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GARRY DIAL & DICK OATTS/That Music Always Round Me: Taking it even farther than making music for arts councils, Dick Oatts is on the faculty of Temple University and this two cd, hyper art project is done for the university's own label with students in the school music department leading the way. Setting the words of Walt Whitman to non-commercial music, this is a well done thing but it's the kind of thing that boosters of arts departments in college towns will get the most out of. Not hard to wrap your head around, but unless you have a real arts council music mindset, it might not be your cup of tea no matter how well polished it is.

JEFF COFFIN & THE MU'TET/Side Up: Is it possible to find fault with a Coffin record? Yes. With a great band and a world class guest list, the only reason he has for not finding a byte or two for his new pal Muriel Anderson would be if this recording was finished before they became musical pals. Other than that, no complaints. No matter how wide ranging the scope of this set is, it's all actually very personal to Coffin. With a jazz into classical feeling throughout, even if the works are original and not classical in nature, there enough special sauce, even for Coffin, put into this set that it has all the feel of a classic that just needs time to prove it so. Killer stuff for people that like monumental listening, Coffin is set to take your ears places they've only heard in dreams. Certainly not a pop record for pop ears, this is killer, adult listening throughout.

STEVE POUCHE/North by Northeast: A fun set of caliente timed just right as most of the nation is under the wrap of the new polar vortex, the vibist is here to make sure frostbite doesn't set in too early as his unique brand of Latin sitting down jazz will have you moving just enough in your seat to keep the blood moving. With a proper mix of old school and new school vibes percolating throughout, Latin cocktail jazz has a new standard bearer leading the way to good time. Well played good times throughout.

LINDA PRESGRAVE/Along the Path: Surprise. For those that don't know Presgrave, she's not a middle aged seeker of wisdom and truth singing about the search thereof. She's a real piano playing jazzbo that attracts real jazzbos to her side for her sonic impressionistic view of ports of call. Almost like an anti-Loreena McKennitt, Presgrave can go around the world and not make it seem so serious and self important. Smart stuff in line with the vibes thrown off by later period Windham Hill or Living Music, this is a sure bet if you want some comfy sitting down jazz that melts the wax in your ears instead of blowing it out. Well done.

TERRY OLDFIELD/Sweet Awakenings: Yo, check it out. Flutemaster Big Daddy T is back with laying down the old school sound of nothingness to perk up your stuff while he sneaks around the back shutting it down. Throwing down with his most musical joint in many a session, he hypes his magic at keying you up to key you down. Damn. Dropping proper amounts of science to make you think that when it comes to new age tunes that old school is the best school, this is the bomb when it comes to making sure your head is on right with no freaking or tripping. Word.

RICH PELLEGRIN QUINTET/Episodes IV - VI: The second part of the piano man's trilogy about his travels through Europe finds his jazz culled from somewhere in the Impulse 60s when the sides were either way crazy or way laid back. Taking the laid back approach inspired by a non jet age world beat world view built more on mystery than mysteries of the far east, this is first class sitting down jazz for clove smoking hipsters.

DANNY GREEN TRIO/After the Calm: This is classic piano jazz trio work that falls so squarely in the pocket you're almost tempted to think this was a lost session from back in the day. With a set of all originals, the trio is right in step with each other turning in a set that's a tonic for weary ears. On the money throughout, if you don't like this, you just don't like piano trios. Nuff said.

JIM NORTON COLLECTIVE/Time Remembered-Compositions of Bill Evans: Hmm, a big band tribute to Bill Evans without a piano or "Waltz for Debbie"? A former Bay area sax man heads back into town to hook up with old bandmates for a tip of the hat to Evans that takes his music in a whole other direction with quite satisfactory result. Feeling almost like a jazz into classical session, the whole crew must have loved Evans because the results certainly sound like it. A world away from the trio dates most of these tunes first sprang from, the music retains the lyrical yet progressive edge and the result is a sitting down jazz stunner. Anyone who ever dug Evans is sure to find this in the diggance lineage with ease. Well done throughout.

DAVID FRIESEN CIRCLE 3 TRIO/Where the Light Falls: For my money, Friesen doesn't record enough solo/leader dates so this twofer shows that there isn't too much of a good thing where Friesen recordings are concerned. Culled form several live dates, Friesen's touring trio delivers the goods throughout with some great sitting down jazz listening that never eases up on the pedal. It doesn't have to be groundbreaking when it simply sounds this good. Discerning listeners will easily recognize this set is a winner throughout.

PIET VERBIST ZYGOMATIK/Cattitude: Angular Benelux jazz in the spirited tradition of Hans Dulfer but toned down to be accessible to today's ears, this bass led crew seasons up their second outing with some saxes for extra flavor. Left leaning stuff for people that want that classic jazz rock feel without things rolling off the rails, this is a fine example of after hours jazz for the millennial work force that wants to feel a little edgy as they take the edge off. A good use of creativity that goes the extra mile.

Volume 37/Number 18
November 18, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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