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ZONA/Peace Love and Understanding: The titles on this set might look familiar but they are all originals. Coming back together after a few years apart, this deep house duo has the chops to hit it out of the park with something having much more on the ball than oontz oontz music. Coming dangerously close to being mainstream pop for the new generation, the club roots of the original sound are well represented and it almost feels like the Warehouse is open for business once again. Hot stuff.

RICH BROWN/Abeng: This is an important release for fans of civil rights jazz. This set takes it out of the church basement for a nu generation that have been through Occupy and Black Lives Matter. Not angry free jazz, this is propulsive jazz with a purpose led by a leading Canadian electric bass man and played by a crew of top Canadian jazzbos. With AACM turning 50, it's time to give them their proper props and let the leaders of the nu school lead the way into the future. Hot stuff that works throughout.

PAULINHO GARCIA & FRIENDS/Aquarela: And now for something completely different. The master guitarist turns his attention toward children's music. However, it's all sung in Brazilian Portuguese and it isn't restricted to kids songs. Gringo ears say this is a fine album in the tradition of low key Jobim recordings. A charming set no matter how you listen to it, the average gringo wouldn't know this a kid's record and just might find it to be a better bonding experience with the youngsters than video games. At least it won't wear out your thumbs. This set is a winner no matter how you hear it.

MATT GERAGHTY PROJECT/Trade Winds: Cuba: Here's kind of an amazing set from the NYC bassman. Picking up and packing up for Cuba, he recorded with 21 defacto bands over 21 days in various locations for a set that comes from the heart and mind but not from notes on a page. All improved all the way, the land that's been untouched by us since the 50s serves up a cultural vibe that's hotter than a pistol but sounds like it's been preserved in amber the whole time. With the unmistakable sound and feel of cats obsessed with letting the good times roll, this is a somewhat left of center jazz date that opens the ears mightily and is not for armchair travelers only. Hot stuff throughout that hangs together just right despite being anything but heterogeneous. Check it out.

MIKE JACOBY/Northeastsouthwest: Coming from Rochester, the rest of us flyovers might not realize that he was far enough from Manhattan to be at one with the rest of us flyover, heartland rockers. With an electric folkie/singer-songwriter vibe at his command, Jacoby brings the voice of experience to a young man's miasma making this the kind of thing generally non-raucous types can easily blast from their dorm rooms when finals and peer pressure seem monolithic with no one caring. A totally solo set with Jacoby not having to deal with anyone else, everything feels just right. Check it out.

PETER KARP/Arson's Match: Ah, serendipity. The guitar cat that didn't really want to make records plays some live dates for Sirius Radio, teams up for some #1 records with Sue Foley and kicks out a live date with Mick Taylor gleefully being just another cat in the band. A most kick ass blues rocker, Karp finally releases these sides that have been hiding in the vaults for way too long. Released as a fund raiser for ovarian cancer, it's too bad that's what took to motivate him to let this out of the box. If nothing else, you can check this out for all the right reasons and check it out you should. Hot stuff.

DAVE ANDERSON/Blue Innuendo: A new winning sax date from the cat that plays modern but can use both sides of his brain to fullest capturing old school and futuristic vibes all at the same time. Using his skills and knowledge to bring out the fullest in his chops, this is a first class, smoking listening jazz date with a few solid pros behind him and right in step making this a sax/organ/drum/guitar date that feels right at home while taking it someplace else at the same time. This is a set of chops to behold. Hot stuff.

J MANCERA/Mancera #5: Infused with the Latin jazz he heard growing up in Columbia, this Latin Grammy nominee uses that to make something edgier than your typical smooth jazz. He also tosses in various elements of the kitchen sink to keep this from being the typical anything. Keeping commercial concerns in mind, he makes something out of the ordinary that remains accessible to all jazzbos that want to open their ears in this direction. Tasty stuff that never hits a false note, this sax man knows his stuff and puts it all out there rather than hiding any tricks behind the curtain. A solid set that goes the distance handily.

ERICA PAPILLION-POSEY/Standard Reimagined: With an ear toward letting anything older than 40 years old be classified as a standard, Posey turns her ear toward the 50s and earlier for the jazz thrush vibe this butterfly is looking to capture. Not playing the recidivist card, this isn't a tribute to the past so much as it is an opportunity to recognize it and bring it forward. Anyone with a ear for classic jazz vocalists that aren't afraid to let loose, this charmer is just the charm they are looking for. Well done.

TIM HOCKENBERRY: Here's a cat that probably could have benefited form some strong management a lot earlier in his career. Never at a lack for work as a cover artist over the years, even performing with Mickey Hart and Trans Siberian Orchestra, fame didn't come knocking for Hockenberry until Howard Stern went nuts for him on "America's Got Talent". Shifting away from covers to originals, his lived in voice gives proper voice to his own words. A solid singer/songwriter set throughout, if this doesn't work out for him, he can always go back to his ‘day job'. Chances are, time and tide are all meeting at the right vortex at the right time for him. Quite the solid ‘debut'.

SOFIA RIBEIRO/Mar Sonoro: Not exactly a new kid throwing her hat into the fado ring, this is a case of it's new if it's new to you. With six previous albums under her belt and a slew of awards and recognition flowing in their wake, this set feels like the sum total of a lot of hard work and diligence. Falling somewhere between jazz/cabaret and Astrid Gilberto with a crew of all stars behind her doing "Dindi", this jazz vocalist oozes sophistication and up market sensibilities. A tasty, classy outing, this is that something else jazz sweet tooths have been looking for. Well done.

Volume 39/Number 104
February 13, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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