PATRISHA THOMSON/Wild is the Wind: A different flavor of diva/songbook album in which we find Thomson being a first class thrush in an upscale boite setting, with dinner show, rather than a jazz joint or a cabaret. With a mixed bag of chestnuts at hand, including ones by the august masters that haven't been beaten to death, this sassy, classy set with some serious jazzbos in tow is a real grown up set that makes you feel grown up. Solid jazz vocal throughout.
KATHERINE FARNHAM/Aquaimia: No stranger to high tone notice, Farnham takes her four octave range for a dramatic ride south of the equator in which she lines up some Latin jazz stars to help her bring this dramatic set to the fore. With a four on the floor take no prisoners delivery, Farnham brings all the strum and drang tango et al can deliver, including a generous dollop of her own special sauce. Sets like this define ‘performance'.
EVA KESS/Inter-Musical Love Letter: Kess continues to show how she's a fearless leader and composer on this new set that finds her expanding her player palette from seven to fourteen players and finding plenty to keep them all profitably busy. Fearlessly genre blending as well, Kess is an ear opener whose instrumental prowess is the kind that knows no bounds but never rolls off the rails while pushing the envelop. A richly encompassing work, this is the kind of set that needs your undivided attention and will pay dividends. Solid.
FREEDY JOHNSTON/Back on the Road to You: Johnston's shot at the big leagues may have come and gone but plenty of big dogs still come around to run with him and with good reason. Some 30 years in, this singer/songwriter can still turn out compelling tales without repeating himself keeping you looking forward to the next chapter. Backed by a nicely loping groove, this set is sure to resonate with the folkie that lurks within. Well done.
(Forty Below 28)
NATE NAJAR/Jazz Samba Pra Sempre: Another jazzbo that seems to have his Verve on, Najar rounds up some serious studio jazzbos to being his guitar vision of classic Brazil to sprightly life. Playing a guitar owned by Charlie Byrd and with a bass player playing the same bass from a classic samba set, the vibe is alive. Even with the Byrd and Jobim connections, he doesn't beat either to death and explores some deeper period repertoire---much to your ears delight. One of those sets that simple hits all the right notes.
(Blue Line 220811)
YOUNG FOLK/Moonwalking: It's nice to see some people reacting to what a cesspool the world has become but still realize that if you grab the kids you grab tomorrow. And it's nice to see it done in a positive way. A grown up feeling album for kids, those shorties with short attention span probably wouldn't notice the difference between this and what's on the radio---another point that's all to the better. It's nice to see/hear that there's still someone out there that wants the guide the right thing into happening.
TOBIN MUELLER/Prestidigitation: This well traveled keyboard man probably had a big smile on his face when he sat down to map this set out. Covering a raft of composers and bands from John Coltrane to Happy the Man, you know he looks at things with a progressive edge but he wraps it all up in fun, funky fusion that freely hop scotches around the board often leaving you with a smile and a ‘huh?' Sets like this make you give three cheers for off the clock recordings.
KEVIN CEROVICH/Aging Millennial: So what happens when one of the younger millennial, multi instrumentalist Airmen of Note slips off the uniform and does what he wants? Sounds like he makes sure a good time is had by all. Playing the chestnuts and tent poles, this jazzbo re-imagines them the way he's always wanted, subject to his interests and tastes, and does a killer job. Also notable in that it doesn't have that thin one man band kind of sound, if you dig music that's just plain spirited and fun, there can be no arguments that this set is a good time. This cat has the chops!
TRIO XOLO/In Flower in Song: Multi culti trio gets together for some improv and turns in a set where crime jazz meets opium den. All recorded in one room together, there is a claustrophobic feel that makes it more intimate and oddly compelling---like they are playing just for you. A timely set for everyone that's feeling a need for a sweet sip of freedom right about now.
RICHARD CARR/Landscapes and Lamentations: Assuming you've already explored the Hudson Valley sonically with Jay Ungar and others in his gang, you can now explore deeper with Carr as he only takes in places within 15 miles of his home. A dexterous player with a resume over 40 years long that has found him playing with symphonies, jazzbos and prog rockers, this set could easily fall into the modern classical romantic basket with ease. A thoughtful sounding set you don't have to be an egghead to appreciate, Carr is to most capable tour guide and could be part of the Ulster County tourism board that let's you know there's more up there than just Woodstock. Well done.
DYLAN WARD/Tourmaline: An interesting concept. This sax man has his ax square off against a stone believed to have a raft of magical properties as he fuses his sax with electronics to construct and deconstruct a panoply of sounds. This ain't a Stan Getz date, ok? Experimental but accessible, he's widening his own mind as much as he's widening yours on this trip and it's a pretty zesty trip into the uncharted.
July 2, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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