JEREMY LEVY JAZZ ORCHESTRA/The Planets Reimagined: What's going on here? I was just saying that somebody sounded like they were recycling Tomita and here comes a protean entertainment composer/arranger going right to the source and redoing "Planets" itself. Bristling with the kind of energy Deodato brought to his classical reworkings, Levy makes his mark with this big band jazzed up version of "Planets" . With it's spare no expense presentation, he's left a work that's going to take some doing to top. Even if you don't qualify as a classical tourist, all it takes is an appreciation of instrumental music to feel right at home here. Killer stuff from a killer cat.
GREGORY DUDZIENSKI QUARET/Beautiful Moments: With a few years and a few miles under his belt, a Chicago sax man comes home to kick it out daddio style with a few locals. Sounding like they are no strangers to pork pie hats and ciggys dangling from their lips, everyone knows their way around this sound and fury as this set takes it to the later hours when only the real, original hipsters were on the prowl. Solid stuff throughout.
REBECCA COUPE FRANKS/Every Little Thing Counts: The singing trumpeter wrote this set as therapy to deal with her mother's passing and you certainly wouldn't know it. There might be hidden messages in the lyrics that pings thoughts within her but they won't be igniting on you. A funky, jazzy date that that has a lot of positive energy in the grooves, even obvious tribute tracks have universal appeal. Well done stuff that freely colors outside the lines but makes a fine picture when all is said and done.
SAM JOYNER/When U Need a Friend: The Reverend is an advocate for keeping it real and it shows in his music. The kind of cat you'd like to have a discussion with about cancel culture and the Stalinist way it's wiping out large swaths of black history, he made sure his kids experienced the struggle so they wouldn't forget and take things for granted. And keeping it real extends to his music which is full of blues that's as much Chicago as it is Mississippi. Real show room blues from a real cat that has no problem letting fly with high tone aspirations. Hot stuff.
SPACE KAMP/Electric Lemonade: These modern day stoners are about as underground as you can get and still build a following without the mainstream having a clue about the revolution fomenting. A brand as much as a band, they bring their psych/fusion to the world and the world embraces. For kids that don't like beats or Goth, the antidote is at hand. A wonderful wild ride for the young as disaffected.
SUSAN TOBOCMAN/Touch & Go: A music biz lifer that didn't even think about singing jazz until she hit her 30s and was looking for the next challenge, Tobocman has and massed the chops and cred to make her new set a real delight. Rounding up a bunch of first call New York jazzbos that show up to play, she's got the right sass and insouciance to sell the songbook songs and make her originals have the right shine. A thoroughly tasty jazz vocal set that's totally hard to resist.
JOHNNY & THE MONGRELS/Creole Skies: With a bunch of jam band and Americana cred dripping from the grooves, this smoking set of swamp rock n blues is hot and heavy throughout. Loaded with punch and power, this is music that turns the night into morning with you taking it all in from your car hood with a cold one nearby the whole time. A dandy ear opener that doesn't stint on the basics but goes way beyond as well. Hot.
JEFF COSGROVE/History Gets Ahead of the Story: In which we find downtown jazz going meta on itself as the drummer pays tribute to the works of his former bass playing partner. Rearranging the works for an organ trio that colors outsides lines and shows proper respect for the gravity defying cat, this is a sitting down jazz tour de force that opens the ears widely to a bunch of stuff that needs to be looked at in a light that would somehow make it accessible to all. It might take the long way around, but get there it does.
JOHN FEDCHOCK NY SEXTET/Into the Shadows: The reason why we keep coming back to filet and double baked potatoes when we dump our vegan girl friends is because that's the stuff. So it goes with nice, solid post bop jazz where the thrills are the no frills and it just plain sounds good. Not a palette cleanser exercise, this is first rate instrumental music by a solid leader hanging out with Posi-Tone and old school Concord all stars that show how it's done. Tasty, straight ahead jazz from pros that knows!
ANDY BAKER/North Country Sky: Out of all the acts that want to be The Band, Baker seems to come the closest and it feels like he's not even trying to be headed in that direction. Maybe it's that north country stuff? A brilliant folk rocker that deserves more attention than the indie world can give him, this singer/songwriter comes from the tradition of all the greats that knew how to connect effortlessly. A solid bet for all fans of meaty songwriting based works.
Volume 44/Number 249
July 4, 2020
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2020 Midwest Record
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