CAROL SABOYA/Carolina: When your dad is a Brazilian national musical treasure and he wants to honor his daughter that's gone into the family business in a most righteous way, you can bet he's going to make sure it's all dead, solid perfect. With songs from the best pens and a playing from a bunch of the best players, all Saboya has to do is step up to the mic and reclaim her birth name while dad exercises the same watchful eye he probably used when Saboya's prom date picked her up for the big night. A show stopper of a Brazilian jazz vocal date, this is the kind of sound that stands for the ages. Killer stuff.
ANTONIO ADOLFO/Tropical Infinito: They say the music of your teen years is what really sticks with you. When still a jazz loving teen, Adolfo ate Norman Granz and Alfred Lion record for breakfast and invited his pals over to partake. The horns on all those records had a heavy influence on him. Now with time to explore his roots again, Adolfo takes it back to the early 60s to dust off those vibes and powder them with a Brazilian perspective. Since Granz was making bossa nova safe for gringos, Adolfo probably felt about that the way we felt about the Brits ripping off our blues and selling it back to us in amped up, sanitized fashion. Forget all that gibberish, this record smokes. You've never heard such a cool version of "Killer Joe' and that's just the track that kicks it all off. This is a party record for the ages and it's killer stuff throughout.
HERBIE MANN/The Complete Recordings Part 1 1955-57: Mann's association with Atlantic was so long, fruitful and diverse that it's easy to forget that 60 years ago, he was just another scuffling young jazzbo that was climbing the ladder. With early dates on Bethlehem and Prestige starting his solo legacy, he made the most of the budgets and the opportunities to shine and pivot. After appearing on Carmen MacRae's debut and the eventual Grammy Hall of Fame recording with Clifford Brown, Mann's flute took flight. The 8 recordings on this four cd set find him making the most of minimal backing, trying on different duet and sidemen configurations and basically bringing a hip vibe to America's newly expanding suburban rec room locations. Often veering into chamber music territory, a sure fingered presentation is always in evidence. A lot of this might be considered art jazz today but back in the day it was something different that gave inclination as to what was to come. A quite solid collection that gives you a well rounded portrait of the artist as a young Mann.
HERBIE MANN/The Complete Recordings Part 2 1957-58: An active two year period for Mann, the 8 albums on this collection find him spreading his wings as he was still a Prestige artist but was also recording for several other labels at the same time, notably Epic, Savoy and Mode. He even turned in a solo flute session showing how fearless he felt about small budgets and harsh spotlights. Still not in his world bag yet, he's always in august company here and burnishing his look and sound. Many of the recordings here seem deceptively simple and made to fit the format of the times but listen again if you get fooled into thinking that. Tasty stuff that would always be welcomed as background music today, this fatty of a collection hosts some of the coolest jazz of the period that is so deep in chops it will always hold up well.
HERBIE MANN/The Complete Recordings Part 3 1959-62: Entering another highly productive period releasing 8 albums in three years, this was the turning point where the moldy figs turned their backs on Mann as a ‘serious' jazzbo. Before falling into his Altantic groove, he did a few albums for MGM and UA that were starting points for world jazz and jazz pop influenced by few tours to Brazil and beyond. As much a part of the bossa nova craze as Getz or Jobim, these were the nascent sides that gave Mann a rep as a percussionist's best friend. The seeds of his explosive late 60s/early 70s run were planted here as his restless urges led him to becoming one of trend setting genre blenders of the time. This collection ends with several of the Atlantic albums that showed the Erteguns were the ones that were going to show him the love. Sometimes sounding as primitive as the cultures he was spotlighting, this is how Les Baxter could have sounded if he was keeping it real while sussing out how to keep it commercial. This is a ground zero collection of jazz/world that's a primer on how to get it all done. Killer stuff that stands the test of time.
JOHN PRINE/The 1970 Broadcasts: Back before Prine even had a record deal and was a Chicago treasure, not yet a national treasure, and him and Steve Goodman were Chicago Waylon & Willie before there even was a Waylon & Willie, he was packing them in at a Chicago folk club with songs that would make his first two albums legendary classics. The ‘new Dylan‘ before Springsteen came along a few years later to be the new ‘new Dylan', marketing people proved once again that they just don't know what to do with something unique and special as they underestimate the general public. An amazing 46 year journey through the way back machine, this is a wondrous snapshot of a time and place that were loaded with magic.
TONY JOE WHITE/Rain Crow: Only White's 19th record in nearly 50 years, before you dig into this event, if you are a newbie, first fire up White's You Tube clip of him tearing it up on Letterman with Foo Fighters backing him on "Polk Salad Annie" and watch it to the end. Now play this record which you'll do if you know what's good for you. A fully realized set of southern gothic that rises up from Parmolphai country, this is the kind of music you make after a lifetime of doing it your way and writing about what you know. With every note and word perfectly aligned, White proves that not every song has to be "Rainy Night in Georgia" to be killer stuff. If you've got ears that live beyond the top 40 and don't pay perfunctory lip service to genres like roots or Americana, you will lose your mind over this stuff. They don't make records like this any more because there aren't many pros like this that can pull it off. This is nothing less than a late career masterpiece by a national treasure.
BEVERLY HILLBILLIES Official First Season: Gripers can rightfully gripe that corporate parent, Paramount, has been screwing with all of us BH fans over the years by starting the series on DVD, leaving it hanging, leaving us hang so long between volumes etc etc etc etc etc. Lavishing us with a move that you wouldn't expect from a big corporation, the reparations spigot has been turned on at long last. Having started their series with season two because season one had lapsed into public domain and subsequently beaten to death by schlock merchants, they have now remastered season one, put back the original music, tossed in a bunch of extras long in the tooth, original fans will appreciate and generally shown respect to the consumer that is often over looked these days. Hilarious as ever, this subversive, ground breaking comedy may have given CBS a rep as an old people's network in the early 60s--but baloney. Dirt poor hillbillies going nouveau riche and turning Beverly Hills upside down was as radical as protesting the Viet Nam war. And then there's the little touches like Buddy Ebsen insisting Jed can be played as an innocent but not an idiot that push this over the top. When you really start to drill the humor here is quite sophisticated as well. If you ever wondered how a 30 year old single mom could have played a 14 year old hillbilly gal almost past marryin' age, pop some popcorn, suspend disbelief and let the good times roll. Killer stuff.
DANIEL TOSH/People Pleaser: With a hard to believe 18 years under his belt since he was a ‘new face', the subversive comic launches his new special with his sharp mind and his ‘who me' demeanor fully intact. Letting the observations and jokes fly for almost 2 hours, Tosh does his usual amazing job of schpritzing but not offending. That's quite a talent in itself. Leaving no doubt why he's an in demand headliner these days, he may be spreading his wings more and more but he's keeping stand up as his front and center métier and the focus shows. Clearly a contemporary laugh riot.
HOT IN CLEVELAND The Complete Series: With only 24 hours in a day, sit coms about a houseful of anile biddies has never been a priority for me. "Frasier" is about as close as I can come to the genre and even so, I saw most of those episodes for the first time on DVD. Now that "Hot in Cleveland" has finished it's six year run, this complete series DVD set might be the door opener for me. Sean Hayes is apparently one of those guys like Eddie Gorodetsky that just loves TV and wants to uphold the tradition with swallowing the tropes whole and burping them back. With behind the glass talent like him and Linda Obst keeping their hands on the wheel, the always great Betty White and her ‘young' charges are given the room to put breath and blood into their roles and make this something you can watch more often than when you happen to catch a repeat during a sleepless night of flipping the channels (the way I first discovered it). TV Land's first original series was a winner and now DVDs give me a chance to catch up on the laughs. Check it out.
Volume 39/Number 172
April 21, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record
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