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B-MOVIE/Climate of Fear: Sorry boomers, millennial nostalgia runs to the 80s not the 60s. This original dark wave synth pop crew that had a hot in 1982 is ready to elbow Rick Springfield out of his reclaimed spotlight---the even have new mixes of their hit, "Nowhere Girl" on board. Ready willing and able to show up and fit in to John Cusack's next teen angst mixtape, it sounds like the 80s never left. Kick off your shoes and enjoy.

MICHAEL LINGTON/Second Nature: So, some guy you've probably never heard of is now on his 9th album and is hanging out with Booker T, Dap Kings, Culby and more delivering a first class Stax sounding party record whose first and foremost item on the punch list is to entertain. That's it, there's a party going on, they're checking invitations at the door and you want to be on the list. A sax man that wails like he might be King Curtis' illegitimate test tube baby son, this set has ‘weekend' screamingly tattooed all over it. Killer stuff throughout.

ANKE HELFRICH TRIO/Dedication: Already a high flying set in it's native Germany, this set might need stateside ears to make some light adjustments to get it but it's worth the effort. A jazz piano trio that blends minimalist funk with some deceptive art chick flourishes, one minute you think this is taking you to the church basement, one minute you're off to the wrong side of the tracks for some after hours fun and hijinx. Angular enough that moldy figs won't get it as they shake their fists and tell those kids to get off their lawns, everything you think is running off kilter comes together in the end in fine style. Check it out.

JEFF PLANKENHORN/SoulSide: This is one of those honking Texas blues rock records that often makes the rest of the country shake their heads and exclaim that Texas is a whole other state of mind. Enlisting Steve Bruton's old back up band to help him follow in the trail blazed by ZZ Top, tumbleweeds roll though patches of sacred steel and dobro from Mars as this party rocks on through the night and into the parking lot. Killer stuff for all heartland rockers with an ear cocked toward the wide open spaces. Check it out.

DAVID MURRAY-GERI ALLEN-TERRI LYNN CARRINGTON/Perfection: When three leaders get together to form a supergroup, either the sparks will fly or the house will burn down. Did we mention this set is a sort of tribute to Ornette Coleman, the hell raiser that was an true original as well as friend to those on board? Did we mention that even when reaching for and reaching the outer edge of creativity, this crew keeps focus and delivers something you can fall into even if you aren't a hell raiser? Simply a wonderful jazz trio date where the fingers might be flying but the elbows aren't. First class sitting down jazz that doesn't have to be reserved for Sunday afternoon listening sessions by pros that know how to shine without blinding you along the way. Might as well start now shining up some Grammys for this bunch. Well done throughout.

MICHAEL DEASE/Father Figure: Oh sure, the bone man loads this set with jazz but I think it might be the funkiest release the label has seen yet. Not exactly ready to be put out to pasture, Dease positions himself as an elder statesman and seems to be taking on the Art Blakey role of bringing the youngbloods along in his wake. Tasty stuff throughout, just because it's basically sitting down jazz doesn't mean that it doesn't get your blood flowing. Righteous stuff that really delivers the goods.
STEVEN LUGERNER & JACKNIFE/The Music of Jackie McLean: Even though he was one of the few jazzbos that made it to a ripe old age, McLean seems to have faded from view a long time ago. Lugerner never got to meet McLean but he was touched enough by the post bopper to craft one of those tip of the cap sets that isn't a tribute or a homage and seems to be imbued with so much more. Clearly a cat that had enough of a recorded legacy to make him ripe for rediscovery, the eclectically minded sax man turns another corner with this set and fearlessly reinvigorates the classics without looking back. Everyone here is on the money and this is destined to be a classic iteration of some classic stuff. Well done.

SMITH MONACO VALENTINO/Groove Blue: How in the bloody hell did this sweet B3 session languish in the vaults for 5 years after it was recorded in Cleveland and ultimately had to be shipped off to a German label to get released? Has everyone gone nuts? Leading the way with B3 played by one of the contemporary masters with 2 top fusion aces bringing up the rear, this somewhat spur of the moment set brings the originals and classics on display together in mouth watering fine style. An unheralded gem that deserves a proper polishing, this is contemporary organ trio works that's as good as it gets. Hot stuff throughout.

DOMINIC MILLER & MANOLITO SIMONET/Hecho in Cuba: Sting's guitar playing buddy has a thing for Cuban music and four years ago he got to meet a top Cuban piano man in a meeting that made sparks fly. Like a smitten gringo thirsting for authenticity, Miller headed off to Simonet's home studio in Cuba where he got to play with some other locals that never let a little Communism damper their creative impulses. A mere four years after the recording took place, the smashing result is Cuban music by a gringo for all gringos. Loaded with all the moves that make a recording a classic, you've got to be glad a new day is dawning only 90 miles away so we can soak more of this in. Killer stuff.

VERSUS SHADE COLLAPSE/I'm Going to Die: The millennial shift hits once again. You no longer have to be a privileged, dissatisfied, suburban white woman to have your "Eat, Love, Pray" moment. This Columbian bred singer got upended by a painful divorce and found herself a single mom high school teacher seemingly saying ‘huh?'. A valentine for all the l'il fillies whose starter marriages didn't work out, this is a contemporary Nico/Marianne Faithfull ride through the heart of darkness but looking for the light on the other side.

Volume 39/Number 145
March 25, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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