REBECCA TRESCHER FLUXTET/Nucleus: Kind of an art chick, but hopefully not really, Trescher and her clarinet are certainly not your father's jazzbo clarinetist. With angular moves that sound like they might have been inspired in a white church basement (coffeehouse?), Trescher leads her crew through what could almost be called a nu ECM experience. Highly modern cool school, she can swing when she has to but otherwise, she's breaking new ground in sitting down jazz with an unmistakably Euro feel. A right on set for the left leaning types with egghead inclinations.
TOBIAS MEINHART QUARTET/In Between: This German sax cat gets extra points for loving New York so much he moved there when he could have stayed home and been a majorly big fish in a small pond instead of elbowing he way around the board in a town where a zillion sax players live and work (when they can). The kind of muscular, lyrical players that falls right into step with the lineage of the past greats, he's got 52nd Street coursing through his veins like a freight train. More concerned with the charts on the paper than the charts in the trades, Meinhart plays the kind of jazz hipsters would love to claim but real jazzbos own. Hot stuff throughout, this is the best of nu daddio jazz. Hot stuff.
SONNY ROLLINS/Road Shows V. 3: A mere 83 years young, this new look at Rollins back pages comes from around the world at various times this century. Still a hard blowing jammer that needs the freedom to create in the moment, this cat ought to be the poster boy for an industry campaign about how music keeps you young. Simply not a gasser of a set because it's a chance to hear the old guy one more time, it's a gasser of a set because he's not playing like he's ready to go off into that good night. With Rollins and the audience feeding off each other, no matter how many times you heard these tunes in no matter how many setting, they simply cook all over again. This isn't art you have to hang on a wall but it is a master class in greatness. Well done.
KATE ROSS/People Make the World Go Round: Ross has enough woe in her back story to make her forceful sounding black woman of a certain age jazz singing highly authentic and as authentic as it feels. With the delivery of the jazz vocalists of the past that knew what time it was, Ross swings and sways and always makes her point. Hot, tasty stuff that any mainstream, straight ahead jazz vocal fans will know is the real deal, it's quite at home in any era. Hot stuff with a smoking crew in tow.
HANS LUDEMANN TRIO IVOIRE/Timbuktu: Led by one of the top award winning piano jazzbos in Germany, this trio, around since 1999, really hits their stride when being inspired by the turmoil in Mali. Part 50's Ramsey Lewis Trio when they would play off the clock and part modern jazz firmly in the nu Third Stream, this bunch plays the unique kind of piano trio jazz that perks up your ears and grabs your attention. Never a chore to listen to, the interplay these three know how to take front and center never fails to keep you riveted. A winning set from some cats that know how the view looks from the top. Check it out.
DONAUWEILENREITER/Messei: Wow, this is the kind of music the Euros enjoy and perform better and more than we do. It's a shame. Despite all it's ethnic touches, it should crossover if something like "Eres Tu" could have. With some Grappelli violin over some Piazzolla accordion over an art chick that could teach Stevie Nicks a thing or two about grunting over a bunch of great playing, this isn't exactly jazz or cabaret or ethno pop or anything other than what they claim to be, Danube Surfers. A wild, free wheeling, free form date that gets the blood percolating, this might not be a date the kids can appreciate but there's something about it that feels smuggled out of the Fountain of Youth. If you want something you'll enjoy so much that's gleefully out of the ordinary that it'll drive you nuts, this is what you want to be hearing. Well done.
SHARON MARIE CLINE/This is Where I Want to Be: A clear voiced jazz singer with a strong cabaret edge, she knows her way around a song whether it's a samba, from 100 years ago or hot off the press. The kind of gal that brings a sound that'll pack ‘em in at the clubs, she's a little bit out of the times but very much a part of her own time zone. Jazz vocal that's not afraid to move out of it's comfort zone, this set delivers the goods quite nicely, engagingly entertaining throughout.
JERRY JEFF WALKER/Mr. Bojangles-Five Years Gone-Bein' Free: As Raven's loving restoration of Jerry Jeff Walker's catalog continues, this time around, to get any deeper into his back pages you'd have to dig up his Circus Maximus recordings or find tapes from when he passed the night in a jail cell with Mr. Bojangles. Leading off with the career maker set that took awhile to bubble up from the underground but gave us a bunch of songs that put his kids through college, these original Atco sides show what it was like in the late 60s when you could hang with the act in the club between sets and the machine hadn't rolled over everything. A through folk-troubadour-hippie right from the minute he stopped being Crosby, Jackie Jack could only be what he was and it's taken him some heavy places. This is just after it all began and the purity of it all will really take any boomer back to another time and place. A lovely dose of uncut essence, despite industry larded hippie shadings, this is the kind of purity that long careers get launched from. Take the time to revisit.
AL BASILE/Woke Up in Memphis: The indefatigable Basile comes out with his 10th set on his own label and it sounds like it could have been some Stax/Hi stuff the was just unearthed from behind some secret door behind some forgotten console. Produced by running mate, Duke Robillard, with other Roomful of Blues pals on board, the singing, the songwriting and the Memphis horns (even if not played by The Memphis Horns) totally kick ass throughout. Top of the line white boy soul/blues, this is must hearing for when you want to listen to music as opposed to listen to product. A real deal of real stuff, Basile continues to refused to disappoint. Well done.
Volume 38/Number 184
May 2, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record
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