by Chris Spector, Midwest Record
ED NEUMEISTER & HIS NEUHAT ENSEMBLE/Wake Up Call: Focusing on his skills as an arranger and conductor more than his playing and writing, this set stands toe to toe with anything cats like Bill Holman were gloriously doing post Kenton. An engrossing kind of date with a scad of first call jazzbos doing his bidding, this is a text book of first class, sitting down jazz played the way it should be. Elegant without being stuffy, this is a mega feast for your ears.
DAVE LIEBMAN-JOE LOVANO/Compassion-the Music of John Coltrane: A record that was never really meant to be a record, this is what happens when you let improv-ers improv and things go really right. Originally recorded 10 years ago for a radio broadcast to mark the 40th anni of Coltrane’s death, the hell raiser that filled the commemorated hell raiser’s chair in Miles band rounds up his compatriots in Saxophone Summit and let’s the fur fly on a program of all Coltrane, released to recognize the 50th anni of his passing and it all seems so much more melodic than hell raising. Time & tide? Great playing from the first byte, this is the stuff heartfelt tributes are made from. A killer date that needs to finally be let loose, Liebman hits it out of the park again in stellar fashion.
STEVE BILODEAU/Sun Through the Rain: The guitar man rounds up a crew for a jazz improv date that sounds like he felt 2016 felt. Highly left leaning stuff that is just the tonic the chaotic mind is looking for to feed on and embrace the chaos, it ain’t easy listening for easy times.