IAN WARDENSKI QUINTET/Trust: The halls of academe seem to have replaced the cubby holes of the studio rat. With solid work as an educator in his pocket, Wardenski feels free to chase angular, almost white civil rights jazz where improv and flights of fancy merge into a whole that grabs the whole of your attention with it's modern, forward thinking. Using all the tools in the small group aesthetic to the best possible advantage, this is a smoking set of modern music that doesn't disappoint.
RADHA BOTOFASINA/Carry On: The new outing from Alice Coltrane's side kick finds her taking her jazz harp to church by way of some African world beat in a mesmerizing set that refuses to signal it's intentions. The sum total of her interesting life, this isn't just a collection of songs that were thrown together to knock out an album. Trust me, she's going to cleanse your soul in a whole new way. Hot stuff meant to keep you away from hot places.
CECE GABLE/Next Year's Song: Harvie S has been reaching out in a lot of unexpected directions lately and this seems to be his best reach yet. Rounding up a crew of Broadbent, Wilson, and Ben Hur with a nod to Bill Charlap, this vocalist couldn't be in better hands. With a heavily 60s oriented set list at her command, she's tackling overlooked classics by top cats who found their work being side lined by the times into easy listening hell. Wrongs are righted here. A classy, understated vocalist, Gable knows just how to drive her point home.
DAVID LARSEN/G2 & You: One of the spark plugs of Seattle jazz, Larsen combines two recent eps into a single cd of smoky playing where he alternates originals with classics. Put a down mouth song in his hands and the sax man finds all the film noir baked into the grooves and makes magic. Tasty, atmospheric playing that is so after hours, if you hear this in a club you might never go home.
TROY ROBERTS, NU JIVE/ Nations Unite: the prolific leader/side man/session cat swings his sax in the direction of yes mon land and keeps this smooth jazz set away from being a gift shop set by writing originals in the spirit of the originals that inspired him. Keeping pace with how times have changed, betcha this is a grand set o mellow out with some CBDs to. Let's just skank away with this cat leading his version of a second line funk line. Hot stuff.
(Toy Robot 11)
CAROL SLOANE/Live at Birdland: Sloane told me her last Arbors record would probably be her last record. I'm glad to say reports of her retirement were vastly exaggerated. I'm not glad to say that before Covid struck she had a stroke that's had her laid up since. If you've dug any of the work she's done over the last 60 years since stepping into Annie Ross' shoes in LHR, why don't you head over to carolsloane.com and drop some well wishes and encouragement into her dialog box---and don't forget to hit send. This live 2019 set finds her charming the crowd with Renzi, Hamilton and Leonhart providing the setting. Classy work from a classy lady that is one of the pillars of modern jazz vocal, at the very least, it's one of those wish-you-were-there dates. Still going strong and in fine voice in her 80s, this is as good as it gets.
(Club 44 4122)
CAROL LIPNIK/Goddess of Imperfection: An interesting art chick record that's going to be a defining wedge in the modern generation gap. With a tortured artist effect cabaret style, Lipnik tackles the uncertainty of the world and everything in it. Younger tastes raised on beats might not understand the theatrical nature of her work and moldy figs might not get the cutting edge cabaret vibe. With all the professional touches on board, it has the makings of a long legged, underground classic that'll be easier to pass around in the digital age than it would have been in the purely physical media age. No matter how you cut it, the times they are a changing.
LIAM FORDE/Great to Be Here: Since nature abhors a vacuum, this set has something for people who miss PS Classics vocal series and think Mark Winkler is making dad music. A youthful incursion into café society, Forde is a high energy spark plug that has a firm belief in letting the good times roll. Coming out of the box strong, you can bet this high octane debut is only a hint at the good things to come.
SPENCER DAY/Broadway By Day: Ditching original material for an album of Broadway classics, Day also ditches the comparisons to Harry Connick and Mike Buble by capturing without imitating Sinatra. He's got the swing and the wink down perfectly, but it's perfectly his own way. A great look at great songs that just get overlooked these days, this is why Broadway will never die. Well done.
(Club 44 4121)
DANA FUCHS/Borrowed Time: Trading off a degree of control for the ability to let loose with unbridled intensity, Fuchs let's someone else produce and shrugs off amped up tales of ordinary madness that shaped her world view and focuses in an outer directed way this time out. Letting the intensity fly, she's still a southern blues/rocker to the core but you can never be sure which side of the line she's on at any particular time. Coming out of the box like a force of nature, this is the arrival of a singer that was already here. Hot stuff throughout---even when she's laying back.
April 15, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Edi tor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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