HANS THEESSINK & TERRY EVANS/Delta Time: When we first heard Theessink doing "When the Man Comes Around" last year, we knew instantly why he had such a good reputation as a Euroblues/folkie. This time around Ry Cooder, who doesn't have to do sessions for the money, drops by to lend a hand and an imprimatur to American audiences. Evans Mississippi roots must have made a real impact on Theessink as this sounds like something that was totally, natchurly born in the delta. Cooder just does a drive by but the over all sound is like a soundtrack Cooder did for a movie set in the southwest or the delta. One of the greatest back porch albums to come along this year, this is just one of those too good to be true records, plain and simple. If you haven't been bitten by the late night, acoustic blues sound, this set is sure to put you on a course you won't be coming back from soon. Killer!
BIG WALKER/Root Walking: Here's a different kind of roots record that's long overdue. Otis Taylor started looking into music from slavery times a few years back. Walker takes the concept away from the arts councils and guilty, white liberals and really cuts to the chase. Setting slave poems from the 1700s to music (after cleaning them up a bit for contemporary sensitivities) and really delivers a roots record. You know the stuff here was written from the heart. Giving this a post war electric blues sensibility musically, this is going to blow away any modern blues fan looking for something on a par with the Muddy Waters/Willie Dixon stuff that was going out of the south side of Chicago over 40 years ago. Hot stuff that catches you by surprise and doesn't let go. Check it out.
ROMAN FILIU/Musae: Essentially Cuban jazz without being limited by geography or politics, Filiu has paid his dues and enjoys creative freedom motivated by making the most of his five sense where ever he goes. While there are strong elements of church basement flavored Coltrane, this sets up a nice contemporary groove that veers to the left throughout. Sometimes coming a touch too close to art jazz for it's own good, it's done more with a sense of peeking around corners than going off the rails. Filiu has played with a lot of first call cats and he's about to make a mark under his own name. Check it out.
ERIC PERSON/Thoughts on God: The idea of a jazz mass is nothing new. Dave Holland sax associate Person brings God into his jazz scope and does it with a bunch of first call players that are into the bold, joyful side of expression. More about spirituality through music than preaching and bringing the hellfire, Person really knows the meaning of making a joyful noise. Crowd funded by Kickstarter, this music has a message delivered in a most righteous way.
AVERY SHARPE/Ain't I a Woman: There's more to black pride and black history than rhetoric and sloganeering that make white people turn their backs and roll their eyes and Sharpe does a great job letting fly with his own version of ‘never again' with this mostly musical, impressionistic look back at Sojourner Truth, a key figure in pre-Civil War civil rights fights. One of the more interesting and creative bass players out there, he sees the value in keeping this away from arts councils and delivering the message as he sees fit, artistically and musically. With a load of first call pals that know how to keep it real as well as keep it righteous, this jazz suite is a success on many levels. Well done.
NU BLU/Nail by Nail: I think this record is an amazing example of what having faith will do. Any long time reader of this site sending something in to be reviewed probably wouldn't think of sending a bluegrass/white gospel session to this meat grinder, especially in light of what we write about and enjoy. Top it off with a lovely handwritten note from the lead singer and no real show biz trappings in the presentation despite drawing songs from pros like Kerry Chater and Donna Ulisse. Well guess what? A pale horse wasn't galloping around the corner. These kids play it straight and are more about sending positive lyric messages than amping up the hellfire that awaits. And they sing and play like angels that walk among us. This is a lovely, four star/thumbs up record that wouldn't have otherwise crossed my path if not for the reach of the Internet and these kids belief in their abilities for which they can thank their Creator (no sarcasm, really). The religious/spiritual market wouldn't be so marginalized if there was more music like this. Well done.
KALLE KALIMA & K-18/Out to Lynch: The title of this experimental guitarist's newest might be a little unsettling, but it's a foreigner's cute reference to this being a tribute to the music of David Lynch's movies. The intersection of interests of left leaning jazzbos and David Lynch fans, this is everything you would expect from music coming from a place way out in left field for starters. If you know the terrain covered, this will be up your alley. Tourists, beware, you probably aren't ready for it.
WADADA LEO SMITH & LOUIS MONOLO-MONOLO/Ancestors: In which we find free jazz hurtling down the stairs to the church basement as this accomplished trumpet/percussion duo do as much as they can with their oddly paired instruments. Coaxing as much music as can be in this setting, all that's missing to give this set the proper staging is some black clothes and blunts.
Volume 35/Number 323
September 8, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record
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