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JAY D'AMICO QUINTET/Tango Caliente(Jazz Under Glass): This set of originals by this jazz piano man isn't strictly tango but it's not jazz you have to keep under glass because, even though it's classy, it's not afraid to get it's hands dirty. Here's a cat that grew up hearing piano trio jazz and whatever ethnic jazz was circulating out the doors and into the streets in early 60s New York. With enough world/ethic fusion lite coursing through the music's veins, it's welcoming enough that the nascent arm chair traveler will feel comfortable entering this tent and hanging around to see what's next. Richie Vitale sounds like he had a few Miles Davis/Gil Evans records for breakfast along the way giving this set loads of references you'll have a gas picking through and out. Solid jazzbo stuff from cats that take the form seriously.

STEVE HECKMAN Quartet-Quintet/Born to be Blue: A sax man admired by Stan Getz, Heckman gets in touch with his inner Getz on this outing where he hit's the lyricism in the music and gives his smart crew featuring Howard Alden room to bring even more shine to the silver disc that brings it all home. Swinging smartly throughout, Heckman gives this boatload of oldies enough freshening that you won't mind another ride through the forest with these evergreens. With an almost after hours feel , this set is in the pocket throughout and never lets you down.

CHRISTIAN McBRIDE & Inside Straight:/People Music: The only thing I hate to say about McBride is that he's not a young lion any more--even if he still thinks like one. The proof of that pudding is the established young bloods he's brought along for the ride on this edition of Inside Straight. If you're one o the few unfamiliar with this bass ace, it's time for you to get on the trolley. This high octane, free swinging set that bridges so many things within the jazz realm is a mind blower. Bringing it all together with a single minded belief in jazz as the universal language, McBride has it all on the ball here, like never before if you can even picture that. This is everything you want in a contemporary jazz date. Hot stuff.

CECILE McLORIN SALVANT/Womanchild: It's too easy for people that don't know what they are talking about to compare Salvant to Billie Holliday or Nina Simone but that isn't where she's at. Salvant has more in common with the blues sisters of the 30s that were doing it for themselves. How her and the band found the place to find that feel is amazing. If you want to compare her to a lioness of the past, think Eartha Kitt on a chill pill. She's sexy, she's a woman and she easily reminds you of both facts without hitting you over the head with it. A sexy set that lands where smoky jazz meets the blues and legends are made. Well done.

MICHELLE POLLACE/New Beginning: Heading out on her own after being in bands, Pollace brings the Latin to the jazz and creates wonderful cocktail jazz that is a gasser. She doesn't feel a need to change the world and that's fine with us, sometimes we're really happy just to have something that keeps the good times rolling. With more gusto than simple background music, it's clear Pollace is a real player but has no qualms about being an entertainer if she's going to make her living as an entertainer. She's got such a driving style that works so well that it doesn't phase you when the up-tempo numbers just keep coming. Well done.

JAN SHAPIRO/Piano Bar After Hours: With Manhattan losing another long time boite and Elaine Stritch deciding at 88 it's time to retire, you should turn your gaze to Shapiro. A doyenne of when piano bars really were piano bars, Shapiro serves up a dozen vocal/piano duets that give her no place to hide, not that she needs one. Obviously knowing how to hold an audience/the listener in the palm of her hand, this collection moves off the contemporary beaten path of oldies and brings a set of other deserving classics into focus. You can't go wrong with the song list and you can't go wrong with what Shapiro does with them. Whether you're a listener of a certain age or not, anyone looking to revel in a heartfelt, top shelf performance will spread the word this set is all aces. Well done.

JULIO BOTTI/Tango Nostalgias: Here's a sure bet for tango fans in the know or those that want to be tango fans. Pablo Ziegler writes new arrangements of some of his classics for this Argentinean sax man then turns the keys to his regular band over to the new kid. Sax is not normally associated with tango and for those of you who don't recognize the name Ziegler, to the words chief sidekick of Piazzolla mean anything to you? Thought so. Yep, it's a killer blend of old and new as the youngblood with a new to the form ax sets sail under the ye of the master. Properly a&r-ed and produced, this is music only stops soaring high when it dips to lift you up and carry you away. A new link in the tango chain has been forged in this stunning release. Check it out.

SWINGADELIC/Toussaintville: If you aren't familiar with this band yet, they are called a repertoire band. This means they do tribute records that aren't cheesy. The stuff they've done so far has always impressed. This time out, they single out another august cat that doesn't seem to get the love he deserves, Allen Toussaint, who turned 75 this January and has left over 50 years of hits in his wake from all eras, styles and modes, even if this is one of the cats that write the book on Nawlins as we know it. Once again, no cheese here. Check this out and give the band and the master the proper love this set fills the air with.

Volume 37/Number 155
April 5, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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