GRANT GEISSMAN/Blooz: Jazz's fave Mad man rounds up the usual suspects and more for a groovy, groovathon set that sounds like a missing classic Blue Note date---the kind that was never a ‘hit' but has been passed around lovingly across generations. Produced with the kind of care and attention to detail that could only happen today with largesse from composing a sitcom theme for a show that will be in repeats as long as "I Love Lucy", this set will having you thanking your lucky stars that not everyone has to complain about their studio tan---especially when the fruits of it can be put to such good use. A right on background cat that you've always need to get to know better, this set really drives the point home. A classic in the waiting.
CALVIN KEYS/Blue Keys: Hey crate diggers, it's almost a Black Jazz 50 year reunion when Keys reunites with some old pals and then some for a smoking set that still feels civil rights and unrest in it's grooves---not so surprising when it feels like not much has changed out there over the years. This bunch plays it like they feel it and the feeling is right up front and center. Hot stuff you can count on.
(Wide Hive 367)
GADD GOMEZ CUBER/Center Stage: Fresh from a set that gave the peerless drummer a platform to show his chops beyond wham bam thank you ma'am, here we find a reunion of the Gadd Gang of sorts facing off against the WDR Big Band for a date that refreshes the Gang's greatest hits in a hard charging, fun jazz fun romp. Spirited good time music that really gets the party going, this is the sound of pros at work that refuse to let the core be hollow. There is there there. Well done.
YELLOWJACKETS/Parallel Motion: If competition is good for the market place, then adversity must spur the thorobreds to their kick laps. This bunch of smooth jazz pros that could easily just phone their periodic visits in doesn't stoop to doing that here. Expertly finding that sweet spot where craft meets heart, this is a perfect example of background music that isn't (and never will be). A tasty outing that gives jazzbos some real flavor.
(Mack Avenue 1196)
REDD FOXX/Classic Stand Up Early Years Collection 1946-60: From the bad old days, when a black man had to do whatever it took to get by, this 3 cd set starts out with two tracks of Foxx as a jump blues singer with ten years going by before his comedy career began to flower---when he was paid a whopping $25 dollars for a recording session after paying dues as a Johnny Otis side kick and learning the ropes. Recorded at a time where he was considered ‘blue' and these records were sold under the counter in plain wrappers, the legend that was got formed in these crucibles. With an act that didn't really change much over the years, an awful lot of comedy that grew through the years sprang from these seeds. Yes, it's a collection of real comedy building blocks.
RAMSEY LEWIS/His Eight Finest: The eagle eyed among you will notice that this is a crafty reshuffling of the label's Ramsey Lewis Trio "8 Classic Albums" collection that was out a few years ago with several titles shifted around like Tetris. Taking all subjectiveness out of the picture, the liner notes state that Lewis's best period, of the many that would follow, was with the original trio when Young and Holt were the rest of the band. The sound was simple and the crew hit the heights using it as their rocket fuel. The tunes stand up nearly 70 years later as real jazz for serious ears and it's never too late to enjoy this for the first time.
RICHARD BARATTA/Music in Film-The /Sequel: The preferred session drummer for high flying movie work, Baratta approaches film music from a different direction and his second set is as much of a high flyer as his film work. Surrounded by the session cats from his debut set that have turned into a band over time, the simpatico really adds to the proceedings Far from being a gift shop greatest hits set, the tunes are chosen for their musicality and the swing the players can infuse. This set would never recognize your grand parents rec room. Hot stuff.
JD ALLEN/Americana V. 2: Allen and his trio add Charlie Hunter to the mix and take thoughtful jazz somewhere else neatly making you wonder when he's going to bring someone like Rhiannon Gibbons to the mix. Americana jazz? Well, you have to be there. The sax man with limitless creativity and curiosity takes his boundary breaking spirit as far as he can on one disc and blows the ears open. Broaching a cinematic scale, Allen is a feast for the ears.
GRDINA HELIAS SHIPP/Pathways: The three hell raisers keep the tracks down to radio friendlier lengths on their second outing but are no less nu ECM seekers on their journey. Angular instrumental music for cocktail lounges on Mars, the trio continues to explore in minimalist fashion and sound more and more science fictiony as they go.
GORDON GRDINA'S NOMAD TRIO/Boiling Point: Crime jazz meets the thought police? The restless creatives in this trio seem to be taking civil rights jazz out of the church basement, moving it to the loft and finally tossing it out the window. The improv on display here sounds like it's even surprising the players.
(Astral Spirits 201)
July 29, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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