MYRIAD 3/The Where: There's only one of two ways you can follow up an auspicious debut and were happy to say that Myriad 3 took the high road to hit all the high notes. The cutting edge, piano jazz trio goes for some conscientious swing here charting the course for their own, new genre. Still tasty throughout, they play jazz through an art/rock sensibility but avoid the ponderousness of the dinosaurs that wound up inspiring punk. Wonderful nu jazz for nu ears, Myriad 3 is really on to something here and we're glad to see their explorations continuing, especially since we were too young to be there when cats like Monk were doing something new. Check it out.
JUST PASSING THROUGH-The Breithaupt Brothers Songbook Vol. II/various: At the very least, you know we're talking about some brass balls here. Two Canuck brothers became inspired to write oldies for a new generation because they thought the oldies albums by Rod Stewart and Natalie Cole were jive (and they were right). So they became the modern Gershwins of Canada. And then they rounded up the crème of the Canuck vocal crop to give voice to their compositions. It's a little daunting to write modern oldies without sounding like Diane Warren each time out but these sibs rise above more than not. Now if they could just find themselves a nu Streisand they would really be in business. It's too pop for cabaret, but vocal/cabaret fans that want more than a diet of all Disney soundtracks have a set here to lift them out of their doldrums. A winning set for those whose tastes are firmly in the middle of the road.
KELLEY SUTTENFIELD/Among the Stars: A wonderfully intimate jazz vocalist, Suttenfield brings the singer/songwriter to the cabaret breathing new life into modern chestnuts of love and longing. Not needing anything more than Tony Romano on guitar at her side, Suttenfield's personal and personable style make being arty something to aspire to rather than something to run from. Tasty stuff for when you want some real, grown up listening.
DIVA/A Swinging Life: Here's a lesson in singing and swinging that ought to send all those talent show car alarms packing. Diva, the never say die all female jazz orchestra, brings divas Nancy Wilson and Marlena Shaw back to the front to show how it's really done. Wilson has slowed down but never really retired. Shaw has largely been confined to reissues and movie soundtracks of those reissues, but she ain't ready for moth balls either. Diva tears it up with a wink toward old Vegas and retro touches, but they are as in the moments as can be. A real dream date of a jazz session, Sherrie Maricle and the gang are on point throughout with the best of them. And by the way gals, we were glad to see you getting some love on the Macy's 4th of July fireworks special. This is dandy, kick ass work on tracks you know and love that you just might find yourself loving all over again. Hot stuff.
STEVE WILSON/LEWIS NASH DUO/Duologue: It's inspiring that there's still a few doors open to musos that just want to do something simple, elegant and daring. This is a drum/sax face off by 2 pros that don't have to but can carry the load by themselves. And they do it in that special way where they compliment and support each other when not just tearing it up with more vivre than they should have. Squeezing this duo thing in since the turn of the century when their ‘day jobs' will let them, the simpatico has only deepened over the years and the opening notes of "Caravan" will amazingly tell you all you need to know about their musical telepathy. It might be a sitting down jazz date throughout but you don't have to be a Sunday afternoon egghead to dig it. Hell, it'll even get said eggheads swinging to it. Well done.
GORDON LEE with the MEL BROWN SEPTET/Tuesday Night: The Portland OR jazz scenesters may not record very often, but when they do, they know how to shake it up. Last time around, 25 years ago, they beat all comers for a Hennessey jazz search prize top prize. Since then, they've been lighting up the Portland night with some hot, modern post bop that fills the joint and keeps them coming back for more. Led by a drummer that knows how to give everyone else some, this aggregation is expert at delivering the goods. A mainstream jazzbo delight, this is real you-are-there music that makes you wish you were there. Check it out.
COLLIER & DEAN/Sleek Buick: Wouldn't you like to be able to say Don Grusin, Alex Acuna and Ernie Watts were your old pals? Wouldn't you like to have Allen Vizzutti and Gary Herbig in your Rolodex? This vibe/bass duo who've been at it for 40 years, since they were teens, can and does. Hip, creative but still accessible, everybody here is playing like they are having a good time and by all bets, it seems like the spirit should be infectious. The vibe goes back to the 80s and it feels a lot like a Windham Hill meets Flying Fish date that would have turned out if Mike Marshall met up with Jay Unger. This is what happens when you flash some commercial jazz that doesn't have a yucky side. Well done.
GET ON UP/soundtrack: Almost 8 years after he died, it looks like James Brown is finally going to get the vindication and validation he always sought and never thought he got, largely because he was too busy with the daily business of living to stop moving at 200 mph and see where he'd been. So what can you say about a no fat collection of 20 tracks, arguably a round up of his best other than "HAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!". If you haven't indulged in other anthologies in the past, you can make up for lost time and your sins as this is newly mastered and has some unreleased stuff on it as well. He was an original and he deserves to be more than an Eddie Murphy punch line. Get on up and take it to the bridge!
Volume 38/Number 274
August 1, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record
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