KENNY CARR/Distance: Who doesn't like it when the funky guitarist shows up with a smoking jazz guitar trio and delivers the goods? A top sidekick of Brother Ray, Maceo and a whole lot of others, Carr calls this set "Distance" because most of the tunes were written 25 years ago---and they just don't feel like it. A sweet sonic high wire act, Carr pushes the envelop, stretches the boundaries and does all the things you have to do to make memorable music. Hot stuff.
DAN MORETTI/Tres Libre: The sax man that has skronked with so many Miles sidemen that he ought to be included as an honorary member of one of Miles' bands plays here in a bunch of different settings with a bunch of different sidemen, always as a trio at the bottom line. A versatile, dexterous cat that's proved himself well, repeatedly over the last few decades, this is a smoking tour de force where he reminds you he can do anything. Solid throughout.
(Roots Grooves 2021)
KRISTIN CALLAHAN/Lost in a Dream: The gal that's done tribute shows to both Peggy Lee and Julie London wants you to make no mistake about this: she's a thrush of the first order. Showing she certainly knows her way around an Ellington song or several, this is different from her last few outings in that this is more up close and personal. She's no stranger to lighting an intimate fire and letting it simmer. Check it out.
BRIAN WOODRUFF SEXTET/A centering Peace: The drummer and his well traveled jazzbo pals veer off the beaten path here, seemingly inspired by long ago Carla Bley, and decide to mix a load of art into their load of chops. Kind of gleefully all over the map, this is the place to go when you want to hear a bunch of first call jazzbos playing with abandon and letting the fur fly.
TROY ROBERTS-TIM JAGO/Best Buddies: I didn't expect this to be a roaring daddio set but hey, what a nice surprise. A guitar/sax led quartet, they are no strangers to swinging and letting the fur fly, but they never let the wheels roll off. Feeling very much like one of the classic blowing dates, even if the cutting is a little different than usual, this is really a set that will fly you to the moon.
(Toy Robot 10)
CRAIG CUMMINGS/Gulf Between Us: Talk about your fast balls down the middle! From the mid Atlantic region he came and this vet country rocker has a real way with a driving melody and a straight ahead lyric that grabs you. Simply a solid set made even more solid by his ability to serve up down mouth ideas with the songs not sounding down mouth. This is a troubadour to catch if he ever comes your way. And he hangs out with old sidekicks of Biff Rose.
ROD PICOTT/Wood, Steel, Dust & Dreams: Slaid Cleaves co writer for over 30 years, Picott is a folkie that's not in it for the money as this up front double cd will prove. Backed by top alt.folkies, almost feeling like they aren't even there, he's not releasing this to streaming as he's taking a stance it devalues the music. Hell, this is art anyway. Never afflicted with the tortured artist effect, wide eyed youth will grab on to this like wide eyed youths of the past grabbed on to Nelson Algren. Those whose youths are behind them will grab on to this as it will take them back to a time and place that isn't now. If more people knew who he was, he'd be acclaimed as a songwriter's songwriter. Super solid throughout.
JENN CLEARY/All Together Now!: How much hippie can you take? A folk/blues singer from Boulder that's a bee keeper and ran a non profit to take care of kids in Nepal and other Timbuktu locales distills all her kiddie experience into a positive, easy rocking set for kids---that of course, has a message or several. Betcha this is how Mimi Farina would have turned out if she didn't have to have so much gravitas. Kids that like to act like the teenagers on "Hullabaloo" will have a fine old time shaking it up to this friendly, engaging set that gives being a kid a new dimension.
ALCHEMY SOUND PROJECT/Afrika Love: What happens when a bunch of top jazz lefties get together and want to shake things up? They make certified wild funk for eggheads! Smoking jazz/funk you can enjoy no matter how many left feet you have. It ain't civil rights jazz and it ain't cultural appropriation. It's fun for people that really live like the cast of "Big Bang Theory". Someone has finally captured in sound what a roller coaster feels like.
(Artists Recording Collective)
MARIA MULDAUR-TUBA SKINNY/Let's Be Happy Together: Muldaur is in Nawlins, finds a street band, plays a showcase with them and everyone goes nuts. It's just that simple when you have a career going back 57 years and find yourself right in the center of your métier. Kicking it out on songs as old as dirt by important people that have pretty much been forgotten, this organic record is dripping with soul and spunk---the kind that keeps the good times rolling. A well dug up classic from a gal that knows where all the bodies are buried.
(Stony Plain 1429)
Volume 45/Number 180
April 29, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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