Issue 134 Reviews

Our latest reviews for your reading and pleasure!!

Audio Cologne Project – 2911:  There’s really only one keyword to define this excellent CD in from our long-time pal Dave Pearson (computerchemist), guitarist Uwe Cremer & drummer Zsolt Galántai – VIBRANT!  & what a heckuvva’ way to close out an issue… as you scope out the 18:44 “Chemist’s Bike“, you’ll “get it” right away!  The oddly titled “Crazy Bongos” is a piece that just DRIVES… high-energy playing, for sure – but do it (at least the first time) with your HEADPHONES on!  It was the soaring guitar/drum/synth work on “Mind The Gap” that blew me away, though… definitely my favorite on the CD.  I give “ACP” a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, especially for listeners who want to dig down deep into the energy lode these guys are mining for your aural pleasure.  “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is a perfect 5.00, which means that it also gets the “PICK” of this issue for “best high-energy instrumental collab”!   Get more information about this group at the 2911 page on BANDCAMP (where you can also purchase/download it).   Rotcod Zzaj

Dan Musselman – DEVOTION:  Any time an artist (particularly a jazz pianist) is able to play music that has strong religious leanings and have it come across with the spirit of LIFE (rather than some kind of musical preaching session), I’m highly impressed – & when you listen to Dan’s keyboards and talented/energetic approach to tunes like the opener, “Devotion: Genesis“, you’ll realize why once I started listening to this 9-song wonderment, I couldn’t stop (& you won’t be able to either, I predict).  I was especially taken with the emotion-evoking “Awaiting“… full-tilt jazz, to be sure; this one was my favorite of all the songs!  I give Dan & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information about this album & others at Dan’s website –    & be sure to tell him you read about him here!   Rotcod Zzaj

Dan Musselman: Devotion

Brian Landrus – MIRAGE:  I’ve been reviewing Brian’s CD’s (I believe) since he first started releasing them, and I can tell you – this IS the best one yet…  even on the splendid opener, “Arrival“, the scope of his music holds much broader depth than any of his previous efforts… excellent intro as a lead-up to crystal-clear bari sax firmly integrated with the string quartet.  The string intro on “A New Day” is rich & full, segueing very nicely into a bass form that moves the tune towards the beautiful plateau it jumps to in “The Thousands” – I love this tune!  It’s the “togetherness” of the group on “I’ve Been Told” that earned it my pick for favorite on the 12-song CD, though.  I give Brian & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information about this highly talented and creative player at Brian’s website.       Rotcod Zzaj

Brian Landrus Kaleidoscope: Mirage

Cristina Braga – SAMBA, JAZZ & LOVE:  Cristina’s lilting vocal and harp work on this marvelous and most relaxing CD will amaze your ears, especially on tunes like the beautiful “O Barquinho“… it’s truly a unique musical experience, in great part due to her subtle harp mastery (the vibes on this track help a lot to keep it in the Latin vein you would expect for a tune with a title like that). Her cover of “Desafinado” is probably the best I’ve ever heard, and her voice is like silk through the entire tune.  It was the high energy and intricate weave of instruments on “So Danco Samba” that caught my vote for favorite of the 11 tracks (especially the horn work – exceptional).  For listeners who must have a bit of Latin in their listening repertoire, this gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Cristina’s website.      Rotcod Zzaj

The Wrong Object – AFTER THE EXHIBITION:  Our friends at MOONJUNE Records spare no effort in bringing the finest in high-energy sonic devilment, and nothing verifies that more than the 11 songs on this prog monster from Belgium!  Just scope out the super-sax intro to “Frank Nuts” to get a taste of this band’s sheer wizardry and high talent (just LOVE that organ, too).  My avant-guitarist pal Davey Williams (an avant legend in his own right) would stand in line with the rest of us to hear the mind-searing guitar work on “Jungle Cow, Part III“, my personal favorite on the CD!  I give this stellar band a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at the CD page for this album.        Rotcod Zzaj

Takashi Suzuki – VOYAGE HIROSHIMA ETERNAL:  This is my third review of Takashi’s splendid sonic work, and it’s no less fantastic than the other two CD’s.  If you think of the music from “2001” (you know, Hal & all that), then blend in a healthy dose of Takashi’s memories of his hometown,.”Hiroshima Eternal“, you’ll realize (as you listen to it with headphones on) that the emotions painted here are ones we all share.  It was the sheer beauty on “Following The Guiding Light” that won my vote for favorite track of the 8 offered up for you to absorb and come to love.  This is an adventure you won’t soon forget – I give Takashi my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information about Takashi at his FB page.         Rotcod Zzaj

Takashi Suzuki: Voyage

RJ And The Assignment – STROKE OF MIDNIGHT:  Folks, this CD is just ABSOLUTE cool… when an artist does covers, as in RJ’s rendition of “Come Together“, it seldom grabs my ears as strongly as this one did!  RJ’s keyboards are beyond comparison!  I’m most highly impressed, & that takes a lot these days; when you scope out my favorite track (of the 11 offered up), “Naima“, you’ll be marking the tune right at the top of your jazz playlist!  A truly stunning jazz listen that will have you agreeing with me when I declare it to be MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED; “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is a top-of-the-line 5.00… ergo, it gets the “PICK” of this issue for “freshest jazz sound”!  Get more information about RJ & his splendid music at the RJ & the Assignment website.    

RJ and the Assignment: The Stroke of Midnight

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Martin Beal – SMILE:  Oh, yah, hepcats scattin’ all about… Martin’s jazz vocals on these 11 standards will make you grin & (perhaps, if you’re so inclined) sing right on along with him.  He has some great players supporting him, and you’ll surely feel like you’re out at a smoky jazz cellar somewhere after hours.  Scope out his cool interpretation of “Pick Yourself Up” to hear what I’m talking about.  What’s most impressive about his style is that you can clearly tell he’s loving the performance aspects of it all.  My favorite on the CD was Horace Silver’s “Song For My Father“… his approach to the tune lets you know that he’s “hip” to what this jazz thing is all about, and that sax behind him is killer!  I give Martin & crew a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.96.  Get more information at Martin’s website.       

Martin Beal: Smile

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Lia Scallon – THE LUMINOUS PEARL:  Lia’s music is (as she states on the promo sheets), not “ordinary”… in fact, it is timeless music that will increase your awareness… the percussion & didj on the intro to the beautiful “Dreaming The World” will snatch you up in the aura it paints and help you realize where you are, where you’ve been and where you’re going.  The true beauty is in the fact that Lia isn’t “trying” too hard… her singing style, what she calls the “language of light”, is very easy to adjust to and will have you enthralled through the entire 13 songs (I would suggest that the best way to listen to this album is with headphones).  My personal favorite was “Mystery of Life“, perhaps because of the flutes that weave in and about.  I give Lia a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, especially for listeners who want their music energies to enlighten them and help them move forward in the journey.  “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.97.  Get more information at Lia’s website.        

Lia Scallon: The Luminous Pearl

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Rob Mosher – POLEBRIDGE:  What in inspiring (and FUN) CD, all brought on by an old saloon piano in Montana (Polebridge, population 88).  It’s sort of like a wild & wooly chamber set, with elements of jazz mixed in, that will absolutely knock your socks off!  Tunes like the jaunty “Parade of Two” will put you (in your mind, anyway) right in downtown Polebridge marching with the band.  When you scope out the bass & clarinet on “Rango’s Tango“, you’ll be longing for yesteryear, no doubt.  What makes this CD so unique is the tremendous talents involved in putting it together, as best evidenced on my favorite tune, “The Klezmanaughts” – what joy is conveyed!  I give Rob & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who want some SPIRIT in their music!  “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.98.  Get more information at Rob’s website.      

Rob Mosher: Polebridge

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Larry Corban – THE CIRCLE STARTS HERE:  You can just feel the hip flowin’ through Larry’s guitar fingers on the jaunty little opener, “Sideswiped“…. it’s an “NYC” kinda’ hip, probably ‘coz that’s where Larry hails from.  With bassist Harvie S & drummer Steve Williams, you’ve got a jazz trio that won’t stop anytime soon after this 14-song gem (13 originals & one cover).  You’ll recognize in an instant on the bass-driven “Enjoy The Ride” that you’re listening to some of the best jazz players (yet) in the 21st century!  It was the “strut” feel on “On The Sly” that got my vote for personal favorite… one of those too-cool tunes that won’t ever drop off the playlist.  I give Larry & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information about Larry & his music at his website.          

Larry Corban: The Circle Starts Here

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Masako – MASAKO:  This pleasant CD changed the pace, to be sure… solo piano from Masako… simple, yet elegant in her approach to the keyboards, she paints sonic images that illuminate the thousands of flurries falling on “Spring Snow“… beautiful!  I’m not exactly sure why it took so long to get out for review (the CD was released in April 2012), but I’m most happy it got here – this is one of those musical adventures you’ll keep close to your heart (and your ears) for months (years, even) to come.  The rich chords and enticing violin on “A Tale Of Lonely Otter” made it my favorite of the dozen offered up!  I give Masako a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information about Masako & her music at Masako’s website.        

Masako: Masako

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Noah Preminger – HAYMAKER:  Noah’s tenor sax work is superb, as it’s been on all the CD’s I’ve reviewed by him!  The May 2013 release is on a totally even keel, and his players (guitarist Ben Monder, bassist Matt Pavolka & drummer Colin Stranahan) are all in extraordinary form on all 10 tracks.  The opener, “Morgantown” gives each player plenty of space to focus in on their interpretation of that town.  The laid-back vibe on “Stir My Soul” is deceptive, actually… this is a deeply felt tune, for both the players and the listener.  It was the slow build on “Don’t Drink The Water” that got my vote for favorite track… dense, thick & richly full of promise as it drives on to beat-driven lines.  I give Noah & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) of 4.98.  Get more information at Noah’s website.        Rotcod Zzaj

Carline Ray – CARLINE RAY VOCAL SIDES:  This CD will embed itself in your head; all you need to do is go about 30 seconds (if that) into the kicked-back opener, “When I Grow Too Old To Dream“; a sure sign that a performer is of the highest caliber is their ability to handle religious tunes with “grace”, & as I listened to the blues guitar intro (Greg Skaff) on “Lazarus“, it was perfectly clear that Carline’s music is on the Zzaj playlists to stay!  If you dig quality jazz vocals, you’ll be blown away, to be sure. It was Carline’s wonderful scat on “Donna Lee/Back Home Again In Indiana” that made it my favorite of the 11 tunes; she truly has fun with the song!  I give Carline & crew my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information about her on the obituary page for her (sadly, she passed last Thursday) 

Carline Ray: Vocal Sides

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Global Noize (Jason Miles; Roberta Flack; DJ Logic) – SLY REIMAGINED: Sly & the Family Stone was one of my favorite groups back in the late ’60’s, when I was first out away from home… & in those days, it was music like Sly’s that got us up off our arses & out in the streets to “:fight the man”.  The coolest thing about Jason’s production on this CD is that it doesn’t just reflect the music that Sly did – it “moves it forward” into the 21st Century – be SURE to check out “It’s A Family Affair” – we need this spirit (& this movement) in every aspect of our lives today to beat back the ghouls who would take away our precious freedoms, & this group will GET to you if you listen to them!  The strongest song of the 10 on the CD (for this reviewer, anyway) was “You Can Make It If You Try“.  I give this stellar krew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 5.00 (the very top o’ th’ scale) – which means they also get the “PICK” of this issue for “best funk’n jazz”!        

Global Noize: Sly Reimagined

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Andy Waddell – SUNSET TO 7:  Andy’ work on this 9-song debut CD is nothing short of SUPERB!  It’s not just your ears that will be impressed; you’ll find yourself hitting “repeat” over & over again on  tracks like the groove-laden “Only One Older Friend“!  The thing that’s really notable on all the tunes is that no player overshadows another…. they are SO together!  The guitar fade-in to vocal on the totally laid-back “Blue Skies” is prettier than the skies themselves. Andy’s guitar on “Monday Mourning” won my vote for favorite track of the 9 – seamless jazz with a cutting edge all the way through.  I give Andy & crew an immediate MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information about Andy at his FB page (& leave him a note to know that you read about his CD here).    

Andy Waddell: Sunset to 7

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Billy Lester – STORYTIME:  This isn’t exactly “upbeat”, or “super-hip” jazz – but it IS jazz, to be sure – with a story being told.  As you listen to the opening of “Prologue“, you may think that it’s just “kerplunk-ity” notes, but as it matures, the tale comes to the fore – you just fill in the blanks (best with headphones on & eyes closed).  The too-cool “Lightning Man” starts right off with thunder striking in your ears, & doesn’t let up until a little more than four minutes later.  If solo piano is your cup of tea as a listener, you won’t get any better than this 11-tune wonder!  My personal favorite was “Bonanza“, probably because of the thick mother-lode of chords on the tune.  For listeners totally entranced by solo keyboards, this gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information about Billy & his music at Billy’s website.      

Billy Lester: Story Time

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Matt Kane Trio – SUIT UP:  Matt is one heckuvva’ drummer, & he’s got some splendid players joining him (Dave Stryker on guitar & Kyle Koehler on organ).  He’s been at this for a long time, & tunes like the opener, “John McKee“, clearly prove his total talent as a player!  The CD mix is perfect, putting his percussion clearly in the lead, but giving plenty of room for the rest of the trio.  I especially dug the subtle brush/cymbal work on a Kane original, “As You Left” – simply beautiful.  It was a Stryker composition that captured my vote for “favorite” track, though, “Minor Mutiny“… Kyle’s organ on this one just SHINES!  I give Matt & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information about Matt & his projects at his website.        

Matt Kane Trio: Suit-Up!

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Carol Duboc – SMILE:  Carol’s jazz vocals are full of life & energy; & that’s amazing, since this is about a personal tragedy (divorce) she was facing… it’s the title track, “Smile“, that brings home her message about survival in the face of things most only ever imagine!  Her soul shines through the tears… nowhere more evident (to this listener, anyway) than on “Telepathy“… downright funky jazz, for sure.  Jeff Lorber’s silky keyboards on, “Gliding” made it my favorite of the 10 offered up for your aural pleasure.  Any way you listen to it, this CD merits my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Carol’s website.      Rotcod Zzaj

Paul Speer – AX INFERNO:  I only get CD’s in that “jump ahead” to the front of the queue ever other issue or so… Paul’s fantastic guitar-based effort goes RIGHT to the FRONT!  You can listen to one of my favorite trax on the 9-song release, “Accelerator“… man, this is high-energy and a bit of sonic wonderment, to be sure!  There’s also a great SAMPLER available.  I haven’t heard guitar talent/energy like this in many years – absolutely astounding & certainly worth a purchase.  Of course, I noted (right away) that this giant player is from my neck o’ th’ woods in the great N’West!  You owe it to your ears to check out the sounds, & then buy it when it’s released on the 13th of August.  I give Paul my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 5.00 – which leads me to declare this as the “PICK” of this issue for “best creative guitar jazz”!  Get more information at Paul’s website (& be sure to tell him you read about him here at IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION).         Rotcod Zzaj

Gansch & Breinschmid – LIVE AT  WIENER KONZERTHAUS:  Georg Breinschmid is no stranger to our pages, nor will he be to your stereo/IPod after you listen to the 13 monster tracks on this recording of live performance.  Tunes like the beautiful “5/4” are not “complicated” for listeners, but they are deep, and will touch the inner parts of you as no other music has ever done before – an amazing composition!  The jaunty (& fun) “Sombrero” is too cool for school – Gansch’s trumpet is perfectly matched against Georg’s contrabass on this one!  It was the intricate weave on “Low n Green” that captured my aural vote for favorite track… almost a conversation between the duo, right in front of the large audience.  I give Thomas & Georg a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98 (if I used an “FQ” (fun quotient), they would get a perfect 5.00 on that, to be sure).  Get more information about this one at Georg’s site.    Rotcod Zzaj

Michael Treni Big Band – POP-CULTURE BLUES:  Big-band never died, and as long as artists like Michael are on the scene – it never will!  “One For Duke” will simply blow you away, & have you pullin’ out those saddle shoes for the jazz hop!  The tune “Minor Blues” takes it beyond the realm of “party”, too; this definitely feels like an after-hours late-nighter all the way through!  There are ten totally solid tunes on this grand adventure that you will find yourself hitting the repeat button many times for.  My personal favorite was the full-bodied “Mr. Funky Blues” – you haven’t heard big band like this before!  I give Michael & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at The Bell Production Company page for this release.        

The Michael Treni Big Band: Pop-Culture Blues

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Marko Djordjevic and Sveti – SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL:  Marko is one heckuvva’ drummer, I’ll tell you THAT!  As you scope out the opener, “Heart Bop“, your ears won’t believe the (almost) nuclear energy he’s pushing out through those drums & it doesn’t hurt that he’s got giant players like Bobby Avey on piano, Desmond White on bass, and Eli Degibri/Tivon Pennicott on tenor sax.   An even dozen free-spirited tracks that will bring your ears (& your head) back out of whatever slump you might have been in… I was especially impressed by tunes like the whirling dervish “Ten Large Serbians” – in fact, that’s my personal favorite on the CD.  Some excellent jazz – I can guarantee that you’ll be hearing much more from this highly talented player in the months & years to come.  I give Marko & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of (top-o’-the-line) 5.00 – which means he also gets the “PICK” of this issue for “most innovative jazz”.  Get more information at Marko’s website.      

Marko Djordjevic: Something Beautiful (1709-2110)

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Ira Wiggins – WHEN FREEDOM SWINGS:  & it don’t swing any better than this… Ira’s “got it down” when it comes to how to do that, especially on way-cool tunes like “Me & Momma Gone Fishin‘”… of course, a tune title like that could only come from Ira’s home-turf in North Carolina, I suspect.  If you’re looking for something a bit more percussion influenced, you’ll certainly dig the ultra-funky “People Make The World Go Round” as much as I did – some EXCELLENT flute work on that one, too!  It was the high-swingin; “Killer Joe” that got my vote for favorite of the dozen songs offered up, though… totally hip, man, & the changes are “right on time”!  I give Ira & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information at Dr. Wiggins’ blog.      

Ira Wiggins: When Freedom Swings

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Ezra Weiss – OUR PATH TO THIS MOMENT:  This is, I believe, the first time I’ve heard Ezra’s splendid talent in a big-band context, but after this 7-song ’round I’m sure it won’t be the last!  As you’ll note on the CD cover, Ezra uses Rob Scheps’ big band to play his music, and on tunes like “Rise and Fall“, you’ll hear just how well they did for him… this is far more than “just another swing band” – full-tilt composition going on here, & the achievement is pure, raw, power!  It’s actually the high-energy “It’s You Or No One” that got my vote as favorite… nearly 8 minutes of jazz to live by!  I give Ezra & Rob’s band a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information at Ezra’s website.      

Ezra Weiss: Our Path to This Moment: The Rob Scheps Big Band Plays The Music of Ezra Weiss (feat. Greg Gisbert)

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Lenny Marcus Trio – TONK – (A Tribute to Ray Bryant Vol 2):  We’ve been hearing a lot of Lenny’s music lately, & that’s always a good thing!  His piano on “C-Jam Blues” is full of life and splendid energy that will have ya’ up & hoppin’, no doubt.  This is the kind of jazz every listener will enjoy – no matter if they’re a hardcore jazz fan or not; you’ll hear that on the 4:04 “Slow Freight” – too cool, for sure.  If late-night groove is more your bag, you’ll just love “Cubano Chant”, especially the intro.   Of the 16 tunes Lenny offers up for your aural pleasure, it was “Old Devil Moon” that caught my vote as favorite, though, perhaps ‘coz of Lenny’s ultimately jazzified vocal on the tune.  I give Lenny & crew (Rick Eckberg, upright & electric bass; Larry Scott, drums; Vladimir Espinosa, percussion; Tom Artiwick, saxophone) a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Lenny’s website.      

Lenny Marcus Trio: Tonk: A Tribute to Ray Bryant, Vol. 2

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Eli Yamin and Evan Christopher – LOUIE’S DREAM:  It will be only seconds into the opener (& title track), “Louie’s Dream“, that you envision yourself in one of those funeral marching bands, I can tell you, New Orleans visions coming to life in your ears!  There are 13 splendid songs featuring Eli’s excellent jazz/blues piano & clarinet from Evan… if you like laid-back, you’ll totally dig “You Gotta’ Treat It Gentle” – but with that many songs on the CD, you’re GOING to find something you like. My favorite tune was “What’s Your Story, Morning Glory“, because of the heavy blues vibe…. and it’s lively, too!  I give this splendid duo a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information at Eli’s website.        

Eli Yamin: Louie

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Dave Liebman and Michael Stephans – LINEAGE:  Dave is an artist I always look forward to hearing, & I’m certainly not alone – CD’s like this are clearly the reason why that’s true… as you listen to his deconstructed version of the Beatles “Eleanor Rigby“, you’ll know (in the immediate) why you’ll find his sax work so attractive if you weren’t a fan already! He’s joined by drummer Michael Stephans as well as guitarist Vic Juris on keyboards, Evan Gregor doing bass and with Matt Vashlishan doing woodwinds.  The odd twists & turns on the classic “Wipeout” are outstanding, & will have you surfin’ right along in no time!  It was the jazzed-up “Tequila” that won my vote out of the 10 trax as favorite.  This whole experience is high-energy & stellar talent that earns the CD a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information at Dave’s jam-packed website!       Rotcod Zzaj

Lawson Rollins – FULL CIRCLE:  Readers who have been with us for a while know that our criteria for reviewing a CD is not “tied” to any specific genre – what DOES get a review that’s here is music created with passion and talent – and that’s exactly what Lawson is doing here…. just scope out the high energy on “Point Of Attraction“, and you will realize immediately why we already love this fantastic guitarist!  There are an even dozen high-spirited tunes full of soul & groove that will haunt your playlists for a long time to come.  My personal favorite track was the percussion-driven “Horizon“, one of the most beautiful tunes I’ve heard (yet) this year from a guitarist!  Learn more about this fascinating artist on his BIO page (lots of sound samples & video there, too).       Rotcod Zzaj

Rich Thompson – LESS IS MORE:  Rich knows how to kick his jazz along with his precision drumming, that’s for sure!  Tunes like “Hoot Gibson“, with some splendid organ work by Gary Versace, just pop along in a kind of “alley-cat” fashion that I dig a lot!  Sax from Doug Stone, trumpet/flugelhorn from Terell Stafford & bass by Jeff Campbell round the group out into one funky 10-song set that will continue poppin’ up on your playlists… The horn on “For Albert” is paradise for jazz lovers of all stripes!  It was the high funk-quotient on the title track, “Less Is More“, that got my vote for favorite track, though… tasty and delectable tuneage with some excellent horn work!  I give Rich & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) of 4.98.  Get more information at the Origin Records page for this CD.       Rotcod Zzaj

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