ANYA MALKIEL/From the Heart: The Bay area continues to show how much richness in jazz it still has to be mined there. A follower of the hard bitten broad school of jazz vocal, the comparisons to the obvious are unavoidable, but her and her jazzbo crew know how to add the special sauce so you don't roll your eyes and reach for the Nina Simone, Carmen McRae etc. With some adventurous oldies song choices lighting the way, this is fun stuff that makes great listening for any real jazz vocal fan. Well done.
LORRAINE FEATHER/Attachments: The perennial cutie pie saddles up for her 8th record since the turn of the century. Her first call pals are on board and, no surprise, it's another winner. Not liking to be a sitting duck, this set moves into some wild, new territory for Feather as the lyrics and delivery tend toward the classic era Joni Mitchell confessional verse. The sound is Americana meets new age. Everybody around her on this outing is jazzbo through and through but there's a load of change in the air for everyone. Whether grandma or granddaughter, any lasses jonesing for classic singer/songwriter sounds will come away from this with a full force recommendation of their lips. Hot stuff throughout.
JAMES ZOLLAR/It's All Good People: The aging tyro finds a load of Brazilian funk in his trumpet as he sails into middle age sounding like he's still a youngster with a lot of depth. Following in Miles footsteps, adding a sense of humor, more than a soupcon of funk and years of chops that just keep getting honed more and more, this is killer date of jazz from the streets that don't run through tony neighborhoods. Killer blowing throughout, this high octane reflection of the roads he's been and the roads yet to come is a wonder. Sizzling, hot stuff throughout.
RESONANCE/Introductions: What was once a duo is now a big band that knows how to find the varied grooviness in Beatles, Holst, Ellington and Miles all at once. Where chamber meets large band and cool runs into swing, this is where it all comes together for this crew. A solid bet for any one looking for listening jazz/contemporary instrumental music, don't go mistaking this for dinner music because it's so much more. And it's sophisticated without being stiff. Check it out.
DEUTER/Dream Time: With joyful, friendly music that sounds like it's planted 180 degrees away from what's headlining your fave news websites these days, there's such a childlike wonder to this set that some of the instruments sound like they are actually kids toys. The sound of the country lane in your mind where you're eating ice cream that just started to run down the side of the cone and on to the back side of your hand is what this music feels like. Just to finish off the motif, it's the kind of mood where you enjoy licking the back of your hand rather than holler ‘goddamnit'. When you have a catalog as large as Deuter's some of it can run together and some of it may be hard to pick out as top shelf but this set is clearly one of his classics. A first call new age set, it keeps an eye on the mass market and is just the thing that keeps it's purity but finds a way to bring a bunch of new fans into the tent. A winner throughout.
MUSIC FOR MASSAGE/various: Been thinking the next time you tip your massage therapist you want to give her a new record to freshen up her music rack? Here's a good choice. New Earth gathers cuts from four of their award winning players and groups them into an hour long session that'll more than take care you're your 50 minute hour on the table. Not at all drippy or banged out on dated electronics, these soundscapes will help you drift away to the head space you really want to occupy. Cool stuff for those in the healing arts to have in the background.
CHINMAYA DUNSTER/Meditation Ragas: A much deeper record than what you might think of when you generally think of raga music, Dunster keeps an eye on western sounds, fuses them nicely and you get an interesting, wide open sound as a result. Skillfully crafted so are never left with a feeling of dead space, you can enjoy this on the massage table or when getting massaged on the floor (wink, wink). Add some incense and sweet wine and exotica lite in the best possible way will be yours. Check it out.
WILL LEE/Love Gratitude and Other Distractions: When you've had steady employment as part of the world's most dangerous band for over 30 years, still have time to play with everyone when they need a crack bass player and tour as one of the Fab Faux, it shouldn't be strange that it takes 20 years between solo albums. With a guest list of everyone who's anyone showing up, Lee and his chop meister gang push the envelope on the future of progressive pop showing that age ain't nothing but a number and those well into their AARP years don't have to have any dust on them. With just about everybody well outside their recognized comfort zones, this set blasts your ears open as everyone mixmasters in the stuff they know and grow even more from the cross pollination. Heady stuff that takes contemporary rock fans places they've only heard in dreams.
Volume 37/Number 267
July 26 , 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record
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