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BARBARA LEVY DANIELS/Love Lost and Found: Signed to ABC at the suggestion of Ray Charles when he was ruling that roost, Daniels shows that she knows her way around a song with what has to be more brio than when she was an impressive pre-teen. A swinging, club jazz date that takes a full on tip toe through some really old tulips, it's loaded with a classic sound and vibe throughout with the jazzbos on board inspired by having Warren Vache on board as well. Simply a tasty jazz vocal date that hits all the right notes with a grand elegance that makes it a keeper. Well done.

RUDY ROYSTON/303: The drummer's debut is a left leaning progressive jazz lite date that's geared toward getting younger tastes into the tent and encouraging them to stick around. With Jon Irabagon along for the ride, you know this isn't something for smooth jazz fans or moldy figs. With a vibe that feels like 60s jazz dates that took on an Eastern attitude, this isn't a real east meets west kind of date, it's just a fun set that uses the mixmaster liberally. He's paid his dues quickly and has earned the right to freely chart his own course as many will find the journey worth taking with him. If you don't mind a slightly bumpy ride, this excursion can be quite rewarding.

ANITA O'DAY/Have a Merry Christmas With: A dandy new compilation of O'Day's indie, swinging 70s years that finds her and her trio keeping Sinatra's agenda in tact no matter what Father Time has to say about time and tide. With the added bonus of a 1942 live radio track rounding things out, this set is a return to the golden age of broads when a thrush could sell more sex with a nod, a wink and a whiskey rasp than an army of Miley Cyri (the plural form?) can with everything hanging out. The sexiest Christmas stuff this side of Eartha Kitt, the holidays go better with swing.

ANITA O'DAY/My Funny Valentine Live 1955-59: Originally recorded live during the heart of her Verve years, O'Day shows here that she really was Norman Granz' secret weapon for keeping Ella Fitzgerald in line. O'Day wasn't only a firecracker in her own right, she could have stepped right into Fitzgerald's spotlight anytime she would have been needed to jump in. This is a tasty look at a performer in complete control as she speeds it up, slows it down and holds the audience in the palm of her hand. One of those great finds that can only be improved by it's addition to the digital domain. Hot stuff from the prime time.

BEN PATTERSON/Essential Elements: It's a Chicago thing. One night around 10 years ago, Young and Holt were playing a trio date at a downtown restaurant with a bright young piano player that filled Lewis' shoes quite well. Patterson wasn't the kid at the keys but he might well have been based on the showing on this date. Sounding like he ate those classic, early Ramsey Lewis Trio records for breakfast while growing up in Chicago, Patterson delivers classic, Chicago piano trio jazz from deep in the pocket but not from Kinko's. Killer, straight up piano jazz from a cat that will be recognized as a master, this is the right stuff throughout. A wining date piano fans shouldn't miss.
223 (piano series)

BEN WOLFE/From Here I See: Orrin Evans is well on his way as a piano man, but bass ace Wolfe is one cat you know can make piano players look good. Even though Wolfe is the writer and producer on this date, he knows how to give everyone some and that's why he can attract Wynton Marsalis to drop by, have old pal Russ Malone sit in, have Marcus Strickland do some blowing and make it sound like a sax record at the beginning of the date. Way too smart to be a hipster, there's a distinct feel of daddio and old man jazz flowing through this, but it's because he captures the best moves from the forms and pushes them forward. Killer classic feeling jazz that is made for serious listening when you got to have that real music in the air. Hot stuff.
608 (string series)

EMANUELE CISI/Where or When: You know how too many Euro musos have this need to put some special sauce into the mix that isn't really needed? 30 year Italian jazzbo sax vet Cisi has a little bit of that church basement playing in his sound for his overdue American debut but the context feels right as opposed to that contrived feel that spoils too much Euro blowing trying to waft across the pond. Channeling an after hours vibe as he leads his trio, this date is a real, left leaning cooker that has the true jazzbo spirit in it's bytes. Quite the wonderful, new ear opener.
409 (horn series)

HERA/Seven Lines: Polish jazz that goes for a wide ranging multi culti aspect, this is heavily on the art jazz side of the ledger. Solidly played and performed, this is clearly a solid dose of egghead jazz for people who like their music discussions to go deeper than "whoa, cool!". A cacophony that had to have been inspired by early Watt Works productions, mainstreamers will wonder what the hell is going on here but jazz malcontents will find it loaded with Euro ciggy smoking, toe tapping goodness. Hipster, anyone?

Volume 38/Number 50
December 20, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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