WADADA LEO SMITH/Trumpet: Wadada, one of the last standing grand dada's of the golden years of AACM, takes the vibe right back to it's original roots by recording three albums of solo trumpet in a village in Finland. A showcase for showing how adept he is, if you think three discs of solo trumpet can't be compelling and intriguing, this collection will prove you wrong. Recorded over four days and giving props and shout outs to fellow travelers he met and rubbed elbows with along the way, this isn't an avant garde set or terminally artistic---it's a master giving a master class. Maybe you have to be a connoisseur to fully appreciate it but it is a towering artistic statement that needed t be made and heard.
WADADA LEO SMITH-BILL LASWELL-MILFORD GRAVES/Sacred Ceremonies: As part of the label's celebration of Smith's 80th birthday, he's paired in three discs, each the product of one day sessions with an old boundary pushing mate and a young lion that carries on the boundary pushing tradition started by the two old timers in their free jazz days. Two duo sets that lead up to a trio date by all, this is a treasure trove of free jazz/civil rights jazz that seems like a short jump from it's points of origin way, way back. Doing it in the fine style that later inspired too many jokers to try this path, it's amazing how listenable outré can be. Anything but a journey through the past, it sounds like Smith is still totally capable of charting uncharted waters.
PUTUMAYO WORLD CAFÉ/various: A charmingly low key entry in the label's world exploration series, this set will take you to the cafes in the back streets of the world where you hear this guy playing the background in the corner of the place that suddenly grabs your attention mid bite and finds you letting your food get cold as you are spellbound by the different sounds and vibes. As always, a special effort was made to seek out the best of the best that you never heard of before, it's programmed with a flow that makes it all work together no matter when the tracks originated. Killer stuff.
ALTIN SENCALAR/Reconnected: Equally strutting his stuff for jazzbos and pop stars, the bone man reconnects with his Mexican/Turkish roots in Texas and blows up a multi-culti storm that's easily going to grab you by the ear. A low key date that never fails to bring the nu daddio in it's own way, the bridge here between the past and future is one you're going to want to cross. A real jazzbo delight.
(Next Level 2125)
DAVE FLIPPO/Dedications: A smoking Chicago combo that plays it right; right from the heart, right from the start and right from the place the contemporary stuff began. Taking Chicago jazz's trio roots and expanding them without obscuring them, this is a solid listening date that fills the bill anytime, anyplace. The pure sound of pros in action, there's noting here you won't dig.
LORRAINA MARRO/Love is For All Time: A woman of a certain age originally inspired by the great black female vocalists of the 50s turns in one of those delightfully surprising jazz vocal sets that comes at you from out of nowhere. With solid cats like Grant Geissman in tow, her lilting voice does justice to jazz and Latin tracks that edge into the saudade realm and also highlight what an underrated cat Will Jennings is as a bunch of his tunes fit right in with the classics. A grown up jazz vocal date that fires on all cylinders, this is no exercise in nostalgia as her work is right in the moment throughout.
DEBBIE BOND/Blues Without Borders: She might be blonde, might be in Alabama, but she's a hard core white gal with the blues as the opening harmonica riff makes abundantly clear. In the tradition and modern at once, she writes crisp originals and charts the future from the heart. A solid outing for anyone that has modern ears but appreciates where blues has been and where it's going.
(Blues Root 2021)
BOB SHANE/Simple Gifts: A real no brainer for any Kingston Trio fan, this set was originally recorded 50 years ago when Shane was looking for direction and to change direction after the Trio broke up. But that's not the end of the story. As solid as the Glaser Brothers recorded tracks are/were they got some reimagining in 2019 as well. This nifty find that escaped from the vaults foretells what might have been with predictable good results. A timeless folk/country set that's everything you would want it to be.
LEA McINTOSH/Blood Cash: Here's a white gal with the blues that sings it from so down deep it's make your socks roll down. Authentic and modern at every turn, she's sings like she possessed by some voodoo queen on a first name basis with Parmalfait. With a crew that supports her vision, think of her as a Janis that doesn't have to scream to girt her point across. Blistering!
STEVEN GRAVES/All Alone: Can you rise to the top by falling through the cracks? Graves has an Americana vision that is just what the genre needs. Largely a country folk kind of cat, he has echoes of the Dead, Muscle Shoals and others indigenous forms and riffs that just hit you the right way without at all being contrived. Tasty stuff to lay back with that was made for summer days, if you can't slow down and take this set in, you are a terminal type A. Solid throughout.
Volume 45/Number 206
May 25, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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