DARRELL KATZ & ODDSONG/Galeanthropology: You've read this stuff long enough to know that we talk about art chick music, pots and pans music, egghead music and other stuff that falls into the out sound realm that kind of defies mainstream criticism. Then you get people that really get into the George Russell tradition of trampling the lines rather than coloring outside of them and Katz is a member of that tradition. Showing a debt to early 70s Carla Bley as well, this is a wily set of outsider music that can easily take it's place in the out sound hall of fame. A solid bet for those who have different defining ears and are more than proud of it.
JACQUELINE KERROD/17 Days in December: Brandee Younger this harpist isn't, but with a resume that veers from Anthony Braxton to Rufus Wainwright to Kanye West, you know you should take this harp improviser as seriously as they do. With a sharp, mathematically calculating mind on her shoulders, Kerrod may color outside the lines but she never let's the crayons smear across the walls, if you know what I mean. With a jazzbo's soul and a classicist's heart, her flights of invention are solid mind and ear openers.
FUTURI/Underground: The always forward thinking Satoko Fujii didn't let a little thing like a world wide pandemic and shutdown stand in her way---especially when she had a new piano/vibe duo set to make. Recording with her partner over the net from half a world away, somehow, this set is more intimate than the first duet when they recorded ‘together'. Knowing your way around minimalism will do that I guess. The result is very subtle and soft world/opium den music with some space touches thrown in as well. Wild stuff from the softer side.
MOSAIC/This is It!: And what is ‘it' you might ask? In this case, ‘it' is modern crime jazz for non-linear, streaming, binge crime shows. Dare I say it's Satoko Fujii's friendliest album yet? Always a thrill house ride on a roller coaster with wobbly wheels, this is cutting edge piano trio music for future ADHD kids.
JEFF HAMILTON TRIO/Merry & Bright: So last March, Hamilton took two pals into the studio to knock out a Christmas album old school style--direct to two track in a few hours. The surprise here, is that this is a sideways tribute to The Andy Williams Christmas shows, who Hamilton freely admits to grooving to when he was a kid. Now it's ok to admit we also dug the maestro of MOR back then for more than his taste in women? Leave it to this cat to deliver the swinging Christmas we can all dig.
JIM KNAPP ORCHESTRA/It's Not Business, It's Personal: A 2009 date from one of the great modern jazz insiders that can wrap a big band around his little finger, no less than Maria Schneider confirms all this in doing her part to help make his work get wider renown. This is a highly right on stop to make for jazz orchestra that almost the last word on the subject. Great playing and writing throughout.
DAVID FRIESEN/Day of Rest: No jumping for Jesus from our boy here. The bass man makes a solo piano set on a Ravenscroft piano where all the tracks are solo miniatures that seem improvised but probably have a ton of composition behind them. It's just that he makes it all look and sound so easy. You try and duplicate it! Call it a throw back to new age piano solo if you need to but it really is instrumental music that exists on a plane all of it's own. Well done by a real pro.
BEN BLACK/Mystery & Wonder: So, let's suppose for a minute that Mark Murphy had a big Zen streak running through him. Then suppose he wrote inspirational lyrics that seems to have been run through a soul/jazz translator. You feel me? Certainly not our usual genre splicing flow, this is a natch for adult listeners looking for music that matter for people who care ™. Well done.
PHIL PARISOT/Inventions: The high octane drummer wrote all the tracks here but they were all inspired by Bach. Don't know if you'll pick that out in this spirited romp that sounds like a Yankee version of second line funk run wild...and you can't count on us to get past "Inventions for a G String" to pick out references, so...It's just a lot easier to sit back and enjoy this buffet of joyful noise jazz that likes doing it's thing for us. Hot stuff.
ALEX BIRD/You Are the Light and The Way: It looked like a Broadway soundtrack I couldn't place when I looked at the cover. Trickery! You normally think of singer/songwriter in the context of folk, country or women who like to brag. This is certainly a Bird of a different feather, a jazz singer/songwriter. He'll remind you of all the influences he's picked up along the way and remind you of nothing else all at once. Charting an interesting course of the future of jazz vocal, follow this young ‘un's lead to some cool places yet unknown. Hot stuff.
November 5, 2021
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CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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