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HEY READERS: If you need something to do this weekend, we've got a contest for you. Your good pals at Sony Classics Pictures want you to get in on the fun as Bernadette Walowitz brings the Olympics home. To celebrate the release of Melissa Rauch's "The Bronze" on home video, you can enter to win a swag bag of stuff that Rauch uses as props in her TV viewing stupor. All you have to do is send your name and address to bronzecontest@hotmail.com and you're in the running. A random drawing will be held after midnight on August 3rd, right at the end of the first day of the video's release. Neatness doesn't count. Get cracking.

KENNY NEAL/Bloodline: I'm not sure who's got the hellhounds on their tail here, performer Neal or producer Tom Hambridge since both seem to be pulling everybody's weight here. With the entire Neal family on board rubbing elbows with some all stars, this audiobiography is no walk in the park, it's a high octane retrospective of a life in the blues that sounds like it's played with a young man's energy and an elder statesman's wisdom. An utterly killer session of traditional post war blues pulling the future in it's wake, this is a wake up call to blues fans that think they've heard it all. A stone cold mutha throughout.

STEVE HECKMAN/Legacy-A Coltrane Tribute: Not ashamed to let it show that Coltrane was a big influence on the multi instrument player, Heckman lifts his sax in tribute to the master and delivers a look at several periods of Coltrane's reign. Recorded live for an audience that knows what it's all about, Heckman delivers a set that isn't a slavish tribute or homage but simply a bond from one solid player to another. A passionate, full blooded session, Heckman's vision is well represented and a good time is had by all. Well done throughout.

ELISABETH LOHNINGER/Eleven Promises: Bringing jazz vocal to a sexy cabaret/boite mode, Lohninger purrs like silk on a set of mostly originals that never sound like filler as a bridge to here from there. Giving herself a nice do it all runway to work from, her sound and vision come together for a sound that sounds like just before after hours. Tasty stuff that weaves a nice spell, this is a vocalist that knows the difference between emotion and emoting keeping you on her beam throughout. A dandy treat that's a fine bet for jazz vocal fans that aren't afraid to veer from the tried and true.

MISS SOPHIE LEE & the Parish Suites/Traverse This Universe: Lee is one of those offbeat treats that you won't know what to do with but she shows up in commercials, Adam McKay movies and such so someone must know what to do with her. Transplanted from Chicago to Nawlins, Lee has a taste for old time jazz, even if she writes it herself and delivers it with an insouciant innocence that wraps you around her finger before you know what happened. With a gumbo of so many sounds intricately woven into a whole that you can never fully put your finger on, it shows how you can go around the world without ever leaving Nawlins. A wonderful, left field treat for anyone looking for something outside the ordinary and usual, their attention will be amply rewarded. Well done.

KENIA/On We Go: A second wave Brazilian singer that hasn't been heard from in a few decades rounds up some old pals for some significant co-writes and accompaniment and shows she hasn't lost a step since her impressive stateside debut with Creed Taylor at the wheel catching lightning in a bottle for the second time. Tasty, breezy and sun dappled, this is the welcome sound of a sure handed pro that manques no one and is very comfortable putting her own stamp on things. A solid bet for Brazil/jazz vocal fans looking for new kicks from an old friend. Well done.

ALLISON ADAMS TUCKER/Wanderlust: Some singers just have a special knack for being interpreters, and interpret she does with a wide range of material from various, disparate sources. Producer Matt Pierson doesn't seem to be missing his major label days as he assembles a killer crew of pros all single mindedly purposed to bringing out the best in Tucker. With her purring, sultry vocals dripping with suggestion, she ties it all together with her international appetites and audio restlessness adding a heaping helping of cherries on top not only validating Hillary's premise that it takes a village but doing a great job of being right at the center of it all in a set that fuses 50's rec room jazz with the future. A real treat for jazz vocal fans that aren't looking for another trip through the great American song book. Killer stuff from a true rising star.

HONEYBOY EDWARDS/I'm Gonna Tell You Somethin' That I Know: Recorded 6 years ago, when Edwards was a mere sprat of 95, this cd-dvd combo pack gives you a great glimpse of the blues legend who was among the last to have walked among the blues fore fathers and legends all. Wailing his way through a set of natchul born real deal, down home picking and singing, he could still electrify a crowd as this live recording attests. Since it seems like most blues recordings are labors of love anyway, this labor of love is Edwards gift to us from the great beyond and a welcome package for those who don't want to forget history and it's significance and glory. Who needs Wal-Mart parking lots when all they did was chase away the roadhouses at the edge of town where sounds like this powered the night? Killer stuff.

GURU GURU GROOVE BAND/Birth of Krautrock 1969: Heard for the first time in 40 years and previously unreleased, this is the kind of Kraut rock that was going on long before Kraftwerk wanted to make some money. Think Magma. An outgrowth of the Germany free jazz scene, this stuff was inspired by the dada side of the Mothers and probably went on to inspire ‘Metal Machine Music'. If you want to take an impressionistic musical trip through hell in the late 60s, you've come to the right place.

SCOTT TIXIER/Cosmic Adventure: So, you miss the prime days of Jerry Goodman and Jean Luc Ponty? The fiddle and the cosmic in the title might be giveaways, but you do need the proof in the pudding to proceed. Tixier brings such solid proof that Stabler and Benson couldn't shake his story. A return to the golden days of fusion when the players would make killer music not worrying about it being a hit and letting the audience follow along, Tixier starts there and charts a new course from there out. Surrounded by like minded young players that know the way as well, this is killer stuff from start to finish that sounds like all the great fusion fiddle records before commercial concerns came to bear. A winner throughout.

SARA LOVELL/You've Got Me: So how does this set show there's life to kid's music after Raffi? Lovell has crafted a kid's record with adult sensibilities and production values---and you show me the kid that wants to be talked down to. Using her own 6 year old as a sounding board, Lovell makes a record that won't drive you crazy when the kiddies want to hear it over and over and over in the car. Does that make it a five star set right there? With some players on board that you know from your own records, this sort of has something for everyone. As far as an original recordings not based on any licensed products to move it forward, it's aces all the way. As long as you're trying to keep junior away from processed, sugary treats...follow the theme you've created and slip this in to their mix. Hot stuff throughout.

Volume 39/Number 270
July 29, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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