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CYPRESS STRING QUARTET/The American Album: We asked one of our fave classical music tourists what they thought of this album and they were completely knocked out. Not knowing much about classical music but knowing what they like, they were blown away by the classy playing of this string quartet and they were blown away by the quality and presentation of the material. High brow and high minded without being stuffy, this certainly qualifies as listening for grown ups, but to the group's credit, they play with an accessibility that seems geared to bringing new people into the tent ultimately to keep the music alive. Playing from the heart on works that were mostly foreigner's views of America, it's played from the heart with proper amounts of passion. The kind of record that's a cut above throughout, this is must hearing for any fan of music across a wide spectrum and certainly required for classical fans. A winner throughout that raises the bar.

JEFF COFFIN & the Mu'tet/Live: You know all those cool players on stage in your fave bands that make great sounds and have weird looks? Ever wonder what they do when the band isn't on the road? Well, it sounds like they get together for their own busmen holidays and kick out the jams their way giving voice to the sounds they'd really like to make behind the superstars they back up. Way more of a jazzbo than Nashville deserves, Coffin steps away from Dave Matthews and Bela Fleck for one of his occasional sax romps with a glittering crew bringing up the rear. Left leaning jazz that defies convenient pigeon holing, it's to the right of free and progressive mixing the jam band ethic with solid jazz chops under pressure looking for escape. Maybe this is the leading edge of nu old man jazz as it's highly influenced by 60s Miles and Weather Report and that adds up to over 40 years ago no matter how well these players keep it hot and current. Yeah, nu old man jazz that moldy figs might think they get but really needs young blood to carry it along. Hey, this set is a bitch and I'm sorry I missed the live recording of it at Space in Evanston, IL. Screw drinking Five Hour Energy, this is the refresher you really need----it's like Red Bull without the sugar. Hot stuff.

YOKO MIWA TRIO/Live at Scullers Jazz Club: What can you say about a jazz piano lady that can mix originals with Lou Reed, Steven Tyler and Steve Allen and make it all come out jazz? Probably nothing we didn't say last time around when we encountered her for the first time. Maybe we'll add that Boston should quit hogging her and let the rest of us see her live once in a while. Simply a first class, straight up, straight ahead player whose sole mission is to step up and deliver the goods, this is solid playing that's as good as it gets. In the pocket throughout, this is what jazz trios are all about. A winner.

PETER OPRISKO/Ring a Ding Romance: Here's what the great maw of time does if you don't have a technical ear and doubt your own opinions--it steps in the way of something you might otherwise enjoy. No one called Matt Munro or Jack Jones a Sinatra imitator. Now that the Chairman is gone and has left us Buble, imitators, tributes and wannabes, it's too easy to be lazy and lump someone in to an easy bag and move on to the next. Oprisko isn't a Sinatra wannabe. He's a cat that loves the old tunes, wears his Sinatra influences proudly but delivers the goods in how own fashion because of breath control, passion and that certain special sauce that impressive players bring to the proceedings. A dandy tour through a dandy collection of oldies by a tour guide that knows his way around, the singer and the band are all cooking and this is a good time not to be missed. A solid vocal date that exists outside of time and tide and stands out accordingly.

KAYLA TAYLOR JAZZ/You'd Be Surprised: Bringing a sultry, samba lite jazz flow to a collection of oldies that mostly haven't been beaten to death, it's kind of interesting to hear some of the more traditionally manic tunes done in a more measured style. A jazz diva in the making, Taylor doesn't need to new stuff when there's so many chestnuts that she can microwave with a little water and make them tasty all over again. A solid vocal set that works throughout.

Volume 34/Number 319
September 17, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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