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Dauntless Duo: Pinetop & Parrish

by Bob Powers

G21 Music Writer

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Did you ever hear of the pianist Pinetop Perkins? Me neither. Ever sit down to a performance by Michael Parrish? Me neither. No matter. Once you've listened to these guys, you'll want more.

There's very little information offered by the company that released what I hope become a series of albums. "One Heart" (Geographic Records) displays two terrific talents playing a dozen superb examples of boogie and blues. From the photos that come in the CD insert, Perkins appears to be in his 70s, while Parrish could be anywhere from 25 to 45. Again, it makes no difference. Here are two fellas who play raucous, rambunctious and seriously grooving pianos. Working together, they are a mighty force indeed.

One Heart CD cover.You wouldn't expect that piano duets, even of blues songs, would necessarily stoke your furnace. But Perkins and Parrish become a powerful pair, pumping out pulsating playing that will force you into nodding your head in rhythm, and applying the bottoms of your Reeboks firmly to the floor. This is the real deal, the stuff of which dreams are made.

As the record company's press release observes, "If you smell a little smoke when you listen to this record, it may be because there are torches in the room; whether its one torch or two, they seem to have been lighted by the same flame."

Messrs. Perkins and Parrish, may that flame burn bright for years and years.

Right Time, Right Place

Only six months after their debut CD, Los Hombres Calientes is back with another gem, "Volume 2" (Basin Street Records). This exciting trio of leaders brings a wicked jazz influence to Latin music, resulting in music that excites aficionados of both genres.

The leaders are Irvin Mayfield, Bill Summers, and Jason Marsalis. Based in New Orleans, the group also performs with more than a touch of soul. Mayfield plays the trumpet with a deep feeling for the wonders that the horn can create in the hands of a brilliant player, which he definitely is. Jason Marsalis handles the drums with the born facility of a music maker. And co-leader Bill Summers shows himself to be a wizard of percussion.

Giving support to this indomitable trio are Victor Atkins, piano; Edwin Livingston, bass, and Yvette Summers, percussion and vocals.

The albums 18 tracks are mostly originals by the band, save for Gene McDaniels' "Feel Like Makin' Love" and a quick tribute to Herbie Hancock's Headhunters with "Chameleon" and a tip of the hat to George Clinton with "We Want the Funk." The three-part "Cuban Suite" composed by Mayfield contains various moods and is played with energy and sizzling style.

While I enjoyed the band's debut album, "Volume 2" is a giant step forward for three young men who seem destined to give added juice to both jazz and Latin music. This is one deserving of your consideration. I hope Los Hombres Calientes comes back with another release within six months time.

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Julian's Return

After a four-year layoff from recording, British folk-pop performer Julian Dawson returns with an outstanding new CD called "Under the Sun" (Gadfly Records).

Dawson's strong point, in addition to his smooth voice, is a real talent for writing. His lyrics tell interesting stories that will resonate in many listeners lives.

As a for instance:

How come you love me
When everybody else is so remote?
How come I'm sinking
If everybody else is in the same damn boat ?
There's a raucous orchestra playing in my head
They're tuning up as I'm lying in bed
How come you love me?
How come you love me?

According to the publicist for Gadfly, Julian Dawson "makes pop music for smart people. " The London-born singer shows he's ready for the big break in the U.S. Years of touring in Europe have shaped him into a performer of unusual talents. He's worth more than a casual nod as you walk down the record store aisles.

Different Strokes

Have you heard any good cello music lately? Your answer would be in the negative unless youre a classical music buff. Or listen frequently to "All Things Considered" on National Public Radio.

The new album by Gideon Freudmann might turn you into a fan of this off-the-beaten-path cello maestro. NPR producers like his work so well that they frequently play tracks. Recently he was the subject of a segment on NPRs "Weekend Edition."

"Holygram Crackers" is Freudmann's fifth CD, all released by Gadfly, whose slogan is "A bug in your ear." No offensive bugs in this album, which contains a constantly changing variety of sounds, all made with the single cello, aided by "a bit more sound manipulation and editing during the mastering process."

If you listen, you may take it home with you.

Dream Band

John Sheridan is one of those multi-talented musicians who scare them who aren't as versatile. He plays a dynamic piano, has many strong credits as an arranger, and is no slouch as a singer. Sheridan also does a good job as a leader, as he demonstrates once again with a new album, "Dream Band, Make Me Dream Some More" (Arbors Records).

This swing septet runs gracefully through a set of 17 songs which will be familiars to most of the gray beards who stumble across this column. Just because these folks have accumulated more than their share of experience, don't expect the music to put you into Slumberland. These guys can take an old standard and make it altogether new.

The dream song list impresses, with such winners as "Dream Dancing, " I Had the Craziest Dream," "Harlem Lullaby," and "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams."

A division tool.

The holidays are upon us, record companies! Send your latest releases for review in "Powerssound." For the mailing address, contact Bob Powers at .



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