Monday, March 17, 2008

Chicago Bound...Oh, and Indy too!

Three new CD's are on the docket, vocalist Joanie Pallatto, pianist Dave Gordon and new ternor sax man Gust Spanos. Spanos, out of Indianapolis is one of those 'weekend warriors'. His new disc, 'Swing Theory' (Swing Theory,LLC), gets credit for having one of the most imaginative covers of recent years. Check this out...he's poised in front of a classroom, sax held high as if he's wailin' some teaching sounds and seated are a roomful of geniuses in Einstein, Sinatra, Basie, Ellington, Ella and others...what balls! It took even greater balls to assemble abunch of world class musicians, Wycliffe Gordon, Eric Shneider, Everette Greene, et al and then have a sax sound that...clearly is that of...well, not of the calibre of musicians he's paid. And I'm sure he paid em cause Spanos works as a neurologist...He better not quit his day job. But he can add this to his resume..'how I worked as a jazz musician and got away with it'. 2 Stars.
Chicagoan Joanie Pallatto has been singing around town for a lot of years now. And while not strickly a 'jazz' singer per-se she and husband/producer Bradley Parker-Sparrow have made their indelible mark on Chicago jazz. Her newest, "It's Not Easy" (Southport), is geared for a wider market outside of jazz but keeps its 'jazzy' element. The coolest thing about this recording is that it features the original music and lyrics of herself and her husband. Plus there is a great cut, 'Tickle, Tickle' culled from Southport's archives with the late bassist Eldee Young. That alone is worth the price of admission. 3 Stars.
Pianist Dave Gordon too has been around Chicago alot of years as well. I remember some of his great hard bop groups of the early 80s. "Constantly Evolving' (ATR), is a step in that evolution of the piano stylings of Gordon. Recorded in his home this is a 'personal' affair of duo, solo and trio playing with friends. He even gets blues man Corky Siegel in the fray. Yet I need more meat on the bones. I know Gordon's got just that and I have no doubt he'll have a feast on the next recording. 2 Stars.