WARREN VACHE QUINTET/Remembers Benny Carter: Let's cut to the chase. You could go to a cocktail party armed with just a few rip lines from All Music.com and rave about how good this record is all night long without actually having heard it. And nobody would call baloney on you. Vache, Nicki Parrott, Houston Person and a few others playing tribute to Benny Carter on a stack of his best known or loved pieces; how much closer to perfection to you need to come? An utterly great tribute to a real gentleman by a cat who was one of Carter's favorite players. Dis iz da bomb as the kids would say. Killer stuff throughout with way more class that was attendant at jazz's birth on Bourbon Street. Whew!
KONDONASSIS-VIEAUX/Together: In which we're glad to see Harping Yolanda gleefully thumbing her nose at the hedge funds that have made shambles out of the Telarc combine and delightfully going on with her career ‘after leaving home'. Hooking up with a guitarist that brings loads of simpatico to the table, they move on with some world premiere pieces that lean toward the Sunday afternoon egghead side but are sheer slices of delight for the hard core chamber music fan. Executed seamlessly and with so much finesse you get taken in hook, line and sinker, this is classy music for classy people and those who wish to be. Check it out.
LAURA DICKINSON/One for My Baby-To Frank Sinatra with Love: Old Blue Eyes would have turned 100 this year and Dickinson is among the first to put on a party hat and let the good times roll. A well traveled vocalist that even beat Lady Gaga to singing with Tony Bennett, she may be too young to imbue the hipster 50s these songs emphasized but she knows how to front a big band and kick it all into gear. A voice over artist well loved by your kids, it's high time some adult wandered into the tent as well do dig her vocal goodness. She might not be your grand dad's thrush but she knows how to swing. Well done.
SONGSMITH COLLECTIVE: Return with us now to the thrilling days of yore when cats like Stan Kenton would go slumming in basement clubs where poetry in jazz was the norm and try to toss it against the wall of his big band to show how the old guy still had his ear to the ground. Poetry in jazz baby, black clothes, clove ciggies and chicks in black clothes and tights that wouldn't make their move the plastic burbs and bucks for several years yet. It's instant daddio!
CHRIS LIGHTCAP & BIG MOUTH/Epicenter: Angular in the way that you would expect from a tightly controlled bass player who knows how to be funky in the presence of a bunch of sidemen that are leaders in their own rights, Lightcap does a lot of mix mastering to keeps your ears engaged, but the result is wholly original and mind blowing. Loaded with switchbacks you don't anticipate even after repeated listenings, this music box on steroids is sure to take you places you've only heard in dreams. Way out but never rolling off the rails. Hot stuff throughout.
SUSAN KREBS CHAMBER BAND/Simple Gifts: Before we get into it, we know Krebs has real chops. She covers Cheryl Ernst here. Ernst, who wrote "In This Quiet Silent Way", a song that would have given Tom Waits a whole new vector to his career without having to have a top ten hit? Ok, that's out of the way. This set was inspired by cats just gathering at a pal's house to kick out the jams for the fun of it. With no place to really play and house concerts being a bit of a pain, this is just doing it for fun. Smart jazzbos who'd rather play like this that spend more on gas than the gig pays are letting the rest of us have a peak at what we are missing. Betcha Skype concerts from living rooms aren't far behind. The playing is absolutely lovely when it comes form the heart and you aren't beholden to anyone, even for using the washroom. It does run toward the artsy side but sets like this show you do need that once in a while. Check it out.
PACIFIC MAMBO ORCHESTRA/Pacific Mambo Dance: Latin music for gringos that want to come along for the ride and not be left out, these recent Grammy winners respect Puente but they don't worship him. Four on the floor mambo throughout, you just know Bart Simpson would be the first on the floor when these sounds start to swing. A classic vibe loaded with modern touches and sly humor, long may their Grammy wins continue if they keep serving this party on a platter with loads of caliente. Killer stuff that just doesn't quit.
TREEHOUSE/Lifted: A bunch of white boys from South Carolina hit up some reggae jams for album three that finds them sounding like white boys doing a genre bender/mixmaster date since they have just as many stoner influences as island stoner influences. Dad's frat house has finally fallen as these cats have replaced Otis Day & the Knights as the party band of choice. And there won't be trouble at the Dexter lake Club after hours with these cats leading the way into wiling away the night. Let the party begin for the grand kids generation. Liberte!!
NICKODEMUS/Wonderworld: Celebrating 10 years of being one of the king of the underground mix, this is what the kids are chilling to after the rave when it's all cooling down around 6 in the morning. Somebody's mom on coke trying to be cool might get it but if you're out of college , it's just not for you. Nick might get older but his sounds don't. Not founds sounds but sounds plucked from all over to roll together into a seamless mix, this is for those times high octane just doesn't do it.
Volume 38/Number 113
February 21, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record
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