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PATRICK BATTSTONE & RICHARD POOLE/The Last Taxi: When you're dealing with a jazzbo piano man whose day job really is rocket scientist, you really lose out on a whole lot of good wise cracks. This core duo of piano and drum/vibes knows their stuff and shows again that they have the chops that have been honed over the years to really achieve lift off (ha! gotcha!). A smoking improv session where the main cats share the writing credits with their pals, I guess this is where all that knowledge about angular stuff and algorithms comes in to place as opposed to relying on vibes and mind reading. Improv fans that really want it viscerally coming from the gut will know right away this is the real deal. Check it out.

BEAT FUNKTION/Mandy's Secret: Look, if AWB could prove a bunch of white Scots could be funky, why can't we accord the same designation to these Swedes? Serving up their fourth set with all the style and grease mixed together than one disc can hold, the funk is flowing from the frozen north as the area's great antidote to death metal. More than proving they have the right stuff and are here to say, this funk express train is hurtling mightily thought the night with it's load on board and in tact. Killer stuff that gets and keeps the party going, we may never find out who this Mandy is and what her secret is, but we'll keep peeking behind the curtain to find out. Well done throughout.

ANDY BEY/Pages from an Imaginary Life: This jazzbo vocalist has spent his career being the insider's insider. His catalog may not be deep but it sure is wide. After being away from recording for quite a while, he's come back with a vengeance determined to leave a late period catalog to last for the ages. Here we find him with just his voice, piano and vibe. On a set that's broken up into four movements, he's writing the book on atmosphere delivering these classics in ways you've never heard before, unless you've been able to follow him live. Subtle yet incandescent, Bey really leaves him mark here making this a first call treat for jazz vocal fans looking for something that goes way beyond the pale. Check it out.

LOWDOWN BRASS BAND/Lowdown Sounds: Well here's something you don't see every day, Chauncey. What's that Edgar? A bunch of swinging cats from Chicago that love Nawlins funeral marches so much they start their own band to play in that style and write a bunch of new songs that sound so firmly in the pocket you don't realize they're originals. Then just to change in up, they invite Roy Ayers in on cover of one of his classics. Whew! Globalization and modernization is everywhere. Certainly made for modern ears, this bunch is a gas and their tweaks are welcome. Well done.

RADIO RIDDLER/Purple Reggae: Sorry, but we're a sucker for senses of humor. Radio Riddler's lives were changed by "Purple Rain" and now we get their 30th anni tribute to their version of the master. All the way down to corrupting the WB logo for their purposes and adding a guest list that is so off the wall that it doesn't even have to make sense, this is what happens when you want to leave your finger prints on something that influenced you so. Can Prince skank? Well, let's go crazy and find out. It's all from the heart and it's played in pro stylee so there are no loose ends to piss off purists. And it's just plain fun. Obviously starting off as a labor of love, it always works best when it comes from the heart. Wild stuff waiting for you to check out.

JERRY HELDMAN/Revelation(s): If you want to feel like a real Seattle jazz scene insider hipster, this twofer is the right place to start. Recorded 40 years ago after an already budding 10 year simpatico with David Friesen, this cat who wore many hats before passing last year created a cross roads in Seattle for jazz to flourish. With Friesen on board as producer and bass/piano fellow traveler, you can get a real feel for how things felt and sounded when the first bunch of Paul Winter's consort got the urge to be their own Icarus' and fly. Culled form live recordings by the then band Morning Star, some of it's rough, some of it's raw, but if you were too young to be a beatnik and didn't relate to that anyway.....here's two discs to help you justify your Elvis Costello hat. Who knew this guy was recording Johnny Cash 30 years before Cash did?

HAL GALPER TRIO/O's Time: 50 years in, Galper has done an enviable job of keeping jazz piano trio fresh, creative and insightful. Even when playing a chestnut, it's not about playing pretty for the people, it's about making them sit up and listen, and he does it without hitting you over the head. Successfully taking bop into the new century, Galper is on the money throughout with restless creativity that draws you in and keeps you there. Well done throughout.

SAMMY FIGUEROA & GLAUCIA NASSER/Talisman: Interestingly enough, gringos don't always get the subtle shades between genres like Latin jazz and Brazilian music but the two are brought together here under the alert ears of former Woodstock folkie Rachel Faro who makes it all work. A delightfully steamy, smoking set that is assuredly south of the border, every note feels heartfelt as the vocalist and the percussionist set the sparks a flying. The kind of set that has a wide ranging appeal major labels just wouldn't understand, let the next golden age of indies begin with world jazz like this leading the way. Killer stuff sure to get you well before you've played it through one time Hot stuff.

Volume 38/Number 319
September 15, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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