MICHAEL McDERMOTT/St. Paul's Boulevard: It might have been recorded in Chicago and it might be rocked up, but this slice of lives set from McDermott is pretty much his "Streets of London" moment. As life's rich pageant continues to proceed, this pause to take a look at life and life going on around you hits an emotional resonator. A solid bet for folk rockers that are looking for some real feeling.
(Pauper Sky 10)
CALVIN KEYS/Simply Calvin: 50 years in, are you going to deny this former hell raiser the right to swing his ax through his Norman Granz set? A nice lush set with tracks pulled from all quadrants of the classic jazz canon, this set sets the mood but it certainly isn't mood music. If this set is an affront to the jazz police, you should look at that as a recommendation of excellence.
RICHARD BRAITHWAITE QUINTET/Monk& Other Music: A fun, swinging sax set that's light on the daddio but never fails to show up with a groove for all. A working musician that knows how to strut his stuff and get it all done in a day, straight ahead jazzbos sought to take this out for a spin. Solid stuff.
3 MORE SOUNDS/Play Ray Charles: If the old pros on board here set out to make a gift shop record, you wouldn't have the mental visuals of Charles swaying on the piano bench. Hitting all the right notes effortlessly but with some extra stuff as well, this is a fine cap doffer to Brother Ray. It's so right on many levels.
(Skipper Productions 1039)
PETER MANNING ROBINSON/Celestial Candy: The inventor of the refractor piano saddles up and takes his baby out for a spin serving up a delightfully airy program that you don't really know what to call what he's doing. While the goings on here could fit easily under so many banners from barrel house to contemporary classical, once you get used to the new sounds, it's fun to stick around to see where they will go. Just one more ticket to the witnessing of history that's going on now. Well done.
(Owl Walk 1)
AMIT PELED/Solus et Una: When a rising cello ace is acclaimed by everyone and gets matched up to a program of Bach, there's really no reason to send me the record other than to have me make you aware of it and so I can have bragging rights over getting a free copy. A stellar solo outing that doesn't need me to give it the high sign, classical buffs might know this repertoire inside out but there's no reason not to check it out again. Here.
BLUES CAFÉ/various: Take a trip with the label as they turn their world beat gaze to indigenous blues that sprang from the delta. Mostly from a time before white boys took over the blues, this is from when the trope about having the blues because you paid your dues took hold. Of course, these tracks sound better recorded and mastered than the originals did. The vibe is laid back and a cut of the proceeds go to helping blues men have life a little easier. All told, it's another winner in the label's series of sonic adventures that keeps you in good hands.
YOLANDA KONDONASSIS/Five Minutes for Earth: A vastly different kind of album from Kondonassis, she wears the changes well. A set of 15 5 minute pieces commissioned from earth conscious composers, it all hangs together without peachiness or new age tropes that all too often turn efforts like this into gift shop records. With just the right touch on both paper and strings, this set delivers a real earth day punch that raises your awareness as you sink into the sonics. Something new, something different, something wonderful.
PARIS COMBO/Quesaco?: The last tracks completed before the lead vocalist passed from cancer, this bunch is expert at delivering "Mad Men" era zooby zooby with an edge that takes it to the clove ciggy cabaret and out of the suburban rec room keeps it real to the end(?). Mixing signature sounds from several eras with gleeful abandon, they once again show you don't need to know what they are talking about have a good time. Stylish fun right to the end.
(Six Degrees 36131)
JOAN BAEZ/Early Years: Hey boomers, the next time gen whatevers get on you because you think everything new stinks, play this for them next to Camila Cabello and ask them if CC has the chops and voice to just get up there with a guitar and knock it out of the park like this. Long before politics, Dylan, Grossman and what ever life held for her, this moody Mexican lass on the loose in Boston had the chops to bowl ‘em over as these three early albums show. Even the folk music scare clichés and tropes come off as the real deal here. A worthy journey through the past.
April 22, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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