(All are available now)
Ron Mazurek & Exploding Star Orchestra
Mazurek may be an expat these days (trading Chicago for Marfa), but his latest album features a bevy of hometown luminaries, including Damon Locks and Ohmme’s Macie Stewart, in an exhilarating, adventurous, genre-embracing set.
The jazz trumpeter-bandleader-composer’s lush, unabashedly charming debut showcases two distinct ensembles: a double-trumpet-driven quartet and a chamber-jazz nonet comprising string quartet, vocals, trumpet, saxophone, bass and drums.
“Fixed Against Forever”
If any period has warranted a revival of primal-scream punk, it’s this one. Wrong War was formed in 2019 by former members of Current, Ottawa, Calvary, The Phenoms and Salvo Beta; this blistering debut was released, fittingly, on Election Day.
Chicago’s self-anointed “Prince of Pop” makes a good case why you should bend the knee. In his suave, self-titled EP, he coos and croons through a half-dozen cuts of seductive, state-of-the-art urban pop.
Nino Augustine & Lester Rey
“De Paseo a la Luna”
Two Latin music masters bring Panama and Puerto Rico together for a tropical-infused “illustrative journey to the moon” that incorporates Afro-fusion, R&B and electronica.
Robert Rodi is an author, spoken-word performer and musician who has served as Newcity’s Music Editor since 2014. He’s written more than a dozen books, including the travel memoir “Seven Seasons In Siena.” His jazz quintet recently completed a two-year residency at Uncommon Ground, and he regularly hosts a jazz singers’ jam at Lizard’s Liquid Lounge. His literary and music criticism has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Salon, The Huffington Post and many other national and regional publications.