up in a piano trio on well known standards that leave room for them to add their own special sauces, they certainly work and play well together---a notation they would want on their permanent records. Easy going but not easy listening, this is what you want to have handy when you're pretending to work from home these summer afternoons.. Smart work.
BOB MINTZER/Soundscapes: As major domo of WDR for the last six years, Mintzer has a lot of latitude to play around with knowing the strengths and interests of the various players. He takes a little leave of the normal themed format of the crews works and makes the theme featuring the players playing. Only he doesn't come out and make that statement. With a specially written work that does his talking for him, all involved shine brightly in a large ensemble work that sounds and feels like one that doesn't come around often. Solid throughout, this really has to have been as much fun to make as it is to hear. Check it out.
IRINA ZUBAREVA/Bridges to Rio: Yes, a Russian living in New York can feel the tropics in her soul. A Brazilian record of a different flavor, it remains right in the pocket with a skilled singer at the wheel and delivers the sun dappled goods the discerning Brazilians listener demands. A perfect example of how to let go and let the universal language take over and do it's thing all the way down to the trills and rolls.
SEAN CHAMBERS/That's What I'm Talking About: This white boy with the blues had to go to Memphis to learn about Chicago but once he got there, he ran into a great teacher that took him to finishing school. As much a tribute to Chess as it is to his mentor, Hubert Sumlin, this guitar slinger shows he learned his lessons well and keeps the spirit of the Checkerboard alive and well even of he had to go to Jersey to capture it. Well done.
TAMARA L. WILSON/Let it Go: A shiny ep of girl friend music that sounds way too polished because the singer had a line to a bunch of cats with way too many well honed chops. One of those dates that came together because the stars were shining just right, this is for all the women in your lives that need a shot of inspiration.
JON BYRD/Me & Paul: A smoking little set of nu old time country music best heard late at night and a little tipsy. Just a man and his guitar and his pedal steel playing pal, this set is sure to take you back to the down home you never knew. The writing and singing hit the nail on the head as well.
TANYA DENNIS/White Sails Blue Skies: An eclectic musical chameleon with many interests finds herself in a Michael Franks bag mixing smooth jazz with a tropical vibe bottomed by vocals to match. Easy rolling, almost cinematic jazz by a gal that never felt a need to play by the rules, she goes her own way here and the maps she unfurls are too beguiling to pass up. One of those records that underscore what a grown up summer sounds like.
LUNAR OCTET/Convergence: A bunch of white boys from Detroit that think they are from the tropics finally get it together for their first album in 26 years. One of Detroit's secret treasures, they have more than enough caliente to set the night on fire and have been doing so during their extended studio hiatus. One mucho muy gringo party of the highest order.
BEN BOSTICK/Grown U p Love: After leading a charmed life in an oddball kind of way, the pandemic slammed him in the face at a lot of level and he put aside what he was working on to make an album of love songs---stuff his family needed to hear. As much as we might like his off kilter view of the world, his family man side isn't corny and has a lot of welcoming elements that make it special in it's own right. It might be out of the ordinary but the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree either.
Volume 45/Number 237
June 25, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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