HARDIN BURNS/Down the Deep Well: As they are pals with Tom Russell, Arlo Guthrie and Jon Dee Graham, you shouldn't be surprised that this duo's sophomore set sounds like something you would have heard in a college coffee house 40 years ago---not that this is a bad thing in the right hands. They even make Richard & Linda Thompson classics sound like something they came up. Modern folkie in extremis, this is a smart set for anyone looking for that old folkie thing that doesn't sound like an old fogey thing. Well done stuff for any fan of acoustic songwriter music.
JACK & HILL
JASON JACKSON/Inspiration: If we weren't living in DIY times, you would have to call this set a diamond in the rough but since were all in it for ourselves these days, it's good to see bone man Jackson knows how to do it right for himself. The top NYC session cat's first solo set in over a dozen years finds him putting forth three session, each with a jazz orchestra populated by everybody. Zounds! This is what they were singing about when they said Ďain't it great to have friends?'. Smashing, note perfect big band that can feel light as a feather while having the impact of a wrecking ball, this is a feast of chops you can really gorge yourself in. Big band/jazz orchestra fans can rejoice. So can everyone, it's as accessible all get out.
DAWAN MUHAMMAD/Preachin to the Choir: A sax man that always loved the sound of B3 rummaged around in his garage for some tracks that date back to 1991 that he felt needed to be released, especially since so many associated with the session have passed. Solid stuff throughout, this is the kind of jazz you make when you want to make jazz that finds the right ears but doesn't feel the need to be for everybody. If these sides were released in real time, they would have found a home on any of the fan run jazz labels that were picking up the slack of the majors cutting back in the face of that recession. Give it a spin if you want to turn your headphones in to a jazz club. Nice to have this finally escape from the vaults.
SALSA DE LA BAHIA Vol. 2-Hoy y Ayer/various: The party rolls on as this second volume of highlights of the Bay Area Latin jazz scene is loaded with two discs of killer stuff. A set that bookends volume one looking at the first decade this century, this set covers the 80s/90s and the teens through now. A grazers delight, it's programmed homogenous enough that you don't get jarred moving from track to track but varied enough to have something for everyone as well as something for all. You can bet gringos can get their groove on to thins. Caliente!
THE ROYS/The View: It's like this. The Roys have done it again and they've done it with such magnitude that there is no choice to but acknowledge the top of the bluegrass charts isn't enough to hold them anymore. They should be at the top of the country and pop charts with their down home sound that is better than anything home ever sounded like. With the writing, the playing and the singing so on point on this bar raising, standard setting set, struggling Americana acts should lookahere for tips on how to do it right. Killer stuff no matter what label you put on it, The Roys are on the money throughout. Well done.
MOA/Maverick: So what happens to a kid that thinks he's making all the right moves getting educated in jazz and digging hard into afro pop only to find it's niche stuff and he wants more? This jazzbo plugged in and found electricity. With the nu generation holding the chord, fusion won't be what it once was but nu ears don't care all that much about what was. He takes his background and charges it up for the amphetamine buzz the kids are looking for. We could get into a fogey argument about whether most house music was music but we know how that would turn out. If you don't get this, you're probably just too old. Rave anyone?
Volume 38/Number 299
August 26, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record
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