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ALI RYERSON JAZZ FLUTE BIG BAND/Game Changer: We haven't heard a new Ryerson record in quite some time. In the time she's been away from our ears, she's been out there trying to raise the respect level for the instrument and the players. It should be no surprise that her new record is one that makes a statement. Rounding up a bunch of killer flute players, she has given rise to her own flute jazz orchestra. With a vibe that feels like it might have come out of Bill Holman or Bill Russo's trunk, this is some stellarly wild sitting down jazz that certainly hits your ears from unexpected angles. With a rhythm section that knows how not to step on any toes, this is a wonderful master class of new sounds that are a gas. A perfect mixture of old and new, Ryerson hits all the right notes yet again.

KEN PEPLOWSKI/Maybe September: At this point in Peplowski's career, about the only thing you can say about any of his new records is how the set card varies, who the back up cats are and chit chat like that because there is absolutely nothing you can say about the sax and clarinet playing other than once again this is a picture of a cat at the top of his game. With several of the markings that define a classic date running throughout, this round up of oldies from various times and tastes is all wrapped up with his talented bow. Any mainstream jazzbo will be thrilled to unwrap that bow to get the goodies within. Check it out.

SUGARAY RAYFORD/Dangerous: A classic sounding and looking blues moaner that's been at it for quite a while but recently started hitting his stride delivers that west side Chicago thing, even if he's from Texas and currently based in California. Contemporary blues is it's own strange little melting pot these days. Whether doing originals or chestnuts, it all fits together like it was originally intended to be a tapestry. Hard hitting ‘traditional' urban blues, Rayford is a gas that can bring out the inner frat boy in the doofiest Goth shoe gazer. Wild stuff throughout.

JOE LOVANO & THE BRUSSELS JAZZ ORCHESTRA/Wild Beauty: If Lovano's storied and towering career were to end this minute, this set could serve as his ultimate achievement. Casting it all aside for his moment of pure art, teaming with the orchestra and Gil Goldstein's charts, this is the one that stands for the ages long after all the commercial considerations have been cast aside. A landmark achievement of sitting down jazz, this is a sonic movie for the jazzbo listener's head. Killer stuff that goes way beyond art jazz into a new realm of emotion packed, visual jazz that takes you someplace else altogether.

KEVIN KASTNING-MARK WINGFIELD/Dark Sonatas: Not only is Kastning one of the greatest guitarists working today, he's one of the most fearlessly prolific as well. Just a few months after releasing another of his other duets, he's back again with a new duet with Wingfield, hardly seeming like it's been a year since the last time these guys went at it. A wild set where you don't realize there's only two of them raising such a racket, this is sort of minimalist and just shoots past all the regular sign posts your would judge this against. For the jazz lounge eon Pluto, this set is a mind bender that may or may not be from outer space. Wild stuff that takes the 30 string guitar to places you haven't thought about yet. A must for the musically fearless.

GUY DAVIS/Juba Dance: Davis has this wild knack for doing a retro thing that pulls on blues iconography from all over that he somehow makes his own in the end. You can hear all your faves and all the greats somewhere in these grooves but it never leaves you rolling your eyes. It doesn't get anymore basic than a singer with his guitar and his harmonica playing sidekick but somehow, in Davis' hands, it's a wonderful racket that's such a kick to hear. If you think that down home stuff isn't for you, this set will get you out on the back porch, kicking back in no time. Killer stuff that really connects.

RICK SHEA/Sweet Bernadine: If your tastes run toward hard working, literate, back 40 folkies like Tom Russell, Chuck Pyle, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and others like that, Shea is sure to be another that you're going to dig as you wonder why he isn't better known. With a very personal edge to his writing and singing, this is classic folkie/troubadour stuff that cuts right to the chase and delivers moves that others can only turn into clichés. Check it out, it's the real deal.

KRISTIN KEY/The Moral of the Story: With 4 years and a jillion miles under her belt since her last record, there's a load of new material and polish on display here. Still keeping her sea level/regular girl appeal in tact, she still comes across as your pal--the one that isn't afraid to step out but not to the extent of being a psycho. Smart delivery, sharp observations and lot of laughs that just don't quit, Key is one of those hard charging comics that hit the ground running when she knew what she wanted to do and hasn't looked back. She's got the special gift that she does chick humor with enough edge that guys can enjoy.

Volume 37/Number 289
August 17 , 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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