MARIANO GARCIA/Hommage: In an album of sax/piano duets, to put the sax front and center letting it run wild while always keeping it stunning, you know you are dealing with quite the muso at the wheel. With a program of modern classical by contemporary composers, this sax man fills the disc with sounds that capture and captivate making this quite an elusive treasure. Never letting this lapse into a pure recital despite his background as an educator, this is the kind of living, breathing tour de force that doesn't come along that often. An intimate good time throughout.
JAVIER RAMEIX/Impressoes: Playing with the youthful vigor of a kid acting out and using the whole keyboard (to no avail), this rising classical piano ace uses the whole keyboard and he knows what he's doing. A solo set that flies without needing any embellishment, he's got the touch of a master and knows how to use it. If you want a piano date that'll simply take you away, he's the pilot to get behind. Well done.
JONATHAN MESONERO/Trascendo: This modern classical violinist is simply one of those cats that you can tell is at one with his instrument. Playing in a deep and serious fashion, he doesn't play any extraneous notes and doesn't need any help to bring his sound home. Nuanced to perfection, he'll make you make that classical aficionado face as you get swept up in delight. A real killer date.
GEORGE LEWIS/Recombinant Trilogy: A progressive cat that's traveled from AACM to MacArthur grant winner and beyond moves into future realms and he does his electronics with a real instrument here and takes you into space never imagined by his seventh galaxy contemporaries. An egghead good time that pulls you into the future and forces you to think while you enjoy, this is one of those cool dates you'll get the most out of with headphones as it exists purely in it's own time zone. A wild ride.
(New Focus 284)
THE CROSSING/Rising With: How do you be a malcontent in classical music? How about setting a 1918 government disease prevention pamphlet to choral music? Donald Nally knows how to make things sound high mined but if you really listen, it almost feels like classic Second City---or a vamp on Anna Russell. These Grammy winning recidivists seem poised to take one home yet again as they round the corner to hit the quarter century mark of doing this. A wild diversion.
(New Focus 281)
MARK MURDOCK/Phoenix Has Risen: A nice dose of contemporary prog by a heavy cast led by a multi instrumentalist that knows what to do. With a surprise or two in the cast, they don't take it too far out but there's aren't here just for the beats either.
THESE FINE MOMENTS/Season 10: Modern folkies tempered by modern times and life in Austin, they amp it up beyond granola music and move it into stuff you can feel. They don't stray far from their singer/songwriter roots and know how to pack some emotion into the bytes to give their stuff some real bite. Right up the acoustic based alley.
DALE ANN BRADLEY/Things she Couldn't Get Over: Bradley's always been state of the art as long as she's been in bluegrass---and she always keeps raising the bar. It's a subtle shift here but this time around she's fully shedding her group personas and taking center stage. A sweet record on all counts, as usual, and sure to clean up every award in sight, as usual. It doesn't get any better than this, until next time. Check it out.
KARI KIRKLAND/Wild is the Wind: You'll never mistake this for a gift shop album. Deceptively progressive, there's a bunch of jazzbos on board, and looks like a jazz vocal set card, but this lady that freely and madly colors outside the lines ain't your daddy's thrush. Not an art chick and not a cabaret singer, she shape shifts this cross generational set card of familiar tunes into things you think you never heard before. You really have to have adult ears to appreciate what she's got going on here, and if you can belly up to that bar, you've got it made. Fine stuff.
(Slea Head 236)
ZOE SCOTT/Shades of Love: The former indie rocker found that after a certain point the angry young woman thing doesn't really work anymore. It took her a while to find the right métier but once she found herself comfy as a breezy gal digging bossa nova, she dived right in and found the water fine. Able to turn almost anything into a samba, she's crafted a sassy set that's easy going but here to be the real thing. Fun stuff that shines a fine light on her future.
Volume 45/Number 93
February 1, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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