Issue 138 reviews

Our latest reviews for your reading and pleasure!!

Buddha Bass, Govinda, Kaminanda, Kalya Scintilla, Pumpkin, Quade – BUDDHA BASS:  What a GREAT way to end the close-out issue for 2013… as the liners describe it, “love, bass & beats”… you’ll surely realize the POWER when you scope out one of my favorite trance tunes for the year – “Enigmatica (Desert Dwellers Remix)“, the opener for this great CD!  There are a total of 11 super beat-driven tunes here, and if you’re into that type of thing, you’ll dig DEEP into the insightful “Tao (Pumpkin Remix)“!  This cat Buddha Bass (aka DJ Free), has been in my magazine more times than I can count, and every CD he sends has more (& more) winners on it… be sure & check out my favorite on this CD, “Karma (Mutiny & Sineoh Remix)”… just a superb tune to lead into hope for 2014 & beyond.  I give Buddha Bass a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 5.00 – which also earns him the “PICK” of 2013 for “best beat-driven music”!!!!   Get more information at the SOULFOOD MUSIC site.       Rotcod Zzaj

Tom Carleno – PERFECT IMPERFECTION:  Solo guitar isn’t always at the forefront of my playlists, but Tom’s CD has stayed up near the top, especially with tunes like “Meet Me In Maui“… the same gentle swaying one should expect in the islands (& I know about that, since I’m right here, albeit on Oahu).  The overtones on “Welcome To The Milky Way” will ensure you’re aspiring to higher things and wider horizons, to be sure.  It was the high-energy percussion/string duet on “Working Up An Appetite” that got my vote as favorite of the 11 tracks Tom performs for your aural enjoyment – though with that many tunes, you may find something different that’s your favorite.  Solo jazz guitar doesn’t always fare well in my ratings, but Tom gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from my ears, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98; energy and talent abound here!  Get more information at Tom’s website.      Rotcod Zzaj

Tom Carleno: Perfect Imperfection

Hristo Vitchev & Liubomir Krastev – RHODOPA:  Hristo has been reviewed here a lot lately, and with very good reason… you just won’t find a jazz guitarist (on the planet) these days who has such essential communication skills through his fingers.  With Liubomir’s reeds, they form a cultural jazz experience that can’t be compared with anything else, especially on tunes like the beautiful opener, “Devoiko Mari Hubava (Beautiful Young Lady)“… though the progressions are simple & laid-back, they manage to paint her with an intensity you wouldn’t have imagined at the start of the tune.  It was the “Blues For Clever Peter” that got my vote for favorite of the 9 splendid and high-energy tunes offered up for your aural pleasure… nearly 8 minutes that will have you up and dancing in only seconds.. pure joy!  I give Hristo and Liubomi my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of (the very top of the scale) 5.00… which means that it also gets the “PICK” of this issue for “best duo jazz”.  Get more information at Hristo’s First Orbit Sounds Music label site.        Rotcod Zzaj

Hristo Vitchev: Rhodopa

Todd Londagin – LOOK OUT FOR LOVE:  Todd’s talent isn’t only in the jazz vocal arena (though that is his forte on this CD) – he’s also a very energetic trombone player, & I imagine that has much to do with the “hepness” of his performance.  Essentially a quintet, this early 2013 release is far above average, and has an abundance of what we consider to be the “prime element” in good jazz – FUN!  One of the tunes that especially represented the joy he conveys is the (totally groovy, man) “Some Of These Days“… not hard at all to imagine a Speak-ez with Todd in that vest & some saddle shoes.  My personal favorite of the 10 tunes offered up was the one that departed from that ’30’s-era projection, though… “Brazil” is some of the coolest Latin I’ve heard in 2013 (& that’s saying something, ‘coz I’ve heard a lot of such)!!!  I give Todd & his compadres a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information at Todd’s website.       Rotcod Zzaj

Todd Londagin: Look Out for Love

Chris Biesterfeldt – URBAN MANDOLIN:  Whoever said that mandolin can’t cook jazz has the wrong recipe book.  Chris knows all the right ingredients, and his November 2013 trio (Chris on mandolin, Adam Armstrong on bass and Eric Halvorson on drums) proves it, with great jazz concoctions like “Quasimodo“… every line is “right on time”, and the trio will have you up on your feet & movin’ ’round the room to their beat in only moments!  His dexterity on the mandolin is fully evident on the closer, a Frank Zappa piece (that’s HARD to play, man) called “Rollo Interior“.  Of the 16 tunes offered up, though, it was the 6:18 “Some Skunk Funk” that got my vote for favorite, though… of course, you DO have to actually “listen” to catch the genius in this great piece.  I give this trio a resounding MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information in this EXAMINER article.      Rotcod Zzaj

Chris Biesterfeldt: Urban Mandolin

Mostly Other People Do The Killing – RED HOT:  Moppa Elliott & crew (Peter Evans’ trumpet, Jon Irabagon on alto saxophone, Brandon Seabrook doing guitar, Dave Taylor’s trombone, Ron Stabinsky’s piano  & Kevin Shea on drums) will set your world on fire, no doubt about it!  Just check out the cool 1920’s swingin’ feel on the opening track, “The Shickshinny Shimmy“…and, as ’20’s as the lead-in is, you’ll also be hearing some 21st Century bop on this tune as well.  My personal favorite of the 9 great tunes offered up was the oddly-named “Turkey Foot Corner“… that bass is absolute killer, & after the solo, you’ll hear some of the most marvelous freedom you’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to.  I give Moppa & his band of crazies a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (though if you’re part of the “form is all that matters” crowd, you won’t agree), with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information at the Hot Cup label site.       Rotcod Zzaj

Mostly Other People Do the Killing: Red Hot

Non Stop – TROPICAL REFLECTIONS:  It seems (nearly) every time I get something in from my (state) homie, guitarist John L. Holmes, it has a new band-name attached to it.  In this particular case, that’s perfectly fine – the music is excellent & the breezes are swayin’, especially on tunes like “Sin Among Mangos” – total groove!  I’ve been diggin’ John’s music since he sent his 2010 release in for review (“The Holmes Stretch“).  It was the fantastic high-energy on “Nowhere Like Now” that “did the trick for this listener/reviewer, though…. man, this tune just COOKS!  Whether you’re in the tropics or not, you’ll get plenty to reflect on with these 12 great tracks.  I give this one a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Non Stop’s FB page.       Rotcod Zzaj

Non Stop: Tropical Reflections

Sue Maskaleris – BRING NOTHING BUT YOUR HEART:  When a singer is also a player in the jazz arena, things get hot quick… & that’s totally true with pieces like “The Big Tiri” on Sue’s new release!  The Brazilian jazz she performs here is far out ahead of the pack, and will stay on your playlists for months (maybe even years) to come.  The gentle (yet energetic) guitar work on “Two Ducklings” is full of the inspiration that first attracted me to jazz (back in the Stan Getz days).  The percussion driven “O.C.D.” turned out to be my favorite of the dozen tunes offered up for your listening and dancing pleasure; among the best Latin tunes I’ve heard in 2013.  I give Sue & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information at Sue’s website.      Rotcod Zzaj

Sue Maskaleris: Bring Nothing but Your Heart

Chaise Lounge – DOT DOT DOT:  There are times when my whole mood (about jazz) is retro…. & this sharkskin-suited group of funsters surely achieves th’ max in that arena with tunes like the opening salvo, “Coolest Car“… if this ain’t “hep”, then I don’t know what is.  & when they swing into the back-alley-walk scat of “Cool“, you’ll be in beatnik-jazz heaven (I even had to dig out my B&W saddle shoes, man).  It was the laid-back & slick vibe on “Little Man Blue” that captured my ears as favorite… the mood they create definitely fits the band name.  I give this crew a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information at the Chaise Lounge website.         Rotcod Zzaj

Chaise Lounge: Dot Dot Dot

Dimitrije Vasiljevic – THE PATH OF SILVAN:  They say NYC is a “melting pot” for music, as well as people… this young resident (originally from Serbia) proves that to be true on tracks like the high-energy “Ocean Express” – you won’t find piano energy like that in too many corners, not even those darkened by some of the jazz giants.  He’s surely been recognized by the community and is scheduled to perform at Carnegie Hall in March of next year (2014).  Tunes like my favorite, the opener, “Silvan’s Dance“, surely had much to do with that, I have no doubt… I predict that you’ll be hearing a lot more from this great pianist in the coming years – he projects pure joy through his fingers.  Dimitrije gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information about this young star at his website pages.       Rotcod Zzaj

Dimitrije Vasiljevic: The Path of Silvan

The Paul Abella Trio – A CHANGE IN PLANS:  If you believe (as I do) that jazz doesn’t need to be “twisted” into some unrecognizable form… that, in fact, it needs to keep the “prime element” that makes jazz real – “FUN”; then, you’ll like Paul’s trio well enough to keep it right up at the top of your jazz playlists!  Tunes like “Channel 74” clearly illustrate the trio’s ability to enjoy the music and play it so that you will, too.  The addition of vibist Stephen Lynerd makes pieces like “Closer” stand out… nicely done, indeed! Strangely enough, it was the oddly-titled “Building the Better Mousetrap” that caught my vote as personal favorite, because of the energy involved in the crafting/playing of the tune.  Check out the Paul Abella Trio website to get more information.       Rotcod Zzaj

The Paul Abella Trio: A Change in Plans

Lis Addison – CROWN IN THE SKY:  When Lis sings about respect for Mother Earth – people listen (at least I did, and that’s for sure).  The thing about her work is that it’s all substance – no fluff that can be detected.  Listen to the opener, “Voice Of The Tree”, and you’ll hear what I mean!  I reviewed her quite sometime back, but this new CD is a perfect lead-in to the new century and all it has to bring us!  The deep penetration of “Hearts & Bones” will make you keep coming back to the tune…. truly a keeper!  It was the simple, quiet beauty of “Look Into Your Eyes” that made it my personal favorite of the 10 offered up… a splendid musical experience.  I give Lis a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information at Lis’s website.       Rotcod Zzaj

Lis Addison: Crown in the Sky

Yang Ying – ELIXIRAn interesting excursion into the meditative aspects of music, from a revolutionary in her society.  Yang Ying has been making music for several decades now, often “against the advice” of others.  The string work on “Heaven, Human, Earth” make it worth the purchase price… simply beautiful!  Though there are only 7 songs on the CD, they are all in that timeless zone that will make them continue to come back to your playlists again & again.  my personal favorite track was the 14:39 “Circulation“… one of the most moving pieces of music I have ever heard.  I give Yang Ying a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, especially for listeners who want music that will stand the tests of time.  “EQ’ (energy quotient) rating is 4.98.  Get more information at her website.      Rotcod Zzaj

Yang Ying: Elixir: Music for Moving & Still Meditation

Nicky Schrire – SPACE AND TIME:  Nicky’s second vocal jazz album hit the streets in September 2013, and for lovers of voice in jazz, it’s a hit already!  “I Wish You Love” reveals her high talent – she takes this tune, spins it her way and owns it!  Nicky’s re-interpretation of the Beatles “Here Comes The Sun” is more than just pleasant vocal finery… it will weave you right into the spell of early rising energy and make you wish you were back in those days, to be sure.  The intimate atmosphere Nicky achieves on this grand-dozen song CD will make it a favorite on your playlists for a good long time to come.  I give the recording a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information at Nicky’s website.      Rotcod Zzaj

Kaze – TORNADO:  Any time you take a musical stroll with trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and pianist Satoko Fujii, you’re running the risk that the power of the storm will overtake you and invade you to the core!  When you also add more trumpet from Christian Pruvost and drums from Peter Orins, I can guarantee you that you won’t be in Kansas any longer.  as I listen to the superb opener, “Wao“, you’ll realize that your mind has been placed under conditions it will never return from – once you listen to this – your world WILL be different!  If you weren’t in Bermuda when “Triangle” descended upon you, you’ll disappear and fragment into a thousand new pieces of thought.  This is one of the best (among hundreds) formations I’ve ever heard Natsuki and Satoko in… if you’re in an improvising/experimental frame of mind, you’ll agree when I declare this one MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 5.00 – which also nets it the “PICK” of this issue for “best improvised jazz”.  Get more information at Satoko’s website.       Rotcod Zzaj

Iro Haarla Sextet – KOLIBRI:  I just can’t explain in words how deeply all this jazz/music from Finland has affected me over the last couple of years… Iro is one of the best jazz leaders (piano and chen) I’ve heard in 2013.  The opener, “Nightjar“, is laid-back, but full of intrigue and mysterious energies that you’ve not heard before… truly impressive!  If you’re looking for tuneage that’s even more captivating, you’ll fall in love with the 7:03 “Spirit Bear” as quickly as I did – and you’ll keep coming back to it on your playlists… this is my favorite of the 7 epic pieces offered here.  I give Iro and her crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, though with the caution that if you can only enjoy “regular”, you may not agree with me.  “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.98.  Get more information at the TUM Records label site for this CD.       Rotcod Zzaj

James Sera – REALITY OF THE FANTASY:  There have been (more than) a few times when the only way to get back to reality was to listen to a guitar master who was able to dig down so deeply into the fantastic aspects of what music can be… and James has that ability down in spades!  To get a delicious taste of what he can do, just listen to “Chemistry In Motion” – and groove on out!  The prettiest (and most inspiring, for me, anyway) tune on the 9-song CD was “Awakenings” – truly my favorite piece on this aural adventure.  I give James a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information at James’ website.       Rotcod Zzaj

James Sera: Reality of the Fantasy

Barry Altschul – THE 3DOM FACTOR:  Barry’s drums lead this stellar TUM Records release; he’s joined by Jon Irabagon on tenor saxophone and Joe Fonda on double bass, & they just kick TAIL on pieces like the title track, “The 3Dom Factor“.  The approach is “take no prisoners”, to be sure… if you’re not a fan of innovative & high-energy jazz, you probably won’t groove as heavily as i did on pieces like “Ictus“… I mean, this takes me back to my “good old jazz days”, when cats like Buddy Rich ruled the jazz roost, and led the pack!  My personal favorite was the bass-driven “Martin’s Stew“… real nourishment for your aural appendages!  I give this excellent trio a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with the caution that if you’re looking for “laid-back ballroom jazz”, you’ll not agree with me.  “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.98.  Get more information at the TUM Records site.       Rotcod Zzaj

Pete Mcguinness – VOICE LIKE A HORN:  & a whole LOT more than just “a horn”… this cat’s scats are inspiring and infectious… I’m enchanted (right away), and you will be, too!  As I listen to the opener, “Yesterdays” – but what makes Pete’s vocal talent even more intriguing is the fact that he’s also an accomplished trombone player… so he “gets” both the player and the singer side of this mysterious music called jazz!  His voice on Bill Mobley’s “49th Street” is nothing short of amazing, and is my favorite track of the eight offered up for your (long-term) aural enjoyment… not only does Pete & his crew get a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 5.00 – he also gets the “PICK” of 2013 for “best jazz vocal work”!  Get more information about Pete and his music at Pete’s website.       Rotcod Zzaj

Hackdaddy – BLUES FOR A SILENT NIGHT:  This will be my only seasonal review this year… & it’s for some very special reasons… Mike is a big supporter of my ‘zine, but he’s also an energetic and creative player, as evidenced by his performance on Christmas classics like “Go, Tell It On The Mountain“… no syrupy corn, just heartfelt playing.  His rendition of “Little Drummer Boy” is far different than you’ve ever heard, & once again, it’s full of the promise of life that I remember when I first heard the song (oh, so many eons ago)… very nice.  My personal favorite of the 10 tunes offered up for your Yuletide enjoyment, though, was the title track, “Blues For A Silent Night” – again, different & full of blues & jazz licks that will make your ears perk up and take notice (no matter how much eggnog you’ve imbibed already).   I give Mike a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who want holiday music that inspires; “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.98.  Get more information at Hackdaddy’s BANDCAMP site.       Rotcod Zzaj

Hackdaddy: Blues for a Silent Night

Beat Funktion – MOON TOWN:  Though jazz funk is a truly universal “thang”, I’d not have thought of Sweden as being a place where the truly cool “get on down”… well, as you listen to the 6:10 opener, “Kareem“, you’ll have an appreciation for why locale doesn’t matter (near) as much as the SOUL the group has for doing this kind of music.  This is their second release since they formed in 2007 – unfortunately we didn’t get their first ’round, but as I listen to the groove on “Impressions” I can’t help but wish we did get it – I definitely want anything they release in the future!  It was the jumpin’ energy on the closer, “Driver’s Seat” that got my pick as favorite of the 10 songs on the CD… this one really kicks it!  For fans of funk, this gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from me, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information at the Beat Funktion website.     Rotcod Zzaj

Beat Funktion: Moon Town

Natsuki Tamura – DRAGON NAT:  In the last issue I reviewed a solo CD by Natsuki’s wife, Satoko… this album was a part of that release set.  It’s the first solo release Natsuki has done in nearly 10 years (2004 was the last one).  Those who have been reading this magazine for a good long while know that both Natsuki and his wife are some of the most prolific improvisors on the planet.  Natsuki’s trumpet on this one is some of the most surreal you’ll ever listen to – and that alone makes it worth getting it in your collection.  I was especially impressed with the beautiful “Forever“… the 6:34 piece will tug at your strings, without doubt.  The best piece on the CD – my favorite track – was the oddly shaped/formed “Matsuri”… some truly excellent horn work!  I give Natsuki my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information at the SQUIDCO page for this CD.   Rotcod Zzaj

Jerry Hunt – HARAMAND PLANE… THREE TRANSLATION LINKS:  If “odder is better”, then you’re on the edge of the universe with this 3-track gem from our friends at the Pogus label.  They were actually Jerry’s last electronic compositions, so in addition to true aural adventure, you will be archiving a touch of the history of electronic audio pioneering.  I was most impressed with the 28-minute long “Chimanzzi – Link 2“, composed just before Jerry’s passing in 1993 (the same year the three pieces were composed).  There is no way you can equate this to jazz – think of it more as “sonic sculpture”… the added bonus is that these sculptures are tied together with video bits in an interlocked fashion, so it all “pulls together” for you to experience.  Make sure you don’t waste the experience by trying to do something else while listening/watching… do your first listen with headphones on in a locked room, so you won’t be disturbed.  Your psyche will thank you, though it may be “disturbed” for a few years to come.  I give Jerry a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, but that’s only for folks with adventurous ears…. “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.97.  Get more information at the POGUS label site for this CD.      Rotcod Zzaj

Anya Malkiel – FROM THE HEART:  All the way from Russia comes Anya, with exposure to music (jazz) that was forbidden there.  I’m not quite sure how she pulled it off, but her jazz vocals are absolutely spot-on, with all the cool you’d expect from a Bay-area jazz sophisticate.  I just totally dug down on “Invitation” (which has some very nice vibe work from Christian Tamburr), & have no doubt you will too!  The bass intro on “Under Paris Skies“, along with Anya’s total groove on the performance, made this my favorite track of the 10 pieces offered up for our listening pleasure.  One of the better jazz vocal CD’s I’ve heard (yet) in 2013.  I give Anya a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Anya’s bio page.    Rotcod Zzaj

Anya Malkiel: From the Heart

Esa Helasvuo – STELLA NOVA:  There is truly nothing more exciting for a musical adventurer than encountering the spirit of a pioneer, and that’s just exactly what Esa (from Finland) is… as you listen through the powerful chords and improvisation on the title track, “Stella Nova“, you will know that power as well… make sure you’re prepared, though… use your headphones and lock yourself off from any other activities as you absorb these nine great compro-sitions!  This is Esa’s first release in 20 years, so you will feel the same sense of discovery I’m imagining he did as he played the beautiful “Kisimu” – my favorite track on the CD, by the way.  This is some of the best solo piano I’ve heard in many years, and gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from me, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at the TUM Records label site for this CD.       Rotcod Zzaj

Fiona Joy Hawkins – 600 YEARS IN A MOMENT:  Fiona’s music is both inspiring and challenging… is it jazz?  Hardly – but it is full of life and energy, and that’s what gets a CD reviewed here!  Her piano on the opener, “600 Years“, is calm and collected, but full of nuance and emotion as she asks her lover to “wait” (the cello on this one is beautiful as well).  The strong sense of movement on “The Journey” makes the tune come alive, but without being “weepy”, or overbearing in any sense.  Yes, it could be classified in the “new age” category, I suppose, but it has far more depth than most music claiming to be such.  My personal favorite of the dozen pieces offered up was “Tango On Wednesday“… it makes you want to keep on living, just so you can tango.  Fiona and her crew get a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from me, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Fiona’s website.      Rotcod Zzaj

Clarence Johnson III – WATCH HIM WORK:  The tenor & soprano sax work that Clarence does on this superb CD are flawlessly executed & chock-full of the kind of musical energy that makes an album a :”keeper” on many different levels.  The title-track opener, “Watch Him Work” has a touch of smooth, but far more of the talent required to execute than most jazz that falls in that category these days!  The 10 songs featured on this November 5, 2013 release are more than enough to make you fall in love with his talent, but I found the down & funky “Struttin‘” to be my favorite – if ya’ can’t “get down” to this, you’ve lost it all already.  I give Clarence a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who demand “real jazz”, not the pseudo stuff that passes itself off as “smooth jazz” these days!  “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.97.  Get more information at Clarence’s REVERBNATION site.      Rotcod Zzaj

Clarence J. Johnson III: Watch Him Work

Thrasher Dream Trio – GERRY GIBBS THRASHER DREAM TRIO:  When a trio is led by the drummer, you can expect intimate precision and energy, and Gerry’s playing brings all that & more!  As I listen to the killer drums on “The Eye Of The Hurricane“, I’m definitely reminded of the “old jazz haunts”, and inspired all at the same time!  Gerry has Kenny Barron (piano) and Ron Carter (bass) to round out one of the finest trios I’ve heard (yet) this year!  “When I Dream” was for McCoy Tyner, and shows how absolutely tight these three are together…. super song!  The trio’s rendition of Monk’s “Epistrophy” ranks among the best I’ve ever heard…. total precision with high spirit to make it “their own” – this was also my favorite of the 15 tunes offered up.  I give this trio a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information at the Whaling City Sound site.       Rotcod Zzaj

Joe DeRose and Amici – PEACE STREETS:  My guitar-playing friend Hristo Vitchev sent this one for review…. he’s co-leader on this… Joe (drums) is (I assume) the lead… the other members are Dann Zinn on sax, Murray Low on keys & Dan Robbins on bass.  In fact, I only got this posted into my queue yesterday – & that’s part of what makes this one unique – it got JUMPED right to the head of the queue… yes, it IS “that good”… as you scope out the marvelous energy and sophisticated changes on “The Spirit Of The Room“, you’ll know right NOW why this had to get a review so soon!  “Smiles For Miles” had room for each player to shine – and they burn brilliantly on this tune, I’ll tell you (Hristo’s guitar lead is absolute KILLER on this one)!  Of the dozen tracks offered up for your aural adventure, I found the opener, “New Frontiers“, to be my favorite… but then, each time I listen to the CD (I’ve already listened to it 6 times this morning), I find something “new” & “refreshing”.  If you’re looking for something to buy your musically “bored” friends, because they need to get “re-charged” – this comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED… it gets an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 5.00, which means it also gets the “PICK” of this issue for “best 21st Century fusion jazz”!  Get more information at the FIRST ORBIT SOUNDS label page.  Rotcod Zzaj

Joe DeRose and Amici: Peace Streets

Jeri Brown – ECHOES (LIVE AT CATALINA JAZZ CLUB):  The sure sign of a WINNER for a live recording is the amount of energy it generates, both for the players as well as the audience (if audience is permitted into the mix – as they are, a bit, on this one).  The closer on this 11-song CD, “The Nearness Of You“, is so good it’s “almost like church” – & those of you who’ve “been there” know exactly what I mean!  Another top-of-the-line performance was Jeri’s wonderful rendition of “Afro Blue“… man, this will hit right home for true jazz lovers… lots of improv & heavy spirit throughout!  Clayton Cameron’s drums, bass from Trevor Ware, & piano from Woody Woods all help to propel this right to the top of my playlists!  I give Jeri & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Jeri’s website.      Rotcod Zzaj

Jeri Brown: Echoes: Live At Catalina Jazz Club

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