NEAL HEFTI/ The Collection 1944-62: Here's an utterly stunning, fatly tracked collection of four killer discs culled from the golden age of the arranger. One of the leading lights of his time and beyond, Hefti might have certainly made his bones with Basie, but he had much more going on under his baton and they just don't make do it all guys like Hefti anymore. With the ability to write songs as well as charts, Hefti was the magic touch behind of a lot of post war and beyond pop recordings that just had to be done right. With material here that's 70 years old and doesn't sound the least bit dated, there's more than big band to this guy and more to this guy that you'd probably image if you weren't grooving to him back in the day. Simply a stellar collection.
CHRIS CORTEZ/Top Secret: The guitar man was up for knocking out a fun record and it's easy to call it mission accomplished. With some of the tracks recorded in a half hour or less, once the crew locked in to a groove, it was certainly hard to get them out of the pocket. He's got a lot of pals on board and they're all swinging with a verve that's hard to fake. Tasty stuff that's essential for kicking back and letting killer grooves flow.
SONNY ROLLINS/The Prestige Years: Like everything else, the box set has been downsized. A couple of decades ago, if this came out on Fantasy, it would have been with an lp sized box, a big book of notes and lots of discs to give the 9 sets on parade here plenty of room to spread out. Wanna nit pick or wanna groove? For the super budgie price of this majestic set, the price of admission is worth it alone just for the original version of "St. Thomas". Great playing recorded before the bridge years, often in august company no matter how small the ensemble, this is the text book on post bop sax that all can still learn from. If you can find a false note anywhere in these 3 hours of killer playing, feel free to email it to me so I can hear it for the first time. Great stuff in a great compilation.
FUNNY BABY FACE
YUKO ITO/O Cantador: The Japanese native living in New York brings a pomo sensibility to her love of Brazilian music as she opens the canon to all things Brazil here and covers it all with a nu kind of high octane energy but still keeps it all in the world jazz pocket. Things change and this certainly isn't your father's samba record but that doesn't mean you can't get into her vision of a contemporary groove and head out for Belo Horizonte in fine style. Check it out.
JEREMY PELT/Tales, Musings and other Reveries: Pelt continues to let the major labels know he thinks they can suck it as he delivers another killer via the indie world. The young man with the horn extends his creativity in all directions, going so far as to have a different star drummer on the left channel and the right channel at the same time. Joyous post bop that is loaded with head's up playing throughout whether tapping originals or tapping the past, this is one smoking, killer diller of a date that listeners who love jazz that gets their blood flowing will eat up with a spoon. Hot stuff.
DEUTER/Reiki Hands of Love: Even new age all stars have to come to grips with how things have changed in the material world. Checking with a set that's firmly musical while being unobtrusive, this set is like one of the aural getaways that can be instrumental in helping you get through the next traffic jam. A sonic safe place, this is a classy set that gives you the bubble wrap buffer/cocoon you really seem to need against the world more and more these days. Must listening/hearing for those times you really need to let your mind go.
JIM SNIDERO/Main Street: The vet sax man's idea of Main Street almost feels like Route 66 as he takes you to Laredo, Walla Walla, Vegas, Duluth and more places ( that obviously aren't along old Route 66, but you get the idea). A skillful detour off the beaten path by a cat that's been everywhere playing with everyone, this is a perfect album for when you want it to be after hours already but the clock just isn't co-operating fully. Tasty throughout.
STEVEN FEIFKE/Peace in Time: Wow. This record is like when John Daly would just throw over all the cards on "What's My Line?" and give up. This 23 year old piano tyro is a reason I can point to for why I gave up piano lessons. A jazzbo through and through, he's got one of the more auspicious debuts under his belt here that's going to raise the bar for all comers. A cat that knows tradition but still manages to pack it full of surprises, this is a piano ace of tomorrow that you'd be wise to get on board with today. Killer stuff.
ART LILLARD'S HEAVEN'Y BIG BAND/Certain Relationships: Lillard and his well traveled pals aren't trying to reinvent the wheel here, they're just out to have a good time and make sure you have one too. A bunch of big band lovers cast aside whatever proclivities you might recognize them for and just go and swing. Not retro, not nostalgia, not homage, just taking a joy ride down a road that's been well traveled but certainly benefits from having some new pilots navigate it's curves. Fun stuff that emits joy from every byte. Well done.
WHALING CITY SOUND
DAVE BASS/NYC Sessions: Head's up for a too cool alert. A piano man gives it up to go practice law. Ho hum? Not here, this cat broke his wrist and had a family to support. What happens when the kids grow up and you find your chops are coming back? You head east to tear it up with Phil Woods, Karrin Allyson and other luminaries for a date that just shines with all that light pouring through it. A wonderfully swinging date that feels just like the old school dates that lit up your jazzbo lights in the first place. A killer, unexpected set that comes in from left field with all deliberate speed. Hot stuff.
Volume 38/Number 91
January 30, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record
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