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NADAV REMEZ/So Far: Here's the debut of a tasty, new modern jazz guitarist that brings some of his more out of the ordinary influences to the mix spicing it up as something decidedly different. Focusing on the ensemble work of his group, you will hear his bent for genre blending but you won't always be able to put your finger on the influence. A decidedly left leaning date, this is a sure bet for sitting down jazz fans who enjoy it angular and not always easy.

LAURA KAHLE/Circular: You think they don't listen to our classic jazz in Oz? Kahle proves otherwise. Coming here with enough chops to work with various Marsalis', she now steps out with her pocket trumpet as a leader and shows she knows her stuff. A solid, high octane blowing date, this is for the sitting down jazz fan that wants to hear something new imbued with the classic spirit. Tasty stuff that doesn't quit.

JEFF "TAIN" WATTS/Family: Certainly one of jazz's heaviest hitters of the last 30 years, this go to sideman leads his way through his seventh solo outing like the sure handed pro he is. Reflecting a swing away from his political work, this is a reflection of where he is at this point in time, looking forward and looking back at things that immediately touch him. Perhaps his friendliest record yet, it's an engaging set that warmly invites you into the tent. Well done.

CINZIA SPATA/Into the Moment: An utterly wonderful record you won't have a clue on what to do with. A jazz vocalist that scats to Keith Jarrett, writes lyrics to Ralph Towner, covers Steve Swallow and Mingus and does it with some smart downtown cats that show their mainstream side as sidemen even though they are leaders. A charming, disarming set like this could only exist outside the margins. A mildly left leaning sitting down jazz date that anyone who ever bought music at Rizzoli's would tell you is insanely top of the chart material. This can turn any time of the day into after hours. Well done.

RENE MARIE/Voice of My Beautiful Country: This set has got to win an award for being a great album that colors so far out of the lines that no amount of paper could contain it. A high water mark for art jazz, Marie's take on Americana by way of intimate jazz settings for a lot of stuff that sounds like America but was never intended to sound like jazz will just blow you away. This is simply one of those records you should just go hear and not bother reading about. An underground classic all the way that paints a whole new picture of jazz vocals.

MIKE LEE & TED CHUBB NEW TRICKS/Alternate Side: Not that we were there but listening to this feels like walking down 52nd Street in New York 60 years ago with some blowing/cutting gig blasting out of the doors of the clubs on the block. It seems to strike some atavistic mental jazz posts in the back of the brain that makes this stand above the typical well meaning, contemporary blowing date. While it's certainly not old man jazz, it seems to splice the best moments from the albums in your grandpa's basement, distilling things to the essence and presenting only the best. This more an homage to Teo Macero or Alfred Lion than it is to any singular player or style. A killer date sure to be loved by anyone looking for a fast ball right down the middle.

DANA FUCHS/Love to Beg: Classic sounding post-Janis AOR bad girl rocker that sounds like she's whipping a power trio behind her into shape. Sampling grrrl power before it had a name, it's more timeless than nostalgic. Not co-incidentally, she did star as Joplin off Broadway and the spirit seems to have tickled more than her fancy. It's not paint by numbers but it's a safe bet if you want something new that's almost a known quantity. Long live the rocker chick!

AGOGIC: After playing with Pat Metheny and David Bowie and hanging around the downtown jazz scene what can you do but return to the Seattle you left 20 years ago, start a label and make some new tea pad jazz because spending the day as an educator is driving you nuts even if the town you once left is now full of jazz and heroin. For the college kid in everyone that needs some head music other than acid rock.

Volume 34/Number 152
April 2, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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