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LIBERATION MUSIC COLLECTIVE/Siglo XXI: Picking up the ball from Haden and Bley with a new name covering old concerns, this young bunch of Indiana University students bring civil rights jazz into the 21st century keeping it contemporary and moving forward, much like the way Haden and Bley built on what came before them. Music might not be the force for change it once was, but when passion and killer chops meet up on the corner, you never know what might ensue. Here we hear that the spirit is still willing even of the flesh of the current body politic isn't so much---at least outwardly. This is the kind of special date where creativity comes first but it can be welcomed with open ears as opposed to trepidation. Check it out.

DEB CALLAHAN/Sweet Soul: A white gal full of soul/blues seems to have really found her center by becoming a mom. Not exactly the trajectory we would have expected, but really, what do we know about being a mom? A killer set where everyone on board is cooking with the gas on high, this Tony Braunagel production is a can't miss set that lets this belter tell it like it is via the thoughts of a contemporary gal that doesn't seem to be mired in white people problems. By all means, check it out, this stuff works throughout.

CLEAR WATER/Electricity: Before they had a name for what she was doing, Saskia Laroo was fusing EDM and jazz into her own sonic stew fueled by her "Lady Miles" vibe. Trumpeter Donald Malloy builds on that template by reaching deeper into the Miles bag leavening it with Herbie Hancock and John Coltrane vibes before letting it all run right into today. Wild stuff that's on point throughout, this is contemporary jazz mash up for contemporary ears looking for nu kicks. Ground breaking and bag breaking, Malloy is really on to something righteous here.

J. ASLING & FRIENDS/Stockholm Sessions: Open your ears and welcome some repurposed Delta and Piedmont blues as filtered by white boy ears in Stockholm. Recorded with a lot of improv in just a few takes per song, the band is so on point you just won't believe it. They don't try to keep all the dust on the classic vibes but their freshenings aren't at all offensive or disrespectful. It might be blues for suburbanites the never picked cotton but it sounds so fresh and real that it's hard to put down. Killer stuff that'll really wake up jaded ears in fine style.

NOAH PREMINGER/Pivot-Live at the 55 Bar: Saxman Preminger himself knows that this set might not be for everyone. He admits that up front and really doesn't care. For the last several years, the jazzbo has been obsessed with the works of Bukka White. On this set, you get 2 extended half hour jams on 2 of White's seminal works. The gang doesn't take it to the Delta, they take it to the church basement. Hell, White might have wound up there if he was in New York and wasn't discovered by folkies. Channeling Coltrane into the 21st century, Preminger might have something that's not for everyone but if Coltrane, Coleman and Rollins are in your personal Mount Rushmore, this is well worth checking out. Clearly wild stuff.

CARTER CALVERT/It's a Man's World: So why do you know this jazz vocal gal that's been laboring in the vineyards for so long? After all the credits she's racked up, you know her as the voice of Kindle Fire. With that behind her, it gives her the freedom to jump into this set where she re-imagines popular songs from various quadrants, doing a great job of channeling her inner Abbey Lincoln for a white girl. Soulful, bluesy and self assured, this is a dandy romp that takes the familiar and takes it out of the supper club and cabaret for a wild new ride. A fine job abetted by a fine crew of well tested jazzbos that all seem to be having a great time ready to be shared.

MONKEY JUNK/Moon Turn Red: Sometimes it hard to know what the missing element in the special sauce is. This award winning, powerful trio has the moves that should make them arena rockers but there's something intimate in their sound that makes then most appreciated in clubs where they can blow the doors off the place. One of those sweet mysteries of life that gets resolved in favor of people that like their music hot, up close and personal. Coming from the funky swamps of Canada (hah!), this amped up rootsy gang of rocking bluesers hits it out of the park from the first drum crack and delivers like a runaway night train. Killer stuff for those who know what it is to rock the night away with real pros.

COLIN LINDEN/Rich in Love: This might be a low key set but your fingers will blister if you handle it without gloves. A hard working cat for the last 40 years that has found security doing music for the TV show "Nashville", we find him really indulging his personal preferences here with abandon and focus at the same time. Mining the folk/blues/roots furrow with a really sharp blade, this deceptively simple back porch set will hook you so severely that you might just think it won't ever let go. Loaded with nothing but high water marks, this is the stuff, plain and simple. If Linden thought he did award winning stuff in the past, just wait until this set steps up to the line. Killer stuff throughout.

DUKE ROBILLARD/Acoustic Blues and Roots of: We already know Robillard can do know wrong. Here, on this highly personal set that took over a decade to complete, we find Robillard doing even less wrong than we thought he was capable of. The ultimate back porch record where Robillard salutes the music of the first half of the 20th century, this forward to the past session will utterly and absolutely blow your mind. Anyone not down with the folk/blues side of roots music should check this out and see how long it takes to change their opinion. Maria Muldaur might be on board here but this roots treasure hunt goes way deeper than Muldaur being enamored with Benny Carter. Flat out killer stuff that would be a shoo in for enshrinement in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if the hall was more than just an arrested development exercise in reliving high school with money. This is as good as it gets.

ART ‘TURK' BURTON and Congo Square/Spirits-Then and Now: Since we're getting close to the end of the year, it's about time we started seeing some recorded love for AACM on their 50th anniversary. A member of AACM since 1973, Burton has mostly newly recorded tracks here but there are a few from 30 years ago recorded live when you could have progressive music at mainstream Chicago clubs and it wouldn't raise an eye. Letting time and tide take the scary elements out of the once highly progressive edges of the collective, the music is still progressive but it's more welcoming reflecting the diversity and changing times that have come and gone. Always at the forefront, Burton and company know how to do a killer mash up and keep the high octane energy flowing. Killer stuff from real artists.

Volume 38/Number 321
September 16, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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