PAUL MESSINA/Blue Fire: A solid dose of modern smooth jazz with a slight edge is well delivered here. The playing is right on and keeps you tuned in with it's musical trickery that plays it straight but avoids straight lines where ever it can. Cats that know their stuff kicking it out for a real good time.
KELLY EISENHOUR/I Just Found Out About Love: A jazzy lady that's no stranger to the great American songbook swaps out Bob Mintzer for Jeff Hamilton's trio recording at Capitol studios and the result is a classic thrush album done in classic thrush style. A swinging, perfect example of rec room hipsterism at the top of it's game.
YUKO MABUCHI/Caribbean Canvas: A Japanese lass that mastered classical piano as a tyro got bit by jazz and turned her attention to the Caribbean, an area rich with so many styles but finds it's attention to mash ups quite provincial. Mabuchi turns her attention to this matter and remedies a problem nobody ever thought existed. Harvesting the area's many influences and wrapping it all in jazz, a new genre is begun. And it's a tasty one. All you have to do it like the sun and the music will take you the rest of the way.
ROME 56/Days of Carefree Living: Original punks now sound like a folk rock version of Sonny & Cher as they soldier on with no dust on them. Modern flavored singer/songwriter material, this will make the young ‘uns think twice before getting snotty about revered sounds from 50 years ago while wondering what was so great about them. You just have to speak to people in their own language to get them to understand.
JOSH HYDE/Parish Blues: A Nawlins/Baton Rouge tyro that was brought up on the blues is now all grown up with a raspy voice, a love for B3 and a certification as a bona fide white boy with the blues. With swamp meeting delta in fine style, this cat paid his dues when he didn't even know it and is here, fully formed and ready to light up the sky.
MAX ALLARD/Odes-Codes: Off to the back porch we go for the fabulous debut of banjo tyro Allard, originally from Chicago's Mayor Lightfoot's neighborhood and a rug rat at Old Town School of Music where he got to rub elbows with the modern banjo masters. The kind of overwhelming talent that doesn't need a crew behind him to fill your ears with sound, this master class from this college freshman is more organic that everything at Whole Foods lumped together. Where's Frank Werber when this kid needs him?
ALTERNATIVE GUITAR SUMMIT/Honoring Pat Martino V. 1: This tribute set was in the works before Martino's passing and as great as it to see the label and a bunch of compatriots showing Martino the love, it's even better to hear it. Unfortunately, Martino was one of those cats known mostly to insider fans of jazz guitar, and with a few tent pole exceptions, the gang on board here is in the same boat. With music and musos all in need of wider exposure, hopefully devotees will buy extra copies for their friends. A four on the floor tribute to a real oner, there's no manqueing around here as everyone on board delivers the goods on his classics in their best style. Killer stuff.
(High Note 7333)
JEREMY PELT/Soundtrack: After a few themed and stripped down albums, Pelt's only message here is to get back to the business of enjoying ourselves. Whether intentional or not, he channels his inner Miles, doing it in an original way, and makes a real palette cleanser of a set that any jazz appetite can enjoy. So right in the pocket that you almost don't believe it---this is the sound of a master at the top of his game. But it's certainly can't be more than a penultimate---yet.
(High Note 7346)
DUSTY BO/The Vulture and the Fox: As much as we loved all that outlaw country from the 70's, as ground breaking as it was, it was all made by players playing for the man and ultimately had to show a profit. This is the kind of outlaw/desperado stuff you listen to when there's no girl friend's around and what you have built up inside you makes the alleged rage of hard core Trump voters look like nothing more than a silo full of impotent rage. This is what you listen to if you recognize names like Billy Don Burns. This is metal meeting outlaw country somewhere outside Sturgis. Bad ass to the bone and beyond.
PALAVER STRINGS/Ready or Not: We're always open to be taken somewhere musically we haven't been before. This crew does a fine job of same. With a back story that drips of too much egalitarianism that you should just discard it and listen, it's great that they're all about inclusionism and all, but they're just great players. Akin to stumbling across a classical concert in the park that you thought wouldn't be your cup of tea, this bunch moves from orchestra works to St. Paddy jigs in the blink of an eye. Sounding like classic Disney soundtracks? Check. Sounding modern? Check. Sounding great throughout? Double check. This set blows the tent flaps wide open to embrace new contemporary classical fans.
March 11, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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