If you thought that 20 years between records would augur change, in the case of Christine McVie youre wrong. The former Fleetwood Mac singer and songwriters new solo disc doesnt sound all that dissimilar to her Christine McVie from 1984. Like that disc, In The Meantime is pleasant but not exceptional. Friend is this albums Got A Hold On Me, a Mac-ish piece of soft pop, empathetically delivered by McVie and her band, which includes her nephew, Dan Perfect, on guitars and backing vocals. Other standout tracks include So Sincere and Easy Come, Easy Go which has some of those funky clavinet sounds and backing vocals like You Make Lovin Fun. McVies best singing comes on Liar. Overall an engaging but less than scintillating excursion.
Incognito Adventures in Black Sunshine (Narada Jazz)
Guitarist/composer Jean-Paul Bluey Maunick has built Incognito into a juggernaut of sorts. Over the groups 11 albums, Maunick has developed a sound borrowing from 70s soul and 90s acid jazz, while introducing a bevy of talented singers and utilizing the cream of Britains jazz and funk musicians, such as Patrick Clahar, Bud Beadle, Richard Bailey and guests such as former Jam frontman Paul Weller. Adventures reunites Bluey with vocalist Maysa Leak, who sings most of the leads. Whoever is singing, Incognito delivers the goods. The punchy horns, synths, and electric piano leads galvanize the songs while Maunick stays mostly in the background. Even on the instrumentals he lets others get the bulk of the solo space, as on The 25th Chapter, which features Andy Ross on flute and Nichol Thompson on trombone.
Aria 3 Metamorphasis (Koch Records)
Producer/pianist Paul Schwartz continues to concoct ambient masterpieces from classical and sacred song. Here he reaches into operatic arias and reimagines them with ambient and electronic treatments with vocal interludes. Whether it works or not certainly depends on your perspective. Classical purists will probably run screaming from the room, while those whose ears are tuned strictly to pop will also be left wanting. Like his previous Aria efforts, or his combinations of sacred and electronic on the State of Grace projects for Windham Hill, Schwartz finds his audience in those looking for new expression and combination of beats, electronics, and classical or sacred works. An arranger rather than composer, Schwartz pushes the envelope with sometimes heady results.
Wallace Roney - Prototype (High Note)
Wallace Roney is one of the most consistently inventive trumpeters currently working on the jazz scene. As it harkens back to such ground-breaking albums as Bitches Brew and Herbie Hancocks Crossings, Prototype is not music for the faint-hearted. Like his mentor, Miles Davis, Roney is totally unafraid, and the fearlessness shows in his innovative combinations of textures over which he and his fellow horn players assemble their sounds. On the opening Cyberspace, for example, he brings in DJ Logic on turntables, while the following Shadow Dance includes bass clarinet and trombone. Both are wistful, exploratory songs, which rely on the leaders trumpet lines to tie together the electronic soundscapes and the more typical jazz rhythms. And Roneys arrangement of Al Greens Lets Stay Together is a tour-de-force.