STEVE SANDBERG QUARTET/Alaya: A set with a major case of 70s jazz/world vibe--but hard to pin down, Sandberg is a major behind the scenes cat with a bad case of been there/done that that has managed not to let his eyes and ears get weighted down with the cynicism that kind of exposure can bring. Tasty, spirited and loaded with the vibe of all your fave back in the day records that you thought you were the only one who heard them, this is one mighty taste treat that's hard to resist. Fun stuff sure to put the right twinkle in your eye, here's a solid winner throughout.
DEVESTUNES & LI'L.T
HALLEY DEVESTERN BAND/Keep on Playin': This big, bad, white blues momma sounds like she's been hanging out with Marie Laveux rather than following in Candye Kane's foot steps. Adding a sinister vibe to her blues, this mesmerizing crew from New York has clearly been playing footsie with Parmafait. A hard core crew that makes news where ever they go, they are some of the mightiest high flyers in the underground and should be expected to breaking the byte ceiling any time now. Too bad that it's only an ep, this is loaded with smoke and fire we wish we had more of. Well done.
FLOCO TORRES/Again: Like an underground Donald Glover that still has his rough edges in tact, this set charts new ground as it mashes up rap, soul and alt.rock into a modern effort driven toward modern ears. A solid bet for younger tastes searching for something out of the ordinary.
FREE RADICALS/Outside the Comfort Zone: This award wining Houston crew has this weird synchronicity to predict the future in their songs, and they just might be on point again. A horn driven band with eclectic enough vibes that let them pair up players from Benny Goodman with Sun Ra, they have a wild and wooly sound at home with any jazz malcontent that appreciates the strangest mash ups that come together and work well. This is a fine case of music for your head that gets you out of your head. A solid winner of the young and restless of all ages, they know how to play and aren't afraid to take you places you've never been. A winner throughout---just be sure to strap in before lift off.
ISAMU McGREGOR/Resonance: A young, well traveled piano man that knows enough to surround himself with cats like Bennie Maupin and Seamus Blake, he apologizes for Paula Abdul having a #1 hit on the day he was born and keeps it left of center from there. Originally being impressed with jazz you don't hear on the radio, he's no precious cat playing for preciousness. A cat well versed in music made for listening, this date is sure to tickle your ivories. Well done throughout.
JON SPEAR BAND/Hot Sauce: Award winning Virginia white boys that like the caliente a little Tabasco adds to the proceedings offer up their third album in sure footed/sure fingered fashion. Loaded with a little something for everyone whether you like shredding, songwriting, powerful vocals or other elements, this salmagundi has it all in just the right measure throughout. A truly fun set that takes you to various and different points on the curve that shows these party animals aren't one trick ponies. Yep, it's hot stuff.
CHRIS PASIN & FRIENDS/Baby It's Cold Outside: Patricia Fennell has got such a Diana Krall vibe going that any advertisers upset they can no longer hire Patti Wicks when they want a Krall doubler should look Fennell up. In fact this sounds so much like the kind of Christmas record Krall would make if she didn't have to deal with the commercial pressures a major label will put on you that real jazzbos will find this a natch. In fact, all the jazzbos on board here are cats that stand behind and to the side of the greats making them sound great so you have the added bonus of cats that know what they are doing pushing the boundaries of creativity without ever getting precious about it. It's 92 degrees in Chicago today so it's not too early to start thinking Christmas thoughts. Uh,...hot stuff throughout.
STACY JONES/Love is Everywhere: If it's all about the choogle to you, then this set is just what you are looking for. Sounding like Bonnie Raitt's younger, rawer sister, Jones and company play like they never met a sunrise they didn't like to greet after a solid night of tearing it up. Dripping enough sweat to prove not all millenials are slackers, this is the blues/rock package you want to have handy hen you need to turn it up to an emotional 11. Well done throughout.
DAVE STRYKER/Strykin' Ahead: With his 28th set as a leader, Stryker augments his organ trio with vibes once again and let's his post bop flag fly. A real burner of a set, it feels like an artifact from the past, unreleased from Bluenote/Verve, but it's modern, contemporary touches are well evident showing how a cat that's been hitting all the right notes for all these years can't make a false step now. Right in the pocket throughout, this guitar man knows how to give everyone some---and that includes you. A real first class burner throughout.
ANTRY/Devil Don't Care: A late in life comer to following his musical dream, Antry is stepping up in the nascent white boy gospel blues genre leading with a Jesse Winchester kind of sound and a rollicking Nashville rocked up A list crew in tow. Rightly confident in his interpretive skills, he doesn't feel the need to write all the tracks when he can hit other's fast balls out of the park succinctly. A smart, mature set you don't need gray hair to enjoy, this is an across the board, adult listening winner that doesn't hit you over the head with his beliefs. Smart stuff throughout.
PABLO ZIEGLER TRIO/Jazz tango: A real cooker right out of the box, it makes you glad that Ziegler is the kind of muso that sends you records where the reviews just write themselves. A mostly original date with a few Piazzollas tossed in to appease the tourists, the piano ace justifies my decision to abandon piano lessons when I was eight because I must have instinctively known I could never play like this. A masterful work by a master that loves tango so much he'd rather use his energy and smarts to move the form forward in fine style rather than keep it embalmed in amber. Must hearing if you've got the slightest of tango bugs.
OSCAR FELDMAN/Gol: A sidekick of Hermeto Pascoal and Dino Saluzzi, the Argentine sax ace has been based in the big apple long enough that he knows and shows how to combine the best of both worlds. A master of sitting down jazz that keeps you rapt, he's plays like a fount of ideas that can't help but stream out non stop. A tasty, classic feeling jazz outing, this is a wondrous fast ball right down the middle that has it all on the ball. A true listening date that works throughout.
Volume 40/Number 248
July 7, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record
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