MARTIN WIND QUARTET/My Astorian Queen: The German import that's become a NYC MVP lines up with some other NYC MVPs that he frequently plays with anyway and celebrates being in New York for the last 25 years. A totally New York jazz date that reminds me of the time I ducked into some little restaurant to get out of the arctic cold snap hitting the town at the time and several Concord all-stars were on the ‘bandstand'. That why it's the city that never sleeps. A totally wonderful pure jazz date for anyone that wants to swing to the real deal.
FRED HERSCH/Breath by Breath: An eight movement suite based on Hersch's meditation regime? Well, why not. Nothing new agy or frou frou here. Something's going to come out of somewhere when you've had it with the lockdown and lock out and the restless urges hit. Coming from a place of going for what he knows and lining up some solid associates that know how to harness his restless creativity, Hersch and company deliver a smoking listening date certainly any piano jazzbo will relate to. Art for art's sake, in a good way.
THE HAWTTHORNS/Tarot Cards & Shooting Stars: We already had Bakersfield. We already had Nashville. This crew finds the sweet spot to realize Gram Parsons' vision for cosmic American music with their dead, solid perfect send up of country rock. Enjoyable, entertaining stuff that's right on the money throughout out, I'll bet they feel it as hard as they play it. Modern country rock at it's best.
SHIFFLE DEMONS/All In: Not only will this funky bunch take you back to the commercial best of the times funk, they are the first crew to actually address the elephant in the room and call a track "Covid Blues". Instrumental Canadians that seem to specialize in heating up the cold nights, this is a solid dose of funk served hot.
RODDY ELIAS FREE SPIRIT ENSEMBLE/Not This Room: Why does a guitar improv bad boy decide to go the tortured artist effect route when it doesn't have to to make album that could be subtitled ‘Jazz for a Crappy Day'. Sorry, it depressing when it doesn't need to be.
DAVE WILSON/Stretching Supreme: A sax bad boy that knows his tuff pays tribute to Coltrane y doing a fine job interpreting music that live son 60 years later. Joining a host of other jazzbos in central Pennsylvania, he can play it New York when he wants to and layout just as easily with equally fine effects. Count on this journey through the past to hit all the right notes at every turn.
KATIE HENRY/On My Way: Funny how Henry looks like a folk singer with a head full of deep thoughts nobody cares about but she's really a guitar slinging white gal with the blues that fields tradition but is thoroughly modern as well. Mixing jam with blues and knowing when to put the pedal to the metal or not, she's a comer that's arrived. Hot stuff that'll get your blood flowing.
HONEYRUNNERS/Everything is on Fire: Young modern rockers that embrace the genre splicing ethos and deliver a sound that fits right in with the nothing matters times we're living in. There's something about them that makes them feel like a Wilco for a nu generation.
(Gypsy Soul 1020)
DAVID M. STOWELL/Raven in Flight: This was a surprise. There was once an active prog scene in Chicago that fell apart because it had no place to go. So all these years later, here's a pretty damned fine Chicago prog record. Somebody's been paying attention all these years and waiting for the right moment to pounce. With so much good stuff coming from England once again, this could easily fit right in with the crème of that crop.
JEAN PIERRE RAMPAL/Complete CBS Masterworks Recordings: Is it that far fetched to picture Paley and Sarnoff sitting around their club like the Mortimer brothers making a one dollar gentleman's wager over who could assemble the greatest in classical music, Masterworks or Living Stereo? Looks like Billy Ray and Winthorp win this round. Paley and Sarnoff are dead, CBS and RCA are merged and Rampal, arguably the greatest classical flute player of all time, recorded for both leaving us with this embarrassment of riches----a 56 cd box of his entire career. Take that Galway's silver flute! With a sprawling overview of all the classical repertoire that matters, often played with all the greatest soloists that mattered, this is a collection to savor and not see how fast you can plow through it. Made at a time when the air was ripe with music that mattered for people who cared, these gems are just that. Some may look at it as another entry in the on going digital garage sale but you really have to view it as one of the finest collections that can be assembled where every note is unarguable.
December 10, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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