JONATHAN BARBER & Vision Ahead/Poetic: Celebrating a decade as an ensemble, this crew pulls together in a lite loft jazz way where improv and flights of fancy rest nicely against each other. An atmospheric set that sets a mood nicely, there's nothing here to angry up the blood but nothing that puts you to sleep either. Just solid listening jazz that works really well.
CHIARA IZZI/Live in Bremen: Cabaret of a different flavor as the Italian vocalist living in in New York hies off to Germany with her pianist for a program of works in various languages that makes this more than just another interpretation of Sondheim or Webb. A purely international set that is loaded with insouciant sophistication.
(Dot Time 9108)
ESTHESIS QUARTET: This crew first came together at the start of the pandemic and did their wood shedding from all over the globe building their simpatico via Zoom. When it seemed safe to put your toe in the water again, the met in LA and let the jams fly. A group of four capable soloists, it seems like the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts as this bunch really knows how to take off and stay aloft. Not ones to take their sitting down jazz sitting down, their's loads of high octane thrills and spills as this set unfolds. Solid.
AARON SEEBER/First Move: While it looks like the drummer's solo debut is packed with ringers, these jazzbos have a history together and it helps enliven the audience when the telepathy starts to fly. Adept at the classic jazz club sound, especially when kicking it out on the chestnuts, this set will give you a smoking night out anytime it's within easy reach.
ELSA NILSSON'S ATLAS OF SOUND/Coast Redwoods: Not new age but impressionistic instrumental music, the flute ace directs her wind to go through the trees and other elements of nature without making it sound touchy feely no matter how genteel it all sounds. Almost crossing into neo-classic territory, this recital is a nice sonic oasis and ear opener. This can be the kind of set where the rubber meets the road for the real muso.
(Ears & Eyes 22-168)
ANOTHINY FUNG/What Does it Mean to be Free?: A drummer that's been brought along by jazzbos that never shied away from a challenge, his third outing finds him fearlessly exploring the musical side of things in an often aggressive set that lays down who's the boss early on. Sure of himself throughout, you have no choice but to follow his choices and reap the aural rewards.
ANGELA O'NEILL & the Outrageous 8/Light at the End for the Tunnel: Using a program of mostly show music to show the anti side of the pandemic, time and tide forced this ad hoc big band to get this hustled together in 2 days, old school style. The players are up for the challenge and shift gears from their mostly rock and soul roots admirably. A trip down memory lane that somehow really isn't.
MINAS/Beatles in Bossa: Now that "In My Life" is a commercial for Airbnb, no bitching allowed for any left of center uses of Beatles music that it adapts well to anyway. With decades together a a duo and more, the simpatico that drives this set through the various Brazilian modes is almost like a new revelation for old tunes. This is a treat that's way more than a confection.
(Blue Azul 1217)
RANDY NAPOLEON/Puppets: And the Midwest is in the house as the Michigan guitarist leaves New York to come back to the third coast opening a can of Wes whoop ass on his ax powered by the tunes of Gregg Hill's pen. Right in the pocket for people that love the classic after hours sound of a bunch of jazzbos seeming to take it on the fly, this is the kind of set that defines modern quiet fire.
NANCY GOUDINAKI/What I was for You--re: think/ And if this guitarist makes you feel like she's playing flamenco but not quite, it might be that she springs from Greece. Playing since she was 8, this is the sound of someone that plays like she cares filling any available white space with emotion and depth that keeps you riveted. With a sound that will find her cutting through any obstacles, this is an artist acoustic guitar fans need to seek out. Hot stuff throughout.
May 6, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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