DANA REASON/Angle of Vision: Reason's jazz piano trio is so on point we won't hold her day job of being the director of popular music studies at Oregon state against her. Admitting that this is the first time she really feels the music, whatever revelations brought the talented improviser to new heights were worthwhile ones. A high water mark in sitting down jazz, whether tackling originals or covers, she makes it all her own and we should be glad she wants to share. Tasty stuff throughout that resonates with us as well.
SCOTT JEPPESEN/El Guapo: The west coast MVP sax man steps out with his solo debut and opens the proceeding with something that sounds vaguely like crime jazz from a foreign movie. Ok, he's got our attention right out of the box. Line up a crew of up and coming west coast hitters looking for an opportunity to shine as well, there's something going on here that almost feels like it's the last tango in your headphones. Dandy, smoking stuff that wakes you up like that first cup of coffee in the morning, Jeppesen seems to have moved himself front and center with the greatest of ease. Hot stuff.
SHAULI EINAV/Generations: Jazz sax man Einav only writes a few fingers worth for the handful on display here, but he has the balls to kick it off with one of his own hard bopping originals that just keeps driving with no let up introduces everyone on board, sonically, right out of the box, letting you know everyone came to play and can keep up. Like some of your fave daddio jazz from the 50s, this hard swinging, hard bopping date is a groover right down the middle that can even propel squares to hit on the chick in the black clothes. A real cooker that smokes with the gas on high. Check it out.
IDAN SANTHAUS/There You Are: This record is divided into two big band dates with everyone that knows how to blow like a pro in New York on board and showing their stuff. The kind of stuff you could expect from Stan Kenton when he was doing dates that didn't requite extra showing off, this is the sound of pros that know all about keeping the groove in the grooves. A writer/composer/conductor in the classic sense, Santhaus knows his stuff and knows how to make his point while scoring a lot of points. Bar raising, listening jazz throughout.
BOB EIKE/Happy Little Songs About Futility and Despair: Taken too seriously to be a freek folk record, this is the guitar and voice of a cat that's really been around, hung it up and got found and pulled out of ‘retirement'. Much closer to Joseph Spence than Michael Hurley, this cat doesn't need anymore than his well worn voice, his Texas acoustic guitar and the songs he writes that cut to the chase and cut to the bone. One of those great diamonds in the rough that's such a gasser to discover, you'll want to find this before your friends because it's cool to be first with stuff like this. Llewyn Davis indeed, this is the real thing and you can bet Dave Van Ronk is taking notice! Killer stuff!
TARUN BALANI COLLECTIVE/Sacred World: I think I've listened to too much Weather Report and John McLaughlin to hear the world in this world /jazz date from a New Delhi drummer. Paying his dues and working his way up the ladder, it sounds like Balani absorbed his influences by putting the jazz first and adding the world later coming with a sound that is loaded with uniqueness while retaining accessibility. Sounding like first class sitting down jazz that could have come from any talented pro that loves his work, perhaps this is the opening shot of what is nu world jazz. Whatever you want to call it, it's a winner throughout.
PERU MARAVILLOSO/various: A thoroughly nutty collection that finds the curators digging in the crates, Peruvian old school style. If you are of a certain age, even if you don't know anything that‘s going on here, if you had any kind of urban lifestyle back in the day, this stuff seeped in whether you were listening to the Latin AM station, watching experimental movies or just hitting the mean streets of your urban center. Culled from the 60s and 70s, you might think it's Tito Puente on steroids but it's just a random mix of fun stuff from old school Peru. If you never heard it, it's new to you and any world beater not taken with electronica will lift this set up because it's already a head and shoulders ahead of the pack. Hot stuff.
DAVE SHARP'S SECRET 7/Worlds: For those of you not paying attention last time around, this jazz bass man might have toured with The Melvins but he still isn't the guy from The Alarm. Taking a real, world approach this time out, Sharp makes party music from around the globe with an international cast on board to bring the cred along with the good vibes. Keeping it populist, he sometimes wanders too close to the edge of this being vacation music but something continually snaps it back from the precipice. Remember the party music from "Romancing the Stone?" This falls in a bag close to that--indigenous but not too ethnic, accessible but not jive. Haven't had time to road test it yet but this probably goes well with the kind of drinks that go down real easy at night but make their presence well known the next morning. Well done no matter what part of the globe is being visited.
Volume 37/Number 346
October 13, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record
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