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ATLAS MAIOR/Keyif: In which we find this bunch from Austin bucking the town's heritage of singer/songwriters by coming in with an ep of opium den music. Sounding direct from the middle east without any of the players having names that sound like they came from there, multi culti continues to take root in ways you wouldn't have thought originally. Check it out.

BARBARA DENNERLEIN/Christmas Soul: While those old original Ramsey Lewis Trio Christmas albums are still hard to beat, Hammond organ hall of famer Dennerlein brings more soul and jazz than you might expect from a white girl and adds some Christmas flavored funk the whole family can enjoy to the mix. A respectful but not stuffy send up of the classics, this can easily become as much a part of Christmas as Charlie Brown and Mel Torme. Hot stuff.

FOREIGN REPORT/American Dream: Sounding more like Artic Circle death rock than Danish rock, this bunch provides the soundtrack for hipper than thou teens to hate their parents by. Bring on the pain, here it is.

RAMANA VIEIRA/Fado da Vida: Fado, the most popular music in Portugal, is a bit of a curious duck here. We've been exported the leading proponents of the genre and all too often they come across as being exponents of the cabaret/tortured artist effect. Young Vieira, who has been making a name for herself on the awards circuit, is bringing fado to nu ears that are up for pretty without being downed out. Certainly one of the leading lights of nu world music, this smart international pop set has the kind of mortar to firmly cement her reputation at the top of her game firmly in place. The armchair traveler has a great new set on their hands here. Well done.

STEWART GOODYEAR/Nutcracker: What else is there to say but that this is a killer solo piano set of the complete holiday ballet staple? Goodyear freshens the whole thing up so that even if you think you have the definitive version already, the bar has been raised. This is the first time the entire ballet has been arranged for solo piano so you are actually hearing history in the making as well as a dandy new version. Recorded with sonic pristinity, holiday ear better get on board for a new, perennial holiday treat. Well done.

Volume 39/Number 5
November 5, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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