MANUEL VALERA NEW CUBAN EXPRESS BIG BAND/Distancia: I can remember a time when I only wanted to listen to music with a message. This set trades on Duke's message---there's only two kinds of music. Showcasing Valera's expanding chops as an arranger, the message on this set is that it's totally good. There's nothing lacking when you have a first class party on a platter that's high spirited and powered by killer chops all around. Loaded with tropical heat for the feet, let's use this to celebrate that it's 5 in the afternoon somewhere in the world. Well done.
SIMON PHILLIPS/Protocol V: It's always a gas when you can catch a geezer dead center in the middle of forward thought rending asunder millennial bitch slaps of ‘ok, boomer'. The prog drummer mixes prog with fusion and electronica for the kind of heady stew that even would have made Ramones hold off on inventing punk and hollering at dinosaurs for a little while. This could single handedly bring fusion back to the front. Hot.
THE BBB FEAQTURING BERNIE DRESEL/The Pugilist: This smoking, swinging drummer led big band that recorded during the pandemic and never set foot in the same room has officially taken the click track off the dirty word list. A most enthusiastic set of players serving up so much blowing that you can feel the gale force, this is a stone cold good time that just doesn't quit. Count on this to really get the blood flowing.
PHILIPPE COTE-MARC COPLAND/Bell Tolls Variations-Fleur Revisited: Two works by this duo get a retrofitting with the help of a poet inspired by it all. Very heavy on the arty side of instrumental music, this is a piano/sax recital with coloration and augmentation that let's the duo at the core really do their things well. Very much for NPR inspired tastes.
SCOTT KINSEY-MER SAL/Adjustments: This date must have been a great hang. A load of LA top jazzbos came around to lend a few off the clock chops to this modern jazz vocal date where players could play without feeling like they were under the man's thumb. Heartfelt, free flowing stuff, this date of mostly originals takes you places you just can't go when someone is tapping their fingers to the ticking of the secondhand. A really spirited romp.
(Blue Canoe 1474)
SIMONE PRATTICO/Oriundo: A drummer led piano trio and their pals band together to serve up some acoustic/electric fusion in fine style. A solid listening record, just hit play and let it do all the work as it's got smart chops to spare and knows how to get you exactly here you want to be. Well done.
CHUCK LAMB-PETER MACK/Exit 33: A piano/bass duo where the junior partner has been at it for 50 years and the senior filled the piano chair in the Brubeck's crew later years ought to hip you to all the chops on display here, as it has been evident to the honor roll of who they've played with in the last forever. Killer classy stuff heavy on originals, this is sure to make the hairs in your ears stand up. As solid and as wonderful as it gets.
FARZIN FARHADI TRIO/Cure: Taking some time off from being Tierney Sutton's crew to be two thirds of the trio here, they show they can back a sax man as well as they can a thrush and make it all work. A solid listening date with a bit of world beat sneaking around the corners, these textured originals convey a sadness on behalf of the fallen from the pandemic. The really evocative playing is what makes this set really stand out.
NATSUKI TAMURA/Summer Tree: An out of the ordinary solo release from a trumpeter that makes the multi track recorder the sixth man on the court. Stripping down Coltrane's sheets of sound the way James Brown striped down funk, this is a real soundtrack for the real outliers.
DAVID LLIPTAK/Brightening Air: Modern classical music formatted in such a way that it sounds like classic classical music? What will they think of next? Running the ridges between opera and classical (not that millenials would know the difference), this big bold set of suites is a sure ear opener and mind turner as well. When you really have your mind set on something different and Netflix just won't cut, this set is sure to take you places you never even thought about.
(New Focus 323)
February 16, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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