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ANNA GARROTT/Only Time Will Tell: More mature than Taylor Swift, not as over the top as Miranda Lambert, Garrott is simply a high energy good old girl that knows her way around a Delbert McClinton song as she does a music row ditty. A straight ahead gal that just wants everyone to kick up their heels and let it all go, she’s got a contemporary rocker’s soul but she is a good ol gal to the core. Contemporary country that celebrates the mainstream in fine style.

MIKE LONGO TRIO/Sting Like a Bee: Pounding the keys professionally for over half a century and still sounding fresh, Longo surrounds himself with Bob Cranshaw and Lewis Nash for an accomplished piano trio date that was mostly recorded in first takes with minimal editing. The set card is familiar but adventurous and always engaging and high energy. Simply a well played, stylish date that is right in the classic piano trio groove and it never lets you down. There‘s highlights a plenty, all making solid listening throughout.

MIKEL ROUSE/Gravity Radio: Physically old enough to predate pomo rock, Rouse is an art rocker to the core but more informed by Talking Heads than King Crimson. A genre mixing date that is his version of a radio broadcast from a distant time zone, it is art with a capital A, but there’s something so weirdly compelling about it that it falls into that gap of theatre for the mind. You might not put this on your go to shelf, but it’s abstruseness will bring you back for repeated listening.

CHRISTMAS JUG BAND/On the Holiday Highway: Just what would you expect Christmas with Dan Hicks and a load of pals to sound like? Why speculate when you can crack open this old timey/hokum date of snappy playing jive and fun. Opening up with the holiday classic “Shoot Em in the Pants” and going from there with kazoos a flyin’, the bay area bunch certainly give the holidays a different spin. Unyielding fun stuff that’s getting my holiday season off to an appropriate and zany start. Check it out and see if this isn’t the left of center holiday release you’ve been looking for.

IKE STURM/Jazzmass: When you are the director of the jazz ministry at St. Peter’s Church in New York and they want you to be the latest in a long line of cats who are commissioned to bring passion to the works of passion, you get on the stick. The bass man doesn’t enlist Emmett Chapman, but brother did he get on the stick. Enlisting some heavy downtown jazz cats to lend a hand, you really wouldn’t know this is a religious work although a close inspection of the titles shows that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. A solid work on so many levels, this is art that doesn’t hit you over the head with a capitol A and religion that doesn’t hit you in the mouth with a capital R. A most involving listening jazz date, this set is a winner no matter who you pray to. Check it out.

CHRISTOPHER REDGATE/Greatest Hits of All Time: This is one for the real hard core oboe fan as most of it will sound like nothing more than an oboe test record to anyone but the hard core. Of course, if you are a member the hard core, this is oboe, oboe and more oboe, uncut for the most part.

GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL/original off Broadway cast recording: A classic insiders tour de farce, this acclaimed two man show is one of those things that if you are part of the in group, you will find totally delicious. If you aren’t an insider, you might not get the farce. Here we have a show about two untalented mooks that are presenting a backers audition for a musical they’ve written that’s as lacking in polish as the writers. If you like the show world, this is a juicy, over the top laugh riot. Great stuff with an appropriate asterisk.

AL STEWART with Dave Nachmanoff/Uncorked-Live: Having done a live greatest hits set some 20 years ago, Stewart goes the live route again now, leaving off his three biggest radio hits opting for a charming folk singer date that has more in common with his recent Collector’s Choice reissues of his early days than it does his pop star days. Comparing and contrasting all elements, Stewart seems more at home in the folk singer/troubadour role than he did in the pop star role. Age has brought more charm and style to the works turning this into a low key adult pop date that more than goes the distance. Hot stuff throughout.

Volume 32/Number 366
October 31, 2009
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
©2009 Midwest Record

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