a review of cool new music
by Jeff Pinzino
! Aaron Weinstein & John Pizzarelli – Blue Too (jazz)
In a field full of incredible talents, there are precious few jazz musicians that merit the g-word. I say confidently: Aaron Weinstein is a genius. He's master of an instrument that's only occasionally heard in jazz - the violin. Weinstein's tone is precise and powerful, and his improvisation shows a depth of imagination that surprises again and again. Pizzarelli’s guitar work would do Django proud. A true delight.
* Maceo Parker – Roots and Grooves (R&B)
Still takin' it to the bridge, this time with a big band along for the ride. The "Roots" part of this 2 CD set is a tribute to Ray Charles, and Parker eerily invokes Ray with a strong vocal performance. The "Grooves" part is an all-out funkfest, with the band's firepower trained on several of Maceo's best-known tunes. Shake everything you got!
Luciano – Jah is My Navigator (reggae)
Classic-styled Roots Reggae from a next-generation artist. If old Bob Marley is still your speed, you won't be disappointed with this one.
Gladys Hardy – I Love Jesus But I Drink a Little (comedy)
A fiery 88-year old Texan deals hilariously with phone systems, family, and Ellen DeGeneres. Clever, obscenity-free, and all proceeds go to charity.
Projekt A-Ko & Horowitz (rock)
In order to restore karmic balance to Casual Listening, I'm following up last week's corporate rock love-fest with a review of an excellent split seven-inch on the Filthy Little Angels label. Both bands show cool pop melodies spraypainted across a wall of feedback and distortion. Horowitz has a remarkably sunny disposition, while Projekt A-Ko is a little more subdued.
* highly recommended
! highest recommendation