WARREN VACHE-JOHN ALLRED QUINTET/Top Shelf: Except for a ringer by the session bass player, this set is mostly oldies but goodies and the crew on board knows how to swing it righteously. Playing seamlessly together, this is one swinging, bopping unit with ace trombone and cornet players leading the way. The kind of set that inspires you to listen more than talk, this is simply top shelf playing throughout that invites you to let it do all the work while you tune out everything else. Certainly classic sounding, this isn't an exercise in dusting off classics or a busman's holiday---it's just a wonderfully played, straight ahead date that'll knock your socks off. Well done!
DAVE BENNETT/Clarinet is King (Songs of Great Clarinetists): Now that Bennett is moving off the Benny Goodman centennial and into other clarinet territory, I put this on and was musing while getting into the first track that if this had a Bennettization of "Stranger on the Shore" this would be a perfect follow up to his last set. Bang. There it was, the next track, and Bennett does not disappoint. Currently in a phase of expanding the clarinet lexicon by bringing the classics into the present and giving something old a new breath, this cat could be the worst thing to happen to red licorice if he doesn't get a red clarinet. There is still a place for beautiful music that isn't a euphemism for easy listening and Bennett is one of the frontal attack force. A must for mainstream jazzbos!
ALBERT CASTIGLIA/Keepin On: He might have only been with Junior Wells for two years before Wells died, but it was enough to power the rocket fuel that zinged him out of his Florida blues cocoon and into the high octane of power trio blues that's a throw back to the Chicago punch press industrial blues with a load of today mixed in. Just the kind of cat you would expect to open for ZZ Top, Castiglia and his two merry men stir it up as well as they tear it up. Hard core, electric blues that would make Mike Bloomfield smile and know he did good with what he left behind. This guy is a winner and he's got the awards to prove it.
JOEL YENNIOR TRIO/Big City Circus: Three progressive jazzbos come together in this trombone led, bass less trio and kick it out with something different. With a set card that mixes covers and originals in a fine manner, the bone is mixed right up front and if you dig horn music that's front and center by a cat that knows how to step up and deliver the goods, this ace of a sitting down jazz set could easily find it's way into your headphones as you hitting the running trail. Zesty, tasty stuff that can't be pinned down, it is safe to say it's a great look at some pros in action letting nothing get in the way of the sound.
BROOKLYN JAZZ UNDERGROUND
OWEN HOWARD/Drum Lore: One of the top creative drummers on the scene today takes a delightful look back at where he came from by paying tribute to come of the great jazz drummers of history by hitting the skins on their own formidable compositions showing just how much creative can come forward from the back of the proscenium. A real high octane set that covers it from the 30s to now, Howard will not be in the background much longer with depth showcases like this showing he knows how to give everyone some. Tasty throughout, this is a delightful way to hear the drums greatest hits. Check it out.
MIKE MAINIERI/Crescent: Mainieri has worn many skins over the course of his career. When you own your own label, you have the freedom to do it your way as well. This double cd is the product of passion throughout. The vibe player teams with sax man Charlie Mariano, in what was his last recording, and bassist Dieter Ilg, for Mainieri's tribute to John Coltrane. Recorded as mostly first takes, real musos and hard core Coltrane fans will get it with ease, casual listeners might just as easily write this off as something you need to be high to get. Their loss. Mariano's playing is so soulful he might as well be Sonny Rollins playing under a bridge with a hat on the ground in front of him. This is the kind of set that separates the real jazzbos from the pork pie hat wearers trying to glom style in thrift stores.
BUSELLI-WALLARAB JAZZ ORCHESTRA/Mezzanine: Either these guys record a lot or I'm losing track of how fast time is going by. A jazz orchestra that will hit home with any kid whose parents played anything by Marty Paich when they were growing up, this crew has a great handle on the seamless tapestry of sound that had you acting like a Vegas swinger singing into a hairbrush in the floor to ceiling mirror in the living room. More attuned to accessibility than Maria Schneider or typical Carla Bley, this is a first rate go-to instrumental set that let's the jazz speak for itself. Great stuff throughout that could single handedly revive big band altogether.
TAKAO IWAKI/Introducing: I met this girl in Malibu that was a mainstay on cruise ship lounges and she smoked. Iwaki makes his way in the same fashion and it just proves there's some pretty mighty talent drifting around at sea you don't often get to hear. Looking like the profile of the typical earnest Asian kid that always got better grades than the rest of us gringos, this sax man was a leader in Japan at an early age before heading off to Berklee and then the world of cruise ships. Honing his chops as a 60s flavored jazz swinger with the kind of airy, hot jazz/pop that powered tracks like "In Crowd" this is the kind of classic cocktail jazz that always hits your sweet tooth for it smack dab in the middle. Hey matey, holler "Ahoy" some time, will ya? Killer stuff throughout.
Volume 33/Number 256
July 16, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record
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