JOY LAPPS/Girl in the Yard: Andy Narell did a fine job of making us aware of the steel drum possibilities and there hasn't really been anyone with his skills and passion...until now. With the first full album in her discography, Lapps brings steel drum into today with a smart crew that supports her jazz/world/multi culti visions. Sailing well beyond the genre's Caribbean roots, the Canadian clearly knows how important it is to warm things up. A killer set that really opens the ears.
JOHN MINNOCK/Simplicity: With sax man Dave Liebman leading a crew of improv jazzbos, Minnock, an award wining jazz vocalist, finds the freedom to support his quest for simplicity on this smooth set that feels like it could have been a one take, live set recorded at a cabaret. A solid performance from all involved, old school ears will stand at attention as this nuanced set unfurls it's magic. This is what a real listening date sounds like when it's hitting on all eight.
(Dot Time 9114)
DO'A/higher grounds: Kicking things off with a distinctly Brazilian sound, this multi culti jazz vocal set from an Albanian locks in the world beat so tight, you really don't care where it's coming from. Whether going deeply ethnic, American classic or just plain local, these cats prove you didn't have to be in the same room during the pandemic to make it work if you really want to. A really tasty ear opener that gives you a smoking world tour whether you want one or not.
(Outside In 2218)
GEOFFREY KEEZER & Friends/Playdate: He's not making kiddie records, he's not using going DIY as an excuse to cheap out and he's not making a record that sounds like any of the 22 that have came before. A big, bold expansive sounding set, his pals are everyone you'd like to personally know better and they all bring their A game to this wide ranging set that's loaded with chops and good vibes. The piano man really does it again.
FACING WEST: A young jazzbo crew that came off a tour to record their debut album and show they know how to work and play well with each other. A dual sax led chord less quartet, they might revel in their freedom but there's no skronking or noodling on the playing field here. Loaded with evocative and moving music, this ranks well as an auspicious debut.
(Outside In 2220)
DEB RASMUSSEN/Unspoken: The jazz singer found the pandemic led her to doing some writing and she turns out a program here that mixes originals with chestnuts, all of them having a contemporary feeling that flows and fits together. An understated performance type vocalist, with a simpatico crew in place, this set is a tonic for vocal fans on the prowl for the next set that really fills their sweet tooth.
SENSATIONAL COUNTRY BLUES WONDERS/Adventures of a Psychedelic Cowboy: The twang of Jimmie Dale Gilmore, the abstruseness of Townes Van Zandt and the progressive touches of Gram Parsons---all of which spring from Jersey. If you're ready for cosmic Americana, you're more than ready for this set and it might spoil you for anything that comes along in it's wake. Quirky and different, it's a fast ball down the middle waiting for you to take a swing at it. Fun stuff.
JEFFREY HALFORD/Soul Crusade: An Americana road warrior, Halford dips into the classic sounding southern soul bag this time out that offered up a bunch of cool material that didn't care if you were white or black back in the day. Showing just how much attention they were paying to records made by Rick, Phil, Chips and the Swampers, it's all reflected here in this set that goes way beyond white boys with the blues doing frat rock. It might be low key and under the radar but it manages to fly high on all counts.
WILLIAM FLYNN/Seaside: Go figure. A Kansas guitarist takes a month vacation in Florida with a bunch of his pals and the result is a high octane Wes flavored date that recasts daddio in modern threads and just plain smokes. Hot and tasty throughout, you can't turn up the heat like this if you're sitting around in the sticks smoking jimson all day. These cats are here to play.
MERIDIAN ODYSSEY/Earthshine: A trip to the seventh galaxy for the Space X generation, the accent here is on interplay and vibe rather than exploration. Young lions that know how to play well together and focus on achieving lift off. Solid ensemble work that works.
July 8, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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