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PIANO IN THE HOUSE/various: While label stalwarts are present here, this isn't a label greatest hits sampler. These are new, live recordings by Brazilian piano players the label rightfully feels you should get to know whether they are roster artists or not. An eclectic album that hangs together nicely, this mostly all original set is going to be a tonic for armchair travelers looking for new winter kicks to keep their ears warm. A solid and stunning collection by a bunch of Brazilian award winners you have yet to get to know, there's at least a bunch of cats you're going to want to hear more from no matter where your tastes lie. Check it out.

BEAT DADDYS/Hoodoo That We Do: A pair of white boys with the blues that found themselves re-energized after having to live in a FEMA trailer after Katrina, they take the sum total of their years of performing together and turn it into a monster. Inspired to go deeper in the blues by the Brit blues rock invasion of the 60s, they've made it from Muscle Shoals to here with a load of awards in tow. Hard to believe but almost sounding like nothing you've heard up to now, this is a nu kind of blues rock from some cats that are old enough to already have had a victory lap under their belts. They don't play like they're that old. A sure bet to fill any blues rock sweet tooth, this is killer stuff.

LENY ANDRADE-RONI BEN HUR/Alegria de Viver: A vocal legend in Brazil whose reputation here never really got farther than people who bought their music at Rizzoli, the husky voiced 72 year old turns down her traditional band fire for an intimate vocal/guitar duo set on important Brazilian tunes by the most august composers the land gave forth. With a smoky, steamy energy that knocks you over right out of the box, one listen will make you sorry you never knew about her sooner. An intimate samba based set, this is loaded with the kind of listening that is sure to make you feel like a sophisticated grown up in short order. A touch out of the ordinary but clearly a winner throughout.

INNERROUTE/Fourmation: An equal mix of improv and fusion leavened with taking their time yields a very interesting new set from a crew that came together at the suggestion of their UPS delivery man. Tasty stuff dedicated to pushing the boundaries of where certain forms of jazz lie, this crew gives you an unvarnished and uncommercial look behind the curtain where the muse is what it's all about. A wonderful, wild ride whose chops keep you riveted throughout.

DOUG WEBB/Back East: Is the saxophonic bad boy simply playing with raging intensity or is he bringing the daddio in unabashed fine style? No matter, when you've been a pro for over 30 years and other pros have always called on you because they know you will not misfire with tape rolling, to maintain this kind of energy and drive gives you the right to call it whatever you want. With a crew that's right in step behind him, this is sure to be one of those smoking jazzbo dates that gets handed down from generation to generation as an example of killer playing on the loose. Fine stuff throughout.

BADI ASSAD/Hatched: How many albums have you encountered in Salvation Army bargain bins in which a jazzbo tries to do the pop standards of the day and it comes out jive? There's always a few artists that know how to find the meat at the core of things that shouldn't appeal to their audience but they do due to the players skill. Assad's new pop standards album brings Skrillex, Hozier, Lorde and more to her Brazilian acoustic guitar audience who will probably be none the wiser until they read the liner notes. An album you certainly won't find in a Salvation Army bargain bin unless the album's owner died and his kids just want to clear out the house ASAP, Assad uses her skills to open the ears delightfully. Check it out.

DAN KAUFMAN/Familiar Places: Sideman to the stars, leader in his own right and leader of leaders here, Kaufman wanted to make an accessible piano jazz album and have it be a kind of personal greatest hits as well. Even though this is his debut as a leader, these are tunes he's written over the last decade. As solid in the spotlight as he is off to the side, piano jazz fans have a new lodestar to watch here as this cat can not only do what he's told, he can blaze some easy to follow new trails as well. A solid outing that mainstream groovers will dig.

SAM BUTLER/Raise Your Hands!: Interesting on a lot of levels, the long time guitarist of the Blind Boys of Alabama makes a rocked up spiritual album of songs by secular artists that showed a spiritual side in tunes every so often. The closest this comes to being the kind of traditional project you'd expect is the inclusion of a Curtis Mayfield track amid the Springsteens, Morrisons, U2s and others not associated with Butler's past. With a rock crew behind him keeping things on point and on pace, this is a delightful bag breaker that a lot of different ears can wrap themselves around. When real pros really buckle down, it almost doesn't matter what they're playing because the results will probably be as hot as this is. Check it out.

JOHNNY SUMMERS/Piano Sessions V. 2: Hold on for another slab of first class cocktail lounge jazz as the singing trumpet player and his piano pal serve up classics and originals that are sure to have you settling into the banquette long after the sitter has started charging you overtime and the cops are sure you'll blow more than a .08. Both classy and spirited, this set only takes itself seriously in the execution---every other element is a gasser. Fun times are on tap here with the only thing being certain is that a good time will be had by all.

SOUTH PARK-Complete 18th Season: With nearly 2 decades of Cheezy Poofs under Cartman's belt, all that's missing from making this complete season complete would be to hear Chef say ‘now, children' one more time. There might only be ten adventures this time around, but they are jam packed with the secret lives of children once again showing just how evil and mischievous they are when parents aren't looking. Looking great in blu-ray, this on point, in the moment series that just keeps it going had better find it's place in the Smithsonian one day. Otherwise would show the fix is in. This is an unmistakable bet for a non-stop laugh riot once again. The only complaint is that it's over in less than four hours but you can use the extra recovery time to get your sides to stop hurting.

TUT: Not exactly the kind of offering you'd expect from a braugh channel like Spike, this high tone, six hour presentation actually has all the elements needed to humanize the story of King Tut for an audience that doesn't know anything about him other than Steve Martin did a song about him their fathers liked. With all the scheming and double crosses you'd expect from something like ‘Downton Abbey' or ‘Game of Thrones' this is the guy version of a soap opera with Ben Kingsley as the evil advisor thrown in to keep it classy. If they made history this palatable when I was in school, I could probably be a Jeopardy champion today.

Volume 38/Number 334
September 29, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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