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ITAI KRISS/The Shark: Here's a truly international, rising jazzbo that brings his flute front and center mixing the vibes and power you'd get if you crossed Herbie Mann with Ali Ryerson. With a presence that would make him right at home in a Steely Dan mix, he knows how to take his flute to Latin destinations via island funk and back to good old bop. With a great sense of everything going on around him Kriss has issued a DIY recording with a lot more on the ball than it should have. Solid stuff throughout.

GREG NAGY/Fell Toward None: A load of white boy blues in the mold of early Bob Seger, Nagy broke big with his debut right out of the box and the Michigan native isn't letting up on the clutch this time out. A high octane belter that took a trip to Detroit to soak up the rhythm and the blues ( as he puts it), this isn't blue eyed soul, this is as gritty as a middle aged white boy gets. With a basic four on the floor that doesn't let up, these blues are here to stay. Hot

EG KIGHT/Lip Service: In the course of five albums, Kight has proven herself to be a force that's here to stay leaving a load of her marks in her wake. With a slew of the classic Capricorn crew in tow on her latest, Kight is right in the moment throughout with a timely release that can't help but make you wonder when she's coming to your town. Contemporary blues is proving to be a whole different wild ride and this set leaves no doubt Kight has hung in there for her 8 seconds. Well done.

PISTOLERA/El Desierto y La Ciudad: An imaginary soundtrack to a Robert Rodriguez spaghetti western meets the sensibility of Friends of Dean Martinez for a multi culti entrancing date that only needs some Ry Cooder overdubs to complete the surreal sound scape dream. The third outing for this crew delivers what they were hinting at on past releases. Not so much an ethnic record as an international record, it's a wild trip south of the border to a desert being chased by urban sprawl. A must for the open eared looking for killer, new kicks.

ARNETT BREWSTER & WOODROW T. GREENWICH/Great Houdini: A couple of old hippies from the Midwest assume some blues alter egos on the level of "Blind Lemon Pledge" but with less obviousness and proceed to deliver the goods as an old time, back porch blues duo. Armed with slide guitar and harmonica---and a real love of the down home blues, these cats play up the coolest stuff this side of a Mississippi John Hurt 60s session. You keep waiting for a joke to be in on, but there isn't one, just some totally cool, accessible blues. If you aren't a purist and want to come along for the ride, this train has a seat for you. An offbeat winner throughout.

ORRIN EVANS/Freedom: Evans reminds us that Philly jazz has it's own distinct flavor that can stand side by side with New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Houston and LA, all of which we should have known/remembered from listening to Grover Washington. Piano man Evans latest in his line of rapid fire recordings is a straight up piano trio date loaded with upper mid-Atlantic swing. Certainly the tough side of the city of brotherly love, this highly groovy date should be high on the list of straight up piano jazz fans. Hot stuff.

RANDY BRECKER with the DR Big Band/The Jazz Ballad Song Book: Opening up with a wildly swinging "All or Nothing At All", you know right away that the ‘ballads' in the title of the album is just to let you know where these songs are coming from, not a description of how they sound. Pairing Brecker with this Danish big band on a set of can't miss tunes is the kind of stuff Verve should be doing, or should have done for him. If this creative, high octane set doesn't convince you to support indie jazz you should stop pretending you are a fan. Dead, solid perfect.

PETER ZAK/Down East: Opening up with some swinging love for Duke Pearson, Zak knows how to lead a swinging piano trio through chestnuts from writers that have worn the beaten path, but not with most of these songs. You don't have to heap the adjectives on this date when the music does the talking for you. The kind of trio date many aspire to but few reach so effortlessly, Zak and his pals are on the money throughout. A must hear/have date for all straight ahead piano jazz fans. Killer stuff.

Volume 34/Number 222
June 12, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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