WILL BOYD/Soulful Noise: Flutes in jazz and soul/jazz are back in full force here. Four cats, playing almost like a benediction, deliver a thought provoking sound that makes you sit up and listen. Solid work that comes at your from another direction and catches you appropriately unawares.
HARMONICA POCKET/Sing Your Song: The kiddie award winner continues to show that you can play for the kids in a kid fashion without talking down to them. A sprightly, delightful and bouncy set that encourages curiosity openness, the messages are here loud and clear but they never get delivered with the cudgel. Fun stuff for kids in modern times.
TWINKLE/It's OK to be Me: They call her Lady Gaga for kids. Let's think about that. Gaga made her mark playing for her little monsters, right? Nuff said. That being said, since kids still love to imitate Elvis and jump around at the slightest provocation, jumping around to this set might not make them more agile in later years but they will have fun and feel like a grown up. Depending how young they are, some of the messages might get lost in the ether but don't overlook what might be absorbed by osmosis. Twinkle is real contemporary badass that could hit it out of the park no matter what audience she plays to.
FLOR BROMLEY/Pachamama: Here's a test of how good a parent you are. Anything that exposes the kids to world beat is a good thing. This Peruvian singer educates as well as entertains but does it without hammering any clichés home. Joined by a score of kiddie music pros, the whole is way greater than the sum of it's parts and it really delivers the goods in fine style. Mostly easy and gentle, your kids need an oasis like this in today's world. Well done.
(8 Pound Gorilla)
CHRIS BADNEWS BARNES/Badnews Rising: White boys with the blues take it to another level of the game. Honoring their fallen leader, John Belushi, Tom Hambridge rounds up the white boys with the blues all stars and this former Seinfeld writer launches forward from his hokum podium with thundering bombast and tales inspired by his career and life. I never picked no cotton either so I guess that's why I cotton to this set. If you take the trouble to read between the lines, the humor in here is ferocious as well. Smart, hot stuff throughout.
(Vizz Tone CB 19)
ERIC WYATT/Song of Hope: The hard blowing sax man leaves his Sonny love behind on this next gen set that finds him wailing without the skronk. Playing like a sure handed leader, the high octane energy is palpable and the one take recording bristles with enough oomph to solve any energy crisis. Straight ahead jazz that plays like a tonic, you need this in the car to turn any traffic jam into a real jam. Hot stuff.
(Whaling City Sound 132)
FARNELL NEWTON/Feel the Love: This album is about steps. It's a few steps away from being another in Posi-Tone's label jam extravaganza series. Newton's trumpet playing is like Miles' modal days when they were a few steps away from heading out to outer space. It's also about a new cat stepping up and claiming his spot. Solid mainstream jazz that perks up the ears with all the good vibes that are still lurking in the style. Everyone here knows what to do and it shows. A special treat for the real jazzbo.
MICHAEL JAMES/Shelter in Place: It's kind of neat when someone down the line can capture a vibe from times past and do it without sounding like a fakir. You can hear a real James Taylor thing going on here but you can also hear and feel James coming to it honestly and organically. He also has a real knack for taking simple words and making them into compelling rhymes. If this is a vibe that speaks to you, trust me, you've got a friend.
DAVID FINCK/Bassic Instinct: A sure handed old pro that can makes a fully formed statement without frills or validation gives us a classy, classic sounding jazz album that was made for listening, with undivided attention. Not making his solo debut until 2009 after a lot of years of playing everything with everybody, he makes it all sound so deceptively simple now. Certainly music made to make you smile, if the jazz police have a problem with that, send them my way to be straightened out. Solid stuff.
(Burton Avenue 1265)
MADELEINE PEYROUX/Careless Love: When Lilith Fair was in full flower and Rounder had changed ownership, they thought they should have a Diana Krall of their own. They brought in Larry Klein who exercised a lot of smarts and he brought in an all star crew to drive that point home. Another jazz diva was born. This reissue is augmented by a live date from Spain that shows audiences knew what to do with her better than labels. Klein's work isn't dated and the elemental sass transfers over time well. Actually an overdue second chance for an album that can easily be appreciated on it's own terms.
MEMPHISSIPPI SOUNDS/Welcome to the Land: Endorsed by Bobby Rush, here we have modern blues played by two black kids. What's the world coming to? Born, raised and still living in real blues country, this duo respects the past but does it while checking get your foot off my neck and I can't breathe. Something close to being a history of the blues in under and hour, this is an ear opener presented by young ‘uns that lived and know the life, even if they were influenced by George Clinton and Metalica along the way. A rolling stone might gather no moss but it can sure absorb things in a most interested way. This is real blues for millenials that don't get John Lee Hooker. Well done.
(Little Village 1043)
MEGADETH/Unplugged in Boston: For the longest time, these unplugged concerts were only unavailable from the band's website but now Dave Mustaine and crew are opening the door to anyone. This "acoustic" set recorded two decades ago in Boston shows just how much power there was in the music even if there was nothing but organic energy powered it. A veritable greatest hits set of the band's, even if fans can't act lie smarty pantses over having something you don't, fans are going to dig this and even at this late date, there's enough power here that there's still time to make new fans. A wild ride.
STEFFIE MOONLADY & DENNIS HAKLAR/To the Universe: Space cases, unite. This duo unites new age, prog and mysticism into a heady headphone brew that takes it to space and beyond. Too upbeat for Goth, this is a soundtrack for a spiritual opium den.
LEVI DOVER SEXTET/Imaginary Structures: A young double bass ace that's been making his presence known and felt since high school pushes his awards aside for this set to show he can break new ground. Letting the popular side of his influences show, this set isn't as angular as the title might have you thinking. He can move easily from crime jazz to commercial stuff and play it all in fine style. A tasty debut as a leader, he's an MVP in Canada now but you know his stage is going to be getting bigger soon. Well done.
(Three Pines 4)
MISS LADY BLUES/Moe Betta Blues: If there's still a such thing as the chitlin circuit down home, this blues belting gal that writes ‘em as well as sings ‘em has got to be crowned queen of it. A real Stax/showroom kind of vocal set, she's got the power to keep the lights on even when the next hurricane plows through town. Hot stuff from someone that knows how to sizzle.
Volume 45/Number 324
September 24, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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