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RUDRESH MANANTHAPPA/Bird Calls: Take the influence of Charlie Parker to south India and let it simmer with indigenous vibes to see what happens. The tunes are originals based on Bird originals. This is free/progressive jazz taken to the max. Wild stuff from an adventurous sax man from those parts, this set is sure to challenge any and all of your preconceptions as Bird's spirit is given flight into the 21st century, launched from another time and place.

HAMILTON DE HOLANDA/Caprichos: A new set from deHolanda is always an event, but this twofer is really an event. A collection of 24 caprices with a wealth of guests that know how to do it right, this set comes as close as audio can come to being cinematic. An adult listening treat of the highest order.

GEBHARD ULLMANN BASEMENT RESEARCH/Hat & Shoes: Celebrating two decades of this improv crew, even if the players are different then they were once upon a time, Ullmann and his current bunch of improv mavens play it wild and wooly but in a way that never rolls off the rails. Distinctly Euro in sensibility, it's amazing how someone whose head is really in the game and can it going and keep it fresh. Right in the pocket for the improv head that likes it with some real edge.

MARK WADE TRIO/Event Horizon: A bass player that's always loved the great piano trios, this science minded guy put on his thinking cap to create a set that has a remarkable back in the day feel to really celebrate the great piano trios. Nothing going on here but pure enjoyment, this is a comfy, friendly set that's sure to make you wish Wade and company were regular players at your fave watering hole. Well done.

CHAMBER 3/Grassroots: A dandy homage to 60s jazz as made by the cats that weren't selling out to pop and Beatles covers as a way to protect their turf. With the progressive edge in tact, the latest from this Seattle/German cross currant is right in the pocket for sitting back in your chair with a brandy and nodding your head appreciatorily without even knowing you are doing it. Tasty stuff that hits the right spot throughout.

GENE ARGEL/Luminescent: Hey, don't run for the hills just because the piano man has added a cover of "People" to his set card, it's alright. Being 76 years old and returning home to Seattle from Hawaii to meet up in the studio with some old pals gives him the indulgence to do something like that. His sax man brings a Paul Winter, good karma feeling to the proceedings that gives the easy going vibe the special sauce this set needs to make it stand out gracefully without shouting ‘look at me'. Easy going, easy to enjoy, this quartet brings everything to a proper boil in just the right measure. Well done.

GEORGE COLLIGAN/Risky Notion: Looks like touring with Lenny White and Jack deJohnette has given the piano man impetus to lead a crew from the drummer's chair. With twin saxes leading the charge from the front of the bandstand, Colligan and his pals show more appreciation for civil rights jazz that you might expect from a white boy. Wild stuff for when you need to ride a jazz roller coaster.

MARC SELES/American Songs V. 3-Place and Time: The jazz man brings the funk with his third set of his version of jazzy Americana where Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder and Isaac Hayes' take on "Wichita Lineman" figure prominently. Showing why his piano is one of the leading light of Pacific Northwest jazz, Seales makes one of those last word statements that speaks loudly. Check it out.

DAVID GIBSON/Boom: A swinging, straight ahead set that is powered by back in the day vibes, this bone man has a real ear for period vibes. A tasty set throughout, this is dandy listening jazz that starts out in the background but quickly elbows it's way to the front. Well done.

WALKING DISTANCE/Neighborhood: Can progressive jazz and playful jazz run into each other on a tough New York corner without progressive kicking playful's ass? Yeah, and it doesn't even have to happen down by Lincoln Center. Distinctly New York in vibe throughout, Walking Distance has the balls to go it's own way, fusing things that you wouldn't expect to come together so nicely into a tapestry that works throughout. Tasty stuff that opens the ears delightfully.

Volume 38/Number 75
January 14, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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