JEREMY PELT/Griot-This is Important: Pelt's take on Black Lives Matter is to explore his roots and ancestry with his peers. Who can argue with someone that wants to be the voice of clam and reason in an ocean of noise? Pelts and his pals talk and play their way from the past to the present in an almost PBS feeling presentation that might go too far a field for those who want him to shut up and play, but this is meaty stuff that promotes understanding that's important no matter how you look at it. It sucks that he's not on a major, but a project like this would never get released by a major even if they had guns to their heads. And this is major.
DAVID KIKOSKI/Sure Thing: A guitar bass duo that's been at it together for over 20 years in various formats knows how to play by telepathy at this point. A charming, mostly original session, it was recorded five years ago and feels fresh as a newly picked daisy. Tasty stuff that has the chops to take you away from the ordinary, it's just what the doctor ordered to deal with mundane Monday. A real taste treat throughout.
NELSON RIVEROS/Latin Side of Wes Montgomery: Don't know how much of a Latin side there was to Indian-noplace over 60 years ago for Wes to hang out with his ears open but Riveros checks in with a welcome bit of invention that captures well what Wes probably would have captured. With a smart crew right in line, this is the kind of tribute set that wears the mantle well. Crack work like this doesn't happen in the mere pursuit of a paycheck, this is one where you can really feel the love underpinning it all.
YULIA MUSAYELYAN TANGO PROJECT/Oblivion: In which we find the answer to the question of whether a Russian born flautist has what it takes to cross the continental and generational divide to give new voice to Piazzolla and other tango pros. Give this gal a big yes. Replacing bandeon with a flute takes the music to a whole other place and she gives it a whole other dimension as well. Tango fans, the music has officially been brought into the present and it's an experiment that works at every turn.
MELBREEZE/I Love Paris: The Turkish born vocalist gives her fusion pals the day off as she goes art chick on a bunch of songbook tunes you know but layers them in sensuality that may or may not have been originally intended. Loaded with a forward thinking pomo spirit, ears looking for a traditional thrush doing traditional tunes won't find her here---but if you use Reddit to upset the stock market, this could be your gateway music to feeling like a grown up now that you're 47 million dollars richer.
(Blue Canoe 1462)
SUE MASKALERIS/Love Is the Key: One of those hidden treasure players strikes again. Rolling up all the chops she's honed by playing with everyone that could write a book, she's gleefully coloring outside the lines here not sticking to her tried and trues like Brazilian music and straight up jazz but preferring instead to take you on a tour of everything from Broadway to 52nd St to 42nd St and who knows where else. Sending out a group email to her impressive contact list probably got this set off the ground---and keeps it there. Killer stuff that exists in a column all it's own.
WAYNE ALPERN/Jukebox: If this album cover makes you think this is a white people's version of that old Marvin Gaye album cover where a party is in full swing, you'd be on the right track. A lawyer from Detroit that never lost touch with his musical side is the producer/arranger behind this wind quintet take on American classics that could have easily been kitschy, gift shop dreck but is anything but. A lovely work out that could be the soundtrack for something civilized like tea time, this bunch is expert at hitting all the right notes and there's nary a harp in ear shot. And the diverse, densely packed track list is anything but lame. Quite the unexpected good time.
DiCOSIMO-PAGAN/Con Moto: You're going to listen to the debut set by this duo and say ‘hey, these guys are good, where have they been hiding for the last 20 years?' How about behind everyone that's needed chops to add to their chops. From backing up Dave Valentine to backing up about everyone in fusion, rock, pop and soul, they call out some fusion pals to kick this funky, jazzy fun fest into gear. This stuff will remind all currently home based workers why they used to love it so much when 5 p.m. rolled around. Well done.
RICHARD PRYOR/Craps After Hours: If you were hip, you already knew who Pryor was and you knew that Laff had some of the worst sounding and looking black comedy records around. Sold under the counter in plain wrappers, you were wondering how long ago these Pryor sides had been made. Surprise, you were hearing these in real time. Recorded when his life was falling apart one of the first times, he's raw and real at the Redd Foxx club delivering some fully formed, wild stuff. Even cleaning the tapes up, they still sound like junk but it's worth the extra effort to hear between the lines for stuff he pretty much never repeated and needs to be heard even now, 50 years later. Go Brother Rich, rest in power.
RICHARD PRYOR: Whitey didn't really know about this record until it's 1973 reissue but it was actually his first record. The only real difference between this and his run of killer concert albums in the 70s and 80s was that he hadn't learned about pacing or how to handle his coke yet. Expanded here to 2 discs, the first disc is the original recording, the second disc is an amazing collection of odds and ends. The cherry picked odds and ends on disc 2 were originally released on the out of print ‘Evolution/Revolution', but if you missed it... Here's the proof he was a one of a kind original right from the start.
Volume 45/Number 90
January 29, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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