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ADRIENNE FENEMOR/Mo'Puddin': The B3 babe from New Zealand shows us how to kick it old school with a date that tips the cap to Jimmy Smith on a few of his tracks and throughout on a heady serving of her own tracks. Leading a smoking jazz organ trio, the decade she's spent stateside have really forged her chops in white heat. With a feeling that finds itself right in the pocket of all your fave B3 dates, this is destined to become one of your fave genre dates as well. Smoking stuff throughout.

GUS SPENOS/If You Were Gold Baby: Here's a charming odd duck of a DIY release. A white boy with the blues, Spenos looks like Carl Reiner but sounds like Mose Allison sounding black. A sax playing vocalist, Spenos is smitten with the jump blues vibe and surrounds himself with a smart and stellar crew of like minded players that bring his vision home. A good party is a good party and this has the heart of an all night juke joint proudly swinging from it's core. An indie release well worth seeking out.

NICK FRASER QUARTET/Starer: I guess it takes Canadian arts council money if a bunch of white boys from the great white north want to play AACM music. Angular, muscular jazz improv that's most assuredly for the left leaning tastes, this easily the soundtrack for the story of the lives of disaffected, hipster under grads that want to wear their individuality like a merit badge on their sleeves.

ODDITY/Settle Down: A three-piece Chicago band with two Brit members enlists Steve Albini to produce and tap into his storehouse of grunge knowledge as well as his adeptness at tossing in the prog and 70s arena rock moves as well. Swinging for the fences this time around, with the right festival appearances under their belts, this bunch could easily be the sound of the suburbs for all the non Beliebers with pent up, raging hormones looking for release.

VICTOR & PENNY/Electricity: Did all that nightly hocking as a member of Blue Man Group drive Victor to seek out more organic sounds? This Kansas City duo must be hearing the walls speak to them as the present a program of prohibition era Kansas City jazz. The slick element here is the songs are originals, not trunk songs. Without a trace of the earnestness or affectation that turns up in so many second tier swing revival dates, this duo hits it out of the park with something charming and subversive at the same time. A charming date with so much on the ball, you won't realize what a hot potato this set is until you try to hold on to it. A well done off beat treat that can't be beat.

RAJENDRA TEREDESAI/Moksha: A music as medicine release, this set is comprised of six ragas that break up the day into four hour day parts, each with it's own energy, played on bansuri flute to bring calm to stressed listeners. Living as we are in a time where people have forgotten that if you ignore idiots they will go away, this is a great record to keep in the car since you can expect to be cut off too many times on a short ride by morons that didn't get the memo that texting while driving is illegal. Of course, there's the moron that has to weave in an out of traffic to get to the red light first. And these are only tips of the moron iceberg. Moksha is the highest goal attained through union with the divine. Since everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die, this delicate, serious minded traditional music is the next best thing. More than an audio getaway, this is a spiritual set designed to lift you above the fray and it carries out it's mission in fine form.

IVAS JOHN/Good Days a Comin: All you can say about this cat is ‘under the radar no more'. The Chicago raised son of Lithuanian immigrants fell under the spell of Doc Watson and Mississippi John Hurt, and after lots of gigs and moves up the ladder, he's given us such a killer of a back porch, acoustic date that you almost can't believe it. Without having to hide under the roots/Americana penumbra, this is acoustic picking and grinning music that feel so good going down you just don't want it to end. Killer stuff brimming with the artist's passion and chops, this is the set to play if you want to hear something that feels like it was made just for you. A real winner.

TWEED FUNK/Come Together: When this bunch came out of the box in 2010, we were already accustomed to the record biz having fallen apart. At that point, it wasn't a stretch to see how such an accomplished sounding crew was putting out DIY records. And it was amazing how they could come out of the box so together. With a vet soul vocalist fronting a bunch of award winning funky white boys from Milwaukee, a delightful combustion was palpable and in the air. Each successive record just got hotter. This time around, the band says they've taken a different approach to being a band. The result of this experiment is akin to when Stax artists moved over to Atlantic---the soul and funk was still well in evidence but the New York machine turned triples into home runs commercially. This is a dead solid funky good time of a party record. Well done.

ROLF STURM/Young: Sturm is one of those heaviest cats you've heard but never heard of, he's appeared on such a diverse array of albums that it would be hard to have missed him but unless you're a real guitar head, the name might be new to you, even at this stage of his career. Here we find him doing his six string guitar thing solo on a set where he pays tribute to Youngs Neil and Victor (just because, ok?) showing how he's such a master of the form that you better get to know him by name. One of those super lovely solo albums that leaves a distinct footprint all it's own, acoustic guitar fans have to raise him to the pantheon of the greats. No wonder you dug all those albums he was lurking in the background on. It might be a sweet, graceful album but that doesn't diminish it's heat quota one iota. Hot stuff.

CLIFFORD LAMB/Bridges: In which we find producer Jeff Weber going back to his roots---starting a label to record piano jazz digitally direct to track with real pros on board so that you don't have to fix anything in the mix. Leading a piano jazz trio stocked with Mrs. Santana and Buster Williams, this is simply one of those classic sounding trio dates where it swings, sways and sounds great as it plays. With an ear that appreciates everything, Lamb shows it is to be a real artist that knows how to put the music front and center. A sweet set not to be missed.

Volume 39/Number 178
April 27, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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