By: Chris Spector, Midwest Record
SVETLANA/Night at the Movies: Yep, thoughts become things. We thought rock ‘n’ roll and blue jeans brought down Russia but apparently it was movies and movie music. That’s what motivated this Russian lass to leave the austerity behind and come across the pond to be successful enough in business to chase her real dreams. Capturing the attention of Guy Eckstine, Matt Pierson and other jazzbos of note, she rolls out a jazzy take on movie music culled from the last 100 years, making it all her own all the way through. If you dig movie music or cabaret feeling jazz on tunes you know and love, this is the place for a great listening experience. Well done.
YELLOW HOUSE ORCHESTRA/Pop: Kind of like a modern Tower of Power, this genre splicing crew soaks up the sounds of the streets in a rocking Latin jazz amalgam that just plain rollicks along serving up all the genre touchstones you expect and more. Party music for party people that want to party, this is how you get modern good times rolling.
OSCAR HERNANDEZ/Love the Moment: The Latin jazz hydra presents yet another side of his skills with a second outing that flies under this particular flag. A solid serving of smoking Latin jazz that positions itself in an up market vibe, this classy set is a delightful fast ball right down the middle. Professional and well played while leaving the emotion and passion in tact, there isn’t a lick on this set of originals that you won’t like. A well done ear opener.
KENYATTA BEASLEY SEPTET/Frank Foster Songbook: Since there seems to be no memory of anything anymore, unless you are a hard core Basie fan, the works here might not mean anything to you. The Basie staple was a mentor to Beasley and he leads his crew through a rousing live double disc that’s a fine tribute to his fallen leader. If you’re down a quart on your daily swing requirement, this hopping, bopping set will perk those reservoirs wide open. There’s only 11 tracks across the two discs but the crew makes the most of all that room to stretch out and deliver. Wonderful stuff by pros you need to hear more of, this is real jazz for real jazzbos.
(Art vs. Transit)
ORAN ETKIN/Finding Friends Far From Home: Is this a kid’s record or not. With a vibe that feels like “Peter and the Wolf”, Etkin takes his clarinet around the world and narrates the stops and encounters they make. Quite a wild diversion that’s as much radio program as it is a record, it’s certainly cinematic in scope and entertaining throughout. This is most certainly a different tangent for the armchair traveler to successfully follow with a rising clarinet ace that won’t leave them stranded leading the way. Fun stuff for kids of all ages.
SUMITRA/Bittersweet: Keeping her art chick cred in tact, this autobiographical journey through her life falls in the jazz/cabaret niche where personal stuff that floats to the fore is at the fore. A great scene setter for a moody cocktail hour.