SHEDRICK MITCHELL/What Do You Say?: So busy hanging with the crème of the jazz world for the last 25 years, the piano man is just getting around to making his second band record. Leading the way with undisputable chops, here tempered by the pandemic and the need to express, this genre mash up of styles is a well reasoned kaleidoscope of sounds and textures that really open the ears. Standing behind this record as a statement of who he is, he shouldn't look at it as a legacy or a potential tombstone but as a snapshot that's really in focus.
SKYLER FLOE/Abstraction: After having put in time in jazz outposts like
Seattle and Indian-noplace, Floe raises his trumpet on high to show off his knowledge as a traditional jazzbo that knows how to deliver the proper blowing. Focusing in here on being a leader but not leading the pack, he easily makes himself right at home right out of the box offering up a solid debut performance that shows he's one to keep an ear on. Well done.
(Next Level 2134)
MICHAEL ECKROTH GROUP/Plena Plena Plena: Eckroth and company treat Latin jazz as organic casting off any amber casings and letting things fly with the past, present and future coming together in a way that makes this a panoply view of the sound. With any place a fine spot to jump in and join the party, at the very least this set was made for gringos with backyards. Solid.
(Truth Evolution 055)
HENRY COLE & VILLA LOCURA/Buscando la Vida: Here's where we stop making fun of records funded by arts councils. Cole farced the pandemic problems we all did, but his went on even further. With a life raft tossed his way by the Duke Foundation, he wanted to show them the respect they showed him and set to work making the grand kind of record Goddard Lieberson would have made to impress Bill Paley (and continue to keep his job). A grand, sweeping world of music that takes in so much ground, one listening can't take it all in. This really is the master work of a master at work. Going way beyond jazz and it's ethnic roots, you put this on, turn off the phone so you don't get disturbed by auto warranty calls and let it wash over you taking you to other realms. Killer stuff throughout that's one of a kind.
MICHAEL FEINBERG/Hard Times: A perfect example of the kind of record that was made because it had to be made and you didn't worry about it finding it's audience. Real swinging with a crew of real jazzbos, if it's fellow travelers don't make you drop your jaw, the sounds they make will. Like the sound of Moses leading his people out of the desert, this set will help you find beauty in chaos and let you find your way home. Don't put that creative genie back in the bottle.
(Fresh Sound New Talent 5116)
KAREN MARGUTH/Until: The East Bay jazz vocalist ties together stuff she's been working on in the last ten years since her last set and successfully walks that line between jazz vocal and cabaret. With three different crew each bringing their own special sauce, they show what it takes to cover Sting and Shel Silverstein on the same disc. Eclectic as anything and hitting the mark throughout, this is a proper traditional record for pomo times.
JOHN MOULDER/Metamorphosis: Have Wertico and Rodby played anything this angular in the last 40 years? Backing up a different guitarist, the four jazzbos on board are playing an after hours sound where they get to try on new ideas the man normally wouldn't let them. So properly in the pocket you start to wonder where Mike Bard is when you need him. High octane boundary pushing throughout.
RANDY NAPOLEON/Rust Belt Roots: Tipping the cap to the sounds he loved growing up--the guitars of Montgomery, Green and Burrell as heard from his perch in Detroit, Napoleon has paid too may dues to manqué it up now. Ignoring the jazz police who thought this bunch was too commercial and didn't always give them the proper respect, Napoleon just lets fly. Even at the easiest moments he's asking what's so bad about feeling good? Whether laying back or playing with break neck speed, he doesn't have to hide out in anyone's shadow when he can deliver the goods so succinctly. Well done.
HOUSTON PERSON/Live in Paris: Delivering the sax soul jazz for almost 60 years now since his debut as a leader, this walking wikipedia of jazz plays on the smoking side of sublime. In the company of three like minded vets that all know all the right moves, this goes way beyond the realm of performances. To be celebrated for more than simply being venerable, Person is a colossus that simply has it all on the ball. Sit back and let your breath be taken away while he shows you what he can do with his.
JIM SNIDERO/Strings: Out of print for a decade and originally supposed to be recorded on 9/11, this portrait of a sax man as a young man, in fine company, exploring his own inner side rather than letting tape roll in a bunch of standards, has stood up really well. Obviously made as a date for the ages rather than a calling card for the next round of gigs, this is a pretty irresistible instrumental date where the jazzbos almost seem like they're playing off the clock. Still tasty after all these years.
JOHN COLTRANE/Classic Albums Collection: You've run out of excuses. If you ever found yourself running around Borders with those 30% off coupons thinking you could pick up those Coltrane records anytime, now is the time----even if Borders ran out of time. This could have easily been called The Idiots Guide to John Coltrane since it has his landmark Bluenote date, 4 Atlantic sets a and 3 Impulse sets. Maybe not as mind blowing as having the Prestige, Atlantic and Verve boxes in toto, but you still have to say wow---this stuff ain't dross. Follow the Trane from daddio to outer space and wonder how one person could have done all that blowing. This brick is brilliance on a budget----as well as the last of your excuses not to partake.
J.J. JOHNSON & KAI WINDING/Trombones for Two (Classic Collaborations 1953-56): The 4 cds here show this duo taking ‘bones out of the hands of high school marching bands forever. Surrounded by jazz pals who might be geniuses now but were starving and looking to get over then, this is the stuff that made your great grandpa the hipster you never suspected. Culled from a bunch of albums of different labels, at times it's going to remind you of Tex Avery cartoons and at times it's going to give you mind blowing experiences. It's all programmed well and maximum blowing enjoyment is insured. Hot stuff from trail blazers.
Volume 45/Number 337
October 8, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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