ANNE WALSH/Astrud Project: Because Gilberto's career started as a fluke and she was generally viewed as a light weight fluffernutter, she's been well reissued over the years but never given a proper appraisal. Walsh delves deeper in the Gilberto canon than the usual Jobim suspect tunes but keeps the nova bossa nova vibe alive and well. Preserving samba's swing, the classically trained vocalist gives us more than the Gilberto whisper and makes a classic samba for modern times. Keeping the Verve vibe all the way down to the logo style, this is a set that hit's the mark.
(A to Zink)
MARK ETHEREDGE/Love Planet: Nothing like having a hot record to turn you into a bankrupt, homeless drunk watching your mother slip away from Alzheimer's to make you really want to be a rock and roll star. Regrouping himself with Paul Brown in the producer's chair, Etheredge pulls himself together for a new round of smooth, contemporary jazz that's just right for summer just in time for summer. Skillful and breezy, he's back in shape to take it to the top once again and here's hoping the piano man keeps it together.
COLUMBIA ICEFIELD/Ancient Songs of Burlap Heroes: A bunch of smart, left leaning jazzbos and pals reconvene for another round of sussing out the mysteries of the Columbia River---in sound of course. An atmospheric record for eggheads, you need to have an arty sense of patience to get through the long stretches when the atmosphere is all atmosphere while you look for music, which is often as unpredictable as a river. It's almost more art than music.
XIOMARA TORRES/La Voz del Mar: We've long learned that label owner Wayne Wallace isn't afraid to put his money where his mouth is. This time around he lets Bay area vibist Dan Neville take the wheel giving a Latin jazz setting to an Afro Columbian vocalist that makes the whole thing sound like a classic, ethnic find you'd expect from Putumayo. Initially exciting just because it's so out of the ordinary for the average gringo, on closer inspection it's a sound and fury from an area that's easily accessible but often overlooked. With echoes of everything you've liked from south of the equator lurking in the mix, this party on a platter is a hot stuff real deal throughout.
MIRO HENRY SOBRER/Two of Swords: Girl friend music of a different flavor in which thoughty Catalonian poetry, tarot readings and Latin jazz come together in that kind of contemporary dreamy tea party way. Leading the way with solid trombone chops inspired by his father, Sobrer shows he isn't afraid to chart his own courses.
WADADA LEO SMITH/Emerald Duets: When you're getting older and recording opportunities are getting fewer, a five cd box set of original material doesn't seem that indulgent when you still have a lot of musically say. Pairing here with four great drummers (two discs are with Jack DeJohnette), the sounds range from subtle to hell raising. Even at 80, Smith is not going gently into that good night and jazzbos everywhere are the richer for it. Right in the pocket of his other recent explorations for Tum, the legacy of wealth of progressive jazz is well carried on here.
ELIZABETH NACCARATO/Southwest Story: After missing in action for a while, early new age stalwart Naccarato returns to form in an unexpected tipping the cap to her native Texas and adopted home of Colorado. So much for those of you who thought she was one of Seattle's best naturally. Bringing the spirit of Copeland to her piano, the gentle rolling rhythms aren't so far from her new age roots but they do head off somewhere else as well. Certainly the kind of classy recital we've been missing for a while.
DAVID FRANKLIN/Passings: It's been a long time since Mike Manring was the new kid on the block but here we find him pairing with the musical shrink as the good doctor sonically explores loss and changes over the last of his few years. Not nearly a dour tour through musical darkness, the multi instrumentalist and the bass ace deliver light instrumental music that has some grit but lifts you up rather than brings you down. That welcome kind of under that radar release loaded with the certain something that keeps bringing you back.
SWEET UNDERTOW/Skeletone Machine: Debut from a raucous duo of blues based bar room rockers that like to sonically raise the roof and rock all night long. High octane party material, this is a fine dose of that bone shaking stuff you need when you just want to cut loose.
(Mother West 2201)
U.K. SUBS/Reverse Engineering: Original first wave punks are calling it a day after 40 years with this final studio set that shows they probably took on this job because they weren't suited to much else. Still delivering on the angry young man promise of fist shaking, teeth snarling aggression, their sound here is so timeless that it's hard to imagine a need for younger brothers to pick up the cudgel. The times we're living in certainly want to make you rage against the machine and there's certainly a few anthems here to help you on your way.
PRIEST/Body Machine: For the uninitiated, this isn't a Judas Priest knock off band, this is a bunch of synth wavers out there standing on their own. Mixing dark wave with their metal background, this is the sinister sound of the young suburbs where subversion is lurking and the roots go deep. The soundtracks for tomorrow's film noir has to come from somewhere.
July 1, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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