ALEXIS COLE/Sky Blossom: After a seven year turn as a jazz singer for the army, Cole is back to civilian life and just plain tearing it up taking it even farther than where she left it when she joined up. Mixing up a slew of classics with modern tunes that will be in time, her and her swinging crew are all right in the classic, hard swinging thrush pocket. An invigorating date loaded with life force, we're glad to have Cole back here safe and sound to spread good vibes like this. Hot!
JUNE BISANTZ/7 Shades of Snow: Just a little proof that if you've never heard it before.... A solid thrush that's swung with some of the best of them, Bisantz sneaks up on us with a set of Christmas tunes written for June Christy in 1961. Actually, nothing nostalgic or manquéy here, just proof that good taste is timeless. With a crew worthy of some of the aces she's worked with in the past, this jazz holiday is a nice change of pace that could easily be played well after the last tree has been hauled away. Well done.
CAROLYN LEE JONES/Christmas Time is Here: I've encountered some really great pianists at Nordstrom's so there's nothing here to be ashamed of as this former retail buyer used her down time on the road to work on being a jazz singer, just ripe for the time that time would come to reinvent herself. Smooth and easy going cocktail jazz with that extra soupcon of special sauce, Jones presents a Christmas program that will be right at home around any fire place, even if with gas logs or fake logs with light bulbs behind them. Simply delightfully pleasant with no bad after taste.
ANGEL ROMAN & MAMBO BLUE/Festive Interplay: Well this is a genre I can really get behind, Latin jazz for gringos. You don't have to get out of your chair, you don't have to jive mambo around like Steve Martin in "My Blue Heaven", you don't have to do anything but enjoy it. Eclectic and engaging without getting you to mistakenly yell "Oppa!", this is a gift for anyone that ever thought you could sit and listen to Tito Puente (yeah, I remember his 75th birthday party). It's aces in my book.
PAUL JOST QUARTET/While We Were Gone: A different kind of jazz vocalist that is right at home in a New York state of mind, the drummer turned vocalist set out to make a cinematic sounding album that he didn't expect to be political but with Covid, Black Lives Matter, insurrections and what not popping up since he started planning this set, he's assembled some chestnuts here that you would never think of as being radical. And he brings it all home in an amazing style. Not a jazz vocal recital but really an audio cinematic experience, this is a valentine for listeners that like to get to the music behind the music and be enchanted. A real tour de force.
(Paul Jost Music 121)
JEREMY MONTEIRO & ALBERTO MARSICO/Jazz-Blues Brothers: It's probably not lost on long time Monteiro fans (this is his 46th album) that he was able to replace Redd Holt on drums but there is no replacement for Eldee Young on bass. Solidly swinging his way through a delightful program of feel good genre splicing that captures the feel of the early Ramsey Lewis Trio albums when everyone was young and having a good time, it can't take you back if you were never there but it can give you a helluva finger popping, ear opening good time. Right on the money throughout.
(Jazz Note 261084)
MEDELJAZZ QUARTET/Versature: An early Covid victim, it took a full year for the crew's leader to have the strength to pick up his guitar and really play it again. That led him to thinking that he should really think about every note he wrote. The result is fine listening jazz that isn't over played or over anythinged. Solidly done, it's after hours music for any time you deem fit. The gang here is on point throughout and you can tell it's all coming right from the heart.
ANTHONY WONSEY/Lorraine's Lullabye: How appropriate this record should show up the day Colin Powell died. A direct link to the era when a black man had to be twice as good to go half as far, Powell might as well be one of the spirits hovering over this album. The irrepressible Jeremy Pelt wanted to make a black lives matter album. Rather than go back to civil rights jazz, he encouraged Wonsey to play tribute, in a set of mostly originals, to all the musos past that brought him this far. Showing a depth of jazz that goes back at least to Art Tatum, this cat knows how to be front and center and hold the spotlight. Sounding mostly like a solo recording, this is the right stuff for anyone ready and wanting the real deal. Well done.
AVATAAR/Worldview: I liken them to a next stage Oregon. Celebrating ten award winning years, this amalgam of Toronto's top shelf jazzbos come together for some world/genre splicing/jazz that grabs hold before you know what hit you. Are you just enjoying it or are you trying to figure it out? It doesn't matter. The level of skill and the blending of chops make this work so well there's no point in unraveling the mystery. On the money throughout. (And who's Karina and why did she stick a boat inside the flap?)
HEAVYWEIGHTS BRASS BAND/Stir Crazy: Second line funk from Toronto that sounds like it's played by a crew at least twice this one's size? How'd they do that? Fun stuff that gets the party started and keeps it rolling. Recorded old school, in three days, this crackles with energy and good vibes for all. Wonderfully soulful, jazzy and funky, what's there here not to like. Well done!
Volume 45/Number 348
October 19 , 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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