DALE WATSON/Jukebox Fury: The first guy on the phone with Billy Joe Shaver after ‘the incident" and his raver producer show how not to make a gift shop record. Mix a bunch of hoary chestnuts and play them like you mean it because there are a slew of personal faves, add a guest list worth the price of admission alone and finally stir with a long time bad as that only knows how to color outside the lines and whamo! This is such authentic, Texas outlaw bad ass country that it feels like it's still 1979 If you really want to blow off stored up pandemic steam, this is the place to start! Pure killer.
DAVE BAINBRIDGE/To the Far Away: Celtica meets prog in a pandemic inspired date that forced an enforced period of introspection due not only to lockdown but closed borders and the hardships imposed. For sensitive college kids that like to party but think spring break is too rowdy, there's music, nature and all kinds of stuff those kinds like well. An excellent diversion.
(Open Sky 33)
ALEX CARPANI/Microcosm: ELP flavored lyrics over a jazz/prog beat that finds the vortex where Zappa, Jaco and Holdsworth found each other. It's a trip for those who know what to expect on that trip.
LENNY MARCUS TRIO/When a Door Opens: The man who had his piano chops honed by Ray Bryant continues to impress in a most impressive way. Giving back this time around, he turns in a set of originals paying tribute to his piano heroes. Moving with just the right pace, it swings nicely and is simply a smoking piano trio date that shines by mostly hiding it's light under a bushel. Tasty, intimate stuff that really works.
(Lenny Marcus Music 27)
SVEN ANDERSON/Doc's Holiday: A multi instrumentalist with a great resume that hasn't been wasting his time while building it gets the urge to step out of the shadows and takes a busman's holiday as he tips the cap to one of his mentor's, not the one from Tombstone. A fun off the clock set that loops in his musical interests and métiers in fine style.
DIEGO FIGUEIREDO/Follow the Signs: If you were hip enough to catch his stateside debut album, you already know that calling this cat a jazz and samba master is merely modest praise. Working here with a full crew of symphony renegades, it proves that real players that really want to play will out. If there was a Sinatra around today to champion this sound ala Jobim, it's would just be game over. Hot stuff from a real player.
MISS BIX/Bring It: From jazz to kiddie and now to white gal blues, Bix has seen it and done it all and has had plenty of time to hone her chops well beyond the good intentions stage. With a west coast blues shuffle as a base that gets built on from there, this is a fine after work/after hours set that's just right for cruising around. This gal doesn't need to come on like a house on fire to burn the joint down.
(Blue Heart 26)
VANEESE THOMAS/Fight the Good Fight: It's clear that Vaneese appreciates the leg up and the doors it opened by being Rufus's daughter, but 40 years in, the sister has been and continues to do it for herself. With a bunch of top dogs gathered around her on her ninth outing, we get a sure footed soul/gospel/blues set that knows how to drag itself to Sunday meeting after rough Saturday night. Real post war, modern blues that hits hard and often, the genes might get you started but you wont go no where if you don't bring your own smarts. Thomas has ‘em. This is the stuff!
(Blue Heart 25)
MARK WINKLER/Late Bloomin' Jazzman: Just because you're out in 818 doesn't mean you can just call up that massive talent on board here and ask if they aren't busy unless they think you‘re bringing the goods. Winkler comes in with what feels like his most personal album of all the ones we're heard and it hits the nail on the head so much harder than his ‘entertainment' outings. You could buy this set just to stare a the names in the credits but the bytes provide so much more. The kind of jazz that is welcoming enough to bring new ears into the tent, once you get byt (?? good pun?) this will be the kind of set you keep returning to. Hot stuff.
(Café Pacific 6010)
CHRIS MONDAK/Glass Spheres: Born in Venezuela, educated by Dave Holland and now living in Nashville, the still wet behind the ears jazzbo knows how to swing and groove and move things along with the best of them. A tasty outing that seems to have been made for laid back evenings with adulterated coffee drinks at hand, it's amazing how a 24 year old can have deep enough chops that you feel like an adult just for listening. Catch a rising star, now.
KEITH OXMAN/this One's for Joey: I once had one of my former college professors tell me the only two of his students he remembered were me and John Belushi. Apparently Joey did the same for Oxman. A former student of Oxman's that died at 24 so moved the sax man that he rounded up the Denver crew to pay tribute to the former student that was lighting up New York at the time. There's even a few tracks the kid recorded when he was a kid here, 17 at the time. A smoking set to be looked at as a celebration rather than a memorial.
March 25, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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