SEXTET HAGIGA/New Directions: Already masters of sitting down jazz, this crew decides to turn it up a notch and chase some new realms of sounds and sound adding a new depth to their approach. Still jazz no matter what, they find a way to raise the roof with less pieces that you might think imaginable and delivers new sounds with gusto. With a big band feeling in scope, these cats are here to make their presence felt. And they do it well.
ELIZA MEYER/Hello Stranger: It's not enough that Meyer does a great job on bluegrass/back porch music's greatest hits but she was born in this century and is still in high school. With modern genre pros dropping by to lend a hand, this is the debut for a shining star that was born to the manor. This shines a light on every good though you have about organic music.
MARK HUMMEL/Wayback Machine: Hummel really reaches back here--the blues harp ace celebrates the sound and fury of Bluebird Records as it was documenting the pre-war Chicago scene before Muddy hit town and took it electric. Rounding up a bunch of like minded white boys with the blues, a mighty good time is had by all as they really tear it up old school style---all the way down to making it sound like the tape recorder was stationed across the street from the session. What a way to deliver a gasser.
(Electro Fi 3459)
DAVE SOLDIER/Zajal: Half the fun of this session from this guitar mash up master is picking out the influences while you are listening. Unless you are really good, all your guesses will be wrong because no matter what cross pollinations you think you are hearing, this set is mostly 1,000 year old tunes from the middle east---just with a patina of modern special sauce, sometimes. Not just for armchair travelers, if this world beat set doesn't blow your mind, your passport is revoked. Well done.
BONZO SQUAD/There's Always Tomorrow: Chaotic jazzbos for modern ears, this is a fine example of shape shifter music for the millennial with a short attention span that wants something challenging to have in the background while trying to impress a comely lass with cocktails and fancy watches. Expert players that don't mess around as they mess around, it's nu sounds for nu ears.
PI JACOBS/Two Truths and a Lie: Just call it Americana because Jacobs covers so much ground and doe sit so well that throwing around adjectives just doesn't do her justice. An incredibly mature and fully realized set, if you have to be the kind of act that flies under the radar at least this is the kind of set that let's you fly high there. Solidly written and sung, there's noting here that doesn't impress at every turn. Hot. This'll do to you what Lucinda's white album did to you.
JOHN BAILEY/Can You Imagine?: In 1964, Dizzy Gillespie ran a satirical campaign for President, going so far as to propose Miles Davis for director of CIA. Trumpeter Bailey takes it one step farther coming in with a musical fantasy based on what he thinks could/would have happened if Gillespie won. The hot playing here in the spirit of Diz goes way beyond fantasy. With a smart bunch on tow, this is a happening set that really smokes. Solid jazz that's a fast ball down the middle, Bailey and his pals have the right idea throughout.
(Freedom Road 1)
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO JAZZ ORCHESTRA/Embargo: University of Texas, University of Toronto, what is it with these UT schools that have these killer jazz programs that turn out students that already sound like seasoned pros? A nice introduction to a bunch of stars of tomorrow, this big band delivers the goods in fine style. Tasty stuff from kids who love their work so much it doesn't feel like work.
STRING ORCHESTRA OF BROOKLYN/Afterimage: When contemporary classical doesn't sound like pots and pans music, it's a win. When it sounds like something that could have been in "Star Wars" when John Williams wanted to let some new kids take a crack at it, that's a bigger win. Building the future by building on the past, this serious bunch of players does a fine job of expanding the lexicon and taking things to the next level. A serious work that doesn't intimidate, this is not for eggheads only.
(Furious Artisans 6823)
Volume 44/Number 53
December 23, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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