DAVID BECKER TRIBUNE/Batavia: A very emotional and personal set for jazz guitarist Becker, I can't relate to the back story here but I can relate to the down tempo moods that are the underpinning and I'll bet anyone that has experienced loss or sadness will understand this collection and find it speaks to them at times when nothing else will. If you take it as music without any side statements, Becker and crew are delivering the goods with some textured playing that really reaches out and touches. Proving yet again the personal nature of listening, this has something universal going through it that makes it go beyond being just another solid NAC outing. Well done.
EHUD ASHERIE/Welcome to New York (Arbors Piano Series V. 21): Ah, the joys of solo, whorehouse piano. Asherie is a young lion that understands the tradition, doesn't tie himself to it's margins and delivers a grand time that anyone who misses Art Tatum will get as soon as they open the wrapper. The songs are all about Harlem or midtown and come from pens as varied as his own to the masters. Simply a killer piano set that turns your headphones into the world's greatest speakeasy. Hotcha!
THE PIZZARELLI BOYS/Desert Island Dreamers: When Mat Domber started Arbors, he probably wasn't thinking about it being the Pizzarelli's home away from home but how lucky we are it turned out that way. Sinatra, McKuen, Led Zep, classic soundtracks, how does it all come together here? The producer willed it. This family can play anything and when they get together with the members of the extended family, they make sparks fly, mostly those low flying, hot embers. This set inspires clichés like ‘it's as much fun to listen to as it must have been to make'. Killer adult jazz that's first class sitting down jazz all the way, but you will find yourself moving around despite yourself.
TOMAS JANZON/Experiences: Hey, even if we never heard your jazz guitar, if you can tell us you have a Heath Brother on board, you've caught our attention. Here's a rising guitar ace that knows his Wes and shows he's knows how to apply it to living jazz history whether running it through chestnuts or classics, leading all the way with great style. Mostly post bop in flavor and attitude, this is a mellow guitar date that is right in the genre's hip pocket. Well done.
TOM JURAVICH/Altar of the Bottom Line: Roots rock singer/songwriter comes in with a well played set of contemporary protest music that could underscore a montage on any recent evening news edition. Praised by Pete Seeger, it proves this cat is in touch with the hardships of Main Street. Protest music like this can be a touchy thing since people doesn't really need to be reminded how crappy things are but Juravich is more like a documentary on HLN than a beacon shining a light on misery in case we aren't reminded enough. Challenging and ear opening throughout.
CLAUDE HAY/Deep Fried Satisfied: A one man band blues roots rocker from down under isn't afraid to use loops to enhance his one man band approach as he fuses blues, funk and skewed college kid goofiness into a down home blues for a condo-ed landscape. You've got to drop the attitude and be ready to sloppy party without pretense or pretension to let this set really work it's magic. Believe it or not, this is the left of center kind of stuff your pre-disco era parents listened to on college radio to get weird with. You could do a lot worse than having this in your musical genes. Fun stuff
MICHAEL PAGAN (played by Colorado Saxophone Quartet)/12 Preludes and Fugues: Jazz in Colorado is far from the dictates of the big apple and as such, the jazz labels out there take some wonderful chances that would raise cognoscenti eyebrows. Here we find a local composer putting together a landmark work of sitting down jazz just for sax. The crew under the baton knows their stuff and knows just how to enchant egghead listeners. While it might be a touch too high minded for the average listener, this is a must for the highbrow that appreciates music he can sit and listen to while it just washes over him. A quality recording no matter how you slice it.
EDEN BRENT/Ain't Got No Troubles: Amazing what a few awards and praise to the high heavens will do for one's confidence. After striking out on her own with a set that blew everyone's ears wide open, Brent is back with a new set that genre splices all her fave southern sounds into a gumbo that Marcia Ball probably wishes she could stir. Jazz, blues, soul, attitude and loads of sass, this is a blues mama for the 21st century strutting her stuff in a smoking way that has to be heard to be believed. While online reports today continue to cry about the declining album sales, sets like this show that regional music is alive and well as it's a spiritual throwback to the best of anything hat could have come out of either Seasaint or Fame. If you want to tell me that Brent isn't adult music's new It girl, you need to clean out your ears. Killer stuff throughout.
Volume 33/Number 298
August 27, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record
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