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KEN HATFIELD/12 Prelude for Solo Guitar: Without a lot of fanfare, the beloved jazzbo guitarist turns to his classical side, and goes a little retro, releasing a solo classical guitar record with an accompanying folio. A very classy record played with humility that finds him in service to the music, Hatfield finds a place that makes you wish all Sunday afternoon/American arts council supported music would find---and he does it here on his own. A set for acoustic guitar fans as well as classical fans, this is simply a set of supreme playing on the order of the stuff that got boomers into this sound in the first place--but this tent is open to all. Well done.

LONDON MAY/Devilution-The Early Years: The drummer behind some of the most aggro music of the times curates a collection of many bands he powered from the back of the stage, many of them unreleased and hiding in his vaults for years. Music kids of any age can use to piss off their parents of any age, this is what they're really talking about when they talk about bringing the noize. Kill or be killed killer stuff for the pissed off suburban teen in everyone.

LOU DONALDSON/Complete Albums Collection 1959-1963: Recorded during a period of change for Sweet Poppa Lou, Donaldson was veering away from bebop while maintaining a parallel career as Jimmy Smith's chief foil. Ending this period with a move away from Blue Note for a few years, he kept experimenting, shifting players and chasing the golden groove. Once again, making music that doesn't sound dated, Donaldson's treasure trove of 8 killer albums on this set make you wonder how so much great stuff was made by so many during these years. Always finding the right cats so all could bring out the best in each other, this collection is a must for your daddio sweet tooth as he always held to the core of who he was. A dead solid collection throughout.

CIRO HURTADO/Selva: I can remember Jac Holzman giving me an excited call about his new group, Hauycaltia, like it was the day before yesterday. It wasn't Holzman's passion that made me a fan--it was what the group was doing. Hurtado was the founder of that group and he's still going strong today with his Peruvian take on what the rest of us would lump into flamenco. Continuing to find the sweet spot between new age/world/contemporary instrumental (even if there are vocals here), this is a solidly sweet set that charms with it's deceptive simpleness that shows how still waters can run deep. Tasty throughout, this is tailor made for gringos that don't need excessive caliente with each release. Well done.

GYUTO MONKS OF TIBET/Beyond Karma: The original chanting monks hook up with some religious music pros and take harmonic chant to new levels. Certainly not for casual listeners that think magical thinking is the way to go, this is a set for the true seekers that want to go deep into their psyches and block out all the maia that clogs the soul. With an aim true enough that they are recent Grammy nominees, there are those that recognize this chant session isn't just a bunch of hippie dippie stuff. Check it out for something certainly out of the ordinary.

JERRY GOODMAN/Violin Fantasy: Perhaps it was the ascension of Lindsay Sterling that made rock's most eminent violinist dust off his name and do his first solo set in forever. A true prog rock date with loads of super pros hovering around the sidelines, Goodman takes back the turf he claimed and defined almost 50 years ago with fervor and defiance. Killer stuff from a cat that was gone but was never really away, nu prog fans get a dose of how it's done here---particularly when it's well done. Even classic rock gets a new verve when he lends a hand in it's direction. Check it out.

A BU/Butterflies Fly in Pairs: This 16 year old Chinaman is going to be one of those kids you love to hate. A world beating tyro on steroids, he's going to remind you of Corea, Hancock and all the rest of the greats---and he might just be too young and a world away to even know who they are. (Actually, he shared a stage with Corea when he was 9). A way too accomplished original piano jazz album that..., well, I wish I had a piece of the action on this kid. Sure to be offended by people calling him a kid in short order, whatever they've got in the water in Beijing has certainly galvanized Bu to conquer the world---and do it in the universal language. Dead solid perfect mainstream jazz throughout that'll just plain blow you away.

HOUSE OF CARDS-Complete Fourth Season: The genius of Kevin Spacey and his team and Netflix is in creating an adult soap opera that leaves stuff like "Dallas' in the dust in so many ways. With cliff hangers within cliff hangers that are played as OMG moments, this show that brings everyone from boomers to millenials into the tent never plays like you'd expect and never really plays nice. This season opens with a gay murderer in the White House with his wife that knows too much leaving him---and it's not played for over the top kitsch. Once again, an occasional 13 hour romp with those crazy Underwoods just isn't enough. We'll let you binge watch with our approval rather than beat you over the head with spoilers. Enjoy this modern take on the Borgias as we wonder where the pursuit of power will make them wander. Killer stuff throughout.

Volume 39/Number 248
July 7, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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