JOAO LUIZ/From Spain to Sao Paulo: Classical guitar taken on a trip from
Spain to Brazil playing some well known but difficult pieces, some not originally even written for guitar. A solid master class in the art and craft, Luiz formats a smoking recital that will make any manqué switch to accounting as a career path. Serious playing for the serious aficionado, this is a new gold standard for guitar recitals.
LUIS DENIZ/El Tinajon: A Cuban born sax man that brings a touch of saudade to the back alleys of Havana most of us first discovered in "Godfather II", there's a lot of the minimalism artistry that was in early 60s Afro Cuban jazz dates before it got recognized as world beat. A worthy successor to Nonesuch's Explorer Series, the armchair traveler has a jazzbo goldmine here.
GOERGE LERNIS/Between Two Worlds: With jazz inspired by his native middle east, Lernis goes the thinking man's jazz route here taking his second outing in a different direction. Certainly sitting down listening, it's about color and texture here with some opium den arty touches.
ALEXANDER SMALLS/Let Us Bread Together: With songs that haven't been heard since Joan Baez first introduced "Kumbiya", this opera singer turned chef subtly reminds us that the civil rights problem hasn't really been solved. After 30 years away from the mic, he's still flexing his Grammy award winning voice sending his message without having to bludgeon you. Delivering spirituals and more with a smoking crew of pros behind him, Smalls' presence makes it clear he never really left us.
SPANISH HARLEM ORCHESTRA/Imagenes Latinas: Taking a&r to the streets with a crowd funded set, the award winning big band gives the fans what they want, a Tito Puente Nyorican jazz romp that's mostly original but sounds so familiar. A party record that's going to keep their award winning ways alive and well, even a gringo with two left feet can dig what's going on here. Records like this make us glad the tools are out there these days for real musos to get it done themselves with minimal elbow grease and aggravation.
TOM HARRELL/Oak Tree: This might the most sure lipped and sure fingered set the trumpeter has released in his whole career. Playing like he has nothing to prove but still really cares, this is sizzling straight jazz date where the blowing and ensemble work is never less than top shelf. Going deep in the pocket for this classy, classic sounding set, let's keep the superlatives to a minimum because hopefully, this is only Harrell's penultimate. A real groove throughout.
(High Note 7332)
CYRUS CHESTNUT/My Father's Hands: Pere Chestnut might not have been in the background of his kid's career ala Marsalis et al, but sonny boy tells us he was there with the encouragement and support in this trio tribute to the old man. Playing like he could be mistaken for any one of the jazz piano greats that got us from there to here, this set is brimming with the kind of underlying passion that just knocks it out of the park. Really inspired playing hallmarks this set that speaks volumes without saying a word. Hot!
(High Note 7339)
XANTHAN/Succubus Swing: A power trio proudly influenced by Back Door? The Door might have not caught on here but they left enough of an impression that reissue labels see fit to keep their stuff in print. Jazz rock pyrotechnics that'll bring you into the tent and keep you there, this is for cats that like their chops well done.
MIKE IAN/Learning Tree: If somebody wants to make a new stand for classic feeling prog, Ian seems to be the man for the job. Murky lyrics, musical bombast, drama---it's all here and it's right in the pocket in a way genre fans will admire.
JOHN SLOMAN/Two Rivers: Prog jazz rock that brings to mind classics like Jade Warrior from this Londoner that serves up down mouth lyrics with a daddio/hippie score underneath it. There's stuff out there for disaffected youth to listen to beside beats.
(Red Bird 9290)
June 10, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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