JONATHAN BAUER/Sings & Plays: After all is said and done, sometimes you just want to come home to some meat and potatoes---and it doesn't hurt if the meat is third cut as well. The Nawlins singing trumpeter takes a swinging journey through the past on jazz, vocal and soundtrack cuts we all grew up on and make sit all sound like home. Making his mark in a group, he follows up his debut with a solid work with the best of the Nawlins young lions in tow, shying well as an ensemble to boot. Check this out for a guaranteed good time.
ESBE/Under Cover: Speaking of trips down memory lane that sound like home, this art chick serves up pop covers that sound like musical comfort food if your idea of coming home is to a 600 square foot efficiency in a hip neighborhood. Eclectic and quirky, she's been playing by her own rules on four albums worth of her own music, but this English art chick doesn't know how to stop. Some of her choices are pretty hoary but you've never heard them like this.
(New Cat 211)
ALISON FAITH LEVY/You Are Magic: After a detour into adult music, Levy is back to working it out for the kiddies. A thoughtful album with pop sensibilities, there's plenty here for the little ones to grow on, especially when they get the message that they should go toward the light. Tasty work from a proven pro that really knows the ropes.
MICK KOLASSA/Wasted Youth: Kolassa's rollicking answer to a load of personal loss that hit home via the pandemic, the hard rolling blues rocker rallies the troops taking things to new heights lyrically, musically and vibe-ally. With a lot of modern blues royalty lurking in the background helping out, the result is a solid set of blues that can and will chase any blues away. Hot stuff.
(Endless Blues 72021)
LYLE MAYS/Eberhard: Normally, we wouldn't review a single, but this is Mays in his last work with a load of jazz friends old and new bringing it all home. A tribute to Eberhard Weber, a jazzbo that was such an influence on the Pat Metheny Group that Metheny might still be practicing 12 hours a day in a closet without that influence. Everyone here has chops to spare, all brought to the fore throughout this multi dimension suite. This was music that had to be made.
JARED DUBIN/Excuses Excuses: A bone man that has no compunction about wearing early influences from the masters on his sleeve, Dubin makes an impressionistic, personal statement through his playing that gives us the benefit of having a fine album about the tortured artist effect without the verbal kvetching. Really a top notch young lion that will find all the meat he seeks, this is just one of those auspicious debuts you don't want to miss.
(Next Level 2130)
GAETANO LEITIZIA/Chartreuse: An eclectic guitar cat whose heart is really in smooth jazz, struts his stuff here not letting his influences get kicked to the curb whenever he wants to insert them along the way. A fun, easy going date where he's in full control of the outcome and knows what he wants and how to get there. Simple solid and loaded with smart writing and playing, this is an enjoyable outing that works throughout.
TURNING CIRCLES/What Goes Around Comes Around: And wonder you might why you never really heard of a trumpet cat that's this good when he's been at it for over 40 years. Well, 25 of those years were spent as an airman of note really leading the way in various Air Force bands. Now he's on his own and letting the rest of us enjoy what he does. Rounding up some pals that know what to do, this is solid, straight ahead jazz in which leader Kerry Moffit writes most of them as well. Well done.
(Turning Circles 1)
MICHAEL COMPITELLO/Unsnared Drum: At the end of the day, it's still arts council music, but what's going on here is Compitello turning the snare drum on it's head for a solo drum set of commissioned works that show what's possible when you get serious about exploring the possibilities. If he ever wants to go commercial, he has a great future in crime jazz and chase scene music, but for now, he can easily become an egghead darling with his takes on music for a Sunday afternoon. Way out of the ordinary for sure.
(New Focus 310)
BORDERLANDS ENSEMBLE/Space in Which to See: If the music seems some what dissonant and strange that's because this bunch of Tucson eggheads is trying something really different. Looking to make a cultural fusion of Arizona/Mexico music that isn't TexMex, they are making fusion of folkloric sounds from the various cultures of the region into a fusion---something politicians should be thinking about, no? You could call it avant garde or contemporary classical but there's something deeper going on here that's hard to peg out of the box on a debut. Anyone that likes impressionistic music with a cinematic bent to it is way ahead of the game here already.
(New Focus 299)
MATT JAFFE/Kintsugi: Talk about a wild child running free! Jaffe is an epileptic that had a seizure on strange that could have derailed him totally but instead he was discovered by Jerry Harrison who produced Jaffe's first record at 16. Since then, he's worked with everyone from Wilco to Plain White Ts in more disciplines that you knew existed. And he writes smoking guitar driven melodies. Bursting with more talent than he knows what to do with, he's well worth checking out.
JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE/Great Zeppelin II: Nearly a quarter century later, Great White goes back to the Zep well for another cover album that shows there really variations in the world of hard rock. It loud, it's proud and the dazed and confused new generation this is aimed at won't even ask if Willie Dixon is that old black guy. They're not even old enough to act like Beavis and say ‘you said Willie Dick's on'. Time passes, head bang stays the same.
Volume 45/Number 273
July 31, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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