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AG WEINBERGER/Mighty Business: This sounds as raw and gritty as something recorded where someone left the machine on in a west side Chicago blues club that you would never know it's a best blues award winner at the Romanian Jazz Awards. Recorded live at the Bucharest Hard Rock (no, this isn't the jokes writing themselves), Weinberger and his bunch are the epitome of white boys with the electric blues. Whew, and we thought it was funny when Bloomfield, Kooper and Goldberg were turning out Jews Blues. Here's the proof there's more going on in Transylvania than Dracula. Give it a spin bluesbos.

BULGOGI/Juan Dissed the Cyclops Baby: You know what happens when you don't remember when you graduated high school? You think stuff like this sounds like a prog rock soundtrack for a movie based on a video game or comic book you aren't familiar with. When the kid that helps me out with my dvr and computer shows up, I'll let you know what he thinks.

TODD HUNTER TRIO/Eat, Drink, Play: Can you plow an old field a new way? Piano man Hunter loves the classics. He might play old school in his trio but the tunes are all original and don't need to be familiar to instantly hook you. Letting passion and chops lead the way, this long time piano man for Dionne Warwick has loads of experience at taking something mainstream and adding just the right amount of special sauce to keep listeners engaged. A set that should be taking it's place along side the piano jazz trio classics, this is a fine example of how to get it done. Hot stuff throughout.

JOE POLICASTRO TRIO/Pops!: Well, it about time we got some Chicago jazz in the mix again. Tipping the cap to the venerable night spot that hosts him three nights a week, Policastro and his posse serve up angular takes on chestnuts that haven't worn out their welcomes and haven't been heard like this. With a side ways wink, this is also one of those pop goes jazz sets that opens the ears nicely. Everyone of board is right on point letting the world know once again that Chicago jazz is alive and well. Check it out.

REBEKAH VICTORIA & Jazzkwest/#oldfashionedtwittertwit: Is it that easy? All I have to do is opine that it's time for a Kurt Weill revival and a new reading of "Speak Low' drops into my lap. A clear voiced vocalist making her recording debut, Victoria and her jazzbos take it old school without the frippery or embellishments, just putting the song, with a skillful interpretation, front and center. Singing like and old pal in your living room at a family gathering, her personal, personable style connects hard with it's simplicity. Tasty stuff that nicely puts a classic spin on classic tunes. Check it out.

ALICYN YAFFEE/Someone Else: Oh, please don't go thinking this adventurous, dexterous guitar gal is an art chick just because she can hit them to all fields. Certainly a today kind of release in touch with today's audience that wants more than beats, she melds jazz and punk without it becoming punk/jazz and offers lots of meat on the bone. A diverse outing with energy and ideas to spare, you can start out thinking it's some kind of experimental, clubby folk/jazz kind of thing but you better be ready to let this music take you where it will. Well done.

DOUG WEBB/Bright Side: This is a direct descendant of the kind of jazz record that took jazz from smoky, late night New York clubs to the rec rooms of then nascent suburban sprawl. With a crew of leaders backing up the first call sax man, this is a perfect example of where jazz meets commercial vibes and coming out none the worse for wear. Pure jazz for pure jazzbos, listening dates don't come any Bette than this. Well done.

THEORY OF RELATIVITY/World Premiere Recording: The creative duo behind "The Story of My Life" ladle on a certain kind of special sauce that make this palatable to husbands across the heartland that take their wives to the theater just to shut them up. Bringing the wide eyed innocence of idealized youths that don't get into trouble front and center, this is solidly nice entertainment that you can just sit back and enjoy without being clobbered by agendas. With this duo firmly staking out their turf, husbands of America can go to theater on a full stomach and not have sore ribs from their wives continually poking them for falling asleep. Well done throughout.

TRAVIS GREEN/A Little Too Late: An Austin roots mainstay packs it up and heads to California to hang out with Kid Andersen and his posse resulting in a mix where things are stirred up mightily. Bringing out some Texas electric blues from his singer/songwriter bag of tricks, this set delightfully hits several targets at once. The kind of record that makes you do a double take because you don't believe what you are hearing at first, any roots fan that's left sanctimoniousness behind will make this a cause celibre. Well done.

MICHIKA FUKUMORI/Quality Time: This jazz piano playing Japanese export is the package. She came over here to soak up all she could about jazz from a boatload of the top cats and subsequently made herself at home playing at all the top jazz spots in New York. Then she kicks off this set with some classic Comden & Green played in the jazz cocktail trio style that gets us every time. On top of that, it looks like you could pronounce her last name like an Italian swearing at some one. But back to the playing---this is the kind of cocktail jazz that isn't background music grabbing your attention throughout. Tasty, top shelf stuff by a certified rising star. Well done.

Volume 39/Number 222
June 11, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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