JOHN BROWN/Quiet Time: It says a lot for a jazzbo when he can slow it down and still swing. Taking it to church kind of like the way the Saturday Night Live Band does over the closing credits, the bass ace takes the set card around the horn this time out forsaking Duke for Barry Manilow and James Taylor but still keeping Lonnie Smith and Gerald Wilson in mind. Easily jazz that was made for scotch and kicking back as the world drifts by, this raises the bar for sitting down jazz and delivers mightily. Solid stuff that won't let you down.
TIMOTHY WENZEL/River Serene: You have to hand it to this new age cat. He starts out with something that should invoke yawns even before you play it, but delivers something wonderful that defies expectations. A new age record using rivers as a sonic, impressionistic metaphor? Quit rolling your eyes! Knowing his way around electronics and acoustics quite nicely, Wenzel shows the way here that you just have to let the river take you where it will. A peaceful, enchanting set, Huck Finn never had it so good when the river took him along. Well done.
DAN CHADBURN/Nocturnes: They call DC Chocolate City and yet, here's a transplanted Oregonian plying new age piano in the midst of it all. A well traveled cat that doesn't seem to let anything escape his attention, Chadburn's impressionistic take on night time is right on the money throughout. Keeping in mind he is an entertainer as well, it feels like he brushes his ego aside to connect with the listener in a pure state. The kind of stuff that gives new age a good name with the general public, Chadburn is the kind of player you discover by accident and get your mind blown. Hot stuff.
CAROLINE DAHL/Devil Digit Boogie Woogie: I'm not sure if it's a blessing or a curse to say this, but if you like albums by The Band, this solo piano boogie will take away the sting while Elliot Landy's book is in production and you realize only two of the original members are left (although the later day version of The Band is mostly around and they cook, but that's another story). With as much rollick as one person can pack into the bytes, Dahl rolls out the barrel, rolls out the red carpet and arrives in a sonic Rolls Royce. Playing with the kind of verve and brio on this set of originals that will inspire wannabes to play when they should remain rapt listeners, boogie piano might generally exist in it's own time zone but this set is a gasser for all. Hot stuff throughout.
LARRY GELB TRIO/Love Song of Ian Ops: With a lifetime of music under his belt, much of it seen from the top, Gelb and his jazz trio play like they are playing with an easy swing for the sheer joy of it. Certainly playing like they have nothing to prove, this set is loaded with the kind of vibe that's so easy to chase but is so hard to capture. Whether original, cover or classic, Gelb leads the way in fine style making this a must for any ears that love sitting down, mainstream jazz served just right. Well done.
RUSS NOLAN/Relentless: Can a white boy go Latin without leaving telltale sonic traces akin to the clumsy, white guy dance in his wake? Well let's see, could Getz pull a samba out of his sax? Nolan continues to show that he can, but also that he like to turn the caliente up a notch, still leaving no traces of the clumsy, white guy dance anywhere, even at the margins. Smoking sax stuff loaded with originals that show Nolan knows how to bring it, if you don't think this music wasn't made for being water side at sundown with a hint of bug repellant in the air, the problem is with you. Bring on the cocktails and let the conversation have ‘awkward silences'. Good times.
REBECCA DuMAINE & The Dave Miller Trio/Better Than Anything: With a family background in supper club jazz, daughter and dad know how to swing when it's time to take off the gloves. The swinging jazz singer has her dad on piano watching her back and it just shows that it never hurts to have poppa keeping an eye on you. There's nothing here to prove and a good time is had by all, which sometimes is more than enough reason to check it out.
PJ RASMUSSEN/Another Adventure: With his second set in less than a year, Rasmussen shows where his jazz head is at---somewhere in the Bluenote vaults at least 20 years before he was born. Before Basie and Rich and the rest started recording Beatles covers for self preservation, there was a window in the first part of the sixties where there was still plenty of room for invention in jazz and Rasmussen has his receiver tuned to that frequency. Smart stuff throughout, sitting down jazzbos might find this set more to their liking than others as there's a cerebral but not pedant edge to the proceedings. It's certainly the kind of stuff that would have had George Russell smiling as it's only borders are the edges of Rasmussen's imagination. Solid stuff throughout that really hit's the target.
Volume 38/Number 71
January 11, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record
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