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EDEN BAREKET TRIO/Choice: This Argentinean sax man with middle east roots sounds like he leads his trio through late night sets in smoky basement clubs that seat ten but he's eclectic and in demand and this is sort of a busman's holiday. To be admired as much for his fleet fingers as well as is lung capacity and lip control, Bareket might have you swiveling your head looking for chicks in black clothes and clove ciggys, but this stuff is long on art with a no fat approach to artifice. With lots of style but always putting substance first, this is the rising sax man to keep an ear open for. Minimalist here but on target throughout.

SONGEVITY/Safe in Sound: How does a bass player lead a piano jazz trio so well? Led by Rob Duguay, one seriously busy cat, he powers the crew through something to the left of cocktail jazz, probably due to tempering by his role in Mingus Dynasty, and serves up the kind of set you frequently go looking for but feel you can't find. Tasty throughout, this is great music for when your grown up side is fighting to get out and get some air. Pure goodness throughout.

NORI/World Anew: If you weren't expecting world jazz/art jazz from Austin, TX, your expectations have been shattered. Feeling like some of the beatnik folk/jazz the hippies were making in the early 70s, yet even more laid back, the lead singer gets a pass from the art chick police since her last name is Adderley and she might be related to one of the brothers. More modal than groove, this is a well paced and played laid back set for those time you're looking for music that isn't easy to categorize but sounds inviting. Check it out.

CHET O'KEEFE/Because of You: Wow. Can't say we were familiar with O'Keefe before this set, but this running mate of disparate personalities like Nancy Griffith and Kinky Friedman would find him being the direct lineage from John Prine if folk music was called Americana 45 years ago. A back porch cat that acknowledges the modern world, this is contemporary down home music for millenials that are hip without being hipsters. Killer stuff throughout that expertly paints lyrical pictures that might not have been heard so well painted since Prine's classic after classic loaded deck of a debut album. By all means, check it out.

AUBURN/Love & Promises: And since we last lauded Auburn they've been on tour with both (not at the same time) Jefferson Starship and Carthy/Swarbuck. Figure that one out. Written in Crete, recorded in Nashville, this set is anything but a more of the same release if you stack it up against previous releases. Different but just as good, Liz Lenten is a fine lead vocalist, but she's just as much as an actress and nearly another instrument as the whole comes together. Top shelf Americana that reaches all quadrants of this amorphous genre, this set's a winner throughout.

KENNY ‘BLUES BOSS' WAYNE/Jumpin' & Boppin‘: Co-managed by part of the team the jump started Muddy Waters comeback in the 70s, this cat that's been wowing them for quite a while now kicks out the jams they way they should be kicked out on his third release for the label. With a sound that shows he know what it is to play in whorehouses and showrooms, this entertainer has tunes that reflect reality, parties and all the times in between , handling them all with sly humor and high energy. A winner throughout, this isn't frat house blues or roadhouse blues, it's blues based, all around entertainment by a cat that takes pride in delivering the goods. Well done.

STONY PLAIN 40 YEARS/various: As the label once again takes stock of where it's been for the last five years by putting out some favored cuts, some unreleased stuff that's been around close to forever and some genre highlights, here's cheers to proving that the idiosyncratic tastes of one person can sustain 400 albums over 40 years through several recessions and depressions as well as the world wide collapse of the record business and still keep the quality on schedule. Without a misfire on these three discs populated by names you know and those you should, you'll magically dig them all no matter what your tastes is. And not all of it is roots/Americana those of you afraid to get your toe in the water. This is just plain smoking stuff you'd have to be brain dead not to enjoy and appreciate. Another in a series of major achievements.

BARNEY HOSKYNS/Small Town Talk: The story of Woodstock, the town, is vastly different from the story of Woodstock, the festival, even if there's a lot of overlap. Hell, they are even two different places. The story of Woodstock, the town, enters the modern era as the story of Bob Dylan and his manager, Albert Grossman, a powerful early rock era music manager that wanted to get out of the big city and build his own empire in the sticks only to have it turn into Darby's Castle. After Dylan aged out of the scenario, this become the story of those that came and pretty much never left (although there were a fair share of musos that came and moved on). From there, it becomes that story of all the musos you loved in the 70s on the east coast and the travails that flowed from there. Hoskyns is one of those rare music writers than can take exhaustive research and make it eminently readable and breathable. This a great read that basically explains whey fathers would lock up their daughters when the hippies came to town. Well done and another fine tome by Hoskins.

KROLL SHOW season three: Old timers probably won't get Nick Kroll's humor since he skewers pop culture in what they would think is an off the radar kind of way. Tackling the pop culture that lives in cable and streaming worlds, you just can't get the jokes in a ‘big 4' world. And you need more than a grasp of the Kardashians if you really want to turn the key. However, if channels that have three digits in them don't scare you, dive right in and join the laugh riot. Whether having recurring characters drift in and out or letting his muse rest on free lancers, Kroll and his star studded honor roll of guests will have your sides aching as he proves that stuffed shirts come in all ages and sizes. Giving his tackling dummies what for right in the labonza, Kroll knows how to stir these tea laves for maximum laughs. Check it out.

THE CONFIRMATION: Pretty much anything with Robert Forster or Patton Oswalt is worth seeing---but both of them in the same movie? And it's a bring the family movie for people that hate bring the family movies? And it works? That's what happens when you let Bob Nelson take another crack at an Oscar after getting stiffed for "Nebraska". A delightfully moving character study that will be given the legs it deserves via home video platforms, in today's time taxed world, this is a pic you can guiltlessly watch more than once. Solid stuff

SHANNARA CHRONICLES season one: With a bunch of pros that understand fantasy and kid stuff behind the scenes, this series about the end of the world several thousand years from now is a well shot, well acted adaptation of a massive book series that could keep this going as long as Dr. Who. Given high marks by those in the fantasy world that know their beans, you don't have to be a real cosplay freek to get invited to this apocalypse. Gorgeously shot in New Zealand, you really will be biting you nails as you hope the Elf forces stop the demons from ending the world. Check it out.

Volume 39/Number 212
May 31, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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