BORIS KOZLOV/First Things First: A mainstream left field date? It could happen. Long time label fellow traveler Kozlov finally gets to make his label debut as a leader, and with the exception of a ringer on sax, it's a label all-star date of a different hue and flavor. With everybody on the same page kicking out a modern take on swinging, this high octane date is a fun, wild ride where the gas is on high throughout. Twists and turns make this a listening date sure to have you bouncing in your chair. This is a well done debut where bass is the place but everyone gets more than some.
CHRIS HADDOX: A folkie debut that was a long time coming, Haddox shows what he's had bubbling under all this time. Billing itself as Americana, this set might not have the sound of a classic folk music scare date but it certainly has the feel---all the way down to the protest song hiding amid the fine picking and solid writing. A solid singer/songwriter date for anyone no matter what they call their folk flavored taste.
(Mountain Soul 1001)
BURNS-WOJCIECHOWSKI-BRADFORD/Tenor Time: Here's a fearless crew that jumps into some classic feeling jazz but has the skills to create their own tent poles without relying on outside material. A smoking three tenor front line backed by a trio of cats that are right in step, this is a date that purely saxorific! A perfect storm of just the jazz you need right now.
NOY-OKEGWO-MARCHICA/Riverside: A result of this trio's impromptu jams in Riverside Park that were done to chase their lockdown blues away, this set finds these three in demand pros laying out their first set as a trio. The songs might all be standards but the arrangements and the improvs are anything but. Now you know what those cats playing in hotel lobbies have cooking in the backs of their minds because this sounds like the end of the last set when the conventioneers have thinned out and only the real muso geeks are still hanging out nursing their nth coffee of the night. Solid throughout.
(Outside In 2201)
ANDERS KOPPEL/Mulberry Street Symphony: Here's a double disc of the old ars gratia artis for you. Composer Koppel, a Dane of high renown, turns his symphonic brush to a jazz into classical impressionistic work of nearly 150 year old photographs of immigrants heading from Denmark to New York as realized by soloists and orchestra. Everyone on board is a hitter so there's nothing here that won't give your ears what they deserve. A fittingly dramatic work that's cinematic in scope, this is actually better than most of the movies Netflix has been turning out as ‘events'. Amazing throughout.
TWANGTOWN PARAMOURS/Double Down on a Bad Thing: With the stellar resumes of all the cats involved in this date, it's almost a busman's holiday kind of set. At the core, two white cats with the blues have the right feel, and while you can tell nobody here ever picked cotton, the spirit moves them. The perfect addition to your after hours listening queue.
(Inside Edge 4)
LEE & DUGAN/Paganini x Schumann 9 Caprices: Whoa, a smoking set of grown up listening 101. Other than Paganini being fun to say, unless you are a classical fan, I bet that's all you know about him and his work. This piano/violin duo can put that to rest in a hurry. While these caprices are what every violinist aspires to conquer, this duo shows how it's done. Breath taking and beautiful, this set is XO all the way (and should be enjoyed with a snifter or two of same.)
VARIOUS/Blind Raccoon Nola Blue Collection V. 4: An annual good time for the p.r. firm/label combo is chock full of roots fun spread over two discs and even includes, yes, that Dick Van Dyke, showing his blues crooner side now that he's turned 96 and doesn't have to care what anyone thinks. A dandy round up of blues and roots currently out or in the pipe line, this set carries on the best tradition of sampler sets and really wets the whistle as it educates about the wide range of possibilities that gloriously exists beyond the top 40. One hot, good time.
(Blue Heart 19)
January 17, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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