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ODED LEV-ARI/Threading: A muso with cinematic sensibilities, the producing piano man steps into his own spotlight with a debut set that finds him surrounded by the all stars he's been working with in their own rights. A wondrous throwback to the times when chamber jazz wasn't just a prop for the tortured artist effect, this is well wrought jazz into classical work that just resounds for anyone looking for real listening music that will simply take them away. Giving creative artists vent for their creativity really pays dividends when they are the kind of cats that can be left to their own devices and know what to do with that freedom to express their chops like what‘s on display here. Killer stuff throughout.

MATT LAX & Nearly Beloved/This House of Mine: A dandy throwback to the charming folkie albums that rose to the top of the pile in the 70s despite being on indie labels when those were thought to be just hobbies. An album of soul music, with accent on the souls of those who've passed, this is an amazing little set that can take it's place along side any classic folk album with the lyrics and the music racing neck and neck to see which component is in the lead. Connecting directly from Lax's heart to your gut, this is a must hear for anyone that likes it ‘organic' and loaded with cut to the chase moves. Hot stuff.

RUSSELL SUERETH/Spiritual Haven: It seems like the age of new age noodling has been recessing farther and farther into the rear view mirror these days and sets like this are speeding up the process. Suereth uses an electronic keyboard but he's not afraid to mess with all the buttons and settings until he creates a full fledged atmosphere and sound. Using his tools to take you places where you can sonically hide out until your personal storm passes, this is some mighty new, new age listening for adults looking to find a happy place that isn't littered with happy meals. Count on his excursions to be trips well worth taking.

TOM TALLITSCH/All Together Now: When tall Tom Tallitsch says it's all together now, one listen to this set will have you wondering just which way he means it as this sextet is cooking on all eight. A stone cold groove of a classic sounding/feeling date where most of the tunes are originals, this is a mainstream groovers paradise that your ears will demand repeated playings because they can't take it all in at once. The template for others to follow if they want to hit it out of the park, this is a sax man that knows his ax, man, inside out. Killer stuff.

AL GROMER KHAN/Lalita: When Khan first e-mailed me that his ‘paisley' record was on the way, I was expecting some kind of hippie, dippy, trippy stuff and was interested in seeing what the old pro had up his sleeve. Spoiler alert: this isn't some throw back to all night jams at the Fillmore. With a promo package that spells out his long time journey through Indian music and how he's recently gone deep into the culture to divine the meaning behind the message, the whole thing becomes a wild adventure. Actually a spiritual music set, don't come around here if you're looking for the Beau Brummell's wearing Nehru jackets. Atmospherically ambient and mind blowing at the same time this is what they must have really been talking about back in the day when they said you needed music to feed your head. Wild stuff without any groovy trappings. Check it out.

SLV/This Kind: One of the chicks from Pistolera breaks off for a side project, comes to the attention of Meshell Ndegeocello and gets further attention making her rethink things and head off into more experimental realms. Sounding in vibe like those slinky 70s sirens that veered off from rock into a jazz lite hybrid of various sounds, this is a charmingly atmospheric set that could easily be a gateway drug for college kids that haven't found their way to jazz yet. This is a wonderfully beyond the pale set that opens the ears nicely and easily. Well done.

Volume 38/Number 158
April 7, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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