RYAN TRUESDELL/Presents Centennial-Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans: Not since the uncovering of "Saturday's Laughter" kicked off the Duke Ellington centennial and basically birthed all this centennial hype has there been a solid contribution made to an artist's legacy along these lines. With 35 highly respected New York jazzbos knowing a good thing when they see it, this set delivers exactly what the title says. You never know why these things were kept in a drawer to languish, but whether it's Truesdell or whether it's Evans is of little consequence----this is a great find properly delivered as living, breathing music. It's Gil Evans for Christ's sake. He ain't coming this way again. This is a magnificent recording by players that care. Every solid jazzbo should check it out, they won't be disappointed.
LISA McCLOWRY/Sings Acoustic Alchemy: So what happens when you give a lite jazz/new age bunch of songs to a singer with arena rocker companions and let the fur fly? Said jazzbos show up to lend a hand and keep an eye out while Jim Peterik expands upon the songs turning them into arena anthems. You can practically see McClowry pointing around the stadium while singing the lyrics. Hey, when things you don't think will work actually do, why question the magic? The things that come together by accident at Milwaukee Indian casinos, huh? Solid adult pop that's sure to surprise you even if the people behind it have proven they know how to deliver adult music again and again. Check it out.
LIZ MANDEVILLE/Clarksdale: Yes, Mandeville has proven for years that white girls get the blues as well as white boys, and can play them like a mother as well. Finally going DIY for her fifth album, she kicks off her own label in fine style by showing there are lusty white women that make the trek to the west side of Chicago for something other than a drug deal drive by. She shows once again that she can hang with anyone from Bonnie Raitt to Fiona Boys without having to withstand comparisons. Smoking stuff contemporary blues fans will use as an excuse to drink all night at suburban roadhouses, babysitter over time charges be damned. She continues to be the real deal throughout, dig in, dig it.
CURTIS FULLER/Down Home: Sometimes you dig these records by these geezers because they're still standing and it's some kind of sideways nostalgia. Then there's records like this where Fuller sounds as contemporary and vigorous as he did on his Savoy sides, um, a few years back. This pack has been together for seven years and they have the seamlessness that makes it seem like they've been together much longer. A sly update on the daddio music that Fuller helped introduce, this is a smoking little cooker of a date that helps redefine jazz party music. A supremely fine blowing date, it's all can't miss throughout. Check it out.
STEPHANIE NAKASIAN/Show the Way to Get Out of This World: It's a good thing this is a swinging vocalist because the set list is as much of a bummer as the title and you need something to lighten this load before you just pass it by as we wander through the valley of the endless bummer--without any help needed in making it worse. Once she refocuses on the swing being the thing (the opening makes you want to hang your self), the good times roll, in a fashion. If you are looking for a swinging singer and are willing to overlook the bummer aspects of the program, this set will serve you well.
CHAD WACKERMAN/Dreams, Nightmares & Improvisations: With Allan Holdsworth lending a hand, there's brand names the left leaning jazzbo and prog rocker can trust delivering the goods here. With a meeting of the Zappa and Crimson minds running the show, this is what a new age set would sound like to a Crimson/Zappa fan. Without the yuppie bullshit the chant records deliver, Wackerman and pals give you a dose of sonic relief from the under water mortgage blues that's playing nightly on your TV and in your mail. The hard core will love the escape this set provides.
CHRIS BARBER/Memories of My Trip: If you think of Barber at all, you remember him as a cat that jammed with Van Morrison on one of Morrison's 90s side trips. Too bad for you, hipster. This double cd celebrates Barber's 80th birthday and 60th anniversary as a linchpin of the British jazz scene. Showing that he's really taken his trombone around the horn, there's about as much love as you can pack onto a retrospective short of a box set flowing through here. Highlighting his pairings with just about everybody, well known and forgotten, Barber is one grand constant. A real career spanner collection, it's high time you found out what everyone from Brownie McGhee to Eric Clapton already knew. Hot stuff that's the slyest contemporary musical education you'll ever get this side of the George Martin box set.
SCOTT COSSU/Jazz, Boogie & Deja Blues: It's a popular aside for people to say "Google is you friend" when they really want to tell someone to buzz off and look up whatever they are trying to cache on other people's backs. It's particularly poignant for Cossu to cite his Google hits and Wiki page in the liner notes since he once had his actual head actually split open leaving his actual brains and memory to actually spill out into the street. Well, if your memory goes back 30 years, you'll remember that Cossu wasn't always a new ager and that the skin he wore on songs like "Oristana Sojourn" was a clue he was only wearing his new age skin like a sun tan. Going back to his real Music is Medicine days as a real jazzbo, he tackles a set card of whorehouse lite piano jazz, with smoking band, and rolls back the clock nicely while keeping in the moment. Whether new fan or old, this is a welcome post card from a cat that hasn't been gone too long but has been on the sidelines for too long. Smoking piano jazz from a real cooker that's totally back in fine form.
Volume 35/Number 226
June 4, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record
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