John McLean

Better Angels

origin 82486

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Dick Crockett, Bop 'n Dicks 10 Picks

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A breeze of avant sophisticated hip full of voices, reeds and guitarist John McLean arranging this unique new cd, fresh from the Chicago new jazz scene. Greatness looms in Chicago's young writers, musicians and post bop innovators as they appear on this new cd with leader John Mclean reaches in and lifts up with other the fledgling, the promising and accomplished including himself. Therein lies a greatness in young Chicago. Mclean implores tasteful and stunning acoustic interludes as in "Three Arcs Complete The Circle." Jim Gailloreto's warm saxophone leads along with Grazyna Auguscik's vocalizing add an extraordinary and mesmerizing texture. Then a soft glow of the Beatles "Blackbird," starting with a delicate intro by Auguscik, with this remarkable ability sing it straight with nuance, one of the many hidden treasures on this cd. Her version of Janis Ian's "Ready For The War" is another pleasant surprise with a powerful romantic depth, that'll implore your imaginative sensual metaphor. John McLean's picking on this selection is an absolute evolving intensity, a contrasting dynamic against Auguscik's cool art deco-ness. It drives you delightfully crazy. There's vicarious contemporary sophisticated pleasure here. John McLean has captured something in a very hip pop sense. Metheny does it well. Patricia Barber does it more intellectual.
Larry Kohut's bass line makes the whole song. "Place Talk" is a groovy jazz kick with Gailloreto on saxophone, Auguscik's vocalizing and Karl Montzka on organ. Then a ballad with a surreal open and an airy version of Ellington's "Do Nothing Til You Hear From Me," a 'Mr Softi' blue counterpoint with Gailloreto and Karl Montzka on organ. "Airmail Special" is a rebop Charlie Christian/Benny Goodman swing tune that Ella popularized singing scat lyrics. It's been re adapted in a more modern vein. Scat supplied by McLean and Gailloreto. Then a romantic more Vignola modern version of "I'm Confessing That I Love You." The title tune is a glorious nobel entity that Metheny does so well. "Better Angels" features Grazyna Auguscik's vocalizing with electric violinist Zack Brock.
There's so music here supplied by a wonder of Chicago musicians led by John McLean, this should have been a 2 cd set, The new Chicago Post Moderns. If this group tours your town, be sure you attend. You'll be absolutely entertained.






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