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GUSTAVO ASSIS BRASIL/Chromatic Dialogues: Sounds like this guy is trying to be the modern Miles Davis of guitar. Taking jazz and contemporary instrumental music into new realms that often seem to have a component from Mars, restless ears on the prowl for something out of the ordinary, like ECM deciding to make records from space, will enjoy the angularity of the works on display here. Not being tied to genres or boundaries, Brasil fearless navigates where he will with satisfyingly progressive result. Check it out.

DARREN BARRETT TRUMPET VIBES/Music of Amy Winehouse: In the tradition of jazz interprets rock, jazz interprets classical, jazz interprets show music, etc, award winner Barrett brings his jazz reggae vibe to the fore to interpret pomo as he delivers a solid tribute to Amy Winehouse that will get the late artist new listeners who thought her stuff wasn't for them. Removed from the pomo trappings and the piercings, Barrett and company drive the music nicely, giving things a strange twist when you give a real listen to the uber contemporary, stream of conscious lyrics. Wild stuff from a cat that didn't get where he is by following the rules. Smoking stuff throughout.

JL FULKS/On Down the Road: One of those hard working cats that the ravages of time and tide has made it harder to hear about, this young white boy shredder with the blues is right in the Stevie Ray Vaughn pocket even if he was born just as SRV was leaving us. With a real knack for guitar slinging jamming and songwriting that hit's the mark, this is a cat that you will hear about--even if it takes longer these days. Until he comes to your town, go ahead and check him out here. Well done.

DANIELA SCHACHTER/Vanheusenism: With her name and this album's title, you wouldn't expect right off the bat that it's a jazz vocal tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen, or that she was born in Sicily. One of Sinatra's top go to guys, the composer has over 800 compositions to his credit and a load of them are standards---many of which are well represented here. Without trying to ape or top Sinatra at his own game, Schachter brings her own A game to the fore and rejuvenates these timeless classics in a way that jazz vocal fans are sure to admire. Not just singing the words but understanding them as well as she interprets, this set is a home run. Well done.

ROBIN BARNES/Songbird Sessions: Unmistakably in the Nina Simone/Abbey Lincoln pocket, Barnes goes her own way on a path that has been blazed up to a certain point in the past. With the deep soulfulness that civil rights era jazz vocalists brought to their work, Barnes reaches down deep and finds a place for you to connect. There's a load of early 60s jazz/soul/folk fusion running through it organically, and that's the element that pushes this young vocalist over the top. A dandy find well worth checking out.

THE EVERYDAYS/When It's All Over: This guitar strumming folkie duo takes it back to the mellow campus coffee house that flourished in the early 70s as an oasis against the riot that was going on (kind of like now?). Reminiscent of the folkie duos the major labels tried to force into country rock modes, the yukky ones were forgotten and the ones that had the goods made the move easily. This duo sounds like the ones that had the goods. Easy rolling, back porch stuff, this is a great set to chill with whether you're a boomer or not. Check it out.

GIULIA MILLANTA/Moonbeam Parade: An artist for these multi culti mash up times, this Italian born Austin dweller brings a Euro sensibility to this that feels like a pomo vibe you just can't put your finger on. With backing from the crème of Austin's pickers, the core of this set is confessional singer/songwriter material filtered through millennial eyes. Spiritually, it's almost like 50 years never passed between Joni Mitchell and this as universal truths are universal truths---especially when the only difference between the ages is the clothes and the piercing. The little girls won't understand (yet), but their older sisters will. Solid stuff.

STEVEN KIRBY/Illuminations: With the addition of vocal colorations, this set has the feel of hippie jazz from the pre-fusion dawning. A solidly smoking set loaded with hitters from Boston, Kirby puts his finger on a bunch of stuff you enjoyed in the past giving this guitar led date a progressive vibe while giving you an audio comfort zone at the same time. The kind of accessible set that brings newbies into the tent without offending moldy figs for not being complex enough, this is the kind of commercial sets that tricks you into thinking it's not. Crafty and well done throughout.

TIM RAY TRIO/Windows: No one ever put down Dave McKenna for not breaking new ground because they loved his saloon playing so much. Ray is young enough not to have been influenced by McKenna but he's got Ramsey Lewis's sense of swing and merges it with the touchstone piano men of his era like Corea, Hancock and others of that time.
With the kind of resume that shows him as second to none, this is a delightful listening date that brings diverse tunes under his penumbra for a cohesive session that gets the blood flowing at just the right pace. Tasty throughout, it's nice to see Ray recording in the limelight after two decades in various background. Well done.

KRISTEN LEE SERGEANT/Inside Out: A sassy, brassy jazz vocalist who appropriately high lights her red hair with red lipstick and red nail polish, underscoring a voice and delivery to match it all, she takes a lot of standards and gives them the kind of treatment that pushes back the walls in the usual cabaret/jewel box room---the kind of place where this material is a natural. Certainly one that will never be accused of being a shrinking violet, fans of big voiced, fearless broads are going to find the treasure chest at the end of the rainbow here. Check it out.

Volume 39/Number 289
August 17, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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