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RAFI EL/Ay De Mi: After releasing a series of free singles, this multi culti cat finally releases his first proper long player and it's a multi culti extravaganza released in conjunction with a tropical label that can appreciate the South American part of his personal hybrid. As much electronic as it is cultural, whatever it is, there's no dust on it as it takes you down newly well lit dusty back alleys. 50 years after Motown coined the phrase, this is the new sound of young America. Hot stuff that blows the ears open nicely.

ELLY KOURI/I Love You Too Much: Bouncing back from 10 years off on the mommy track, this swinging jazz vocalist dusts off the pipes for a good cause (getting out of the house) and swings her way right back to where she left off. Tasty stuff that's right in the thrush pocket, Kouri is a nice color to have back in the jazz vocal rainbow. Good stuff.

TINSLEY ELLIS/Midnight Blue: Making the long journey from teen age terror to elder statesman, Ellis is still tearing it up and shredding through the night 40 years later, still wearing the mantle of second generation bluesman (enough already?) While cotton fields might have been replaced by Katrina, the sentiment is still the same, no matter what your color or age when you've gone through a big loss that's no fault of your own. Of course, this outing isn't all gloom and doom as native shredabilty gets put to good use. The guy that probably put the Hot in Hotlanta is still delivering the goods and cashing the checks in fine style.

HERB SILVERSTEIN/Monday Morning 10 Original Tunes: A Florida ear doctor gets turned on to jazz by his kid and something clicks making him want to follow in fellow piano playing jazzbo doctor, Denny Zeitlin's footsteps. Does he have the ear for it? Had to say it. Since Silverstein's inspiration was Chick Corea, it's not surprising he leans toward fusion. Since he has an analytic mind, it's not surprising he can calculate this in a different way than the average jazzbo and come out with on the money results. A bright, upbeat set, this is a perfect antidote to bizjazz taking fusion back to the core that made it so exciting in the first place. Check it out.

IAN O'BEIRNE/Glasswork: This sax man is a member of the Glenn Miller Band and an educator but you would think he spends too many nights in smoky clubs where the Robert DeNiro character from "New York, New York" is plying his trade, just a little more melodically. With just the right amount of atavistic spice in the mix, this guy knows how to blow up the perfect storm without letting the apple fall too far from the tree. A nice, tasty workout for that like their after hours jazz to keep it real. Solid.

TIECORO SISSOKO/Keme Borama: The Griots are back in town, kalimbas in tow. Hypnotic music fro2m Mali, this is great stuff for after you've tuned out for the day but want something with passion and blood flow coursing in the air around you. Do you have to understand what they are talking about? Not really, this is one of those sets where the voice can easily function as another instrument for those not fluent in the tongue. Trance with guts? Cool stuff pleasantly out of the ordinary that really fills the bill for the armchair traveler. These guys know their stuff

STEVE DAVIS/For Real: Kicking it off with some classic feeling soul/jazz/funk, Davis and his crew find that sweet spot where mainstream and post bop collide in a bouncy ball fun house. Ensemble playing that doesn't miss a beat, this set of all originals never takes you to that place where you start wishing the gang would break into something like "Compared to What?" so your ears can feel on familiar ground. Smoking, tasty stuff throughout, this is a must for the sitting down jazz fans that like to bounce in their seats as the groove unfurls. Solid!

SARAH MANNING/Harmonious Creature: Some might find this improvising sax player an acquired taste, and a lot of them would be right. With her roots in the free jazz sound of the sixties, it's sounds like she's never paid her dues in a church basement even if she's made some off beat stops along the way. An arts council darling, she knows how to make free jazz for parents that have to get the sitter home early because it's a school night.

Volume 38/Number 70
January 10, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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