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CHRISTY DORAN-STEFAN BANZ/Aerosols: Impressionistic music is taken to the next level of the game when the guitarist actually lets you see the paintings claimed to inspire the music. Taken to the next level of that game, there's a whole multi media thingy between the guitarist and the painter that lets you get into the actual interplay. None of it would matter if Doran wasn't a dexterous guitarist that can raise any game he gets involved with. This can take it's place easily as the next link in a chain started by Ralph Towner. Well done.
(Between the Lines 71251)

PAUL WERTICO-JOHN HELLIWELL PROJECT/Bari Session: From crappy Chicago bars to a long stay at ECM, it looks like the ECM years are what really stuck to Wertico, unless it stuck so he wouldn't have to go back to crappy Chicago bars. The long overdue realization of a band that has sort of been a side thing due to the life of a jazzman, ECM fans can continue to age gracefully with Wertico and his new bunch of pals as they keep the sound and spirit alive. These are committed guys that are doing it because they really love the music and want to share the warmth. Almost not like anything you've ever heard but you will want to hear these pros again and again. Solid.
(Challenge 73529)

MARCELA ARROYO/De Par en Par: That's globalization for you, kids. An Argentinean moves to Switzerland 20 years ago and presents indigenous, acoustic music from her native soil made in Holland. Loaded with that heartfelt vibe that makes much South American music connect whether you speak the language or not, this lovely vocal album connects with a most solid samba vibe. This stuff is a real treat no matter how you come at it.
(Double Moon 71513)

KRISTEN R. BROMLEY QUINTET/Bluish Tide: No wonder the antivaxxers don't trust doctors. Just a few years ago, Bromley broke her left arm and was told she'd never play again. Not believing everything she heard, she now gives us her second album since then and it finds her swinging harder than before. A killer combo date, everyone is cooking with the gas on high as this jazz guitar date seems to write the book and smoking, hopping vibes. This is the kind of set that can turn any pair of headphones into your fave club.
(Bromley Music)

ADAM GLASER/Excursions: Moving inward this time out, Glaser kicks out the band and goes Rundgren on us as he hit's the keys and does all the background programming. Yielding a different take on smooth jazz, he's got just enough going on to keep you dizzy and digging the proceedings. A generously stacked set of originals, this cat has it going on.

THOMAS HEFLIN/Morning Star: Here's a cat that proved there is jazz in Nashville before moving on to Austin for a music doctorate that carried him to New York where recognition has flowed like water. A trumpeter that really knows the ropes, he's not afraid to push the boundaries while still coloring inside the lines----quite a feat. A forward leaning set that certainly has the oomph to chase away the pandemic poo poos, he finds the keyhole to play it old school while looking through a forward lens. Low key and really sweet.
(Blue Canoe 1482)

YARON GERSHOVSKY/Transitions: With a resume long enough to choke a horse if you roll it up and flying fingers that would make Moe Howard jealous, this piano mad man serves up a smoking jazz piano date that the majors should get behind instead of just one of their common mistakes that they'll no doubt bury denying the worthy a chance. He's why I never went back to the old bat giving me piano lessons when I was five. I knew then she'd never teach me to play like this. A break taking date that zips along at break neck speed that sure to blow your mind.

RAUL E. BLANCO & JAZZ WIRES/Brutal Fairytale: A Cuban genre blender sounds like he was doing a deep dive in Tom Waits early canon. Blanco's stuff here reminds me of Waits doing his daddio thing with a driving combo behind him and letting the words go where they will. There's a lot of chops and energy rolling around here making this a real treat for those whose tastes lie in jazzbo and beyond land. High octane stuff that'll really get you revved up.

MIGUEL ESPINOZA FLAMENCO FUSION/Veneta: Not that we don't love the top liners of flamenco guitar but we're also up for something different as well and this bunch of Denver local heroes that bring the world beat heat to the chilly mile high town can easily move into our winner's circle. With tasty eclecticism and solid chops, this bunch shows they have what it takes. Fun stuff for a mental getaway when you can't get the real thing, they know how to get smiles spreading. Well done.

CORTEZ-WILLIAMS PROJECT/Hermanos: Old guitar/trumpet pals for 40 years finally let time and tide recede so they can finally record together and let their chops do the talking. With the kind of easy going telepathy that flows between old pals, they play like they have nothing to prove and they're glad tape is rolling. A nice jazzbo bill of fare that dresses up the meat and potatoes quite nicely.
(Blue Bamboo 22)

Volume 46
December 18, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record

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