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MANU KATCHE/Unstatic: You know this cat from his stints in the drummer's chair of all the first rate rockers of the boomer era. Here he gets the chance to show of his jazzbo roots unadulterated by being in service of others. If you hadn't known by now, there's a lot more to Katche than just being a reliable time keeper. Slinky jazz/funk rolls off these bytes so smoothly, you really don't know what hit you. Tasty work throughout, this is the kind of set you want close by when you go flying out of your cubicle on Friday afternoon. With a vibe and groove that can't be beat, this set never fails to impress. Well done.

ALESSANDRO FADINI/A Dark & Stormy Day: A student of Marc Copland, Fadini and his left leaning jazzbo pals serve up a distinctly Euro left leaning sound as they meld the sound of freedom with the outer edge of the mainstream making a bid to give us fourth stream jazz. Angular and muscular without showing off in Schwarzenegger proportions, Fadini knows his hipster audience and gives them just what they want. Check it out.

GREGG KOFI BROWN/Rock ‘n' Roll & UFOs (Anthology): The spark plug behind Osibisa has had more up his sleeve for the last 40 years than Afro funk as this initial career retrospective shows. Basically playing everything with everybody, this set finds him in the company of players that have made a career of standing in the shadows of greatness. Predominantly a left leaning smooth jazz album with Americana seasonings, this set is thoroughly charming with it's mostly low key presence that shows that chops are chops no matter where the chips fall. A real winner of a set from a cat that's seen it all and has managed to come out the other end fairly in tact no matter what water flowed under the bridge.

LIVIO ALMEIDA/Action & Reaction: The award winning Brazilian sax man steps out from his integral place in Arturo O'Farrill's crew and turns up the heat on stuff he has burning inside him to get out. While O'Farrill might not time and space for these songs and this blowing, we certainly do. Hard hitting New York jazz tempered with some Brazilian edges, this is a smoking set that any straight ahead jazzbo will start fist pumping for. Tasty throughout, this is a right on date that just not to be missed. Well done.

ANTHONY E. NELSON JR/Swift to Hear, Slow to Speak: This post bop sax man may have religious overtones to his music and themes, but he's solid swinger and this is a solid New York jazzbo session that's right in the pocket and right in the tradition. Since the tunes are mostly originals, we get a good feel for what he can do, and it's all good. Tasty stuff that makes you want to just sit and listen, this is what the real deal sounds like. Hot stuff.

MILAN MUMIN/In Case that One of Them is You: Well, outsider music fans, here's the Serbian rocker taking time off from his band to give a left field outing that sounds like Tom Waits stuff Elektra finally got around to releasing because it just didn't fit into any of the stuff he was doing for them in the 70s. Maniac rock for maniac rock fans, here's a serving of Michael Hurley on steroids and testosterone tearing it up late into the night. A dandy wild ride.

SERGIO PEREIRA/Swingando: Some people just have the right touch. This Brazilian guitarist relocated to New York and hangs out with the crème of the Brazilian music community, many of which show up here. Breezy stuff that might finds it's seeds in samba but doesn't' rely on it to make it's point, this is jazzy, snazzy and delightfully high octane in it's approach. Joyful playing that really spreads the good vibes, if this is nu Brazil, put us down for more. Well done.

SUNDAE + MR. GOESSL/Makes My Hear Sway: A delightful duo set that doesn't fit the format, this pair mostly delves into the 30s with just guitar and vocal, sneaking in the occasion surprise. Hard working award winners that have charm dripping off them, they have the knack for roasting the chestnuts one more time and knowing where and when to add the special sauce. This is certainly the kind of act you want to see live if they come your way as it's pretty clear this act was well honed in live settings. Hot stuff.

MICK KOLASSA/Taylor Made Blues: The blues rocker that sounds like a one man band even with a band of real hitters behind him comes back with another swinging party set where the proceeds are all going to the Blues Foundation. So, once again forget that this record gives you the chance to do well by doing good, dig that rocking, swinging vibe that's sure to plaster a dopey grin across your face. This is the kind of stuff that would have brought more white boys into the tent back in the days when the English bands were ripping off our blues and selling it back to us. Killer stuff throughout.

CHIP TAYLOR/Little Brothers: Never one to be locked into anything stylistically, Taylor reflects on his back pages as well as his veneration with a low fi/low key album that feels like the natural successor to "Last Chance". A very personal set that's as intimate as a house concert even with several players in tow--including long time fellow travelers. A top shelf choice for fans of lyrical songs, there's plenty of meat on the bone here as he takes you down the hall ways of his life. A winner throughout from a cat that's been hitting them out of the park forever.

CHIP TAYLOR/I'll Carry for You: Turning the lens away from himself, Taylor is inspired here by golfing sisters that are helping each other toward the top. Using that as a launch pad for songs about passion and drive that comes from unexpected places that takes things to unexpected places, this is the kind of stuff you'd expect from the long list of first rank Texas troubadours proving his place in the line of writers that do more than turn out pop fluff. Here's to you, wild thing.

ZACH LARMER ELECTRIC BAND/Inner Circle: This cat is 21. When you think about how many fusion cats he learned from got their starts in big band, it should be no surprise this tyro fuses his fusion with big band flourishes. Recorded live in the studio in one pass, everyone is in their A game making this sound and feel like great records made before he was born. Tasty stuff from a cat clearly carrying on a passionate affair with is guitar. Well deserving of the Downbeat awards he's picked up to date, this cat is here to open your ears like they haven't been in quite some time. Killer stuff.

Volume 39/Number 249
July 8, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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