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GEORGE FREEMAN/Everybody Say Yeah!: We tend to venerate the venerable a little too easily these days. Yeah, it's great when someone turns 95, but what's the accomplishment? In the case of Freeman, what's great about him turning 95 is that he's been great for most of those 95 years. A master guitarist that's walked along side jazz history for almost as log as there's been jazz, this cat was no Zelig. He was there in the spotlight with the greats. A best of and then some set, this recording looks back at his last quarter century with this label, and also looks forward with some new stuff as well. Enough of a stylist that he's not just mining one style, you just can't dig jazz guitar without digging this cat. As good as it gets.
(Southport 153)

YANNICK RIEU/Qui Qu'en Grogne: One of the top sax players in the world invites you to pardon his French as he plainly states, he doesn't care what you think. I think this cat is a master of low key pyrotechnic here. A sizzling jazz quartet that smokes along with almost a blithe non-challence, they make great listening and call it a day. A solid listening set for jazzbos of all stripes that want something meaty to dig into, this is a deep player that really knows how to dig in and find the music. Well done.

JEAN FINEBERG & Jazzphoria: With a 50 year career under her belt, this saxy lady has no problem with letting you know she's a woman of a certain age. And after all that time, this is her debut as a leader. Although a native New Yorker, it's almost like she's leading the west coast version of Diva. This jazz big band that has great harmonics and swings madly---when not trying other styles on for size and hitting it out of the park each time. Solid big band sounds that leave all corny moves behind. Hot.
(Pivotal 2022)

FABIAN WILLMANN TRIO/Balance: Angular Swiss jazz in which ECM cool school meets clove ciggies and basement clubs where daddios meet and greet to keep it hip until dawn. A new band on a new label, aiming for the progressive side of things showing how to make a multi faceted debut all at once and keep it all tickety boo.
(CYH 2)

STACY JONES/World on Fire: A white gal with blues that's been the main spark plug of the Pacific Northwest blues scene for a load of award winning years does it again. Leading the way with a primal wail that sounds like comes from a barrack on Maggie's farm and continuing to wail on everything she touches, she might be a new mom but I'll bet she's still more than the average frat boy can handle. Delightfully blistering.

DEBRA POWER/I'm Not From Chicago: Power continues to show that Alberta is not some musical backwater with no diversity. Maybe it's those January high temperatures of below zero that forces everyone inside to hone their chops? Not pretending to be black but steeped in the blues, she has a bunch of local luminaries on board showing how the blues are alive and well in the great white north. Guess Hag wasn't the only flavor of white people's blues.

CHRISTOPHER LOCKETT/At the Station: This blues rocking walking contradiction has Fernando Perdomo producing and Scarlett Rivera in the mix. Seems in character with what we know so far. This is Lockett's album about loss and while he doesn't quite wear his Townes Van Zandt influences on his sleeve, it might be too dark for some. Showing once again what a deep writer and thinker he is, this is a logical extension for the modernization of classic folk music.
(Gritbiscuit 2201)

RAFAEL MUNOZ TORRERO/Fernando Palatin-Spanish Violin Virtuoso: Even at the turn of the 1900's real musos didn't always get the recognition and historical significance they should have been accorded. Torrero serves up a thoroughly lovely reading of a bunch of Palatin's works that held listeners in thrall then and will do so again. With some piano coloration behind him, the music and this player are all that's needed to hold center stage tightly and raptly. A major classical work.
(Ibs 222021)

JUAN CARLOS FERNANDEZ-NIETO/Iberian Dances: It's always a treat to encounter a classical pianist that plays with passion and grace enough to make a record into a master class or a recital. This cat takes some Spanish repertoire, applies his own special sauce and even without trotting out "Arangez" for another airing makes the material familiar yet his own. A dazzling work throughout.
(Ibs 262021)

CONDUCTUS ENSEMBLE/Membra Jesu Nostri: Presented with an operatic scope, we have a German, religious cantata just in time for Easter. With all the gothic over hang that goes with religious material in tact, it's a highly musical and dramatic work at the same time.
(Ibs 22022)

JULIUS ASAL/Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet: Barely older than the current century, this classical piano tyro tackles the Russian musical interpretation of the olde English dramatic classic. He plays it like he must have been playing in a previous life or two. With a masterful touch and a feel that makes it feel like he's at one with the piano, his playing is cinematic and always in the right place at the right time. He's a lustrous new player that's going to be filling our ears for quite some time.
(Ibs 12022)

Volume 46
March 26, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Edi tor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record

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