KENNY NEAL/Straight from the Heart: How do you say this without it coming out wrong? Looky here, a black guy playing electrified traditional blues steeped in Louisiana hoodoo that kicks ass in all the ways passionate white boys doing the art can't. A second generation bluesman that knows the family business well, he knows how to deliver a killer night in the show room. This is a smoking rendition of what it is that drives every frat boy want to be black. Hot stuff that charges hard.
ADEMA MANOUKAS OCTET/New Roots: A brassy album by a new band of cats that have been playing together for years in one form or another, they merge old and new sounds in a little big band style. Respectful but not bound by tradition, this is a fun, modernish romp where the solos linger long after they've gone and the ensemble really cooks. Solid jazzbo fun times that works throughout.
CAILI O'DOHERTY/Quarantine Dream: Producer Marc Free makes it clear that he gets the massage about the future being female as he finds another distaff ace to add to his rising stable of all stars. A wildly swinging daddio (mommio?) pianist that's got more than enough on the ball shows how to drop an auspicious debut that'll makes friends and fans right away. Tasty stuff that totally delivers.
ROE BICKLEY KRAMER/Lucid Dream: The next generation of Detroit jazz is making itself known on this piano trio set that's on the ball throughout. Playing like pros that have already arrived and know how to handle it, this trio is smooth jazz with bite that doesn't waste time noodling when they can swing. A real taste treat for any contemporary jazzbo that just wants to groove with a groove that knows how to happen. Hot.
MARK LIPSON/Springwells: They have Latins in Motown? Ain't that jus t how it goes when you take a provincial view of things? With a love of Latin jazz going back 30 years, these Detroit cats bring the heat for the feet with this party jazz set that takes you through several modes and moods as it keeps the party going well into the night because they play like life is a celebration. Tasty, smoking stuff that well worth whatever you want to invest.
MANEL FORTIA TRIO/Despertar: This bass led trio gives you a different take on Spanish jazz in that it's jazz from Spain sonically exploring well beyond normal expectations. Certainly tilting toward the thinking man's side of the ledger, is this what ECM jazz would sound like if it was form Spain? Angular and modern, it's clearly a sound for high brow moments.
(Segell Microscopi 232)
EMMA WILSON/Wish Her Well: Yep, this blues buster English lass that burst fully formed out of nowhere can bring home the bacon and fry it up in pan. With the sweaty, claustrophobic sound of early Chaka Khan front and center, she delivers raw, lusty primal sounds that will just plain bowl you over. Killer stuff that takes roots to the next level.
(EW Music 1)
GINA SICILIA/Unchange: I'm not sure what church she went to and what pew she's sitting in but for her latest, Sicilia takes it to church with Colin Linden at her side and their mutual love of gospel---and roots. Linden leads the trio that backs up her and there aren't' too many usual suspects rounded up but they all deliver. This record sounds like you feel on a really raw Sunday morning at 3 a.m. Blistering and not at all what you'd expect.
(Vizz Tone VT GS07)
LELAND & THE Silver Wells/Straight to Your Town: Literary rock of a different sort. Not art chick or tortured artist effect work, not inspired by Lou Reed of Baudelaire, this is inspired by outsiders getting a gander of LA's underbelly and assessing. What you might think is angst is really reportage. This is a very singular work that will be best appreciated by lyrically driven musos that want to hear some fully formed stories.
ALEX MILLER/Miller Time: Is it just me or are most of the acts on American Idol not even fit to play no cover charge lounges in Vegas for the bubbies that come to play the penny slots and wouldn't pay for a real show? The way these mamaluk judges get into apoplexy fits of kvelling makes it seem like they should be committed. This young blood has more chops powering authentic honky tonk and country than a whole season of those mopes he rubbed elbows with on Idol. If you've been missing the kind of real country that Country Radio Seminar banished from the airwaves in 1990, just thumb your nose at the establishment and get of load of this cat. He is the future.
(Billy Jam 8520)
April 18, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Edi tor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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