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KATHRYN HETTEL/Cookin' in the Kitchen with Dinah: So many white gals have already beaten Billie Holiday to death, it's nice to see a white gal turning her worthy attention to Dinah Washington, mining key cuts as well as staples along the way. The crew with her is feeling the blues with soul and they dig in to serve it up righteously as Hettel isn't that impressed with the good girl side of the catalog. She mines an amazing amount of musical history on this journey as well. If we can't have the real thing, this is a nice way to hit it once again.

DEREK SALLMANN/All Seasons: A power pop tyro from suburban Milwaukee that's no stranger to all the awards you can rack up in Milwaukee, he's now stepping out with his debut recording which has been a veritable lifetime in the making. A nice serving of contemporary pop for non EDM tastes, heartland rock doesn't come any more earthy than this. Right up your alley if nice, solid mainstream rock gets you going.

LITTLE MIKE/How Long?: Killer white boy blues from Florida by way of the west side Chicago masters that gave him tutelage when he chose this path over 30 years ago. Putting his own stamp on things, both moldy figs and futurists will have a hard time not enjoying his stuff because he brings the energy and soul that can power his work past any road blocks they put in his way. Tasty throughout, this dude manages to use his chops to avoid all the clichés that can be thrown his way. A smoking good time that can turn any man cave into an after hours juke joint with ease.

DARRELL KATZ & ODDSONG/Jailhouse Doc with Holes in Her Socks: If you close your eyes and listen closely, you'd think this was a release on JCOA instead of JCA. Katz takes his works, puts them through the reprocessor machine and comes out with art jazz that recalls the early 70s with so much precision that anyone who misses that era can alight here easily. Certainly a left field date, it's not simply art for art's sake. Maybe it should be subtitled "Happy 80th, Carla".

JENNY JARNAGIN/Heart Percent: Ya like quirky? This gal isn't multi culti, she a stew steward. Jazz from different eras, other elements and a cupie doll voice delivering it all, at once in the same song, Jernigan's a delightful enigma that doesn't like it nice and easy, but she doesn't make it nice and rough either. Something that's sure to keep you guessing from start to finish, she's trying to be the left field hostess with the mostess and she's got a good shot at it since Rickie Lee Jones moved out of the way quite a while ago.

MARCUS CORBETT/Every Little Spirit: Even if you're too young to remember the 60s, this set shows you the 60s never left. A reminder of those cool records on Vanguard that you probably never heard by cats like Robbie Basho and Sandy Bull, this set has their nascent multi culti influences as well as echoes of era folkies like Nick Drake, Richard Thompson and anyone else that ever thought about Witchseason, with Bert Jansch like vocals in the mix. Since this is a guitar led set, the traces of John McLaughlin are also lurking in the mix. Far from being hippie dippy crap, this is well thought out multi culti work that offers surprises, change ups and a look forward rather than a look back. Easily more hippie than hipster, this is what you play when you want something other worldly without it being terminal girl friend music. Check it out.

McKEE BROTHERS/Enjoy It While You Can: This one is simply going to catch you off guard and unaware. A show blues all star date, you've got contemporary stars here mixing it up with pros from the 60s and 70s whose chops and presence are full throttle and for real with no dust in the mix. Like the show bands from the Club Manhattan have sprung back to life, this mix of soul, funk and blues is an ear opener and a sonic tonic that gets the party started and keeps it going through the week end. Killer stuff that's fully loaded throughout.

SONIA ALFONSO/Feeling Good: A vocal superstar in her native Dominican Republic, Alfonso has widened the lens and cast her gaze to conquering New York, acting and who knows what ever else she has up her sleeve. With chops to spare, this change of pace set (for gringos) has only one negative. It's only an ep. Turning her Latin jazz soul loose on us, her voice and performance skills meld into one big, roundhouse knockout that could take you days to recover from. Newley and Gershwin never had it so good.

SARA SERPA-ANDRE MATOS/All the Dreams: The wordless vocalist reteams with the free thinking guitarist for another set of coloring outside the lines on a date that seems like a free flowing improv but no two players could be so thoroughly in synch like this. Very much a left field date of those looking for atmospheric music that is much more than background filler, this is art you don't have to hang on the wall to appreciate.

TRACY K/What's the Rush: The cover makes you think folkie or Rory Block, the sound makes you think rocker. A proponent of the Winnipeg music scene, this hard driver has no aspirations to be Janis or Bonnie Raitt, she's simply a blues rocking babe that knows how to bring the awards home. With her closest neighbors probably being ten miles away, there's nothing to stop her from tearing the roof off the barn and honing her racket as loud and proud as she wants. Smoking stuff from a super guitar slinger that knows how to bring the heat.

Volume 39/Number 311
September 9, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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