JOHN C. O'LEARY III/Sundering: I almost put this one aside for ‘later' because it didn't look or feel like an Arbors release--so I didn't think it was an Arbors release. Well, there's a new day coming. Here's a new guy that you have to take note of. A solo pianist that walks the lines between genres and blurs them, he's one of those cats that amazes you with what he can do with only 10 fingers. Impressionistic listening jazz played a the top of it's game, it fully rates 10 on the great googa mooga scale. Often low key but hot stuff throughout.
SEAN FYFE QUARTET/Late Night: Right from the opening guitar chords hitting your ears, you know you're in for something special here. These four Canadians decamped to London, Fyfe's current home base, and blasted away on some swinging, jumping club jazz that can turn a clod into a finger popping daddio. In the pocket at all times, this crew are true practitioners of the art and the deliver like champs.
ERIC PERSON/Blue Vision: You'd love to call this sax summit a perfect use of dad and lad but featured player, Houston Person, isn't related--except maybe by chops. A real jazzbo extravaganza of letting the good times roll, the lead duo honks away with star powered backing that comes together to light up the night. Totally on the money at all times, this is a sax date not to be missed.
LARRY DOUGLAS ALLTET/Dedications: On the heels of the Black Jazz catalog officially being back in print, if this set seems like a glorious throwback to the 70s/80s period when jazz/funk was at it's baddest, that might be because this is a release of a 1985 date that never got it's full due. In the last 40 years, Douglas has been a key figure in Bay area jazz. This set was a high octane tribute to his kid that died in childhood and is being reissued now to commemorate the kid's 50th birthday. This is one of those trips down memory lane we just love---and you can bet it puts the glide in your stride.
MATHIS PICARD/Live at the Museum: Just a solo pianist that has the history of music at his fingertips and can play anything. Move along, nothing to see here---NOT!!! A breath taking trip with a creative and dexterous mind that keeps you on the edge of your seat to hear what's coming next. Killer stuff from a cat that knows how to hold your attention all by himself.
(Outside In 2204)
DAVEY JOHNSTONE BAND/Deeper Than My Roots: Here's a nice, unexpected treat for Elton John fans. 49 years after releasing his "Smiling Face" album, Johnstone returns for another light album of fun pop, and his kid that was making a mess of baby food on that album cover, well, now he's in the band with a bunch of other sibs. Still with the spirit of Magna Carta lurking in the background, Johnstone proves himself to be one of those cats that ran away to join the circus, never left and never really got old in the process. Don't worry kids, your dad won't need Tik Tok to get it.
(Spirit of the Unicorn 12)
KING CRIMSON/Music is Our Friend: In which we get an official bootleg souvenir from 2021 of our prog jazz/rock heroes letting Covid know who's the boss. Joining together with their fans, the assemblage shows they aren't going to let some killer cooties keep them down. Fripp, Levin and the 2014 version of the new kids turn in highlights from three shows from the tour, including sides cut where this edition played their first gig, and it will all certainly make you wish you were there. Basically the Grateful
Dead of prog, the equally as loyal fans will dig these songs they know by heart (sort of) spread over two discs of solid highlights.
GONG FARMERS/guano Junction: No bones about it, space is the place---certainly for this bunch that has the cosmos pouring out of their ears. The perfect mix of astral traveling through your high school years.
VAST CONDUIT/Always Be There: A positive set that picks up where "Teach Your Children" left off. It might have a load of space rock trappings, but it's all about building relationships with your relations that last. Unity is certainly a good idea and a smart concept for times like these. Why not gather round the hearth and let the message wash over you?
(Vast Music Conduit)
NEVILLE STAPLE/From the Special & Beyond: Gwen Stefani might have brought the visuals to Two Tone and Ska but Staples brought it on in the first place. Going back to his days in the Specials and reaching back farther into his roots as well, this original bad boy still has the skills to pay the bills. A veritable street party that'll keep the neighbors up and get the police to join in when they've been called, it sounds like the 80s were a better time than we might remember. Bring the good times back!
JYRKI 69/American Vampire: What's not to like? A Goth rocker from Norway does "Don't You Want Me" and has Tiffany join in on the chorus? Sly joke or tip toeing past Cerberus? Goth with a sense of humor. I think that's how it was originally planned to be played. A wonderfully crazy record for times that stand on it's head.
January 14, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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