DAVE MILLER TRIO/The Mask-erade is Over: why the dexterous and hard hitting piano man gave all this up to be a successful IP lawyer---oh, forget it. But back to real time. Punning his way out of the pandemic, Mille tackles some favored oldies he hasn't yet recorded and gifts them with the style and verve of the classic piano men playing them all like they are jus t now fresh and new. Whether hard bopping or slowing things down, this crystal clear recording has you right up close, front and center for a good time by a cat having a well deserved good time. And he got to this place without having to take lessons from Bill Evans, not that you would know it from the sound of things. Another winner from this cat.
JULIAN GERSTIN/Music for the Exploration of Elusive Phenomena: Giving his co horts a great deal of artistic freedom, the percussionist run close to the edge of losing control here as art chicks run wild. A real clove ciggy special
PEARRING SOUND/Socially Distanced Duo: A dandy sax player uses the pandemic for a backdrop for this set of duo recordings. How you feel about sax with a little coloration will color how you feel about this set that run close to recital territory.
WAYNE ALPERN/Frankenstein: Surprise, old white guys can sample and genre splice just like an inexperienced kid with ambition and drive. Alpern mixmasters a bunch of stuff that shouldn't fit together but it's more today than kids living in the moment, today. Of course, this cat isn't afraid go digging in the crates for most of his material. A fun, wild ride that opens the ears in many ways you wouldn't begin to expect. Check it out.
BILLY TEST TRIO/Coming Down Roses: A young piano cat currently a member of WDR Big Band decides it's time to debut as a leader after holding his own in a recording with Dave Liebman. Aside from that, hosting a vitae that could choke a horse, he's a cat steeped in the tradition with an ear toward tomorrow. The perfect thing for anyone looking for some straight head piano trio work done right.
KENNY SHANKER/Beautiful Things: A Posi-Tone alum took the lessons he learned at that label with him and is still rolling them out on his latest for this label. A young sax cat that sounds like no stranger to smoky rooms and late nights, he's into mostly doing his own originals and acquits himself well on all the fronts he tackles. Solid, classic feeling jazz that'll get you in the right mood.
(Wise Cat 8)
JOHNNY TUCKER/75 & Alive: Celebrating his 75th birthday by enlisting Kid Ramos who in turn, enlisted a crew of hot players that want to be there, this is a jumping set of classic sounding west coast jump blues. Everyone is hitting on all eight with the gas on high with no signs of arthritis of inflammation anywhere. Fun stuff that reminds you in high style that the blues ain't all abut being blue. Well done.
(Blue Heart 16)
DANIELS MILLER MARSH/What We Did: No stranger to health problems himself, Chris Daniels didn't hesitate when asked to put together a benefit to benefit health organizations impacted by Covid. Rather than the usual half hearted stuff this gives forth, Daniels put out the call to cats that are known far and wide and they all rolled up their shirt sleeves nicely. Since the mission here was to raise money, the songs are mostly tent poles, but the crew didn't pick moldy ones. Energized throughout, this set was not born under a bad sign. Check it out.
BLIND LEMON PLEDGE/Satchel Full of Blues: This white boy with the blues really shows his debt to Mose Allison on this set of most originals where it's clear he don't worry about a thing cuz nothing's gonna be alright. He does it without manqueing around and delivers a spot on session throughout with his trio mates that hits heights you wouldn't think if you saw this on paper. Killer stuff that works.
FALKNER EVANS/Invisible Words: The record he never planned to make, Evans solo debut set is a memorial to his wife who battled depression until she couldn't take it anymore. Of course, it's got a downside to it's elements, but what do you expect? The piano vet plays it with gusto and spirit and captures his wife nicely in this impressionistic set. This is a set that will probably live on in many other's memorials as well.
MASTERS & BARON/Meet Blanton & Webster: The arranger claims to re-imagine the Ellington classics but I just hear a new take on the smoothness and style the orchestra gave pared down for modern budgets. A work that can stand on it's own without being a tribute or homage, there's a precision and passion that makes this a modern work but with all the original parts in tact. How every you slice it, it's a solid work throughout that'll create a whole new generation of Ellington fans.
Volume 45/Number 251
July 9, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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