ERIC BIBB/Dear America: You can't tell me there's all these incredible, politically inspired albums coming out by vet players just because they are bored by the pandemic. A vet folkie to the core, the bluesman makes a real down home record that mind boggles with it's deceptive simplicity. Powered by chops that have been fomented and fermented while being abetted by likewise vet pros that have chops to spare, the message is in the music. Tunes for out times for people that really want to listen. Killer stuff.
DEE BROWN/Deep Secrets: Here's a change up for you that works beyond belief. Grooving smooth jazz inspired by the Good Book that shows just what can happen when the spirit shakes you and a smile comes across your face. A sterling antidote for grim realities, this is feel good smooth jazz that makes you feel good. End of story. Totally cool hot stuff.
JON GORDON/Stranger Than Fiction: A cutting edge sax man brings the avant garde to the fore in confronting the strange, unhinged times we're living in---trying to make sense of it with is axe. It can't be done but he's got the free jazz part of the equation down well. Joined by some real hitters with a few ringers in the mix as well, this is the place where the absurd starts to make it's own kind of sense.
LENA BLOCH & Feathery/Rose of Lifta: Solid cinematic jazz that encompasses the feeling loss and transition quite visually and personally. A world traveler that hasn't had time to makes her roots stick, this sax player/leader can musicalize what she feels quite vividly. Not an art jazz outing, it's a highly textured and moving instrumental work that keeps the surprises coming even after repeated listening. Quite a feather in her cap.
(Fresh Sound New Talent 5115)
DAVID LARSEN/Deviate from Standards: Recorded as an escape from academia and covid, this sax man is a solid post daddio swinger that knows the vibe well from the classic blowing dates and replicates it nicely without copying it. With a warm, round tone and a laser like focus, his students probably don't know how lucky they are to have him standing at the front of the class. Solid throughout.
JACKSON POTTER/Restless: A youngster that looks like Justin Bieber if Beeb didn't try so hard to look like a douche bag, he's got smarts and chops so deep that in a talent contest, you'd tell them apart without even trying. A real jazzbo to the core that studied and gigged hard right out of the gate, his guitar date can stand up to any established set by any established player. While it should crackle with the enthusiasm of an auspicious debut, it glides with the surety of a polished pro instead. Loaded with originals, he's issued the kind of sound that got you into jazz in the first place. Killer stuff.
CHROME/Scaropy: Continuing to propose post punk pre-grunge noize rock that takes you on a trip through hell, the industrial rockers that followed in their wake still have nothing on them. It's like 40 years hasn't gone by.
ANTI-FLAG/17 Song Demo: The funny thing about this collection of demos that's been in the garage for the last 30 years is that it was recorded when the kids hated President Bush and it's just as timely now that they hate ex-President Trump. It's got it all all the way down to the believe that the police aren't here to protect you. Will these finally get right their rightful place as the soundtrack to our young people having their own Arab Spring? Stay tuned.
FAMILY PLAN: Three wild and wooly improvisers redefine the piano trio format for the 21st century and often make it right for eggheads and lefties that don't like it nice and easy. They come back to earth at times but mostly they like doing a lot of exploring.
BRYAN MURRAY & JON LUNDBOM/Beats By Balto V. 2: In which the Hot Cup gang recombine to take free jazz into the 21st century with wild improv. For kids that like it out there.
RANCH WRITERS: Two of Canada's top organic hitters got together for three days and left the studio with a new genre classic under their arms. Some of the most purely back porch goodness you could ever come across, they turn Americana sideways with their spin, Canadiana. Instrumental music just doesn't get any better than this, especially in the back porch genre. Killer throughout.
(True North 732)
VOCES8/Infinity: A nice kick in the pants for anyone that thinks classical or new age has to be musty and dusty, this acapella ensemble takes in everything from soundtracks to video game scores and puts it through their unique spin cycle. A leading outlet for newly commissioned works as well, this goes way beyond yoga pants/girl friend music and into a realm of pure sound that does something for the spirit. A wildly enchanting and ear opening collection.
(Decca Classics )
ADAM NOLAN TRIO/Prim & Primal: A sax led improv trio sounds like they spent time with Sonny under the bridge as opposed to time in their native Ireland. Proving that music is the universal language, these cats improv it up like they were raised in loft jazz lofts.
GERRY EASTMAN TRIO/Trust Me: The vet guitarist leads an organ trio with dandy results. Letting his freak flag fly, he doesn't worry about coloring inside the lines but he's not out there for the sake for being out there either. Certainly angular jazz, it's the kind of stuff that knows how to keep you moving, even when you really don't want to.
VALERIE SMITH/Renaissance: If mainstream country has gotten too commercial for you, it's time to hit the blue highways with this bluegrass gal that's been kicking it as long as Rhonda Vincent and Alison Krauss showing up here with a lot of the A teamers either of them would use. A master mistress of roots music, this breath of fresh air will really hit you, especially if you haven't heard her before. With the right touch and the right sound this is a stone cold killer throughout.
(Bell Buckle 4042)
TAS CRU/Broke Down Busted Up: Adding country touches to his white boy blues, the change up is a nice and welcome surprise that keeps his stuff fresh and relevant. Loaded with an after hours feel that really works, his highly personal songs hit all the right notes once again and his moves all go in the right direction. Tasty as his sauces.
ROYAL HOUNDS/Whole Lot of Nothin': Nashville's rocking party boys show what happens when you put the good times first. A delightful party record that is professional but doesn't take it self too seriously as it carouses. Fun stuff that works on a lot of levels and never lets you down, these are the guys you want to have around when things suck and you don't want them to. Well done.
JON PATRICK WALKER/Rented Tuxedo & Other Songs: Staking out more and more territory as an underground hero, it's time to hook your wagon to his star if you haven't done so already. A dandy throwback to when hippies were making in roads into country music in the 70s, this goes even beyond the cosmic American music GP envisioned. Totally original and tonally on the money throughout.
Volume 45/Number 307
September 3, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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