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BILL O'CONNELL/A Change is Gonna Come: Optimistically titled and optimistically played, the piano man and his pals testify without preaching on this instrumental set that's the right antidote for winter and Covid blues as well. Warm and engaging, this cat is playing a the top of his chops delivering jazz the way most people like it. Totally on the money throughout, if there was ever any doubt about O'Connell being the real deal, all doubt is erased. Hot stuff.
(Savant 2197)

GIACOMO GATES/You: The vocalist doesn't sound like Buddy Greco but with his fun and games, he out hipsters Greco in fine style. Making medleys where they don't exist and serving up a set of songs that all have ‘you' in the title, this cat is a total gasser on this journey not through the past but in search of it (?). Well sung, well played and exploding with life, this set really shakes off the dust and does it all with songs from way back when. Totally cool.
(Savant 2189)

GEORGE MANN/World Like This: A solid back porch guitarist with world wide eyes has his eye on what going on around us delivering it in a way that gets it's message across without hitting you over the head. With a real hippie spirit that shows it's teeth to the establishment, it's time the young ‘uns got a taste of this of their own since they don't listen to the old stuff like this anyway. Timely and on point.
(Running Scared)

MATHIAS EICK/When We Leave: Not exactly in the cool school pocket, this cat brings his trumpet and keyboards to lead a date of originals that falls pretty much in the classic ECM chamber jazz pocket. A smart composer and leader, Eick takes you for a scenic ride on the art side of things but does it with a load of skill which keeps this from ever becoming sappy. One of those lovely sonic getaways.
(ECM 2660)

MARCIN WASILEWSKI TRIO/En Attendant: A piano trio that can veer from originals to Carla Bley to Bach and back, this bunch knows how to deliver on thinking man's jazz that let's you sit back and feel European with an appropriate drink nearby. Guided by an intellectual angularism, you can easily sit and enjoy it while it takes you places you've only imagined.
(ECM 2677)

BERNIE SENENSKY QUARTET-QUINTET/Don't Look Back: How is it this set of burners has been sitting in the can for over 30 years? Everyone on here has already got to be on Medicare. What was the hold up? Hard hitting post bop led by one of Canada's go to piano men, these jazzbos are hitting all the right notes for all they're worth. A real blazer just made for those -20 degree winter nights in Alberta. Yep, really hot stuff.
(Cellar 40321)

DANILO BRITO-JOAO LUIZ/Esquina de Sao Paulo: A guitar/mandolin duo covering a century worth of Brazilian street corner music, this is one of those zesty international dates that's right up there with the killer stuff Putumayo seems to flawlessly pick out time after time. Pickers on a par with any of your fave members the club, this is disarming and enchanting throughout. You don't even have to be an armchair traveler to dig it. Well done.
(Zoho 202110)

OSCAR HERNANDEZ/Vision: The Latin jazz legend comes storming out of the box with one of his side projects and gives these down mouth times were in the proper kick in the pants it deserves. High octane throughout and loaded with fiery chops, this non stop bunch of originals is exactly what we need right now, whether Latin jazz fan or not. With all the good vibes you could want packed on to a platter, this is another serving of recognition speeding his way soon. Killer stuff throughout.
(Ovation 2)

CECIL TAYLOR/Complete Legendary Live Return Concert: Returning to the world after a five year long powder, Taylor kicked out the progressive jazz jams in high style with a hand picked crew that knew how to keep up. Originally released on a micro label in truncated form, this is the first real unearthing of this date in 50 years. A real barn stormer of progressive jazz that doesn't sound like pots and pans music no matter how far afield it runs, this is so undated it actually could have been recorded today. New Yorkers back then called what they heard of this the record of the year. There's no dust on it and it's solid proof of what an innovator Taylor was.
(Oblivion 8)

ROSWELL RUDD & DUCK BAKER/Live: Originally recorded in waning days of Kicking Mule? I wouldn't have expected to find these two on a duet date in which their mutual love of old timey music over comes Baker being a back porch hippie guitarist and Rudd a jazz improviser with a hell raiser edge. This 20 year old date is a sure bet for the kind of muso geeks that really want to get inside the music without wading through frippery. Turns out they were old pals. Go figure. Feeling like a master class without the pedagoguery, this is a some grand, offbeat fun for anyone that ever spent time in a college coffee shop, no matter what generation.
(Dot Time 8020)

Volume 46
December 27, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record

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