CHRIS CORTEZ/Live at Blue Bamboo: A protean guitar man whose reach reaches well beyond him swinging his swinging ax rounds up some pals you know and some you should for a high octane jazz guitar led romp that sounds like it's from a well oiled machine rather than an ad hoc bunch of jazzbos. It's clear that poppa enjoys his work and doesn't feel like it's work letting you know he's the one that let the dogs out. A real reminder of how much fun jazz is.
(Blue Bamboo 28)
COATES HASLIP KALAF/New Dreams: When is a Yellowjacket not a Yellowjacket? How about when he's playing with two of this other pals that he needed to get to. Here, work backwards. Go to Google and tell me who Jimmy Haslip hasn't worked with. Kicking out some high minded stuff in a trio setting, this bunch shows what they can do in a ‘non-commercial' setting and still keep it interesting enough that the jazz police won't have anything to complain about. Here's the proof that everybody needs to take it after hours sometimes but it doesn't mean they have to leave the quality behind.
(Outside In 2221)
ABIOLA/Time: As peripatic in her taste as she in in pursuing passport stamps, picture Sade being amped up and really world beat oriented. That's the starting point. An energetic performer whose as cinematic as she is musical, she's a full on show unto herself and won't quit until she's sure you've had enough. A master class in how to be a real opener.
HANKA G/Universal Ancestry: A Slovak vocalist soaking up jazz and vocal chops in New York doesn't need to write them as long she knows how to deliver them. Pulling tunes form all sources, including her native folk songs, this is a throwback to when vocalists focused on one aspect. A serious, dramatic kind of thrush, no matter where they came from, you can tell her roots run deep. Solid jazz vocal with a nu edge.
(Culture Bridge 12022)
IAN DANTER/Rule of /three: A jack of all trades over the last 40 years, Danter uses his third solo album as a platform to remind you of where he's been over the years. Focusing on bread and butter hard rock no matter what styles peaked in and out over the years he's a cat that has no intention to age gracefully as long as he continues to age well. A smoking dose of hard hitting stuff that hits hard.
JEFF COTTON/Fantasy of Reality: Being Vliet of finger served this old hippie well when he was in service of Captain Beefheart. Still a hippie at heart, he mixes jazzworldrock with trippy lyrics and concepts that can only serve to make any teen aged doper respond with a heartfelt ‘far out‘. Certainly for those that are still into exploring the cosmos.
THE RELAY: A solid four piece bunch of jazzbos that like to play in modern angular style and show how far you can go with a solid dose of simpatico. Sometimes dipping their toes in egghead waters, they know how to deliver a sitting down experience that listeners will really sink their teeth into.
(Same Island 2201)
CIRCUS NO. 9: It's a cinch you're too young to remember when new acoustic music was still an amorphous genre in it's infancy and hitters like Sam Bush, Mike Marshall, Tony Rice, Bela Fleck and a host of others were young whippersnappers just coming out of the gate but this date is a total throwback to those times. Unfortunately this version of the band didn't survive but their chops and bytes are on full display and if you missed the birth of the genre the first time around, here's a version of it to call your own. It's good to see there's still room for heartfelt, honest picking direct from the back porch and that it's alive and well, of sorts.
MEGAN BEE/Cottonwood: One of the great contradictions of the modern songwriter movement, Bee puts forth such simplicity that you don't realize what a hard core award winner she is. With no bombast, she puts across heartfelt tunes about themes of great strum and drang that somehow float above it all. There's just something magical about this folkie that insures you'll be ensnared right from the start. She plays the kind of stuff you knew was out there and refused to give up looking for.
MICK KOLASSA/I'm Just Getting Started: 11 albums in and this white geezer with the blues is delivering testament with the title track. Moving beyond the normal scope of white boy blues, he veers into white boy soul and jazz as well, delivering it all with his usual aplomb and gusto. With a sound and feel like everyone snuck into Muscle Shoals after hours and was drinking hooch out of jelly jars when no one was looking, this might be the rocket fuel that ignites a whole new sound and fury. Solid.
(Endless Blues 72022)
July 15, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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