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PAT BIANCHI/Higher Standard: An organ trio led by a solid jazzbo that knows how to mix various standards along side snappy originals is just the right mix for a smoking, swinging that has the smarts to say what it has to say with brevity while managing to speak volumes, without raising the volume. Tasty stuff that's a great workout for B3 attenuated ears.

ALBARE/Only Human: Hmm, a laid back guitar fusion date that's based in uniting souls without touching on McLaughlin's inner mounting flame. There is an edge to it that makes it feel like something deeper than the usual easy jazz guitar date that actually has a fresh enough vibe that you can't put your finger on what it is. With a hand picked international crew at his side, Albare has changed direction from his past releases and served up something delightfully nu for a nu generation that's looking for something in their headphones besides noise. Well done.

BRAD MYERS/Prime Numbers: A bunch of cats that have been working together in various configurations over the years finally say screw it and throw down their simpatico to form a group sound in a group effort. With the guitar and vibes leading the way, this has all the classic 60s sound and feel of straight and jazz dates by artists that weren't about to be pushed aside by the Beatles juggernaut. Laid back, easy rolling jazz with a tasty vibe that takes you back to the day, kind of, and leaves you in a good place when it's done. Sure handed players that know the ropes, one can only hope this is the first of a series of aural get togethers by this crew because they are leaving us wanting more. Well done.

PRETTY BOY FLOYD/Kiss of Death-A tribute to Kiss: Funny thing about time. Kiss has been recording for over 40 years so I'm not sure if they can rock and roll all night. This tribute crew has been around over 25 years themselves and they photograph more like a hair band from the 80s/90s than they do Kiss. Such is the murky world of tribute bands. More of an over all, multi headed tribute crew to the era as opposed to a specific band, this is a right on band for the era of iconography.

FORT KNOX FIVE/Pressurize the Cabin: All night party people load the deck with friends they've met along the way giving their multi-culti, genre bending sound lots more party oomph to keep things going all night long. The kind of stuff that has no pretensions about doing anything other than getting you to wave your hands in the air like you just don't care, this is solid proof that not everything needs to have deep meaning. Fun stuff for party people that don't need a lot of sleep.

ADAM SHULMAN SEXTET/Here-There: A jazz piano man that has the ability to write flawlessly for horns, Shulman steps into the spotlight for a change and leads the next generation of San Francisco jazzbos in a wild, post bop romp in a date that shows chops, sly humor and loads of high octane great playing. Proving what a powerful source pent up energy is, Shulman is here to show the rest of the country that he can write his own ticket and impress all who lend an ear. Hot stuff.

BARNEY McCLURE/Show Me!: C'mon, how often do people cover Pete Christlieb? And the cover is generated by a B3 ace to boot? Pay attention. Long time B3 jazzbo McClure teams up with a university big band for a swinging date of old school big band done just the way you like it. These kids can play and McClure tames that wild cat of a B3 making it heel to his touch and command as it purrs through it's wildness. A nice mix of covers and well written originals, this set is a dandy ear opener/mind blower that has it all on the ball. Hot stuff that just doesn't quit.

HUGO FERNANDEZ/Cosmogram: A world wise/world traveled guitarist with multi-culti sensibilities travels the Abercrombie/Metheny route to world soundings. An expert and being laid back without falling over, Hernandez brings his crew with south of the border sensibilities right to the fore of contemporary, progressive guitar work that relies on features other than pyrotechnics. Solid listening stuff that'll keep those headphones glued to your ears. Check it out.

ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA/Plays Pro Rock Classics: Ah, return with us to the golden era of when you tried to put one over on your pop as prog rockers were backed by orchestras and you were tying to get pop to be convinced this was the greatest stuff ever. Now that prog is coming back, your kid is going to try and pull this on you not realizing you were there, did that and got the t-shirt. Symphonic rock like they used to make it with authentic period guests working out on period classics, who'd have thought this would be something dad and lad would bond over. I hear they're reissuing McDonald & Giles in Japan. Hey, just sayin'.

JOHN TROPEA/Gotcha Rhythm Right Here: There's a lot of cats on this date that were there at the invention of funk/fusion and there's just no dust on any of them as this assemblage of long time A list session cats show how it's done. With more than a tip of the cap to back in the day, some things just never go out of style or wear out their welcome when done right. The leader on this date might be the guitarist but everyone is having a gasser. Killer stuff that can't be beat, especially if you are a listener of a certain age. Yeah!

Volume 38/Number 161
April 10, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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