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ELIANA CUEVAS/Espejo: It's always been a safe bet to trust Canada's Alma label to bring us the best in world beat and jazz from north of the border and beyond. Their streak is in tact with Cuevas. A well decorated folk/indie/world Latin artist in those climes since 2007 who has already won a best Latin album award with this outing, Cuevas really kicks it out here with the world wise, engaging Latin/world date that beings the jazz/pop/Latin stew to a high boil and gives a hint that she's going to soon be the real source of global warming as she melts the polar ice cap. Hot stuff? You bet! This is what modern, contemporary caliente is all about. Killer stuff.

BROOKLYN JAZZ UNDERGROUND/Seven by Seven: All these cats are working in a hot house atmosphere side by side on a regular basis but they don't often get to play together. The second outing by this bunch of leaders banding together as a unit finds them right in step with the great leaders of the past that would do dates like this. Playing with and off each other, digging into each others tunes, it sounds like Brooklyn is going to explode as the next epicenter of jazz. Using their diversity as a plus, this set brings the future of jazz into pretty fine focus. Well done throughout.

RAFAL SARNECKI/Cat's Dream: We're always thrilled when arts council music doesn't sound like arts council music. This Polish born Brooklynite guitarist has a knack for making free jazz for white people that checks in at the end of the spectrum where jazz blends into instrumental music, but certainly not the easy listening kind. Angular, edgy and retaining a sense of post bop swing, this is the sound of young people staying out too late that don't care for EDM. Well done.

NOAH GARABEDIAN/Big Butter & the Eggmen: The in demand bassist is sure to confound as he slips his love of Henry Threadgill and Bach into these grooves as he finally gets to groove to the beat of his own drummer (in this case, a pal from his teen years when they were growing up in Berkeley). This set is heavy on letting everyone on board improvise and the wild results take you places you won't expect and often end up in places that you wouldn't expect from their start. High class sitting down jazz all the way, it might have been called "Sweet Butter for Eggheads". Check it out if you've ever tapped your toe to something from Watt Works.

BRANDEE YOUNGER 4TET/Live at the Breeding Ground: I'm sold. A black, classically trained harpist that loves Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane, was taught by Emily Mitchell and has worked with Talib Kweli, Charlie Haden and Ravi Coltrane among many others. Her demo got picked up by Mercedes Benz to be included on a cd that went along with new car sales. Oh yeah, I guess we better check out how she sounds. No worries, this tyro is simply a force of nature hitting it right into that soul/free jazz sweet spot. Trust me, if you've ever bought anything from Dusty Groove, Younger is going to melt your mind. Killer stuff from a talent the rest of us need to hear more from that just can‘t remain in the shadows one more minute.

LAURIE ANTONIOLI/Songs of Shadow Songs of Light: Can you go wrong doing a jazzed up version of some of Joni Mitchell's best loved album tracks? Nah. You'd have to work pretty hard to screw that up and Antonioli doesn't seem to have that kind of flow working through her. A vocalist that knows how to let fly with the kind of passion you won't find on TV talent shows, Antonioli grabs you right out of the box with a few simple, sincere bars of "People's Parties" that has this funny way of sneaking up on you. With a bunch of jazzbos that share her passion and vision, this is more like a lost Mitchell album than it is like a tip of the cap. Well done.

ERIC WYATT/Borough of Kings: I'm thinking Posi-Tone should just rebrand itself "The Sax Label" because it knows how to find all these killer sax players of all genres and all ages. Brooklyn native Wyatt takes it back to a Sonny Rollins vibe with all the swing and power yet bringing along none of the ‘homage'. A swinging, hard charging cat that dishes out tasty originals with an unstinting hand, classic sax ears are sure to be charmed by these proceedings. Well done.

MOZAMBIQUE-Wired of Sound/various: A pilot project for a team that wants to do well by doing good brings electronics to the young musicians of Mozambique and let's them let the fur fly. Part of a multi-media platform, the record end of things takes the indigenous music to new places even so much as one of the acts getting out of Dodge for the first time. With a focus on the folkier side of the sounds from this part of the world that have been quite charmingly escaping from that part of the world in recent seasons, the laid back armchair traveler has a first class winner on his hands here. Even when you don't know what they are talking about in their songs, the music remains the universal language. Check it out.

Volume 38/Number 261
July 18 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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