ALIEN ARTS ALLIANCE
THE DOLOMITES/Japan Years, V. 1, 2. 3: Three eps of the nuttiest stuff you've heard in ages divided up to cover specific years across the last decade. International, pomo folk music for the millennial taste? Genesised in Japan with young inspiration from monster TV show themes and gone around the world with various member since then, young uns might think they invented this, but this is dada at it's core and as fine as it gets today. Always the proper soundtrack for smoking opium, this is what happens when you don't stay in school.
1, 2, 3
CHARLIE DENNARD/5 O'clock Charlie: If you ain't from Nawlins and you think you know Charlie from his last album, you don't know Jack. Focusing down to a pin point, this time out Dennard checks in as an organ trio with no frills but plenty of everything else needed to curl the hair on your head and singe the hair on your arms. Smoking high octane stuff that doesn't need to show up with anything other than the music and the chops to bring everything needed to the party, this is a real find for B3 fans with a sweet tooth that needs filling. Well done.
DHEEPA CHARI/Patchwork: This modern jazz vocalist/band leader channels some of the great thrushes of the past but channels them through her art chick side, staying away from the tortured artist effect to great affect. A meaty, sitting down listening date, this is the kind of date that doesn't have to rely on a hit single as the album makes a complete statement no matter how disparate the sources of the material. This jazzy gal is well on her way here with this ambitious date that consistently hits the right notes. Check it out.
FOOD FOR THE SOUL
DAVID MICHAEL MILLER/Same Soil: No stranger to roots, blues and jam, Miller steps right up showing why his solo debut got him named new artist of the year in his stomping ground of Buffalo, NY. Whether natural to him or not, Miller steps right into the blue collar vibe and not only hits the ground running but tears the ground up in Roadrunner fashion like Coyote is hot on his tail. Like a continuation of prime JJ Cale, this set might just have you feeling like you're going back to Tulsa for more of that deceptively laid back sound. Killer stuff that deserves all the praise it's been collecting.
BETTY FOX BAND/Slow Burn: Here's a lovely lady that's a mass of contradictions. I still don't think of Florida as a hot bed of white blues but it seems to be coming on strong and Fox feels like she's becoming the American Pharoah of the scene. Her looks make it seem unlikely she's been honing her chops for the 20 years she claims. She's a belter but she's more Maria Muldaur sex kitten than Janis Joplin wraith. And it all adds up, as Ralph Kramden would say, to ‘hominahominahomina!' Pick your cliché, Fox is the package, Fox is da bomb. And she writes her own material, none of it taking a back seat to anyone. The cover shot of Fox might be in black and white but this is blue eyed soul as good as it goes. Hot stuff throughout.
HOT ROUX/Strangers Blues: Since your ears can't be everywhere at once, you might think this is a mighty set that popped out of nowhere but these swamp rockers have been around, have played with a lot of the best and know how to put everything aside and be great entertainers without falling into jive ass clichés. A tasty rootsy set that any self respecting yupster would be a fool to ignore, this is a satisfying set that cooks along at just the right pace and heat to make it sure to become an audio old pal in no time flat. Check it out.
JEFF HEALEY/Best of the Stony Plain Years: A dandy collection of Healey's post rock star years when he just wanted to kick back and record classic jazz---his way. Not as traditional as moldy fig would like it, it has zest and zip making it lively, like it was meant to be, a well as non dusty--the way we like it to be. A solid dose of old whorehouse swing, this is fun stuff by a pro that was at a point in his short life where he just wanted to have fun. Check it out.
RONNIE EARL & the Broadcasters/Father's Day: His win as the Blues Foundation's guitarist of the year last year really seems to have galvanized something in Earl's attack as this feel like the hottest and heaviest of his releases. Kicking out the jams in the high style that keeps the road house rocking all night long, whether hitting the classics, like "Moaning" his way or just doing his thing on genre chestnuts, he's putting his own stamp on the proceedings and really delivering the goods. On top of all that, you know this is a real Saturday night recording as he ends it on a Sunday morning, Thomas Dorsey note. Killer stuff by a real pro.
DANIEL SMITH/Jazz Suite for Bassoon: If the opening notes of Smith's interpretation of Vivaldi don't completely charm you, either go get your ears cleaned out or stop reading reviews of music meant for real grown ups. The cat that single handedly invented the jazz bassoon genre fearlessly takes his chops to the next level of the game by tackling classics and Scott Joplin and playing it in ways you've never heard before. Well known in tight circles, this is classy classical music that certainly needs to be unleashed on the world at large. A killer soloist, it shouldn't be that only novelists can bloom in obscurity as the world really needs more of this. Killer stuff throughout.
DENNIS ANGEL/On Track: The guest list is impressive but even more so is what Jason Miles does sitting in the producer's chair and being all over the date with his keyboards and arrangements. Angel sticks only to flugelhorn this time and shows the dividends that comes from sticking to your knitting. Angel and Miles team up for a recidivist date that gleefully reminds of what smooth jazz/NAC was before radio programmers turned it into wall paper fuzak you could play in the background in offices that nobody paid attention to. Tasty stuff that's a head and shoulders above much of the pack, if this is your sound, this is also your meat. Well done.
Volume 38/Number 238
June 26, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record
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