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AMP TRIO/m(y)our world: Expanding their sound for their second outing, these Texas jazzbos find that sweet spot where improv and notated come together in a lovely pairing that washes over you nicely. Smart jazzbos that know how to deliver without anyone looking over their shoulders, this is smart, contemporary jazz that was purely made to be enjoyed. Check it out.

SCOTT HAMILTON & JEFF HAMILTON TRIO/Live in Bern: Kindred but unrelated spirits, the Hamilton cats continue to give mainstream jazz a good name against all hipster incursions with simply smooth, killer playing that makes itself right at home in your ears. Swinging nicely, anyone who has forgotten about simple joys needs to get reinvigorated by just falling in with this crew and letting them take the wheel. Masterful without being pretentious, this is one smoking good time for jazzbos.

MOSE ALLISON/American Legend Live in California: In his last live recording, circa 2006, Allison is more on top of it than he was on his Anti recording from around that time. Kicking it out in his natural habitat, a nightclub with a smoking trio he's part of, Allison steps up on classics and his faves. The only quibble is he didn't do "I Don't Worry About a Thing". What else is there to say? Killer stuff by a killer cat that kills it throughout. If you never got the chance to see Allison tear it up in a clip joint back in the day, give this a spin and pretend you were there---back in the day. An original by a real original!

JEFF CROSBY/Waking Days: Still in his 20s and looking like an unreconstructed hippie from back in the day, this Americana folkie transcends the genre limits and hits it out of the park. A killer slice of classic feeling folk rock singer/songwriter, this is a warm, welcome release that shows there's still lyrics out there worth hearing and listening to. This is such a breath of fresh air that it's hard to put it down. Well done.

KIM NALLEY/Blues People: Let's set the record straight. It would be too easy to dismiss Nalley as an art chick that ground up some Aretha records with some Nina Simone records and ate them for breakfast. If you did that, all you would accomplish is insulting her and short changing yourself. Single handedly taking on the history of civil rights through music, this killer vocalist that is steeped in soul and blues found inspiration in 50 year old writings by LeRoi Jones and has run with it from there. Totally right on all the way down to the song sequencing, this almost cinematic record is a mind-blowing experience for anyone looking for a listening experience that's out of the ordinary making a real and powerful statement. Killer stuff from an unbridled talent that will not be denied. Check it out.

OSCAR PEREZ/Prepare a Place for Me: Finding the sweet spot where he can merge his Cuban heritage with his big apple roots, the jazz piano man swings nicely and makes his improvs feel composed showing that this is a cat that plays on point throughout. Letting himself give himself over to the groove, this is killer sitting down jazz that doesn't hold you captive in your seat. Cocktail music that goes with drinks more interesting that your basic martini, this is a welcome sound of the night that keeps you from going home too early. Well done.

MYRIAM PHIRO/Voyages: Phiro should be an opening act for Leonard Cohen, and not just because both are from Canada. Phiro brings a nu version of Django/old world sensibility to the fore. Working out on solid oldies you never really mind hearing again, she brings a peppery vibe to her work which would be a great counterpoint to Cohen's old world vibe that he front loads with making you want to gargle with razor blades. Her act is so wonderfully out of the ordinary, it doesn't pay to even try and pigeon hole it. Trained in a lot of theatrical and artistic disciplines, she let it go to her head but she didn't stop it from going to her gut as well making this seem natural and visceral. Sexy and sassy, this is sure to stir some atavistic nerves in your psyche you might have not thought even existed. Well done.

JOYCE MORENO-KENNY WERNER/Poesia: Need some music to make you feel like a grown up? Here we find one of those very simple/highly elegant dates where a Brazilian MVP vocalist gets together with an American MVP pianist and the international sparks fly. Finding simpatico by chance in a club in Rio, the duo found they had loads of common ground and the vibe began to gel. Tasty cabaret/boite stuff, this duo should think about making this a regular/annual event and seeing just how much they can ride this vibe. A real work of art that takes sitting down jazz somewhere else.

REVEREND FREAKCHILD/Hillybilly Zen Punk Blues: We tend to like stuff that's so far out in left field that it's in the next ball park. Freakchild might like to make like he's a weirdo but this is in actuality some killer, well played white boy folk/freak/blues that likes to pretend it's from outer space. If that's the case he has cats like Chris Parker on board because...? With a sound that's a whole lot more Fred Neil than Lee Groban, somebody better pair Freakchild up with John Koerner before it's too late. Really solid white boy blues that just plain goes the distance in fine style.

ZEMOG EL GALLO BUENO/Yo You Me Tu Trilogy V. 1 & V. 2: Here's music that came from depression over student loans that just kept getting worse and darker. This cat crawled into a space in his head where he was a bandleader and made this music with one instrument which did him more good than all the crap doctors prescribed for his condition. Jamming with a fervor that would make Tito Puente proud, this Latin jazz from somewhere else is a real mind blower that just keeps coming---over two discs no less. If nothing else, this high octane stuff is sure to inspire someone else riding the crest of a terminal bummer. Check it out---it just might be life changing.

Volume 38/Number 330
September 25, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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