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JAMES BROWN/Live at the Garden: Oh, that wacky James Brown. Originally released under the guise of being recorded at Madison Square Garden, this was actually recorded at Latin Casino. Serving up fine soul supper club review when everyone else from Jimi Hendrix to Muddy Waters was reaching out to hippies where the hippies were, Brown has always existed on his own planet and these two discs that flesh out more of the run at the club are proof. In late 60s high octane Brown style, this is ground zero for those wanting to jump back and kiss yourself. The labelís first Brown title that doesnít focus on singles for quite some time, this is a major league valentine to the hard core fans. Hot stuff the true believers will recognize as the real deal.

GARY PEACOCK-MARC COPLAND/Insight: These two have made music for this label in various configurations over the years, but this is the first time theyíve appeared so naked. Just them. Piano/bass duo. Does it work? These cats are too cool and too experienced for it not to. Simple sounding jazz that manages to maintain a cutting edge stance, just by itís chamber nature you have to take it as sitting down jazz, but you donít have to take it sitting down. The duo behind it didnít. First class music for your head.

LOREN STILLMAN/Winter Fruits: Young alto sax man shows his auspicious debut was no fluke. Heís plays like the sky is the limit showing command of style and texture and being anything but a one note Johnny. Leading his crew with determination yet again, Stillman is a real wake up call for those looking for the stars of tomorrow among the young lions of today. A welcome sonic breath of fresh air that might look backward to look forward at times but is always looking up.

DANIEL SMITH/Blue Bassoon: At first, how do you deal with the claim of being the generations greatest jazz bassoonist? How many of you have been thinking about bassoon, let alone jazz bassoon? As we pointed out with his last release, itís off the beaten path and if you bristle at the thought of something new and different, you are in the wrong place. An ear opening good time as Smith continues to show he knows how to swing. The set card here is loaded with compositions from greats in jazz and blues, and the backing crew, which includes Dylanís guitarist, all show they are up to the task of playing with a league leader and getting it right. A really fun and solid straight ahead set that delivers nothing but a good time. A must for people that dig the real deal.

KOMEDA PROJECT/Requiem: A sweet rendering of sitting down jazz as two jazzbos pay tribute to the Polish Morricone many years after his death. Reversing the trend of Euros trying to tackle our works, these gringos take the American view to Euro jazz and create results on tier own terms. Those who like listening jazz will recognize this as something to reckon with as it gives fourth a view of Eurojazz that brings new sensibilities to the table.

SONS OF THE NEVER WRONG/On a Good DayÖI Am: If you never knew what to make of them in the first place, you are really going to be scratching you head with wonder as you are drawn into the whirl one more time. Backed with a string quartet underpinning the often way left of center lyrics, they have moved way beyond simply being an out there folk trio and moved into something else entirely. Setting a standard for adult alternative, this lyric intensive music is decidedly ear opening as well as mind opening. They turned an important corner they wonít be coming back from almost unlocking a door to the 60s where the bar was raised separating the innovators from the pretenders. Hot stuff.

JENNIFER LEONHARDT/Minstrelís Daughter: Recorded at home in Austinís musicianís ghetto neighborhood, Leonhardt doesnít believe in following convention as shown by citing Townes Van Zandt and Neko Case as influences. An industrial take on Americana, itís a little reminiscent of Emmylou Harris going industrial when recording with Daniel Lanois but even more stripped down and atmospheric. A left leaning set in an already left leaning genre, Leonhardt delivers the kind of set the cognoscenti will refer to in hushed tones as they pass the mp3s around.

LES TRIABOLIQUES/Rivermudtwilight: So is a triabolique even more sinister than a diabolique? The three members of this trio have impeccable punk and world credits making them impossible to pin down simply by their resumes. Looking more like Harry Dean Stanton than young malcontents out to genre bend everything they can (which they do anyway), this sounds like the soundtrack to an unmade 1970s Wim Wenders pic as everything is juxtaposed into a hypnotic blend of something from beyond the great beyond. A low key, malcontent classic, those with left leaning tastes will herald this as one of the great albums of 2009. Different, challenging but not difficult, this is simply wild stuff that has to be heard to be believed.

Volume 32/Number 357
October 23, 2009
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
©2009 Midwest Record

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