ANDREW & POLLY/Ear Snacks-Songs from the Podcast: Kid music experts branch out from the usual suspects they work with so they can strut their stuff on their podcasts, and here's the proof of what they've been up to. With kids getting more sophisticated at younger ages, this is proverbial music for kids of all ages as it doesn't talk down to the kids and it won't drive parents insane in the car. Loaded with ‘grown up" production values, it might be tailor made to short attention spans, but who doesn't have that these days. An ear opening, mind bending experience throughout that's much better for the kids than the crap that's foisted off on them all too often. Hot stuff.
MATEO KINGMAN/Respira: Paul Winter meets Art of Noise in the Amazon section of Ecuador and the fur begins to fly. A multi culti genre bender that shows there's more growing in the Amazon basin than new age herbal remedies, this is some pretty cutting edge stuff that knows only the boundaries the crow feels as it flies. Wild world stuff that's all about the vibe and feeling than anything else which makes it oddly accessible to all who want to come into the tent. A real ear opener.
JJ THAMES/Raw Sugar: It's like Fame Studios never closed. Killer deep soul from the deep south finds Thames delivering for the Lord as well as the Devil on a set that takes you through the week from Sunday meeting through the rest of the week to the reason why it's good to go. Thames is right in the pocket with the greats of the past that knew what soul was about and where it came from. Killer stuff.
GONZALO BERGARA/Zalo's Blues: When one of the world's foremost gypsy jazz guitarists based in Buenos Aires wants to do something different, what does he do? He puts together a power trio of swinging hep cats bopping their way through the waterfront of blues styles sounding like they come from Texas or so in the process. Since this trio has been kicking it out for 20 years, we can't assume this to be a busman's holiday and have to conclude that Bergara is a cat that loves his work and wants everyone to know. Hot stuff that will remind how much fun musical exploration was in the late 60s as this has that vibe running through it like a marathon. Check it out.
LEE DELRAY/Brand New Man: The modern version of an old school blues shouter, complete with industrial mayhem behind him, it all might be coming from Pennsylvania but it's heart and soul are hanging around the greater Piedmont area. Hard, heavy and high octane throughout, this is smoking hot guitar blues for the nu century, showing the way now that we're almost a fifth of the way into it. Find out what hipper blues fans have been knowing about since 1998. Well done.
JOHN ‘PAPA' GROS/River's on Fire: Don't know about the river but Gros and his pals are sure on fire. A Nawlins staple that might be the one to fill Allen Toussaint's sandals, Gros is a familiar face to the locals who know the wheat from the chaff. Tasty stuff loaded with uptown funk, Gros (check the pronunciation) is one that really knows how to grow on you. A sweet set from start to finish.
KEVIN BOWERS/Nova: St. Louis's favored time keeper packs his drums and such off to a trip to Spain that reinforces his love for all things Brazilian forcing him to turn in an effort of Midwestern samba that is dripping with fun. Only natural, in a sideways way since St. Louis and Kansas City were stopping points for Brazilians that wanted to get immersed in Chicago jazz, cross pollination has always been more active than you thought. Easy, breezy fun time tunes, Bowers and his pals serve up a tasty delight that won't rot your teeth or give you diabetes but will sate your sweet tooth, but only after repeated playings. Killer stuff.
GRADY CHAMPION/One of a Kind: Malaco has been through several incarnations of up and down over the last 50 years but the Malaco firmly fixed in popular consciousness is the Malaco that made it's bones as an after market company recycling used stars to another round of greatness. This Mississippi local has the lifeblood of the area in his blood and delivers it to Malaco to start another era of greatness---with original stars using this as the launch pad to fly to greatness. Killer contemporary soul/blues from a comer that can't help but set things on fire. Champion came out of nowhere to start showing the way a few years ago. Here, he collects himself together into a bad ass throughout that is the way. You can't go wrong getting on board with this champion. Well done.
JOHN STOWELL-MICHAEL ZILBER QUARTET/Basement Blues: With a sound reminiscent of how it was with Oregon when they were transitioning from Elektra to ECM, this crew has the modern sweet spot well in hand where many things merge into a sound at once familiar but thoroughly it's own. A real treat for those that still remember how it was when you could make music in the marketplace that wasn't required to swing for the fences under a pile of notes. Hey, we know there's always been meddling executive producers, but there was also a lot of pure playing where the playing was the reward itself, for both player and listener. These jazzbos are holding that touchstone. Solidly wonderful, creative left leaning jazz that really gets the blood flowing.
KURT CRANDALL/Take It Off: When you come across someone that knows how to underplay and get the job done just the same, the change of pace can be a real treat. A Nawlins harp player that plays zydeco harmonica with a mixture of about everything you can think of from gospel to soul to blues to Chicago and more, this is the kind of well played set that catches you off guard---like someone popping out of a dark alley to sell you something that just fell off the truck. Purely down home Nawlins style, this set is propelled with a unique energy that's tailor made for people that want their music accessible without being blatantly commercial. A winner throughout.
Volume 39/Number 282
August 10, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record
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