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JOHNNY RAWLS/Tiger in a Cage: With no dead guys to pay tribute to this time around, the award winning deep soul vocalist goes cotemporary opening this set with a lament about what's going on with life on the streets these days. The dead solid perfect deep soul vocalist knocks it out of the park yet again with a set that'll set your synapses to snapping. Classic stuff that's sure to become classic stuff.

CHRISTOPH NEUHAUS PATH 4/Present & Path: A jazz guitarist with his head in rock more than anything, he doesn't betray his genre but he certainly adds differing flavors as he threads his way through his strings. A very smart set jazzbo ears are sure to welcome, this is the kind of sure fingered playing that doesn't have to rely on fleet fingers to razzle dazzle the listener into thinking there's something new going on. There's simply something new going on and it works. Well done.

TAMARA LUKASHEVA/Patchwork of Time: Art chicks seem to have it different behind the former Iron Curtain. An award wining vocalist in the old territories, she comes across as something you'd hear in a 20 seat club here playing to an audience that nods appreciatively instead of clapping. Sincere in her art chickiness rather than merely pretentious, this is a throw back to the genre splicing schmatta queens that tried to rule the earth here back in the early 70s. It might not have been a movement in the end, but the better ones certainly had their adherents. Same thing going on here. This thrush may not reach the masses but she certainly has enough on the ball to deserve to be heard.
71166 (Jazz Thing Next Generation Vol. 61)

JOE HAIDER JAZZ ORCHESTRA/Keep it Dark: One of the underground heroes of German jazz, this piano man kicks it out once again as he crosses his 80th birthday. With the kind of set that recalls Ellington when he wasn't pushing his commercial side forward (in vibe, not in sound), Haider let's his love of music guide the way in this stellar listening date that opens the ears mightily. Full of the kind of low key fire that keeps you tuned in to hear what's coming next, this set is a real charmer that works well throughout. Check it out.

ALEXANDER VON SCHLIPPENBACH/Jazz Now: A progressive jazzbo of 50 tears standing, the cd from this latest featured player in the European Jazz Legends series hews true to the post war angularity that hallmarked the envelop pushing work of the times. While flirting with linearity, this is the set for ears that were saddened when progressive jazzbos here decided it was time to make a living and play accordingly. This is the sound of freedom, Euro style.
71316 (Jazz Thing)

JOHN McKINLEY/Window on the World: Pure, uncut shredarooney, this Texas electric Texas blues guitar blaster knows how to give the audience all the right moves at al the right times. Roadhouse boogie like they don't make any more, this is a valentine for all you boogie fans no matter where you are.

MARK ETHEREDGE/Connected: A totally tasty keyboard driven smooth jazz date, this might be the one that takes the stigma off of institutionalized schnooring like Kickstarter and usher in a new normal. Produced by Paul Brown, this set shows we're all in it together but shows it in a new light on several levels. A real winner for smooth jazz fans that were sorry when radio programmers turned the sound into wallpaper, this cat knows his stuff and ain't afraid to strut it. Well done.

Volume 39/Number 74
January 14, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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