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DARIO BOENTE/Limelight: A jazzbo at the core, Boente has enough varied interests and influences that you have to take his take on basically the contemporary piano trio as contemporary instrumental music if you have a lay a label on it. With all the requisite elements on board that would interest a world wise piano man, you get jazz, world, new age and more all rolled together into a fantastic piano stew. Easy rolling sounds throughout even when pushing the envelope, this is a great gateway drug for uninitiated jazz ears to come into the tent and revel in. Check it out.

ELIZA NEALS/Breaking and Entering: Of sure, the Bonnie and Janis comparisons are inevitable, but there's plenty of Maria Muldaur, Rory Block and even Lynn Carey pulsing through these blues rock bytes. A blues rocker to the core that understands and respects tradition without being bound by it, Neals is a classic cat that has a feel for today as well but isn't afraid to let her energy fly. Hard hitting stuff that shows you can be a high octane hard hitter without relying on gimmicks to get your point across. Hot.

ERIC SARDINAS/Boomerang: As always Sardinas makes amped up white boy blues for pissed off contemporary frat boys with ranging hormones and PBR in the veins. Howling, shredding and letting things fly with a corrupted version of punk energy, this is the sound of Lou Reed lite amphetamine rush that really lifts you out of your chair. The session might be dedicated to Johnny Winter, but... Wild.

KERI JOHNSRUD/This Side of Morning: A hipster disguised as a pretty girl, Johnsrud has been paying more attention to her Frishberg than a host of potential jazz diva role models. Rolling her sleeves to delve into the kind of chops that let her write ‘em as well as sing ‘em, the Johnsrud touch is a special one throughout. A sure bet for left leaning jazz tastes that like it sounding in the pocket even as it keeps jumping in and out.

MAUREEN BUDWAY/Sweet Candor: It sucks to have your debut album come out less than a month after you die but this session recorded in two four hour bursts is all that remains, obviously finished just in time. Leaving her mark with a set card of classics that goes deeper than the standard diva repertoire, this Pittsburgh secret treasure will give good memories to any classic thrush fan that loves to revisit the real deal with fresh ears. A good example for art chicks to follow to get out of the art chick ghetto, Budway might be serious in set card but she never goes for the tortured artist effect. There's plenty of classic jazz vocal 101 here to properly learn from.

BEN WOLFE/The Whisperer: In case you've been wondering, the formidable Mr. Wolfe is now leading his own entourage and still has an individualistic piano player on the band stand with him. This time around, as his own boss, he gets to indulge in his real jazzbo leanings turning out the white boy version of church basement free jazz loaded with the kind of chops that make it much more than a best effort outing. Angular, muscular and right on throughout, you just don't expect aging white boys to hit it this hard and also name compositions "STFU". This hot stuff that goes perfectly for those times when your blood is boiling and needs a soundtrack.

CHANTALE GAGNE/Left Side of the Moon: So, these days, all you have to do is be a good piano player, go on Kickstarter and say you want to record with Lewis Nash, Peter Washington and Steve Wilson and let the magic happen. A first class sitting down jazz piano player, this set of thinking man's, sitting down jazz is loaded with straight ahead, toe tapping swing that let's your mind sink into it and think about the possibilities. Easy stuff that's anything but easy listening.

SOL DRIVEN TRAIN/Dance: A party band that has made their bones on the road over the last 15 years with some heavy hitters puts on their dancing shoes for their latest release but their idea of dance is informed by down tempo, southern soul and beach music. It ain't nothing but a party and it's a good one, especially for white boys with two left feet whose girl friends keep trying to convince them to get up and shake it. This gang feels your pain and won't make you look foolish as you try your best to get through a few minutes of doing the white guy dance.

ROGER DAVIDSON & PABLO ASLAN/Live at Caffe Vivaldi V. 1: For those of you that like records that aren't record records, here an international piano bass duo captured live in Greenwich Village. What could be more at home than that? Intimate, personal and certainly up close, this duo hits the nail on the head as they work thought Davidson's canon. Slip some exotic flavors in the Keurig, put this on and you have a night own in your own home. Check it out.

JEFF JENSEN/Morose Elephant: Easy rolling lite blues rock that'll fit in just right at the blues club at the strip mall at the edge of town where the road house used to be before suburban sprawl claimed another unincorporated area. Recorded in Memphis where the vibe and the cats on board found just the right mix, this set goes the distance and feels as comfy as an old friend. This is a tasty set that's just right for when you are more in tune with having a good time than changing the world. Head's up cred alert: he even sneaks in some John Koerner with enough modern moves to make you go seek out the original.

Volume 38/Number 95
February 3, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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