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ALEX BROWN/Dark Fire Sessions: A rising young piano man with an indefatigable spirit takes it around the horn for his second outing that shows you have to keep an ear out for him. Embellishing his core trio with various guests that bring their own special sauces, this is a jazz/instrumental work that doesn't need to follow any dictates or color inside any lines to make it's statement known. A sassy, spirited tour de force, there's many stops along the way but none so long as for you to catch your breath. Sign on and hold on.
(Alex Brown Music)

BRIAN LYNCH/Songbook Vol. 1 Busstop Serenade: The trumpet man decides it's time to revisit his own back pages and do it without repeating himself. Taking a cue from Taylor Swift, he wants to own his masters recorded for other labels over the last few decades but unlike Swifty, he's not reconstructing. He's bringing it all into the present and beyond. Letting his daddio flag fly, there's a lot of stuff here jazzbos have forgotten or never heard the first time around and if it's new to you... Two discs kick off this revised journey through the past and he makes a great case for owning your own stuff. The second disc is still other versions of the stuff from back in the day and the cat makes good on all promises that made you a fan in the first place. Well done.
(Holistic Music Works 19)

MAFALDA MINNOZZI/Cinema City: Can an Italian gal looking like a severe mad Russian sell an album of off the beaten track soundtrack music recorded in Brazil and do it with a little girl voice? Would I have asked if the answer was no? With a song list that's heavily but not excusably Morricone, the common thread is that the composers are Italian working on Italian pics. Perhaps launching a new direction for cabaret music, this set of sophisticated adult pop with jazz under pinning is a real ear opener for anyone looking for travel well beyond the ordinary. Sophistication without stuffiness par excellence.
(Musica Popolare Italiana)

MIKI YAMANAKA/Stairway tot eh Stars: First off, the pianist gets points for successfully transposing Charlie Parker to piano for drumless trio. That said, this scrapped live album wound up being recorded at home old school style, in one day. While the result scan be quite special when musos feed off the live audience's live energy, there's something here that makes it pop where they get to play off each other with no distractions and lots of camaraderie. Somewhat easy going stuff with some nice surprises, c'mon, if you dig jazzy piano trios, this is the stuff .
(Outside In 2136)

MICHAEL STEPHENSON MEETS ALEXANDER CLAFFY TRIO: Two long time Philly jazz pals hook up at Van Gelder's under Jeremy Pelt's production to celebrate 20th century American music from where ever it rings their bells. Combining Ray Charles with Lerner & Loewe as easily as Charles combined with Pee Wee King (who gets combined here), this set winds up being way more hipper than you might have imagined. Swinging throughout, even when laying back, this might have taken flight as an after hours treat but it lands squarely on the money. Hot stuff that works throughout.
(Cellar 102120)

MALA OREEN/Awake: The elements are in place for you to write this off as an art chick busman's holiday. Stop that! A Swiss gal with a passion for Appalachian music spends three months breaching Austin air and summing up recording in Nashville. Manqué? Christ, no! This gal has crafted a Townes Van Zandt worthy set of real Texas troubadour stuff. An incredible find, the whole singer/songwriter thing has been redefined for a new generation without giving sop to their indulgences. Killer stuff sure to open your ears a whole new way.
(Tourbo 65)

BRENDAN KELLER-TUBERG/In Spite of It All: Maelstrom improv inspired by the personal havoc caused by the pandemic, the Oz bassist comes close to approximating Mussorgsky on young people drugs, but you don't win awards and recognition by not knowing where to draw the line. A highly ambitious work that covers loads of sonic ground, it's the kind of set that can make you feel like an egghead for enjoying it even if you aren't. If this is the future of improv, play on.
(Shifting Paradigm 169)

BURNT BELIEF/Mutual Isolation: And some music was made for pandemics. A prog rocker and a sound scaper that have given this a spin a few times before get together again to give their multi genre fallen-through-the-cracks music one more go. With the subtle differences that real connoisseurs would notice, they move their art forward, keeping it away from commercial edges, and don't repeat themselves for long time fans. Out there stuff but not too far out.
(Alchemy 1035)

THIS PALE: An Asian multi-culti crew band together to give the works of Rumi a nu look. He's like the Gershwin of over there music. Music for nu opium dens, where stolen big screen TVs are playing all day, all you need is the belly dancers to complete the vibe.
(Lycopod 2109)

ZAC HARMON/Long as I Got My Guitar: If this record strikes you as totally badass, it might be because it's got a meeting of badass equals at every level of the game. Authentic southern blues by an older cat originally from Jackass, MS, he's steeped in the tradition and hasn't lost any of the edge in his edgy, impassioned vocals. No matter where time and tide have taken him over the years, he's got so much down home in him that hard core blues fans can't help but to make this a cause celebre. This is the stuff you came for.
(Catfood 31)

RICCI-KROWN/City Country City: With all the Nawlins cred this organ trio sports, you'd expect this to be a pretty well steeped Nawlins date. It ain't. This trio of well credentialed blues cats takes it from Nawlins to Stax when those white boys were gathered in the back of the studio stepping away from their axes and handling jelly jars. Retro soul instrumentals leavened with some modern lightness, this gasser is as close as you can get today to after hours because you have to cut things off in time to get the babysitter home. A real smoker!
(Gulf Coast 35)

JENNIFER PORTER/Sun Come & Shine: She might call it blues but I call it jazz tinged. Even if Porter couldn't sing, her taste in fellow travelers she gets to show up make this worth cracking open the shrink wrap right there. A wonderful, easy going set that makes any time feel like a weekend, this is the kind of set that feels like a comfy old pal and is always welcome. Well done.
(CM 8)

MATT PATERSHUK/An Honest Effort: A quirky singer/songwriter that runs more toward Prine than Snider with wry observations on life does a fine job of hitting it out of the park on the wings of deceptive simplicity that has you thinking even when you think there isn't a thought in your head. Literary without literary pretension, this is simply a songwriter at the top of his game.
(Black Hen 94)

Volume 45/Number 330
October 1, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record

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