DAVID NEWBOULD/Power Up!: An amped up restless folkie takes the itinerant, freek folk moves to logical ends. Mixing freek, found and what not, this is a modern malcontent set that has all the miasma elements that have defined the pandemic and the times and tides. Way out there, man.
MIKE STEVENS/Breathe in the World Breathe Out Music: A genre bending harmonica ace whose chops would be at home in a band with Victor Wooten, Stevens turns in a real sweetie that feels like an off the clock winner. Easy going music for easy going times that almost didn't happen for Stevens, when you need that aimless amble down a blue highway, this is the stuff that'll get you there. You might not even care if you get back.
(Stony Plain 1452)
STRING NOISE/Way: The progressive violin duo continues to commission new works like crazy and present them in their alt.classical minded glory. Making music that goes beyond music and into textures, they freely play with your mind by giving you almost two minutes of opening silence before lapsing off into a square dance from Mars. Pranksters of players? You decide.
(New Focus 317)
CLIFF STEVENS/Better Days: Swaggering guitar driven blues rock from a cat that's been to the top and the bottom and finds the top is a much better place with a much better view. Despite drying out, he's held on to his bar band swagger and shows he knows how to navigate the night. Heartland rock fun like they don't make too much of any more.
(Red Flagg 558)
RENAISSANCE/Scheherazade: Part of a triptych of mystical British hippies (there could have been four but Pentangle had dropped out in 1972--the first time around), packages like this find this art rock crew was only about 45 years ahead of their time. Delivering a remastered version of the original record, a live version and a DVD of the enchanting Annie Haslam (the original Stevie Nicks?) photo recorded for posterity kicking it all out, if there was more of a taste for art rock back then, this bunch would be a household name still today rather than a cherished branch of the rock tree. Recorded during a run of albums that repeatedly found them at their penultimate, these rock fantasies are hard to resist whether you're revisiting them or taking a flyer. Either way, you won't be disappointed.
PETER CURTIS/Pete's Pandemic Playlist: A dandy mostly solo guitar set with obvious
Wes inspiration but with stuff that Curtis takes from there. Another set from another cat that tried not to go nuts during the pandemic, his time wood shedding wasn't time in vain. Bringing together a load of stuff you wouldn't normally hear in the same place, it makes a good case for the only types of music being good and bad. Since Ellington is represented here, and he did say that...
NIKOLA BANKOV/Dream Chaser: A sax pal of Randy Brecker shows us what's going for art jazz across the pond these days. Some free sounds, some civil rights jazz, some space exploration. These cats are focused on riffs and grooves making this a solid head set that takes you for a ride in the eighth galaxy. Next gen fusion has arrived.
CHRIS GREENE QUARTET/Play Space 2 Play Harder: Chicago is in the house with some hell raisers having a good time letting improv jazz fly high. The sax led combo doesn't like to be penned in so the songs range from Duke to Hank and it all works. The skronk runs free and far, the groove runs non stop. A wild set for jazzbos that just can't sit still while they dig sitting down jazz.
(Single Malt 13)
MARK KAZAKEVICH-JAY YOO/Dual Unity: This set reflects that certain joyfulness when a pair of young lions get together with nobody telling them what to do and letting their good times roll. A solid guitar/piano duo, they seem to have a good feel of how to take off from that point where jazz and classical can come together. Sharp pens, smart playing, good futures.
RANDY McALLISTER/Power Without Power: A badass white boy with the blues, Texas division, that likes doing it his way too much to ever be told what to do. Just like a Texan that detoured through Alaska, huh? Genre splicing within the genre, he comes across as so unique that he doesn't even need the rest of his bag of tricks to hold your attnetion. He may be doomed to a life of back porches, back roads and back 40s but he certainly makes them a grand place to be.
April 30, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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