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MATT PARKER/Worlds Put Together: Au currant hipster jazz from a 33 year old cat that looks like he played with Al Hirt back in the day and forgoes a lot of current accoutrements to appear eccentric while denying his eccentricities. To further this study in contradictions, he makes his debut a reflection of what he wants to play rather than a recapitulation of his ‘day job' playing. Ready for a trip to the church basement for some civil rights jazz with this dude? Well, now we know what happens when you move Fort Lauderdale to Brooklyn and let things simmer.

TOKYO STRING QUARTET/Dvorak Smetana: Composers that were considered opposites during the Czech renaissance, they now come together in the public mind's eye. TSQ hits the ground running giving this music a stellar setting with a crisp sound that grabs you right off before you even involve yourself in the music. Raising the bar for anyone that want to try this, this chamber group is not an example of Sunday afternoon arts club library music. These pros are at the top of their game delivering a lovely, loving performance that captivates from start to finish. These two Czechs probably never sounded so good.

GARRICK OHLSSON/Griffes Piano Music: Charles Griffes, an American classical composer that's never really gotten his proper due, finds his music in the solo piano hands of Ohlsson who seems to be the right man at the right time to bring Griffes some overdue love. Presented as a moving, chamber music collection, the preludes, sonatas and sketches are given proper gravitas giving the listener a break from warhorse repertoire and a whole new vista to explore. A fine recording.

JON WIRTZ/Tourist: Percolating along, racking up high flying credits, this piano jazzbo hasn't been standing still whenever there was an opportunity to hone his chops and expand his horizons---all of which culminates in this tasty contemporary fusionish romp that acknowledges what's going on in the streets as well as on the avenues. A multi textured set, this high octane jazzbo steps out on his first set in a few years with energy and passion holding the wheel as much as his chops are. Best heard through forward thinking ears, there's as much dalliance here with early Mothers as there is with later Weather Report. A nice bet for the open eared jazzbo.

TOMMY EMANUEL-MARTIN TAYLOR/The Colonel & the Governor: That these two guitar master/monsters should join forces and create a set that's the spiritual descendant of the Chester & Lester duets is no surprise other than why it took so long. That they can open the album with treacle like "I Won't Last a Day Without You" and make it a classic is testimony that their chops are off the charts. If I have to explain the Chester & Lester duets to you, you're hopeless. If you know what I'm talking about, quit wasting time and grab this winner. Killer stuff the likes of which hasn't been heard new in a good 40 years.

MARC CARY/For the Love of Abbey: A very personal solo piano set in which multi talented Cary focuses on the impact of his 12 years as a sideman for Abbey Lincoln. You can feel the passion in the playing and if you were enough of a connoisseur to keep digging Lincoln up to the end, this set will speak to you loud and clear. It's a wealth of jazz history through an intense, personal prism.

ANDY SNITZER/The Rhythm: The sax man that powers the sound behind a load of contemporary, classic rock takes some down time between name brand tours in his home studio to get back to his roots and serves up some urban fusion, kicking it out with pals digging the same smooth jazz groove. Tasty stuff that's easily familiar without being generic in it's newness, he gives you room to play games wondering about what was in his head. For instance, the track "Candy" sounds like something Candy Dulfer would lay down. The perfect good time tunes to come along in time for summer listening.

STEVEN LUGERNER/For We Have Heard: Aligning with dyed in the wool jazzbos like Matt Wilson and Myra Melford, Lugerner lets the improvisers improvise on his impression of the book of Joshua. Anyone who isn't really into art jazz can appreciate the chops here getting to have their day but in the end will probably scratch their heads and go ‘huh'?

Volume 37/Number 177
April 27, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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