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EDDIE TURNER/Naked...In Your Face: A first class blues guitar entertainer forms a power trio with two white girls and the mix is explosive. Turner is front and center like he always is and this live recording is bad to the bone and beyond. The kind of set that easily lights up the night, this might not be the course the blues masters might have envisioned for the future of the blues but you can bet they are smiling in appreciation. Hot stuff throughout.

ADITYA PRAKASH ENSEMBLE/Mara: Admit it, you've had enough with Rumi already. These Indian sibs draw upon their heritage issues relating to the battle between good and evil but do it in a mash up fashion that draws from their roots as well as new frontiers. An under the radar success already, this is first class girl friend music that is too wild and wooly to be just for yoga and other girl friend pursuits. Almost an otherworldly experience, this is a must for the open eared that really like to take it to the max. Check it out.

BENJI KAPLAN/Uai So: This is such a wild release that you might be tempted to call this jazzbo work "Mussorgsky Goes to Brazil". A wild journey for the open eared that wonder what Brazil sounds like when you go off the beaten path with all the sounds colliding at once, this chop laden, adventurous set will certainly shake you up and shake you loose as it wanders on it's non linear way.

PAUL DESLAURIERS BAND/Relentless: If the recently departed Bill Ham got a load of this blues rock power trio before he shuffled off this mortal coil, he might well have been tempted to give it one more try. Probably doing a great job of providing a load of natural heat and light for their native Canada, sets like this is where the party begins for rockers that like it hard and hot with no frills or speed bumps to slow things down. The playing is incendiary and there's no limit to how hard this rock rolls. Check it out.

MICHAEL SHRIEVE'S SPELLBINDER: Fresh from a reunion of the original Santana Woodstock crew, Shrieve finds his way back to the original jazz rock groove serving it up with no dust on it. Funky and smoking with loads of sound and fury, AARP ought to give this guy a rebate on his membership. Dead solid perfect jazz rock played the way it ought to be played throughout. Clearly a winner from a skilled pro that's proven it over and over throughout the years.

LUCKY LOSERS/In Any Town: A lot of singers have had the mantle put on them but Cathy Lemons really sounds like she should/could be Bonnie Raitt's long lost duet partner she never sang with. Not unleashing all their goods on their impressive debut, the Losers are back with a dark end of the street sounding set that fuses contemporary blues and soul into the tastiest mix you could hope to find. With incredible blue eyed soul dripping off all the edges, all topped off with a closing track that takes "Small Town Talk" to new heights while keeping the Charles/Danko core undisturbed, this is a must for the boomer that would still like to buy records that mean something and are full of feeling. Hot stuff.

MIKE SPONZA/Ergo Sum: Here's an interesting set. You've probably never heard of Sponza because he's an Italian blues musician that sounds like he's from down in the swamps. With Ian Siegel helping him out on one side to keep things rootsy and Dana Gillespie helping on the other side (who gets special props for being the only person on earth that doesn't seem to be exploiting her Bowie connection) and recording it all at Abbey Road, this is one hard hitting singing axman that you should add to or play list. No nonsense, contemporary white boy blues outing, the gang wails like they have hell hounds on their tails and show no derivative edges anywhere. Tasty stuff sure to impress the contemporary blues fan that wants to keep it real. Well done.

ELEKTRA KURTIS/Bridges From the East: A jazz violinist with a wandering soul and wondering ears has traveled and studied with the best making it pretty clear that she's all about the music first, delving into sounds as deeply as possible. A non traditional mash up set that starts with the players New York jazz roots and takes off into the world from there, the open eared with find this like an audio impressionistic painting that is loaded with things only you hear in ways you want to hear them. Not quite world jazz, but not quite not world jazz, this isn't Sunday afternoon music either. A wild ride awaits all who want to sign up for it.

SUZANNE DEAN/Come to Paradise: I wouldn't have figured New Yorker Nicole Zuraitus feeling at home on a hippy inspired set with a bunch of LA session cats so I guess I don't yet know the full range of what she's capable of. The set is as pleasant as a summer afternoon with the temperature in the mid 70s and low humidity. Dean recorded this while on sabbatical from her teaching job. It sounds like she's gotten herself rejuvenated in fine style. Wonderful, easy going stuff for those rides down non organic back roads where the living is easy. Check it out.

CONTRIBUTIONS: Seemingly led by bass player Kent Miller, this group outing is the kind of smoking straight ahead jazz you just don't come across much anymore. Solidly played with energy and vibes that just don't quit, the only statement this set is making is that you should have a good time. Fun and party music geared to generating a good time, this is perfect summer evening jazz, preferably enjoyed near water with something wet. A totally solid set that goes the distance.

Volume 39/Number 242
July 1, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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