OR BAREKET/Sahar: A gentle reminder that no matter how good you are, there's always someone coming up behind you. This bass bad ass marks his territory with a semi-impressionistic set that deals with the literal meaning of Sahar and lays down the foggy sound of sunrise. Solid left leaning stuff that fearless makes it's moves and goes easily beyond the cinematic realm it professes to shoot for. Adventurous listening for the open eared.
JOHN LEE/the Artist: A straight ahead young swinger makes sure that Vancouver knows he is the cat you call for bass. Making his auspicious debut here with a trio that really gets it, this well recorded session barrels at you like a runaway train, but he's in control all the way. Smoking throughout.
CLEMENS GRASSMAN/Grass machine: A subtle but driving set is what powers this drummer's pandemic record. With a vibe that tells you not to take things to serious because storms never last, he leads this windy crew through some nice twists and turns that really open the ears. There's something about the blowing here that let's you know these guys know their jazz but they are cocking an ear toward the future. Well done.
MATTHEW MUNESES/Noli Me Tangere: An interesting world beat set because there's so much going on that that you'll never really put your finger on what's happening. Paul Winter meets belly dance for some second line funk? Yeah, there's some of that here. Actually a deep dive into the artist's Philippine heritage, who knew there was so much cross pollination going on over there? A solid must for the armchair traveler that's been noticing the pickings have been slim lately but wants something really worth the while.
(Next Level 2213)
PASQUA ERSKINE OLES/Live in Italy: It might be Dr. Um's label but he gives himself second billing behind Pasqua's piano. This long time trio plays a recital that needed for be captured for everyone that couldn't be there. Going for an ECM sensibility rather than raging with swing for the fences intensity, this is a fine reminder of just how dolce it all is. A fine serving of listening/sitting down jazz serves well done in rare form.
GRANT STEWART QUARTET/Lighting of the Lamps: If there's any doubt about this sax man being worthy of the acclaim he's been piling up, it just takes one listen to the film noir ache he delivers in "I'm a Fool to Want You" taking it to heights few have done over the years. If that was the opening track, you might to make it through the rest of the record. A cat that really knows his stuff and really knows his jazz, this isn't a Sinatra album but it's a real one more for the road kind of set. Wow!
CHI LITES/Too Good to be Forgotten (Best of): It's been a while since we've had a real good fatty compilation reminding us how mighty the Lites were but this set, collecting hits and sides that have special significance of the English market it's aimed at, goes a long way to filling the bill. Re-emphasizing how timeless and lasting the writing and production of Eugene Record was, it's no wonder they are still getting honors and being sampled with all due speed. Killer stuff once and for always that put Chicago soul on the map.
BARNEY KESSEL/Essential Albums 1955-1963: Ah, the march of time...a great jazzbo guitarist that went on to be a charter member of the Wrecking Crew probably who played on every 60s record you ever loved and you don‘t know who he is. Here we find him collected on 8 Contemporary albums surrounded by a slew of like minded jazzbos whose names will also escape you but are found to be laying down the licks that became tropes and clichés in the hands of manques that did what they did. These cats are playing like they're off the clock and thrilled to be getting the chance to strut their stuff and get a session check for it----but when they do their thing, lookout. This is a load of classic jazz done right (in real time).
NICK JUSTICE & FETER MARTIN HOMER/Sidemen: An odd couple pair of old folkies joined forces and turn in a debut that's got to be one of the great back porch records of all time. Whether it's schtick or real, it comes across here as authentic and loaded with heart making it impossible to call yourself a folkie and not get into this. Utterly killer stuff that could redefine the genre for contemporary times.
MICHAEL MARTIN MURPHEY & RYAN MURPHEY/Road Beyond the View: Dad brought lad into the business 50 years ago and has let lad put his finger prints all over dad's albums all this time but this is the first time they feel like they've made a real collaboration. Seeing as how Murphey seems to be the only other Austin picker beside Willie to have captured the lightening in a bottle that let's you survive 50 years of visitudes filled with peaks and valleys, you have to think the familiar bond might have had something to do with it. A lovely off the clock/after hours set that combines all the folk/country/etc elements they've put on display over the years, it just a plain dandy of a set. All that and they didn't even need to reprise "Wildfire".
May 20, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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