LAKOU MIZIK/Wa Di Yo: A Haitian band whose members cross about as many lines as your brain can handle came together in the wake of the 2010 earthquake that devastated the island. Continuing the mash up theme, their music combines vudoo, gospel, a little Tex Mex and loads of Afro Caribe sounds that all come together in one killer of a party disc, even when you don't know what they are singing about. Certainly not fair to categorize this as ethnic music, this is a set that proves the power of music as music as it cuts across lines, lines and more lines. Proof there's more to the Caribbean than reggae and Cuban jazz, this is the kind of set that's sure to set your ears on fire. Why just call it world beat when you can simply call it killer stuff?
BROTHERS BROWN/Dusty Road: Sounding very much in that roosty kind of bag that players like Dr. John and Boz Scaggs were in before they sold out and became players in the game, this set sounds relaxed and accomplished because the group members are off on a busman's holiday from their high profile ‘day jobs' and playing the music they feel like playing off the clock. A clear cut gasser for everyone that likes after hours jams and sounds, this bunch brought the chops, ditched their defenses against the machine and let the good vibes flow freely. Rootsy for lack of a better word, this is the kind of whiskey in the jelly jar music they were making back in the day between Memphis and Muscle Shoals and it's get to have that kind of vibe back. Check it out, this is smoking stuff.
2002/Celtic Fairy Lullaby: You can't blame the proud parents that are the core of 2002 for kvelling now that they've brought their daughter into the family business. Don't roll your eyes when they compare their 11 year old to Enya and Loreena McKennitt, they aren't delusional hover parents in doing so. Taking progressive new age to the next level of the game, this bleeding edge set does a great job of opening the ears and wiping away the clichés. With everyone firing away a the top of their game, you can't help but to shake your head in admiration and agree that ‘a little child shall lead them'. This atmospheric set hits it right out of the park.
MOPPA ELLIOTT/Still Up in the Air: The bass player from Mostly Other People Do the Killing steps out with his first solo album, and of course, in the tradition of MOPDTK, we really mean solo. Coming across kind of like Charlie Haden strutting his stuff for one of the micro labels he had a soft spot for, Elliott tears it up mightily on this set of improvs super specially targeted at those who believe bass is the place. Even for the non-hard core, this rising star creates such a racket that you lose sight of the fact that the band is made up of he, himself and him. Wild and pretty much a winner in trials by fire.
MARIKA HUGHES/New York Nostalgia: A regular on Sesame Street when she was a kid and with deep musical roots at several levels of the game in her bloodlines, you might be tempted to hear the first bits of what's going on here and be tempted to toss Hughes off as an art chick. Wrong-O! She knows about the importance of special sauce. A songwriting cello player, Hughes brings her New York background to bear to gleefully mash up everything she can mash up that has affected her along the way. An in demand session cat/accompanist, Hughes will get your head swirling as much as her music swirls around. Eclectic and sure handed, it's almost like she's sort of created a new kind of domestic world beat for armchair travelers. Out of the ordinary but accessible, this set is a winner from a lady in waiting who should find the wait coming to an end. Check it out.
CHRIS KLAXTON/Collage: Another dose of metaphysical jazz, approached from another angle, is what's on tap in this rising trumpeters second outing. With equal doses of modern and post bop coming together under Miles' early 70s smiles, this dose of head jazz will probably take you back to the day--and even faster if you take this head trip with head phones on. Most certainly a wild ride from a cat that understands how to free his mind without letting the wheels come off.
ZANE RODULFO/Pathways: There's something very interesting going on in this mash up. Rodulfo is a pan drummer that's playing jazz with pan as part of his drum set up. The result is something that sounds like sinister jazz. Jazz you'd hear wandering around aimlessly in Fern Gully with the sun going down? Certainly a wild sonic ride, Rodulfo and his pals serve up something new and different sure to be appreciated by those looking beyond another dose of samey samey. A wonderful new vision to be sure.
RHYTHM FUTURE QUARTET/Travels: Inspired by, but not bootlicking the Hot Club, this bunch are a crew of killer players that remind you of how you felt when you first heard the Mike Marshall/Darol Anger axis tearing it up with sounds you didn't know what to call---but you sure enjoyed them. Contemporary instrumental music with a nod to the past as well as the future, once the rocket fuel kicks in and this thing really takes flight, it's a ride to the left bank of Mars you'll want to be sure to take. Now this is real adult alternative! Killer stuff throughout with energy to spare and octane for all.
NONCH HARPIN/Native Sons: A jam band with an agenda to crash edit several genres rather than mash them up, this is ragged but right 60s head music for the kids following the millenials down the road of life. Best enjoyed in a relax/intox atmosphere, you really have to work hard to get it this right. Fun stuff for when you know the work day is really over.
SUPERSONIC BLUES MACHINE/West of Flushing South of Frisco: If there's no such thing as garage punk blues rock, this trio and their high profile guest pals have invented it. Not a slap dash affair as the trio is made up of cats with ten lifetimes of serious pro experience between them, this is how it was back in the day. You got a great idea, plugged in the amps and worked it out to see if it worked. This sure does! Coming together like a game of six degrees of Kevin Bacon, this bunch met up through mutual friends and the sparks just flew. Utterly bad ass throughout, this sound welcomes everyone from grandpa who still remembers boogie-ing through college to millennial grandkids who think they invented partying the night away. Hot times in the old town tonight, guaranteed.
SAYAMA/Yoga Meditations: OM is regarded to be the first sound in the universe and all the instruments here are tuned to that frequency. This is thought to be the wave length you need to tune your heart radio to in order to be in touch with God. Those thoughts are too big for us to deal with but since Sayama has made other healing arts records for the label we'll defer to one who can backup their thoughts cogently and knowingly. However, where we'll agree to disagree is that this claims to be yoga music, we claim it to be modern opium den music for millenials. Maybe that says something about how we get or different kicks. Far from being a hippy, dippy new age/mediation record, this killer stuff for when you are in the haze of a moment that takes you well beyond top 40 and mainstream fare---with ahead full of the good stuff kicking in. Simply wonderful stuff for well needed trips beyond the ordinary.
Volume 39/Number 103
February 12, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record
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