LAUREN HENDERSON/La Bruja: It's like Paul Simon once said ‘these are the days of miracle and wonder'. Here we find a black woman finding herself at the apex of being several oppressed minorities at once at a time when we thought this stuff was behind us. Picking up the cudgel, she attacks the politics of the times with an Afro-Latin jazz experience where you might not know what she's singing about making it all that much more subversive. Set against a stylish Latin jazz background, this political treatise takes civil rights jazz to a whole nu level. Never dissonant and never obviously preachy, this is a medium with a message!
BRIAN LYNCH & Spheres of Influence/Songbook V. 2-Dance the Way You Want to: Another set of reclaiming his works for other labels across the course of his career, trumpeter Lynch serves up a double disc set with various versions of this discs main course. Swinging with loads of Latin jazz elements, the Grammy winner steps up to the plate with another sure winner his fans can spread the word about.
(Holistic Music Works 22)
NEIL SWAINSON/Fire in the West: It took 35 years for Canada's bass ace to get around to making his second album so he stacked the deck with some real hitters for a straight ahead set that shows up and hits all the right notes. A solid work that gives you a peek at real musos let loose to do their thing, this is the kind of set that doesn't need adjectives or modifiers you have to wade through in order to just put it on and enjoy. Well done.
MIKE CLARK & LEON LEE DORSEY/Blues on Top: The fifth entry in this rhythm sections series of rotating piano chairs finds Mike LeDonne hitting the keys from the hot seat and keeping the series alive and well. A classic piano trio sound, this driving straight ahead set is a bad ass swinger that clears the dross from the palette in no time flat. Just what your ears need to clear out the crap that's been flooding them lately.
(Jazz Avenue 1)
AARON LIDDARD/Nylon Man: The UK based multi instrumentalist is a treasure yet to be found on these shores. Having a special knack for delivering a cinematic feeling jazzy soul set, this album the culmination of 12 years in the making giving it plenty of room to absorb plenty of vibes. The kind of set that has so much going on that you owe it to yourself to sit down and give it a real listening, the breadth of the experience is wildly ear opening.
LYNN RILEY/Head to the Sky: The latest in a growing line of saxy ladies, Riley can blow up a jazzy storm whether it be Beatles, world jazz or original. A little dynamo that serves to remind us how good things can come in small packages, you can tell that momma loves her work and doesn't think of it as a job. A fine introduction.
(Ru Ba Groov)
MIKE CLEMENT/Unfinished Business: Chef Paul used to take high umbrage when someone would tell him if it didn't burn your tongue it wasn't Cajun. Same applies here. This Nawlins guitarist goes retro without nostalgia to serve up a revisited 60s jazz organ trio date that's plenty hot without burning your tongue. Tasty, swinging and grooving, this is a killer feel good record that doesn't need anymore spice.
YUKA MITO/Love in the City: The sassy, swinging thrush reconvenes her original Allan Farnham Covid interrupted trio with a few ringers and a bigger dose of swing. Covering the water front in a way that's clearly more club than cabaret, the knowledge, depth and appreciation for the form make this really pop. A winner that holds it's own against all comers.
ANTONIO ADOLFO/Octet and Originals: Having given us "Pretty World" over 50 years ago and having a well recorded catalog, you'd think that Adolfo would have done a better job of blowing his own horn all these years. With an international career that's really come to life over the last 20 years, here he finally tips the cap to himself instead of other players and finally let's us in on what a hidden treasure he is. A real hydra of a talent, let there finally be no doubt that he's just as mighty as Jobim and any other of his contemporaries. Very much the great album Creed Taylor forgot to make in the 60s.
DAVE SLONAKER BIG BAND/Convergency: When a commercial musician gets the chance to show us where his heart is, something special can really come out of it. A well decorated Hollywood studio rat finally comes out with his second album a decade later and this should be a fellow Grammy nominee as well. With players he's known for up to 40 years staffing this big band, his charts are immaculate, the playing impressive and the swing is undoubtable. Class, classy and classic, this big band date is one for the record books. Well done.
July 30, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record
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