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SEAN CHAMBERS/Ten Til Midnight: White boy blues by way of Hendrix baked in the Florida sun, that’s the recipe for how this youngster came to be one to follow in the footsteps of Stevie Ray following in the footsteps of Albert King. A solid blues shredder that knows how to tear it up, he’s got his roadhouse groove on and the whole thing works well for any contemporary blues fan. A solid outing throughout.

MURRAY McLACHLAN/Music for Piano V 1-John R. Williamson: This is a volume of piano sketches and vignettes under the broad label of preludes and sonatas. The composer tells you right up front what he is working on. The music is pleasant and worthwhile to listen and hear. McLachlan is a interpreter of the piano pieces. Overall, a good album.

RICHARD EGARR-Academy of Ancient Music/Handle Trio Sonatas Op.2 & Op. 5: This recording is an outstanding musical event. This double cd has 13 sonatas played by an ensemble that knows what they are doing and how to get it done right. To review this further would simply be an extended string of positive adjectives. Simply put, it’s an outstanding collection of beautiful music well done throughout. Bravo.

HOWARD SHORE/Collectors Edition V. 1: This is a collection of short pieces from various soundtracks Shore has had a hand in over the years. The first section is from “After Hours”. The next section is his tribute to coffee and the last track is his heavenly salute to heaven. A delightful collection that finds the pop artist moving into that NAC world where contemporary classical and adult pop come together. He does it in fine style throughout.

COMING TOGETHER: This was supposed to be the debut set of a young lion sax man that was making everyone believe he was going to make his mark. Instead, he died and this became a tribute record with a few ringers brought in to augment the original session cats that were all ready to kick it out. Since most of us never heard Brendan Romaneck, we’ll never know how this does him justice, but all involved say this is a great tribute. We do have some nice state of the art contemporary blowing and solid playing throughout. No matter which way the winds blow, this is a solid jazz date any contemporary fan will enjoy.

SOMI/If the Rains Came First: Remember when you thought you had to be gay or a chick to enjoy Sade? Well, if Sade had more of an organic sound behind her, Somi might easily have been called derivative, but that’s not the case. This s a cool sound, informed but not beholden to world beat that provides a winning atmospheric set that’s mixed wide and warm enough to envelope you. Earthy songwriting and a slow burning passionate performance make this a head and shoulders above any similar efforts that want to make the same mark. Very heady stuff that blindsides you, sucker punches you and delivers the goods in a high water mark for contemporary adult pop. Even if you aren’t gay or a chick.

SALTMAN KNOWLES/Yesterday’s Man: The crew finds a new way to keep things fresh by adding a steel drum player who isn’t Andy Narell but shows he knows his stuff. Filling the gulf between jazz and NAC, the duo and their pals are on the money taking the sound of smooth jazz that has come before and adding engaging new elements to the original vibe. While the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, it’s fallen at a different angle. Fun stuff for when you need that moving easy, after hours vibe and sound.

ARABELLA STEINBACHER/Violin Concertos: Steinbacher plays a contrasting set of works. In Karol Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto #1 Opus 35, we get a vivacious set of movements. Dvorak gives us his impression of romance in “Romance for Violin and Orchestra”, a fine musical rendition of romance. Things change up in the final movement as the music goes bold and the soloist and orchestra are evenly matched. They both work well together and Violin Concerto in A Op. 53 is masterfully presented. Steinbacher is a violinist we’ll have our ears wide open for in the future.

Volume 32/Number 361
October 27, 2009
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
©2009 Midwest Record

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