BANANAFISH/Boston Bananafish: And for those of you that dig Rev. Freakchild--this is who he was before he was. This is a twofer 25th anni set of stuff once only available at their shows, this is nascent 90s jam band as blasted out of a local scene. Since it's a timeless sound that exists outside the margins, this is a timeless record. With stuff here going back 30 years, now you'll know why they look like a bunch of hippies in the interior pictures. Fire one up for old times sake, when the world made sense---even if it took some sensimilia to get there.
(Treated & Released 14)
CHES SMITH/Interpret it Well: The drummer is backed up by Frissell, Taborn and Maneri and all of them are playing at a place somewhat outside their comfort zone as they keep it low key and minimal. Angular, thinking man's jazz made for when the world is too much.
LEVEE TOWN/Trying to Keep My head Above Water: Long standing road warriors might be roots rockers but they come out of the box with an amalgam of Eagles/southern rock that feels like a breath of fresh air despite the recidivist tendencies. It's all about the boogie here and boogie they do. Rockers need party music too and this is the surest fill to that bill. Smoking.
TONY BALTIMORE/Lets All Go Insane: As free wheeling as his adopted Key West home, this goes way beyond Parrothead music into that place where you absolutely won't be told what to do by anyone. Drawing from everything he feels like, whenever he feels like it, this is what FM radio was all about before consultants reared their ugly heads and the heads that were listening raised eclectic to deity status. A wonderful bit of wackiness you really need right...about....now.
MARK WADE TRIO/True Stories: A stand up bass player that's Chris McBride good, Eldee Young good, serves up his forth record by serving up a straight ahead session that just plain slams it out of the park. He does all the thinking for you so you can just sit back and enjoy this at a visceral level. A former tyro that grew up right, records like this make you feel bad there's no there there in the record business to give this the support it deserves. Killer stuff throughout.
NORTH STAR BAND/Then & Now: 40 odd years ago, with Eagles squeezing them on one side and disco squeezing them on the other, you'd have to hit a honky tonk for one of the 300 nights a year they lit up the night. And you'd go home wondering why they weren't at least as big as Pure Prairie League. The first record in this set is from those times. The second set was inspired by a 40th anni show that shows how they could teach today's young ‘un a thing or two. More in tune with GP than Don Henley, this is a valentine for those country rock fans that liked it with an organic edge laced with country air. Will there be a Spoon River Band look back next?
BEN CRAVEN/Monsters from the Id: Aussie Craven pulls out all the prog stops with a album of sturm and drang that leads off with a suite called "Die Before You Wake". Making sure you get the point, there's a second disc loaded with DVD-A that covers the initial territory louder and prouder. Proof positive how life sucks when you aren't old enough to drive and that's the head cheer leader's only criterion in choosing who to date. Hell, you can listen to this until life gets better.
(Desert Candy 1017)
FS3/Cats & Strats: Time for a little power trio shredderooney? No pretense, no pretext, it's like these guys were raised on 70s power trios and now feel honor bound to give back. There's definitely some fusion over and under tones lurking, but these cats deliver the meat and potatoes with an open hand. On the money throughout.
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE BAND featuring Airmen of Note/2022 Jazz Heritage Series: Once again, we get a new look at what bad asses our favorite fly boys are. This year's edition of the biggest touring big band finds them in the company of Ted Nash, Diane Schuur and Sean Jones, all pitching in to do their country proud. True jazzbos to the core, this is solid swing with no irony or gilded hipsterism. No matter where they drop bombs, they don't drop any here. Enjoy some solid jazz with polished shoes and snappy salutes for all.
ANDY JAMES/Rhythm in New York: Petula Clark can tell you that when your husband is the label owner, you are going to get a royal treatment. James walks that path but she does it on her own. With a smoking line up of jazzbos behind the vocalist, she delivers a bang up job on standards about New York life and she's burning with the gas on high. Certainly a set that could have been phoned in, it isn't. A throwback set to the golden age of broads, here's a set for jazz vocal fans to unite behind.
VOYAGERS/Chasing Light: Here's a trio of skilled New Yorkers that are down with traditional, acoustic African music. You've heard this sound before when trancers and new agers were chasing it but couldn't capture it. This trio knows the groove well enough to know they have to let it leaven on it's own. The results is a zesty, organic sound that's world beat as well as Afro Caribbean and some native New York thrown in as well. A real treat for armchair travelers and those that want to be, it's a great sonic getaway for those that can't otherwise getaway. Check it out.
LEW JETTON & 61 South/Deja Hoodoo: A smoking bunch of white boys with the blues that have honed their craft via 30 years of slogging it out in America's great white underbelly. With some real cred ringers along for the ride this time out, they appreciate different flavors of blues/roots and serve them up lazy Susan style for your deliction. This is the sound of Friday at 5 when you aren't near a beach. Solid.
(Endless Blues 32022)
MARINA CROUSE/Canto de mi Corazon: Here's an intersecting situation proving it's all been a bigger multi culti thing all along than we thought it was. Crouse is celebrating her Chicana heritage by doing a tribute to Eydie Gorme, a Sephardic Jew who made her share of what seemed to be obligatory Spanish/Latin albums that pop vocalists had to do back in the day. Crouse's grandmother's love of these records must have made a real impact because you just don't miss Steve Lawrence here at all. You can't argue with the song choices and you can't argue with the performance making this an unexpected, offbeat treat.
(Little Village 1050)
DASHAWN HICKMAN/Drums Roots & Steel: Just because you don't always see Charlie Hunter doesn't mean he's standing still. Here he brings out the best in a steel player that takes sacred steel to someplace else that's somewhere this side of Mars but not by too much. Hickman nearly strips the religion from a slew of religious music and gives you Jimi Hendrix worthy performances on his axes. A killer set for anyone looking for a new kick that goes way over the top.
(Little Village 1049)
April 9, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Edi tor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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